November 14, 2020
In this episode, I talk with Sean McGinnis of Kuru Footwear about their unusual path to becoming a DTC brand, his move into marketing there, and how he used one survey to help bring about improvements to multiple parts of the company.
David Hoos: Hey, everyone, this is David Hoos, and you're listening to the Modern Attention podcast, where I bring together DTC marketers and other experts to tell their stories about personal, professional, and brand growth. I hope you enjoy this episode. I'm pumped to introduce you to my guest, Sean McGinnis. Sean's a senior VP of marketing at Kuru Footwear, a brand that specializes in footwear that helps eliminating foot pain. I'm actually a customer of proving myself and I can testify to their effectiveness. In this episode, I interview Sean about how he got his start in DTC, the unique origin story of Kuru. And really we dig into the nitty gritty of the business and learn how he thinks about it.
Sean McGinnis: Yeah. So Kuru Footwear has been around for over a decade. One of these big sort of jokey questions that I have is how do you define direct to consumer? I think of us as a direct to consumer brand. We only sell through our website. We don't sell through other marketplaces. But there are those who would believe that. I think if I read sort of all the DC community on Twitter that we maybe don't qualify to do to see Brand where we're not on Shopify, we're not spending most of our majority of our marketing in social. It's not a huge driver of the outcome of the business for us. But yeah, we've been around for since 2008. Our CEO, Bret Rasmussen actually started the business on the heels of a business plan contest that he won in 2006 at the University of Utah. There's an entrepreneurial institute here called the Lassonde Entrepreneurial Institute, and he submitted a business plan as part of that contest in 2006 and won the grand prize. So his whole sort of the thesis of the business excuse me, was what happens if you build aftermarket shoe insert and orthotic materials directly into a shoe? That was what he was focused on. Just he's not a shoe guy. He had no real shoe experience, but always had this kind of a, you know, part of the narrative of the business. Actually, we've got sketches from him when he was like 13 or 14 pencil of a shoe catalog with like strikethrough pricing and now on sale. I mean, it's just absolutely hilarious. Yeah. From middle school, we've got that sitting in a folder and a conference room. That's just great. He always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He got out of college at BYU with a dual degree. And I think it was accounting and English, something like that. Finance and English and know took a regular job, got laid off and was like, this is the time, this is the time to strike while the iron is hot. So he started the business in 08. The original business plan was to sell in a very traditional model. Right. I always embellish this part of the story a little bit, but pretty much while the shoes were on their way from Asia on the water, still Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. So right in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis effectively. And so here you got this young guy who is staring at this mountain of inventory. For him, at least, that represents every dollar he's ever saved or raised or borrowed and begged for. And he's like, now what? How are we going to get how are we going to dispose of this inventory? And it was really, truly kind of originally a liquidation strategy. You went off and built himself a website and launched it in the go to market plan was I'm not even sure if this is going to do it. I'm going to promise it is. But the orthotic that we built in around here originally. And so he promised, well, it's going to help with the pain. There's this thing I've come to learn about called plantar fasciitis. And I think it's going to help. You know, the theory was we'll see what happens, either going to have a bunch of unhappy customers or I'll just deal with that on the back side. And I'd say for the first five years of the business, customers were coming back constantly saying this helped with my foot pain. It's amazing. And he even thought I can't be right. It's a placebo effect, that there's no way this really helps. And today, he's definitely become a believer. He's turned it around for sure. So my conjunct my juncture with the business happened. I actually met Brett through another sort of semi famous DTC personality, Brian Gerben. He's the CMO of a ring company in Nashville, Tennessee. Bryant actually lives out here in Salt Lake and he connected us when I was leaving my last role, he was doing some consulting for Brett on the side and connected us. So we talked initially, probably September, October of twenty nineteen. There was an opportunity that I sort of stumbled into that was too good to pass up. So I moved to Knoxville and the plan was we were going to sell the house and I was going to lead an online retailer over there, ultimately came back here and reconnected with Brett and had a conversation. So I joined CARU in twenty. I'm sorry, that was twenty eighteen. So October twenty nineteen is when I joined CARU and it's been a real fun ride so far. We're we're doing some real fun things.
