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213: How this Wonderkid became a DTC Guru Before Age 25

Posted by Austin Brawner on August 20, 2019

 

If you can sell water online, you can sell anything.

Today’s guest, who has been managing social strategy in the direct-to-consumer space since he was 15 years old, helped Hint water make a killing when he was their Director of DTC business.

Recently featured on Forbes 2019 list of 30 under 30, Nik Sharma is an expert at DTC marketing.

We chat with Nik about what he’s invested in now, his thoughts on building a brand, and his insightful tips on how to write scroll-stopping ad copy.

The DTC space continues to evolve and Nik is at the forefront. I know you’ll learn a lot during this episode just like we did.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 6:51 Nik’s fascinating career journey, starting at age 15.
  • 9:07 How Nik successfully managed to sell water online with Hint.
  • 12:14 The role of storytelling and the willingness to test new ideas in Hint’s marketing success.
  • 14:50 The company structure that allowed Nik to accelerate Hint’s growth.
  • 16:55 Changes Nik has seen within the direct-to-consumer space and the three things right now that are driving revenue.
  • 22:06 How to evaluate whether your copy is going to be scroll-stopping.
  • 26:34 Haus’ unique offering that made them so appealing for Nik to invest in.
  • 31:07 Components of building a strong community as a brand.
  • 35:33 Where Nik would start if he built his own brand today.
  • 38:28 The important data to evaluate before investing in a company and the tech stack Nik recommends to access it.

Links And Resources

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Transcript

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of Ecommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. What's going on with you, man? What's up?

Austin Brawner: Dude, I'm in the final process of building a house right now. It's really interesting because all the details are getting finished and when that happens it's all the opportunity for things to go wrong. We've been dealing with that pretty much all day while we're recording this. We had tile installed and it cracked immediately and we had something get painted the wrong color. It's just typical homeowner, building stuff problems. It's just so funny because running a business it's really a lot easier to build a house after you run a business because you just realize these are problems that happen all the time.

Andrew Foxwell: Yes, that's true. This is something that we discovered when we redid our kitchen a couple of years ago. There's so many details and at some point you're like, I don't know if I can deal with this. This is why I'm not a home decorator because it's just stressful for me.

Austin Brawner: Yeah. Yes, exactly. It's interesting and I think it's valuable coming in from the mindset of that, that things will go wrong and it's just how you approach them. But before we get into the interview, I want to talk a little bit about ... Share a couple of things that are coming up. We've got a really great interview for you guys today with Nik Sharma, it's going to be great. Before we dive in we have ... I've got a couple of events coming up. One of them is going to be in Boston for Klaviyo Boston.

Andrew Foxwell: Love it.

Austin Brawner: It's a Profit Summit. It's going to be, I believe it's the 22nd through the 24th.

Andrew Foxwell: Mm-hmm.

Austin Brawner: It's two and a half days. I have another one in Los Angeles, October 2nd through the 4th. Andrew and I have done workshops together. This is a small, 10-person workshop. We're just going to be dialing in stuff for Q4. It's going to be a lot of fun. If you want to check it out you can go to brandgrowthexperts.com/intensive or check it out in the show notes. You've got some stuff coming up as well.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, we do. We continue to release courses on foxwelldigital.com/courses. We have a new one that we released recently with our friend Florian Litterst from Germany, all about dynamic product ads. This course is insane if you want to optimize your dynamic product ads. We've got one on scaling, we've got one on account recovery, what you can do if you want to recover your ad accounts on Facebook if it's not performing as well. We have one on Snapchat ads too. Feel free to grab 50 bucks off on me with the code FB50 if you want to do that. But yeah, I appreciate all the people that have purchased the courses, it's been a ton of fun.

Andrew Foxwell: But yeah, let's get to talking about Nik, shall we?

Austin Brawner: Yeah, absolutely. Nik is somebody who we wanted to bring on the podcast for quite some time. Initially ... I think Twitter has been where we initially kind of caught notice of what Nik's doing. He has had a really interesting career in a very short, condensed period of time, starting when he was 15 and doing social media management and then very quickly took over marketing at Hint water within a couple of years, and then they did some really awesome, cool stuff. Then went on to do head of direct-to-consumer at VaynerMedia.

