Episode 230
November 12, 2021

No Best Practices

Joining the pod today is Alex Greifeld, here to talk about her work of No Best Practices, all things marketing, and the current threats to ecom businesses. PLUS: Dork Mode, her most recent Insiders piece.

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this episode sponsored by

Approaching Dork Mode

  • No Best Practices is a blog and a newsletter on a mission to help marketers think more like operators and make sure that what they're working on is contributing in a meaningful way to the bottom line.
  • “There are three different ways of approaching marketing. One where you start and things are completely instinctual and gut driven, and then, “I'm making data driven decisions," and then there's the "Well, there actually are some kind of guiding principles that can explain what's going on," to help you to avoid analysis paralysis. That's what I'm trying to go after with the writing: getting things to an actionable place.” -Alex 
  • Is there a current existential threat to ecom businesses right now?
  • “The eCommerce game itself is getting harder. There are fewer arbitrage opportunities and almost, unless you really are aware of that, it makes that past 20 years of experience less applicable to the future because you can't run the same playbook.” -Alex
  • Dork Mode is based off an obsession with technology to enable personalization, but moving past that to create real, personalized experiences for a subsegment of customers.
  • The web should be much more diverse than it is.
  • “There's the opportunity for the web to be so many more things to so many more people, and for brands to be so many more things, to so many more people. We think that we have to regress the mean, but we have the ability to not do that and we just haven't done anything with that power.” -Brian
  • “Go back and really understand the narrative behind your business and how you got to where you are now and where you're trying to go.” -Alex

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Phillip: [00:00:14] Pull the lever, get it right, Brian. Who's doing the intro?

Brian: [00:01:33] I can do the intro.

Phillip: [00:01:35] You do the intro.

Brian: [00:01:37] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about next generation commerce, I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:43] I'm Phillip, and there are no more best practices or are there? There aren't, according to our guest, someone who I deeply admire and read avidly. The author of the No Best Practices newsletter is here. Alex Greifeld. Welcome.

Alex: [00:02:01] Thank you. Thank you, guys. I'm so excited to be here and happy that we're finally able to do this.

Phillip: [00:02:09] We've checked the box on every content type. We did a webinar. We've done... You've written, you've collaborated and written posts on Future Commerce Insiders. Now you're on the podcast. Check, check, check.

Alex: [00:02:25] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:02:26] Tell us a little bit about No Best Practices for those who aren't otherwise acquainted.

Alex: [00:02:33] Absolutely so No Best Practices is a blog and a newsletter just to get the basics out of the way. You can find it at NoBestPractices.co, not dot com, dot co. And I've been writing for, I think about two years at this point and I really got started because a lot of the marketing content that I was reading just like, wasn't reflecting what I was seeing in practice in my working life. And I was kind of finding that a lot of it was content about how to look effective, but not necessarily how to be effective. So I wanted to start digging into the whys behind that and kind of provide more of a resource and a counterpoint. And I think if I had like a mission statement, I would say I want to help marketers think more like operators and make sure that what they're working on is contributing in a meaningful way to the bottom line.

Brian: [00:03:40] And I feel like you're successful at that. Like the stuff that I read from you is always, like, very insightful. It looks beyond sort of just the tips and tricks and the playbooks for the industry and provides like real insight and looks at real problems and figures out how to solve them and also high level stuff too, like stuff that's when I read it, I'm like, "Whoa, that's actually how things are." {laughter}

Alex: [00:04:09] Thank you, Brian.

Phillip: [00:04:14] {laughter} That's great, Brian. I love that. When you look back over the last couple of years of writing No Best Practices, are there one or two pieces that stand out to you as being sort of seminal as like the core of the thesis or something that really resonated with your reading audience?