David Hoos: Oh well we talked a little bit about kind of some of the areas. That you're focusing on right now, you want to kind of launch into kind of I mean, it sounds like you've been there for a number of months now and a number of those have been during covid, which is probably made things even more interesting, but. Yeah, I'd just be curious to hear kind of what's top of mind for you right now and what are you working to solve and what are what successes are you finding?
Sean McGinnis: Gosh, I can go pretty deep on that. So we've we're having a heck of a year. It's going to be the best year in the history of the company. We were on that pace before I COVID hit. Covid slow this down a little bit in March when it first hit, we drew down on quite a bit of spened and I think we were a little too quick to do that. Honestly, in hindsight, had I do it, had I had to do it all over again, I probably would have not quite reacted so quickly. So I think it exacerbated the depth and length of the trough that we went through. But as we came out of it in April, I mean, we're on a run right now where January was a little bit slower for us than our plan. And March was a little bit of a miss on the top line as well. But every other month of the year has been the best version of that month from a sales perspective in the history of the company. So February, we had the best February month, March. We were on pace to have the best March before it hit. It hit April was the best April. May was the best sales month ever in the history of the company. So we're we're having a lot of successes. I mentioned earlier, some people might not think of us as a true DTC brand because we don't drive the majority of our sales through social. It's a very at least I've got a working hypothesis right now. We don't have quite the data to be able to prove this concept, but I think it aligns well with what we see when we look at the sort of surface level of our of the returns of our marketing investments. And so the primary ways that most people find career footwear, if you're a new customer, are through top of funnel searches related to either a specific type of foot pain that they may have a specific activity that they're looking for very comfortable shoes to go do. Or there are certain careers where if you're on your feet all day, you tend to suffer a little bit more from this type of footprint that we can alleviate. And so nursing, teachers, when they're in school, warehouse workers. Right. And so we we tend to identify much more on the hand raisers of people who type into Google or Bing. And I need what are the solutions to plantar fasciitis or can a shoe or a shoe insert help with plantar fasciitis? That's that keyword became sort of the magic, the easy button for the business for the first eight or ten years today. We're expanding well beyond that. If you go to our site today at Footwear Dotcom, you'll see in our menu we immediately break apart by gender. But within those you can shop by foot pain type. You can shop soon by activities, whether it's walking or hiking or hanging out at the beach or whatever. Standing all day is a big one. Or you can soon start to segment yourself by sort of career as well. So we'll select the specific styles of shoes that tend to be good fits for a lot of those. I mean, a lot of it. It's kind of duplicative for some certain types of foot pain. Almost every shoe that because we build the earth again is going to help with that type of foot pain. Right. So that's been a really big focus in terms of a lot of the results that we tend to see. So what we did when we when I first got there in October, we were working with the local digital agency. We we broke that relationship and I started to build up a local team in-house. And so one of the main priorities was to completely rebuild from the ground up all of our paid search accounts so that now we're driving probably six x the volume that we were getting from the mobile agency. Huge opportunity. I identified it that way pretty early on. We sent the paid shopping engine to a local agency specialist that that is a world renowned speaker on shopping engine, just feet management. It's so difficult. In my experience, I would rather work with an expert in that in that realm, social expert who brings a lot of experience to the table. And so he's full time on our account in-house. We've hired a copywriter who is rewriting a lot of the content around our product detail, pages and things of that nature she brings with her seven years of local journalism experience. And so it's just a great time to be around building a team. And we went and updated a lot of things on our site as well. So we're constantly on a weekly basis, pushing new releases live and making improvements on the conversion rate and lots of other things. So that's been the focus and what I sort of call phase one, which is to like, let's go fix digital. Right. There's plenty to do. There's still some upside there. Phase two will be to figure out how do we go abroad. So there's a lot of spending that we're I'm sort of queuing up for twenty, twenty one right now, autitioning PR firms, I'm having conversations with those I want to have one of those in a great relationship in place as we start to kick off 2021, putting together some business cases around, testing some other things, whether it be podcast sponsorships or over the air or streaming TV radio. We've got to get sort of the brand awareness out there today. Nobody knows who we are, right? Not even in Salt Lake City and sort of joke all the time. We're like the best kept secret in the valley. We've got a 10 year track record of building incredible products, building a great audience. Our customers love us. The product reviews on our site. We push every single product review live on our site with regularity. So it's an auto generated situation. We never delete a review. So people come in and give us a cruddy review, it stays on the site. And yet most of our products are four point five four point six, four point seven out of five stars. In terms of product reviews, we've got thousands of customers who swear by KURU and we'll never buy any other shoe and are constantly pushing us. Why don't you go build this type of shoe? I need one of these for work. I need one of these for leisure. So it's been really fun to sort of wade into that and experience and try to understand where our customers sort of live and how passionate they are about the brand. So my focus is how do we tap into that energy and how do we sort of energized the base and do a better job of pushing into some of you in the product areas? We're having really interesting conversations, even with our product team as an example.