Interesting guy, has had a lot of experience in the direct-to-consumer space. We dive into a lot of that in this interview. We go over his thoughts on building brand, some of the investments he's made, and learned a lot. I think you guys are really going to enjoy.

Nik Sharma: Thank you for having me. We've been Twitter friends for quite some time now.

Andrew Foxwell: Yes, we have been Twitter friends, which is a recent thing where I'm actually really trying to make an effort to connect with these people who I feel like have been my friends for a long time and colleagues for a long time and so it's really nice to have you on the podcast to share some knowledge.

Nik Sharma: Likewise.

Andrew Foxwell: I want to go ahead and get started talking a little bit about your journey, for those that don't know about it. I think it's really interesting. You got started very early, right? You talked about in the past how at 15 you got started managing social media for some celebrities, then you got into working with Ampush, which at the time was, still is, a huge preferred marketing developer.

Nik Sharma: Yeah. He was a close family friend and so he was really the inspiration to get into marketing.

Andrew Foxwell: Right. He was a good friend, so you knew about what they were doing.

Nik Sharma: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: Can you talk a little about that, how you got started into this and then fast-forward into what you're doing now.

Nik Sharma: Yeah. When I got started it was ... It's actually kind of interesting to look back on it because when I started, everything I did kind of just built on the last thing I did. When I think about starting at 15 I was basically writing copy and posting on organic social media.

It went from that to then adding on ad tech and adding on creative and then getting to San Francisco and going to Hint and adding everything else on top of it. But it was like because I had, I think, a very sequential building block structure over the last few years, it just made it that much better and it allowed me to be that much better.

Austin Brawner: At this point, fast-forward, you're now mid-20s, right?

Nik Sharma: 23.

Austin Brawner: How old are you now?

Nik Sharma: 23.

Austin Brawner: 23. You've gone through this path of, like you said, sequentially adding new skills, growing. One of the things that I think if people have followed you on social media, what they might be mostly familiar with is your work at Hint, growing Hint water to, publicly I think what we've seen is around $100 million, which a lot of that was digital.

I would love to hear what were some of the things that, as you got into, starting to work with Hint, what were some of the challenges that you faced marketing water online?

Nik Sharma: I think selling water is the hardest thing to sell on the internet.

Austin Brawner: I think so too.

Nik Sharma: I always say if you can sell water on the internet, you can sell anything. I think with Hint and even with the other brands that I worked with or talked to or have touched on, it's very simple, it's just ... And I talk about this all day, but you just figure out what your next arbitrage is. That's what a marketing team does, they figure out how to basically arbitrate consumers into getting them to do whatever the goal is. In this case, and in most cases where I'm involved, it's around buying products and driving up revenue.

With all the brands, a lot of it, recently the arbitrage has all been around how do you better story tell and how do you make something more personable and relatable to an end consumer so they are more inclined to be a part of your brand and your ecosystem.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. I think that's true. When you talked about previously working with Hint, you started of course ... The storytelling was the lead, right? You started with storytelling. I'm curious about, thinking about how you thought about the marketing overall digitally as a framework, or non-digitally too, what worked and what were the foundational aspects of that from a tactical standpoint?

What were the things that you were like ... We've got to make sure that the email marketing is dialed, we've got to make sure that social pays out. One thing I saw you doing a lot of is seeding product with people who also, influencers obviously was a big part of it, but it was like a very personal influencer strategy, it felt like, because it was you and people would tag you and be like, "yo, thanks for the free stuff."

Nik Sharma: Yeah. 

Andrew Foxwell: Can you talk about that. How did you look at the marketing mix overall with Hint? Because I think what you did there was really crazy and I want to learn more about that.

Nik Sharma: I think mindset wise I always wanted to be an excited consumer of the brand. When you think about it that way, you're not necessarily thinking just from a marketing perspective of what you're trying to do to hit your KPIs, it's also like, well how do we make this more dope? How do we make it more fun? How do we get more people excited about what we're doing?