Alex: [00:04:36] I think the core thesis would probably be my trash bear post. I mean, what else can I say? [00:04:48] It's basically a post about kind of like how we got here from a macro point of view, and it's like using this metaphor of bears kind of standing in front of a stream, just like catching salmon easy as pie. That's kind of like the environment that we've been in where there was, where mall foot traffic was only going up or web traffic was cheap and plentiful because no one really understood the value of it yet. So that's kind of the fat bear phase and then the phase where we're in now is the skinny bear phase where that traffic's all kind of dried up, and you have to go out and hunt and find your own traffic like, that's the trash bear. He's wandered into town and he's digging through your trash. [00:05:39]

Brian: [00:05:40] That is one of the ones I was going to bring up because that was one of the ones that stick out in my mind as well. Also, your images of the bears were like it, just it couldn't get out of my head.

Alex: [00:05:52] It was inspired by there's some national park that does like a fat bear competition every year.

Brian: [00:06:03] My kids love that competition.

Alex: [00:06:03] Yeah, that was the spark of inspiration there.

Phillip: [00:06:06] It's so funny how much inspiration can come from outside of our industry. I think a lot of it too, is spurred by just frustration of not really. I mean, and I'm putting words in your mouth. For me, one of the reasons we created this podcast and then all of the various pieces of media around it. We also have a newsletter. We also do research and the like. It was born out of frustration, really. And for us, sort of the frustration of, you know, everything is essentially a fad. And when you write the story right, you write the story of your brand or you write the story of the history of like a movement of this digital transformation, if you will, that we've all been undergoing for the last two decades, it doesn't come down to the one weird trick. The one weird trick never comes up. Right? It's when we tell the story in retro, we forget all the arbitrage opportunities along the way. And really, the arbitrage really was the friendships we made along the way, Alex. {laughter} And that's kind of what the frustration for me was, we're always talking about what's working right now, but who is thinking about the future? And would you say that No Best Practices is kind of born out of a similar frustration? Is it inspired by real events and people's names have been changed to protect the innocent?

Alex: [00:07:41] Um, yeah, I mean, I would say it definitely started as an outlet to kind of better understand some things that were happening at my last job, that it became like a venue for working out my thoughts and then I could go into actual work and kind of explain myself a little bit better. Yeah. So I would definitely say that a lot of the inspiration from what I'm writing is coming from lived experience, but it's not just like what happened to me last week. It's like trying to synthesize everything that's happened over the past 10 years of my career. I think understanding it's almost like a pattern recognition thing where the more you can understand what's happened in the past in context, the easier it is to react to future things that may come up in a way that's intelligent and meaningful.

Brian: [00:08:45] I think that definitely comes out in your writing as well. I remember one article, and I forget what it was titled, but you talked about the different archetypes of customers, like the different reasons why they would come to your brand. And I think that that was based on sort of like that long term view of like who people are and how people shop, but also like what's happening actively as a result of different cultural movements or things like that coming into play. But when I was reading it, I was like, "Oh, wow, those different types that you outlined actually do follow through all the way to like, "Oh wow, that explains their behavior,'" at the end. And so I think that what I see coming through in a lot of your writing is you ultimately you get what people, the implications for the day to day operator that stems back from behavioral and psychological and standpoints from customers. And I think that's very, very clear.

Alex: [00:09:52] Oh, thank you. I think there are kind of like three different ways of approaching marketing where you start and things are completely instinctual and gut driven. And then you progress to like, "I have access to the data. I'm making data driven decisions," but also that just explodes the field of potential outcomes or decisions I'm going to make. So I become paralyzed by that. And then you kind of like, pull it back into, "Well, there actually are some kind of guiding principles that can explain what's going on," to  help you, I guess, to avoid analysis paralysis, essentially. And that's what I'm trying to go after with the writing. Just getting things to an actionable place, I guess.