David Hoos: Oh, so it sounds like you might have kind of a stronger return customer base at this at this point, that's like kind of really kept things like setting a really strong foundation.
Sean McGinnis: It's it's been fascinating. So one of the things that I identified so last year was not a great year for the business. And one of the issues that sort of at the core of it, I think, that I identified pretty quickly and it seemed like we were leaning too heavily on that base. So put another way, it felt like we had a new customer acquisition problem. Right. And so that was informing, as I was analyzing the performance of the agency and the performance of the rest of the team. It seemed like we had that problem. And as we're measuring so far this year, we seemed to resolve that issue. So we're about 50/50 between new customers and returning customers. I don't know what the right mix of that is. Every time I say that, people are like, well, what's the right target? I honestly don't know what it should be. It's one of those benchmarks or KPIs I wish I had a better grasp of. But I know we've got to continue to build awareness and bring in more new customers so that we can sell them more and more pairs of shoes. Right. So we're exploring things like more comprehensive referral programs. We've got one now. It's not marketed well. It's kind of hidden behind the login screen. Know, how do we turn that into a program that we can really promote? So I think that would be really interesting to explore as well.
David Hoos: Oh, that sounds yeah. The whole new versus returning question is definitely interesting. That makes sense that you actually probably want something a little more even that's more about like of the return customers. How long are they sticking around with you or something. Probably like that.
Sean McGinnis: Yeah. The thing that I, I think that's the major driver is that paid search this year. Right. So if you're driving 6x the number of clicks from the non branded so we segment paid search into brand and non-brand. And so the non branded paid search campaigns are the ones that were driving six extra clicks. You're bound to get more new customers by focusing on that as an avenue. Right. So it's still very efficient or relatively efficient way to generate that new customer flow. But how do we raise awareness in a way that's sort of the real priority I'm looking at now is TV radio. I even think our company might be a really interesting experiment to do, like a direct response TV, an infomercial, a short form, 10-minute cleaning, the technology. You know, we've got a really great explainer video coming that we're typically explainer videos are associated more on the B2B side. But for our technology, it's a great fit to be able to say here's how this thing actually works in a way that helps eliminate foot pain. Or maybe it's just a proof point of these guys say they eliminate foot pain, but like, come on, everybody says that, right? Everyone's everyone shoe ads say they're comfortable. No, no. Here's how this actually works. Right. And so I've been thinking about how do we tap into the CEO's knowledge and passion for the brand and all of the history of the innovation that he's put into the shoe to really prove to people or explain to people, you know, there's some things we can go do to sort of build that out a little bit more robustly, it feels like.