Like you mentioned with the influencers, none of that was tied toward a KPI. I would send YouTubers a bunch of water, I could send Instagram models water, we could send water to anybody, and it only just added to the effect of the awareness of the product.

Storytelling, on the other hand, was really the tactical piece to it and really that was just taking the founder story and seeing how we could basically just amplify that in a more consumptuous way.

We did it a lot with long-form content, which was at the time not something Facebook recommended, but we ended up proving them wrong on that one. We did a lot of long-form content. We always had things like exclusivities for our members, so we would push subscription as well. Our content game was always on point, we had a site called thequench.com that was live. Our creative was always, I think, better than most D2C brands at the time.

But it was just like ... If you think about all of it, it was just ... We were just always trying to think, how do we make this brand cooler? What would make this cooler? Is it the fact that we want the girl who on the Golden Globes carpet was holding Fiji bottles, should we get a photo of her with Hint bottles on a red carpet, would that make it cool? Let's just do it. It was just a lot of ... Let's just do it and try it and see what happens.

That's what allowed us and our team and Hint in general to just always be kind of at the front. That's just the culture of the company and the founder too. She breaks down walls every day and it's just in the DNA of the culture. I think because that was so ingrained in the culture from the very start of the company, I think that just translated into me and the role that I had, that was just the outcome of it.

Austin Brawner: I want to talk a little bit more about your role there at the company and how you set that up, because I feel like with a lot of the companies that I work with or talk to or even people that we interview, depending on where they come from their mindset can be very, very different, can sometimes be very performance marketing heavy and some of the stuff you're talking about. Just shipping YouTubers water, which is a really cool idea, getting them to post about it or just the idea of always thinking about how to make it cooler, sometimes doesn't get across to people who are really performance marketing driven.

How was your role set up with the founder? What type of ... Were you basically given carte blanche, a budget, you can spend it however way you want? What were some of the things that you can credit to the ... That gave you the amount of flexibility to have the success that you had at Hint?

Nik Sharma: I had a good amount of autonomy. There was a lot of trust, but everything we did was very performance-oriented. Even with the influencer gifting, if I would send nine boxes to some random Twitter person at an office, a lot of times those ended up becoming offices that started buying Hint and so I just saw that was a quick little arbitrage to get B2B accounts.

With YouTubers, that's earned media that you get for free, so there was definitely a budget in place for sampling and whatnot. But for the most part, everything we did was very direct response. Everything was very revenue-driven but also keeping a good note of the brand and making sure that brand equity doesn't go down in any way while we are also pushing as hard as we can for revenue.

Andrew Foxwell: Go ahead, Austin.

Austin Brawner: I was going to say, when you were working at Hint, it's been how many years since you transitioned your role at Hint to going to work with Gary V. and VaynerMedia. How many years has it been? What's that like, the last couple of years, a couple of years?

Nik Sharma: No, I left Hint December last year actually.

Austin Brawner: Okay. You left in December of last year and have been moving around a little bit. I know you worked at VaynerMedia. What do you see as the big changes that have happened between when you started at Hint and some of the arbitrage you were finding back then to what you're seeing for brands currently. Are the arbitrages different? Where are you going to your consistent spots where you feel like you can consistently find wins?

Nik Sharma: It's really interesting. I think the arbitrages have definitely changed, especially with the direct-to-consumer space. Content, creative, and experience are really the three things that essentially drive the revenue now. It used to be you could have a pretty basic site, good product, and if you ran some Facebook ads when they were cheap enough you could do well enough to where you're still making money.

But today, because there is so many people trying to buy ads and so many people trying to launch brands and sell shit on the internet, you can't put as much time into Facebook, which you don't need to because Facebook does a lot of the work for you now, but now it's so much of how do you optimize creative and how do you make better copy and how do you find the better photo for your ad or the better video for your ad? How do you take video ads and cut one video up 300 different ways and test every possible variation to find those maybe five or six winners that are going to scale up and drive the majority of the revenue?