Phillip: [00:10:50] So let's shift gears a little bit. What are some best practices that could be dispelled here? I heard Brian sort of say the word archetype. I immediately shift to what is foundational for a marketer? It's personas, for one. Are there sort of things that we do that are foundational, that are maybe sacrosanct, that are, you know, things that we should do? And are there things that are in your mind, is it sort of cleaved into there's these things that are truisms that are irreplaceable? And then there's all these other things that are new and unproven, but everybody's taking to be gospel truth. I'm curious how you sort of sift through that and sort of how you distill down what is an indispensable and foundational practice to be building a marketing team, a marketing strategy upon.

Alex: [00:11:55] Yeah, I think the foundation always needs to be an understanding of your customer and how they understand not just your brand and what purpose your brand serves, but also the category and what role the category plays in their lives. And I think when you read a lot of more tactics driven advice that gets published, it kind of washes all of that away. It's like, "Everyone should be able to implement an SMS campaign. It doesn't matter if you're a beauty brand who has a short replenishment cycle or if you're selling cars." So like already, that's an extreme example that you can kind of see just the purchase cycle, the price point, like the four P's of marketing, all of that kind of basic stuff is overlooked, I think, in some advice. So if there was a foundation or something I would call a best practice, I think that would be it.

Brian: [00:13:03] That's really interesting. With that in mind, there's a lot that you write about that's changing in eCom and in commerce in general. And we look back at some of those foundational marketing things that we learned back in Marketing 101. But there's a lot of stuff happening that you call out like, "Oh, CAC is getting more expensive and channels are shifting and things are happening." Is there a current existential threat to eCommerce businesses right now because it feels a little bit like there's a lot of stuff going on that seems like things are changing quickly?

Alex: [00:13:37] I think there are a few, not to be a Debbie Downer, but I think that the biggest one kind of ties back to the trash bear. It's like I would say that eCommerce over the past, like 20/25 years, we've almost been playing the game on easy mode because when eCommerce really started to pick up adoption, if you had a business with a physical retail presence, you could just throw up a website. And if nothing else, there were people who were aware of your brand and you were kind of diverting some of that what was once store traffic to your eCommerce site. And when that trend leveled out, then there was almost like the free flow of web traffic, where no one understood the value of an eyeball on the internet. So like people just wrote blogs and LinkedIn recommended products that they liked for free. And if you are fortunate enough to be working in a business that has a data history that goes back into like 2014 or 2015, you can see over time that the the organic traffic will just kind of the number of sources and the level of organic traffic just kind of contracts over time and everything's become monetized. So [00:15:01] the eCommerce game itself is getting harder. There are fewer arbitrage opportunities and it almost, unless you really are aware of that, it makes that past 20 years of experience less applicable to the future because you can't run the same playbook. And I think there's almost like an existential threat to the talent pool. That would be, I mean, I think that's the biggest one. I think there are some other more macro things going on with, especially with the emergence of NFTs. I think it's kind of cynical to say, but like the declining relevance of the physical world could be one. [00:15:49] So I think those are really like the big two in my book.

Brian: [00:15:55] Is more money going to get poured into digital? We've already poured so much money into digital. I think a while back, I wrote an article about how the tables were turning a little bit to the point where the cost of doing eCommerce was actually more expensive than doing business in the physical world. Are we going to see more money dumped into physical now than even has been? And is that going to solve the problem?

Alex: [00:16:28] Like physical retail?

Brian: [00:16:30] No, into digital. Into digital. So are we going to see more money dumped? So we've seen a huge shift of funds over with the rising cost of customer acquisition and the cost of all of the different technologies required, a big old stack you have to build in digital now. Are we just going to continue to see more investment in digital and less investment in physical if we're moving away from like the physical world to Meta, to the world of Meta? {laughter}

Alex: [00:17:03] I think there's definitely a role for both channels, but I think it's going to be... I mean, where do people spend their time? That kind of dictates what makes sense from an investment perspective. And I read a really interesting tweet from, I think, Sean Puri, and he said that the metaverse is not a place. It's like a point in time where your digital world and activities become more valuable than your real world and activities. And it's kind of like, has that happened yet? Not necessarily. But does it feel like the momentum is there? Absolutely. So thinking about I think it will will affect different segments of the market, different ways. But like if we've seen a hollowing out of the middle class in relation to consumer spending, I think there's the potential where a lot of that could shift into metaverse and crafting your virtual persona or like, that's where the consumer spending could shift in the near future.