David Hoos: Well, let me let me switch gears a little bit. We talked a little bit about kind of growing beyond digital. You had mentioned something previously about kind of looking forward, kind of influencing some product and inventory decisions across the business. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Sean McGinnis: Yeah, 2020 has been a great year for us. Right. And with that great year comes inventory pressures of all things. You know, we import all of our all of our shoes are manufactured overseas. You know, we directly to do all the design work here in the States. But that knowledge is mostly residing in Asia. And so it takes us I mean, historically, it's taken us about 90 days to get new product into our warehouse that we can then ship and get to you quickly. And so as demand started to increase, all of the we're all aware of the numbers of how e-commerce is shifted. Right. The more shoppers, more regularly. Brick and mortar is not a place where you can go as frequently or maybe people aren't as willing to to go and shop that way. And so that's created some pressures on the inventory side. So I've really been digging in and partnering more closely with our product team and our inventory management side. So we're pushing in every single way that we can and trying to get a little bit more predictive about when where we're going to run out of this specific color. The specific issue we've instituted sort of a little bit more of a formalized approach for how we're defining shoes as well. So we have about two thirds to three fourths of our colors. We've defined as core colorways. And we want to make sure excuse me, that we manage that inventory in a way that it never goes out of stock. There's no excuse for when some of that stuff goes out of stock. If it's a black or black best selling sneaker for men, it should always be in stock. We've introduced this concept of a limited edition, Callaway, that we're going to order a certain, you know, a certain shipment of that. And once they're gone, they're gone. So you come back to the site and grab all you can. And so we're getting into this communication rhythm of letting all of our customers. Now, we've designated this color as a limited edition, which has been really important as well. And then even to the point where we're having conversations or driving conversations around sizing and width. Right. So there's no reason for you to know this, but every single time you push into a new size run or a new width, there's a huge cost to the business. Right. Right now, we only offer I think it's four of our styles in a wide width. And it's a guy who wears an extra white shoe. It's we hear from our customers every day. You should either have all of your all your shoes available on Wadewitz or why don't every time we do a new launch, we never do it in wine. So we're sort of kind of testing the waters. So we do that in sort of a core size. You run if you think about a distribution curve, most of us sort of live in that meeting middle for men, it's like an eight to an eleven. How far to the smaller sizes and how high into the much larger sizes are you willing to push as a as a retailer, as a brand that manages these things? So we're having those really good and healthy conversations across the aisle and sort of cross-functional functionally with the product team, with the inventory team. So we're pushing into extreme sizes for many more of our shoes that will start in November. I keep sort of pushing for more wide with on our better selling shoes that we don't have those available in. And so we're we're standardizing what that looks and feels like and building those sort of guardrails against it. It's we're still very much sort of a startup mode, I guess you'd call it, right. I mean, even with 10 years of experience, how do we think about building out process in a way that actually is repeatable and that we can sort of best serve the needs of our customers? And the other thing that we did was this was a bit of a foolish mistake on my part, but it worked out great, but it was very time consuming. We sent an email to our entire email list and basically announced say, hey, I'm introducing me, I'm new. I'd love to better understand from you. So just answer this quick one question survey for us, since everyone getting the question was how can we better serve your needs? And so thousands and thousands and thousands of responses that I had to sort through and try to build these categories. Right. Like many of them where I wish we had more wides or wish she had more colors. Well, what is more colors mean? Is it is it more fancy colors or more basic colors like the surface layer beneath all that? So we handed that over to the product team. They're having these jobs to be done, interviews with our customers to better understand. When you say that, what do you really mean when you say that? Right. And so we've got all that feedback from customers. I read every single one of them. I sort of collated all that information, presented. Some of it was marketing related. I wish you'd lower your prices or we should have more say. Or we should have X, Y, Z. We're bringing in that doesn't do a lot of discounting. We prefer to focus on selling the value of this, being free from flipping an idea. And we have this really great sort of point system behind the scenes, kind of like our version of a Kohl's cash, you know, where we give you points for every purchase that you make. And we can award points based on contests and things, but not heavy discounting brand. We're not going to be sort of the J.C. Penney's of the here 30 percent off or buy one get one free. And it's just not a it's not the kind of stuff that we tend to run. So collating all that information and bringing it back in the business was really a great exercise. And so we're trying to figure out how to build systems around that and teams around that. So we have a constant sort of the ability to grab the pulse of our customer base in a much more robust fashion.
David Hoos: I like that you mentioned the discounting thing, which I feel like is a I guess it can be a controversial position in the DTC space, because there's lots of people who are saying, well, you know, we always do a discount pop up because we want to acquire new customers that way. So I think it's interesting that you're explicitly trying to, like, really focus more on how can we provide more value? Can you talk a little bit more about kind of the thinking there and maybe like do you think it applies to more businesses and that more people should be thinking about that? Or do you think it's kind of it's more because of the business that you guys are in particular?