A lot of the emphasis today on selling is really on copy, creative, and experience. The experience includes wherever your ad goes, so whether it's a content piece, what does that content piece look like? What's the UI and the UX of the site? Are there banner ads? Is there an email pop up? Is it hard to read? If it goes to a landing page is there a clear offer, is there proper social proof, blah, blah, blah.

And then all the way through to what is the checkout process like? What does the cart look like? Are there cross-sell and upsell opportunities? Is it easy to put your card in and checkout? Can you pay through ApplePay? These are all the things that you have to do really well now to have a functioning business online versus a few years ago where all you needed was decent everything and good media buying skills.

Andrew Foxwell: Mm-hmm. I completely agree, obviously, as a Facebook and Instagram advertiser now, I've been doing this professionally for eight years full-time. Creative is clearly the lever a lot of people lead with. The challenge, of course, that people come up with in creative is they hear from people like you, that example. You're saying you've got to test as much as possible, which I agree with, and you have to test X number of variations. A lot of these companies don't even know where to start. Some of them have a good idea of what works from a creative standpoint. User-generated content is clearly a place a lot of people are pushing for, or pushing content through.

When you work with a brand and you come up with, let's say that they have a baseline but they don't have much more and they're in that, yeah everything is decent phase, how do you start to give them an idea of testing creative? How do you help them work with that, because that's an interesting question that a lot of people aren't totally sure of and they don't know where to start. I have my own thinking, but I'm curious of yours.

Nik Sharma: To be honest, I still do it the same way that I've done it since I was 18 or something. Jumping to AdEspresso makes it the easiest to make insane amounts of variations of ads. Then I usually just ask for a creative repository or folder with all their best creative and then I'll just start, if I have any questions for them on certain things they can, that over-index when they explain or certain things that under-index, I'll take those into account. A lot of times I just write my own copy and match it with creative that I think would do well and then just see what happens in the test.

Andrew Foxwell: Instead of AdEspresso, have you been testing Dynamic Creative at all, the ability for you to test all those things against each other, like AdEspresso does?

Nik Sharma: I actually haven't done it, to be honest, in Facebook natively.

Andrew Foxwell: Okay. Yeah, I'm just curious. I think it's good. I think the copyrighting thing is always a challenge too and they're cutting that down, which we talked about in the previous episode in terms of the amount of copy.

A lot of people talk about, when they're writing copy they talk about the emotional appeal that they're making. Is that how you think about copy too? You look and say, what are the emotions I'm trying to appeal to? What's the way you think about that?

Nik Sharma: I think sometimes ... I definitely test it as a part of it, but the other thing that I think is more important is just like, if I was a consumer scrolling a hundred miles an hour through my feed and I caught the first three lines of this copy or the first ... If I just looked at it, what am I capturing? Does it make me want to click through and buy or try this product? That's one test.

The other test is, I call lit the eight-year-old test. If you can write ad copy for a product, show it to an eight-year-old and an eight-year-old can tell you all about the product, you're doing pretty good.

The last one is, it's just like aesthetically pleasing copy. Is it organized? Is it clean? Sometimes you see things like a headline that fills up one line and then they have one word on the second line of the headline and it just looks so aesthetically off and never works.

The last thing, which David and I talk about a lot, is you want your ad copy to be what you're going to tell your friends about what you just bought. It should give you all the talking points to go sell it yourself.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, it's really interesting. There's a brand out of San Diego that you might be familiar with, it's called Pura Vida Bracelets. They just had a pretty large exit.

Nik Sharma: Yeah.

Austin Brawner: Both Andrew and I have worked with them in the past when they were still small. One of the things I always recognized about their, one of the drivers of their success was that when I would meet other people who were wearing Pura Vida bracelets, they would always tell the story that was told to them in their advertising. About how it's creating jobs for people in Costa Rica, like the small artisans. I remember when I was working with them I would meet people all the time that were wearing the bracelets and they would all tell me the exact same story.