Phillip: [00:22:35] It feels a lot like, not that I disagree with you, but if I were to take a contrarian point of view, it feels a lot like there were a bunch of people who said six or seven years ago, when Impossible and Beyond Meat were emerging and it was like, "Oh, in the future, the real luxury will be eating a real cow. And the rest of the proletariat will will be..." Yeah, it's like the cleaving of the middle class and the aristocracy will be fake meat versus real meat. And that, you know, I don't see us on a trend line to that. So that just it sounded like a very similar sort of an insight in that there's a very clear line between who cares about the metaverse or digital goods and digital assets? I think a lot of it actually is who has the most time to care about digital assets and digital goods? It's people who spend, you know, who have their communities that are centered on basically that's the communities, right? Which right now is, you know, quite a young set and people with a lot of free time.

Alex: [00:23:55] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:23:55] Including most people that have, you know, exited a deodorant startup at some point in the last, you know, five or seven years. If that happens to be you and you're in that very small Venn diagram, then yes, then Web 3 is the future. And I'm bullish. I own a lot of NFTs, but I find it to be like, quite this niche thing that is that is, you know, there's still so much to do in Web 2. You know, 17 percent of retail is eCommerce. So we have another 33%. Is that math? Thirty three percent to go till we have the tip inning where you know, we have a digital first retail purchase society. I think we're a long way from that. Brian, you were making faces at me. So I want to give you an opportunity to flog me.

Brian: [00:24:51] No, no, no, no. I actually it was more of a question to flip back to Alex then because I think that leads me to think, ok, is the Beyond Meat the digital or is the Beyond Meat the physical? And I ask this because you and I have had conversations about whether or not if digital experiences are trend naturally broad market, or if they can have some sort of like exclusivity to them or luxury appeal to them. And obviously we've seen...

Phillip: [00:25:31] Can I ask for clarification on your question, Brian? You're specifically talking about customer experiences and like a purchase, a CX purchase experience, right? Like that's the thing that you're talking about. Because everything is digital, just to remind you, even a physical purchase happens on an internet connected device that touches your bank and gets a clearance from a gateway, that's, you know, inventory...

Brian: [00:25:57] Digital infrastructure is everywhere. I'm talking...

Phillip: [00:26:00] The way they got to the store was through Google Maps. You know, the way that they found your working hours. It's all digital.

Brian: [00:26:05] All broad market... Like that's digital is naturally broad market. It's exactly what I'm saying, Phillip. It applies to everyone because digital scales so well and it's very easy to copy. So then we talk about NFTs and how that's a way to sort of set a flag in the ground and say, "This is mine." But is that the way for luxury brands to have exclusivity? Is there a world in which brands... Digital experiences don't just naturally trend toward becoming infrastructure or is there something in there for an elite of sorts?