Sean McGinnis: Yeah, I think it makes I think because of the business we're in, it's definitely easier for us to get away with it for sure. It ultimately, every business in my mind should be testing those things and then following the data. Right. And so what you need you really need the ability to track the lifetime value or at least the short term lifetime value of that customer base. And so for a business, for example, I forget which business it was as a razor blade subscription company that basically said, hey, we're going to offer you free, free blades for life. Right. That dramatically impacted the overall health of the business in a really good way. Might have been Patrick's business. It's just it's fascinating to watch and I think experiment with those ideas. How can, in fact, just today, based on some information that I saw recently, we're talking now about for the first time ever, potentially instituting like a giveaway, a weekly giveaway for basically if you're on an email list, you've got an account in our business. We're going to give away a certain number to keep to enhance the number of sign-ups on our email newsletter and keep more people around for a longer period of time. So we're emailing people pretty frequently these days because of these new changes we're making that are sort of transactional. Hey, this is back in stock. Make sure you check it out. Right. We didn't even have back in stock functionality on the site until a couple of weeks ago. It's like all these things. Your ecommerce doesn't have to be hard. It really doesn't. And yet when you inherit a site that all those things have been overlooked for good reason. Right. So the I think the general philosophy with it comes from our CEO. He's a very firm believer that if you if you're going to lean heavily on discounting, all you're really doing is training your customer base to wait for the discount rate. If you think about J.C. Penney and the pain that they went through when they hired the executive from Apple who tried to turn away from that, you've trained your customer base over 30 years to be bargain shoppers.
David Hoos: Or Bed, Bath, and Beyond too. Like they always send out those coupons and so you're always just waiting, oh, I'm not going to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond until after I get that 20 percent off coupon in the mail.
Sean McGinnis: Yeah, that's right. And so, you know, the our way around that, a lot of the feedback that I got from customers when I asked that survey was, gosh, I wish your prices were lower. I wish you'd have a sale. I wish you'd do this. So we're planning on attacking that through a payment system. We're a couple of weeks away from going live with Sezzle on our our payment option. It's like we want to we want to take care of our customers, but not at the expense of impacting the bottom line of the business. It's just not a healthy thing to do from our perspective. So the question then becomes, you know, based on the scale of business, where is your pricing optimally placed in a way that it brings in as many new customers as possible based on the price point? Right. Where does that sit? And those are negotiations we have every time we launch a new issue, where should we price the shoe at? Where is it live? How do we rationalize it in sort of the overall lineup? Where is the perceived value and what's that do to the bottom line of the business? Right. We it's it's fascinating. And it's between that and the inventory management and some of these other things, I like to think of myself as sort of a generalist. And so I've been tackling and at least been involved with some of the more fascinating business challenges of my career. And I really have enjoyed it. So it's been a great year.
David Hoos: Let's call one question that came to mind. You're talking about that all this is I'm curious if you look kind of laterally to other shoe companies when it's kind of like seeing, you know, what are the Nike's of the world, the Adidas of the world doing in footwear, even just around marketing, you know, like having athletes or something like that kind of be become connected with the brand in a close way. Do you see anything like that, you know, being something that would make sense for you guys? Or is that do you think, because of the type of footwear that you guys sell? It's not as much of a good fit?