I was like, that to me was the signal that they were going to grow really, really fast because they leveraged word of mouth to give people the story to share and grow, and sure enough, they just sold now for $75 million in the last couple of months.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. We should donate $10.00 every time we mention Pura Vida on this podcast to a good cause. I've heard that from other listeners that they're like, we get it, you guys should come up with some other examples sometimes. I'm guilty of mentioning it too because I agree with you, it's so dialed in, that story, exactly.

Austin Brawner: I saw recently you're launching a new brand yourself, and I think it's maybe you're an investor, I'm not sure exactly your relationship with Haus. Is that how you pronounce it?

Nik Sharma: Yeah.

Austin Brawner: Really exciting, cool. When I go to the website I'm seeing a lot of the stuff you're talking about, incredibly dialed-in creative. What makes you excited about that opportunity? And first probably if you want to describe the company, what it's like, and then what makes you excited about that opportunity.

Nik Sharma: Yeah. Haus is a pretty awesome company. I was asked very fortunately if I wanted to participate in one of their rounds. I ended up investing even before meeting the founder or trying the product, just being so impressed by the supply chain and logistics piece of the company and how dialed-in that was and also the branding side of it. That was done by Gin Lane or now Pattern Brands. They're a great investment, a great product too, but I'm sorry, what was your question around it?

Austin Brawner: What was exciting about it? When you're looking at it, obviously there's lots of brands that you work with. What about Haus, or what about brands in particular, gets you excited that you're like, all right, I'm going to invest in this company. What specifically with them made it for you a no-brainer to be like, I'm going to get more involved, invest with them. Why were you excited about that one?

Nik Sharma: Everyone now and their mother has their own B2C brand, and maybe one percent of them actually solve a problem, the others are just white label opportunities or they exist because somebody has a bunch of followers in one place.

But Haus is cool because it's actually trying to solve the issue of just a lot of people in general, including myself, just don't want to be drinking as much in social settings. When it comes to happy hours and just drinks with people, I don't want to be drinking vodka or tequila every night.

Haus is on a mission to solve that problem, and that's really why it was invented or founded was because the founders also realized that they just don't want to be drinking as much. Haus joins a couple of other brands in that space, one of them Kin Euphorics, another one is Recess.

What made me excited was one, the fact that they're actually trying to change consumer behavior, because I think the brands that are early to do it and have the ability to do it well, those are the brands that become verbs and I think Haus is on that track.

Secondly, just being someone who ... I know quite a bit of beverage investors and also founders in this space and just seeing where the trends are going, Haus is coming in perfectly right there.

Andrew Foxwell: I think Haus, for me personally, the thing that I've been following obviously because of you talking about it and others, I think one of the things they're doing really well ... One of them that's cool is the packaging and the product itself is beautiful.

Nik Sharma: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: On top of it being a product, it's obviously aesthetically pleasing, an easy thing to put in your home because it's like ... That white bottle with the gold writing is super dialed-in and even the way it shows up and the way that it's shipped to you looks really, really nice.

Nik Sharma: Yeah. About a week or two ago Helena held drinks at her house in New York and I got to meet the designer behind the brand and I was just geeking out. I was like, I noticed the word fragile in your font on the box and how the bottles were perfectly placed when you opened it. It's actually funny, you mentioned the gold lettering, but when you drink the Haus out of the bottle there's no gold behind it anymore because that's the color of the drink.

It almost looks like when there's Haus in there it's lit up versus when there's not the lights are off.

It's a very good design.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, it is a very good design. It's interesting, because my wife and I just got rid of our ... We had liquor sitting on the cabinet in our living room and it was just like a standard drink cabinet. We finally removed it because I was like, we haven't ... We don't touch this twice a year. It's like ... I don't ... People don't come over and I'm not like ... I live in Wisconsin so it's either do you want a beer or do you want a beer, basically.

Nik Sharma: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: The liquor, it was weird, but this thing is something ... I was like ... I don't even know if I would ... I'm sure it would taste good to have it, but the design of it's really nice.

