Winning Shoppers in the Mobile Feed: MikMak’s Playbook for Competing with DTC



“Everything starts and ends with the mobile phone,” said MikMak’s Rachel Tipograph in opening her #SMWNYC session on mobile marketing.


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The days of billboard and newspaper ads are long gone. But how do we use mobile video and ad space to our best advantage?

Thirty years ago, the mobile phone was the world’s most revered invention. How was it possible that we had a wireless device that was able to transmit voice without the use of a direct line? In 2019, we don’t even stop to think about that. In fact, we don’t stop to think about any of the hundreds of day-to-day ways the mobile phone has transformed human life.

“Everything starts and ends with the mobile phone,” said Rachel Tipograph, creator of social video-for-eCommerce platform MikMak, at her talk at #SMWNYC 2019. That’s true for most aspects of daily life these days, but she’s referring to consumer acquisition and brand building – for all direct-to-consumer brands.

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The marketing funnel, she says, used to begin and end with creative – but with the intrepid rise of social media and the constancy of the mobile phone in day to day life, it’s dropped to third in the hierarchy of importance. And it’s the newer DTC’s, the billion-dollar start-ups, like Dollar Shave Club and Kylie Lip Kit, that understand this – the legacy brands that don’t are falling behind.

Considering “Instagram is now the world’s biggest mall,” and the mobile phone is the world’s primary form of entertainment, it seems a given that the mobile phone would now have to be a DTC’s main platform for marketing. But even with that said, it’s not as simple as you might think.

Here are Rachel’s tips for getting the most out of mobile:

People live in the mobile feed

Tipograph talked about how when she worked for consumer clothing giant GAP — between 2011 and 2014 — that the print ads and billboards came before the mobile phone.

‘If you’re not planning for mobile as your first point of contact for advertising, you’ve already missed the boat.’ It’s true. With almost half the world’s population on social media, it’s hardly worth mentioning that the reach of adverts on an internet platform trumps those of newspapers or physical visuals, where you have to be in a certain place at a certain time, by lightyears.

Product, product, product

In talking about social media video, Tipograph referenced the art of ‘thumb-stopping content’, as multiple speakers have this weekend, in capturing the user’s attention. Instagram stops from five different DTC brands were shown on the screen – including HiSmile and Warby Parker. All five short video ads were based entirely on the product and what it could do for the customer – within the first five seconds.

‘The classic perfume ad won’t work for mobile,’ she adds. A glamorous looking female, driving along in a car, will simply lose the consumer within its opening couple of seconds. They won’t even stop scrolling. The first scene of the video needs to tell them two things. ‘This is why you need to use it, and this is how it transforms you.’

Tipograph was adamant in her belief that having a campaign objective is the one undisputedly pivotal factor in driving product sales through the mobile feed. There’s got to be an eventual outcome to all the work you’re doing. It’s no good just trying to raise brand awareness – you’re failing if people aren’t buying the product at the end of the process, right from the word go.

Brand building happens after the initial purchase

Linking into the point about new releases, Tipograph shared her wisdom about using CRM figures to successfully retarget adverts at consumers and keep them coming back for more. One of her most passionate arguments was that the most critical note to take from all of this was the idea that first-party data is ‘everything’. The ‘darling DTC’s’ that are the most successful according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) cherish their first-party data – notably names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and any other types of personal data – and don’t give it away easily.

She even used the sad demise of Toys ‘R’ Us as an example of how not to do it – their attempted eCommerce collaboration with Amazon in 2000 led to them giving away their first-party data and losing their customers in the process too – a surprisingly exact pinpoint as to when the tides shifted from Toys ‘R’ Us’ favor. Treasure the first party data. They’re your people.

Keep them interested

Even before a sale is made, there are many steps to be taken in order to hold the customer on your screens for enough time. Slapping a buy button on an advert just isn’t enough, explained Tipograph. However, target a niche enough audience and you can cut the product info page. Take her example of women who sweat, for example. A deodorant targeted with specific campaigns for female boxers, female runners, female gym-goers. By targeting them each in their own way, the consumer already knows the brand, so the product page can be cut out in between.

That being said, even if the first post-click/post-swipe page isn’t product info, it still needs to hold a consumer’s attention. At one point during her time at GAP, Tipograph found that the site had a 90 percent bounce rate. This meant only 10 percent of consumers stayed long enough to make a purchase.

‘The landing page must be optimized,” she underscored. “It’s like walking into a GAP store and not being able to get to the clothes because there are bags of garbage sitting in the way. You’ll turn around and walk out. You’ve got the first step right in getting them through the door. Don’t lose them.'”

Create an energy

In a world where the human attention span is alleged to be as short as eight seconds, brand loyalty can be out of the window in the click of a finger. The rise of the internet’s stance as a platform for anybody to be anything, from a documentary filmmaker to a rapper, an author to a political speaker means that new start-ups and brands pop up every day. What monopolized the market one day might be scraping the barrel on its knees the next, having lost customers to the next big trend.

Creating an energy is key and switching things constantly up is imperative to maintaining some sort of fanbase, some sort of consumer group that will buy your product more than once, a rarity in the economic climate of today. Rachel tells us we’re living in a ‘new product release world.’ What’s new, and what’s on the horizon, is always more important than what’s already out there.

Tipograph pointed to Apple and Supreme as examples of brands who are always coming up with new ideas of how to reinvent previous products — and have something new on their release calendar every week (like chapters of a book).

The fact of the matter is that mobile phones are, in 2019, just as much a part of our lives as sleeping and eating. People spend more time on their cells than any other devices, and just a glance can be enough to set off a domino chain of customer acquisition, purchases, and lifetime value from a singular consumer. Remember — get the product in the shot, and the rest comes later; and the quicker you can sell, the better. People don’t have the time these days. Make it count.

Listen to the Leads2Scale episode featuring Rachel below:

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