Sean McGinnis: Yeah, my instinct is it's probably not, but I'm not foreclosing the possibility either. I think the bigger we get, the greater the likelihood we'll test something like that with the kind of growth we've had this year and we expect next year, anything's possible. You know, we don't. That's another great example of how we're probably not perceived to be a traditional DTC brand. We don't do influencer marketing. I do see a huge opportunity for us to instead focus on our customer base or more of like a brand ambassador program. Right. How do we turbocharge and energize that customer base to get them talking about us in a way where it creates these referrals? Right. It's a it's a neighbor to neighbor referral or a family member to a family member referral that feels like a great fit finding podcast that we can co-sponsor where the respondent, the host actually has foot pain and can speak authentically about how we helped eliminate. That's what I'm all about, that paying an athlete. We're just not really configured even to be able to probably absorb the demand that might create nor fund what their expectations would be. We get that a lot in terms of traditional influencers reaching out for a contact form, saying, hey, I've got an Instagram thing and I'm the mountains all the time and not really super interested in that. We have a couple of affiliates that do really great for us and we're always interested in more. You know, a lot of the kind of affiliate like work that's been done has just happened organically. Right. An editor includes us in a round-up post, and we're not even paying for that. And we're in a couple of really good articles through really main mainstream media publishers that have driven some significant business this year. Love to replicate that, love to find it, build out a team that can go tackle that and hopefully the PR firm can help with it. But small, small ball influencers that are or even big name influencers, I just can't see. I think the other big issue for us is. I tell our CEO all the time, our customers, there's almost no common thread, they can be anybody. The only thing that our customers have in common is they have two feet and one of them hurts. It's that simple. And so where you live in the country, how much money you make your gender, your age, it just doesn't matter. The numbers definitely skew when you get to be my age. The likelihood of you having foot pain goes up right over 50. And so two-thirds of our customers are 40, 45 plus and two-thirds are women. So finding that right influencer maybe that fits that demographic mold might be a really interesting thing to explore. I don't see that being a twenty-five year old NBA player, right? Yeah, unless it happens organically. You know, Brett, our CEO, was at a big conference here in Salt Lake, and one of the speakers on stage was a huge name in the VC community from the Valley. And he was out talking about us and looks up. He's like, that looks like a KURU logo on the bottom of that guy's shoe, goes up and thinks that huge is a huge customer. He's got multiple pairs of shoes. Right. So, like, I'd almost rather tap into someone like that and get him talking about about KURU. Then I would go find someone who's playing for the NFL or, you know.
David Hoos: Yeah, well, you mentioned earlier about kind of this extensive research. I'd say you did basically some of the survey to your customer base, really looking to your customers for that feedback and getting that sort of one to one response of like, how could we improve? What was your thinking going into that and how do you feel like I guess how could other brands benefit from doing something like that?
Sean McGinnis: Boy, it was we've really focused this year. I think the main driver was we've latched on to this idea of jobs to be done framework. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but it typically applies in sort of a product development way around identifying the jobs that your customers hire your product to do for them. And what are the competing products that they might instead hire? Might be another pair of shoes that might be to go barefoot. It might be anything, any number of things to not do that activity. Right. And so we as we embrace that as a sort of operating philosophy, as a business, it was important, I thought from from my perspective, to get up to speed a little bit more quickly and asking that even in an open ended way, I think let customers just vent right there. I got responses that people were on our email list, but they never bought from us. Your stuff is too expensive. I can't buy I can't afford it. I don't even know what to tell you. But many other folks were like, oh my gosh, I've got nine pairs of couriers. And I really wish you didn't just continue this. You really wish that you had more wives or wish you had more extended sizes or I need this specific thing. One of our shoes, for example, has a non-slip outsole on it, specifically designed for restaurant workers and health care workers, where you're in these environments where there can be liquid on the floor and you can actually put yourself at risk. Come to find out, some of our older customers love those shoes as well, because the just the little crispiness makes it less likely that they're going to maybe slip and fall. Right. And so how do we lean into that as a technology and go to the current? Every version of that right now is a leather offer. We had some people specifically asked for give me a mesh upper with a non-slip surface on the on the bottom. OK, we can then sort of put that into the queue from a product development perspective and understand how big that market may or may not be and then just prioritize what if or when that gets built out. Right. So it's been we're still really lean. And so I felt like I could play a small role in helping the product team to understand what our customers are saying. And so I think creating that culture where we're constantly looking for feedback, I think was really instrumental in getting the business to really a more we're firmly embrace that jobs within the framework and also just be more in listening to our customers. You know, there's the the the risk there is oh, the customers. They always say that, but they don't want to talk about it. Like, that's that's the downside risk of if you're not going to be open to that feedback and really listen and act on it. So I think it can apply to other businesses, I think it just depends right now. And what do you think? Do you think it applies?
David Hoos: I mean, I think it's always good to listen to your customers. I think you do have to kind of read through between the lines sometimes. Yeah. Because sometimes they're not saying exactly like what you need to make or create. But I think, you know, with enough feedback from multiple people, you might start kind of triangulating like, oh, you know what, there's a theme here and what can we do that really maybe solves for that? Or maybe maybe there's some sort of domino that we can tip over here that actually solves multiple problems downstream.