Alex: [00:26:50] So I think the answer is yes/but... So when I think about the metaverse or I don't even think of it necessarily strictly in terms of NFTs, I think about it as something that's like working. There's a momentum behind it, trying to adapt to human behavior. And we haven't found the right product yet that is going to hit mass adoption, as far as like, what will the average person be spending their time and money on in in a more digitally focused world, if you want to call that the metaverse. Where the luxury angle comes into it is a lot of luxury brands have been doing some interesting things with NFTs and like other emerging technology. Like Dolce & Gabbana created, I think almost like a couture collection. But the form of it was an NFT. And you can't... There isn't a venue for you to wear your NFT couture yet, but it's like they're kind of developing the muscle memory as an organization to get into this technology before the world kind of leaves them behind, which I think is really smart. But [00:28:18] I think luxury digital experiences are going to become the new base of the product pyramid where that used to be your Chanel No. 5 Perfume or your Louis Vuitton card holder. Now it's going to be a digital product that's verified by one of these luxury brands. It's like your entry level price point. And then at the top of the pyramid, we'll see more experimentation and more of like this collaboration almost between digital artisans and the traditional luxury artisans. But then we'll also see real world experiences become like a luxury product because I mean, I think we've even seen it over the past two years. It's like your experience of the world in the pandemic is tightly tied to your ability to spend a lot of money to avoid getting sick. So it's like as the real world becomes more precarious, real world experiences become a luxury experience. [00:29:25]

Phillip: [00:29:26] So this has actually already played out, Brian. The knowledge workers like the information workers in the pandemic in eCommerce were actually quite few when you compare that to the hordes of people required for supply chain, logistics, last mile, right? Those people were the what we called, it was critical infrastructure, right? Those folks, they had jobs that they couldn't, you know, just pop on like the sweat pants ification of America did not extend to those people.

Brian: [00:30:03] I think I figured it out. So digital experiences that are for entertainment and fun are the Beyond Meat. Physical experiences are the luxury, but physical work is like the inverse. If you're working digital and you provide experiences for the masses and you make all the money, so you can go spend it in the real world...

Phillip: [00:30:31] He's shouting. Dogs and cats sleeping together.

Alex: [00:30:34] And I just want to say I don't agree with all of this or think it's right.

Phillip: [00:30:38] Right.

Alex: [00:30:39] This is what I am observing.

Brian: [00:30:41] Right, right. No, no, no. I we didn't think that. You think we weren't worth saying that at all. It's just an observation. That's interesting. It's super interesting. We actually we coauthored a piece on skinnovation vs. innovation, and we talked a little bit about NFTs just now. But I think that that plays into this as well. Brands feel like, you said it earlier, brands are feeling like they have to get into this game to be out in front of it. But I think you also said something really interesting that I think plays into the skinnovation versus innovation thing, which is digital artisans that are out experimenting are actually like, that is the top right. That's the next level. And I actually think it has to do a little bit with like time and information and what's next? And that to me, I think, is where the future of luxury is being out in front of things. And maybe that's where it's always been.

Alex: [00:31:41] Yeah, there's a really great... Her name's Thomai Serdari. She's like a Professor of Luxury, which it's hard to believe that that exists, but she really knows her stuff.

Phillip: [00:31:56] Of course that exists.

Alex: [00:31:56] And her theory is that luxury is like the partnership between an artist and an artisan. You need the artisan to understand the capabilities of the raw materials of whatever you're building and then the artist to come in and add the cultural sensibility and just the I don't know the element of serendipity to it.