The other thing that they're building clearly with this in mind, and something that I know you talk a lot about, is the community. They're building it from the ground up of saying, not only are we building this as a good product and the packaging is good and the customer experience is good, but they're figuring out that loop of purchase, email flow, purchase, etc., whatever flow. Notes and emails from founders asking for feedback, etc.

When you build a community and you think about, I need to build a community from a retention standpoint and business on digital, what are the things that you're inserting into that community-building process? Is it more handwritten notes? Is it photos? Is it asking for feedback? Or is it all of those things? I'm just curious, what are the components in the recipe that goes into you for a strong community?

Nik Sharma: I think it's different for every brand because community is just different to whoever is operationalizing community. For me, if I were to launch a brand, I would love to have a platform for texting all my customers and being able to have them text me if they have a question. That could mean if it's a brand around ... I think Outdoor Voices actually does one of the best jobs for community. They are an athletic apparel company and so to activate their customers they will do ... Tyler, the CEO, will go to different cities and run with people in their Outdoor Voices gear, which I think is amazing.

Community just helps you take your customers and turn them into referral vehicles or marketing vehicles for you. It's like if either of you have an Android, I'm going to shit on all of you for having green bubbles. Community is essentially what keeps that person so loyal to the brand, but tactically it could be anything. It could be anything from the founders calling customers up and thanking them or asking them what they like and didn't like. It could be handwritten notes in the box in your first order. It could be a group on Facebook. There's so many different ways you could build community.

But I think what is kind of getting phased out is all the brands that are trying to do the cookie-cutter community stuff and it comes off as fake.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, I agree with that. I feel like the big push around community, really when it comes back to it, it's you want to be diversified off of the big three. You want to be diversified off of Amazon, Facebook, and Google and having a community that is sharing your product by word of mouth or ... Mostly by word of mouth or in these groups, like the running example. It just gives you the ability to use these platforms but not be incredibly overly reliant on them, that community just kind of amplifies it.

You touched on a little bit, one of the questions I had was really like ... Okay, you're at this point where you've been at Hint, at VaynerMedia, now you're off doing your own thing. If you were going to build a brand starting today, what would you start with? What are the things that you are really excited about today?

I know you did touch on text messaging a little bit, but what are the things that are really exciting to you right now that you would dive into if you were going to be building a brand?

Nik Sharma: Yeah. I think texting is really awesome. I'm actually surprised more brands haven't jumped into texting, to be honest.

Austin Brawner: It's scary. There's compliance issues. I've heard of massive lawsuits going on.

Nik Sharma: Yeah. I think the ones that do it the best are the ones that don't really have to worry about that because they're not trying to blast a bunch of things out all the time. Brooklinen has a texting list that I'm on, but it never feels like it's a person, it always feels like it's just an automated message. Whereas like Dirty Lemon or Rex by The Infatuation, if you haven't checked those two out, those are actual people who are on payroll to respond to your messages, it's a lot more personable. But if text isn't done that way then I don't think it works at all.

But if I were to launch today, I think being able to build something ... You guys are going to see it happen, but I think communication with customers is definitely at the top of the priority list. I think good product is also at the top. There's a lot of brands that have come out over the last few years that just have okay products, but the cost of marketing justified it and it was okay economically.

Good product, having good communication. It's actually a really tough question to answer.

Austin Brawner: Speaking to some of the things you mentioned, it is tough because when it comes down to it, it's like a quality product with quality marketing, right? It's like, we need to build good product. You were mentioning that everybody and their mother has a direct-to-consumer brand. I saw one that was like in-between size underwear or something like that. Is that really a problem? Is that something that you're really solving?

Nik Sharma: Yeah. Right.

Andrew Foxwell: I struggle with that every day, you know?

Nik Sharma: One thing I always think about too is like, if this product was out 50 years ago would people even use it or give a shit that it existed? That eliminates most of the brands today.

Austin Brawner: That's true, it really does. I feel like we're in this space right now where there's a lot of money to launch brands because there's been good exits.