Sean McGinnis: So it's fascinating. Some of the things they were specifically asking for, they've been asking for for years. And in fact, we have already been building. And so it's just a matter of them being a little patient, you know, good, really good example. I mean, there were I think one of the top five requests was please build a sandal with no center post. Right. You get the traditional sort of flip flops that have that toe post. Our customers have feet that are experiencing a lot of pain sometimes. And so a lot of folks were like, I can't wear those. It's just too painful. So what do you got coming? And so, you know, we've got two different variations of men's and women's different, totally different use case, but two different sandals that are coming in the spring that will not have to go right. And so at the end of the day, the presentation I made of the product team and the marketing team are focused on the top two or three requested things based on that categorization process that I sort of tried to run a lot of. It's like, you know, it's a one-off. I only got that request once. We'll circle back to that and revisit. But for right now, these seem to be the really big areas where there's enough density to go and make movement, move the business and the direction that we can then, you know, tell our customers, hey, you spoke and we heard. Here's this thing you specifically asked for.
David Hoos: Right. Right. That's great. Yeah. Well, I want to keep you too long. I wanted to kind of wrap up with a couple of questions here. First one is what sort of advice would you give to your younger self or to kind of younger folks who are in similar roles to you or who are kind of maybe wanting to someday be in roles like yours? What sort of advice would you share with them?
Sean McGinnis: Yeah, I'll take the last question. Probably. I think the advice that I always give to young marketers is or maybe it's better said in the opposite, I see a lot of younger marketers who want to become generalists right out of the gate. And I think it's really important that you become an incredibly knowledgeable specialist about an idea, a channel of discipline, a focus. Right. Whether that's CRO, whether that's email, whether that's a paid search or paid social or SEO or whatever, become incredibly knowledgeable about that thing and then figure out how to build that, go deep in that discipline, and then figure out the next discipline to start learning. Even just a top-level surface area of actually had a great post on Twitter recently talking about your business needs, both specialists and generalists. Every specialist thinks they know enough about what's happening in the business, and that's oftentimes not the case. And most generalists like me think that they can go and dive deep in every single area. And that's not true either. And so you do kind of need both. But what I see more often than not, as people want to be perceived as a strategist or a generalist, you can sort of drive business results. And I think that comes with some experience or some learnings. Right. If you if you're coming in as an entrepreneur and you're going to go for a bunch of times and learn from those feelings along the way, you're going to get really good really quickly. Right. So that's the flip side of that. But generally, what I see is a lot a big digital team and an agency of about 150 people. Most people want to elevate their careers to the next level. And usually, that happens by becoming an expert in that discipline and then figuring out how to manage people or manage process or manage budget in a way that's more extraordinary than the rest of the folks that are operating in that discipline.
David Hoos: Awesome. That's great advice. Well, I guess my other question then is how can people keep in touch with you and kind of follow what you're up to moving forward?
Sean McGinnis: Yeah, it's funny. We don't share a whole lot. I'm looking for ways to try to maybe settle for that and be willing to share a little bit more, you know, without giving too much. We're still privately held companies, so we've raised very little funding. And so my obligation to the CEO and the board is one of like you, we got to keep it a little bit close to the vest. But you can find me on Twitter. It's Sean McGinnis and Mike Jai. And I asked same name on LinkedIn. If you're in a search and Google, you find me on Facebook and LinkedIn and I tend to keep Facebook more for personal people that I've actually had a conversation with. But LinkedIn and into. Twitter certainly, obviously wide open LinkedIn, I usually accept most connection requests, but if you follow up that connection request with immediate pitch, I'm going to remove that connection. Yeah, delete that message. You know, find a way to actually add value and build a relationship before you come to the ask. That's my recommendation, that's for sure.
David Hoos: Yeah, well, this has been super awesome. I think there's been a ton of value that people are going to get out of this. So I appreciate you coming on and yeah, give him a follow on Twitter, LinkedIn and yeah, I hope we can keep in touch.
Sean McGinnis: Yeah. Thanks for having me, David. It's been a real pleasure.
David Hoos: Modern attention is brought to you by Conversmart, an agency that helps e-commerce brands like yours drive more incremental revenue by helping you build highly engaged owned to email audiences. Thanks for listening to another episode of our podcast.