Nik Sharma: Yeah. It's also like if the economy were to just tank tomorrow, would your brand still survive? Are you set up to where if ... Is what you're selling something people will still invest in if they're not making as much money? If the answer is no, then you're probably not in a good spot for long-term play.

Andrew Foxwell: Nik, it's interesting to hear your take and I think it's good to hear what you would do of the things, because I think one of the challenges a lot of brands always feel is that there's a lot of knowledge out there that is inaccessible to them or that they aren't thinking about. I think a lot of those answers are right in front of them. It's things like community, it's things like quality creative, that we talked about today. It's things about the customer experience, having a good story, bringing them back into the funnel and things like that, so I appreciate that thought.

One final question I have for you wraps around data, actually. What are the things that for a D2C brand, I'm just curious, if you're vetting a company or you're thinking about or you're looking at, are you looking at everything from the site conversion rate to the return on ad spend or ... What's the data that you're looking at? Because when we were setting up this interview you said community and data are really big things to me and creative. That's what I wanted to ask you, what data to you and what data points to you are really important?

Nik Sharma: I think data in many different ways is extremely important. Everything, like you mentioned, from your metrics on your site, conversion rate, order value, acquisition cost, but all the way down to how can you splice and dice your CRM based on all the information you have, whether that's phone numbers, emails, home addresses, zip codes, products they've bought. How do you leverage that to figure out ... How can we dive deep and see if somebody's bought the shampoo, how many of them bought the conditioner? Why did those people buy the conditioner? What can we figure out about those people that bought the conditioner so we can replicate that and get more people who bought shampoo to buy conditioner.

More of that kind of data, really diving in to insights to see if there are shortcuts or hacks or easy wins that we can pull out and apply to just dramatically increase revenue.

Austin Brawner: What is your current suggested tech stack? Again, back to a little bit, if you're going to be starting a brand, what are some of the tools that you would dive into and use to be able to access some of that data?

Nik Sharma: Looker for sure. Looker pulls a lot of that data. I've gotten pretty savvy at pulling data from a ton of different sources, whether it's analytic softwares like GA or Glue or Mixpanel. Every ad platform now has their own analytics and insight software, which is also cool. Facebook and Quantcast and Twitter, they all have their own insights you can pull.

Actually I remember a time when, I think it was David had tweeted something like he uses the Twitter analytics of a brand to basically inform the Facebook targeting, which I thought was totally right and on point.

But then also on the other side of that, how do you take things like your CRM and cut it up to make more efficient, custom audiences and lookalike audiences and LTV-based audiences.

Tech stack wise, most of the brands I've worked with are on Shopify and then your regular set of apps from there.

Austin Brawner: Cool. Hey, this has been really awesome connecting with you, Nik, and chatting. I know we've really enjoyed learning a little bit about what you're doing. If there's somebody else who's listening and they're like, hey I want to connect more and learn more about what you're doing, what's the best place that you would direct them to?

Nik Sharma: The best place is probably, if you want to text me, now I have a texting phone number.

Austin Brawner: What is it?

Nik Sharma: It's 917-905-2340.

Austin Brawner: Nice.

Andrew Foxwell: Awesome. Well thanks for joining us, Nik. Appreciate it, man.

Nik Sharma: Thanks for having me.

Austin Brawner: Hey there, it's Austin again and I have a quick message for you. If you enjoyed this podcast, I have something really exciting for you. For the last year and a half I've been coaching eCommerce business owners and marketers inside a group called The Coalition. You might have even heard me talking about it on this podcast. We have a lot of members who come on and actually share their story.

What launched as an experiment has become a game-changer for our over 150 members. If you'd like me and my team of expert marketers and eCommerce operators to coach you on your journey to scale up your eCommerce business, this is your opportunity. You can head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more. Again, head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more. Everything we talk about on this podcast we go into way more depth with actionable training. You can get actually one-on-one help from me to help you grow your business. Hope to see you guys inside.

Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of Ecommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. What's going on with you, man? What's up?

Austin Brawner: Dude, I'm in the final process of building a house right no...

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