Phillip: [00:32:22] That's  such an interesting... Like that came into the conversation in this sort of skinnovation piece, which is this brand new channel of emergence for these digital luxury experiences, I feel like they have the brand, they're labeled with the brand, and there is an artificial scarcity to some of them, at least for sure in time bound experiences or in an NFT space, but what I think has not become apparent yet, at least in the last year of the broad cultural awareness of things like NFTs, is like the provenance of an artist, like how important is this artist? We don't have a Banksy of NFTs just yet. Maybe there's people like it's the only person that you know might come to mind and in a given consumer's mind. And I think that the brand is carrying most of that weight. But the quality of the brand and the history of the brand, the hundreds of years of the history of a particular house is not represented in the same digital work. The digital work is a diffusion experience, as you mentioned before, as in the way that perfume and eyeglasses might have been in the past. And that's where it's like, we're so early, but things are moving so fast. It's really hard to make sense of which ones of these mini campaigns are going to stick? Is it are we all going to remember the Roblox Gucci Garden? Is that the thing that we're all going to remember in the end of the day? I don't know. It just seems like such a crazy, fast pace of rapid investment and innovation from everywhere. We went from Heinz Ketchup roller packet to playboy NFTs like really fast, like it was like a month. Things are just happening in every consumer brand and media and even in consumer packaged goods. It's really, really hard to keep track of it all. So forget No Best Practices for, you know, marketing and digital commerce and digital marketing in general. There's people forming what will become best practice or touted as best practice in the NFT space later on. I just saw today, I think Ana Angelique, I don't know if you follow her, Alex. She has a great newsletter called The Sociology of Business, I believe is what it's called. And you know, she just, you know, put out this. You know, Web 2 is this, Web 3 is that sort of a post and you get a lot of these on Twitter, you know, in piecemeal, she sort of aggregated them as in a column format that's sort of like pitted these things against each other. It reminded me of a very similar piece of what people were saying new luxury was three years ago, four years ago. It's like streetwear, how are we making sense of like irrationally priced streetwear versus what contemporary traditional luxury was? You could replace the column headers, and it's the exact same thing. It's like ephemeral versus, you know, aspirational. And there was all these, you know, sort of words there that I find the comparison really, really interesting. Let's chat about Dork Mode. Do you want to... This was a phrase that you came up with, and I loved it. I thought ahead of a piece that we're actually going to write this week on it, which we'll link up here in the show notes when the show publishes on Friday. What is Dork Mode?

Alex: [00:36:29] So Dark Mode, I think one of the biggest ironies to me in the modern eCom landscape is that there's this obsession with personalization and technology to enable personalization. But then every big website looks the same. It's like, how does that actually wind up getting applied? Pretty much it's like product recommendations, and sometimes you'll get a home page that calls out the weather in your zip code. And so Dork Mode is kind of like, how do we move past that and create real personalized experiences for some subsegment of our customers? So if you have a super fan of your brand and they've made like five or six purchases with you, maybe they don't need the hyper optimized like regress to the mean UX tested experience. Maybe they'd appreciate an experience that's like a little bit more off the wall, but like celebrates the DNA of your brand and you can use the technology that exists to identify those people and target them and serve that kind of experience only to them so that it doesn't alienate the casual browser. And I think we called it Dork Mode, kind of as a play off of Dark Mode, it's like something you can switch on and off, but it's also there are a few brands who are younger in their lifecycle and like, very targeted. And that's just like their entire consumer facing approach because they know exactly who they're speaking to. So kind of like bringing in some of these more early web focused aesthetics or like gifs, like neon colors, crazy things... That's also part of it.

Phillip: [00:38:29] Marquee Scrolls. I want them to come back.

Brian: [00:38:33] Because there's a nerd for everything, so every brand should have Dork Mode. They should have multiple Dork Modes, and I'm all in on this.

Phillip: [00:38:42] That's where we're going to get into like persona based brand guidelines. It's like if you have Dork Mode enabled, this is our brand, our brand book. And if you have a disabled, this is... That seems very forward thinking, actually and something I could see happening. Are there examples of brands that you feel like have really captured this aesthetic and made it part of their DNA?

Alex: [00:39:10] I don't think... Well, I think that Dork Mode is kind of like a set of principles more than it's a specific aesthetic. But I think there are some brands that are like they've demonstrated that they're willing to take risks. Like, I think Starface is one of them, but that's like a pimple patch that's shaped like a star. So then you would expect that maybe their online experience would kind of follow that a little bit more like off the wall kind of aesthetic. I thought, I remember Gen Z Water like that was a true... That website was like a true throwback to my Angel Fire page I built in... And I don't know. But I also don't know if that's a real, if that was a real product or not...

Phillip: [00:40:04] Flavorless transparent liquid. I mean, how could you not want this, you know?

Alex: [00:40:09] Yeah, I mean, I almost bought some, but I didn't.

Brian: [00:40:16] {laughter} I feel like when you were talking about this article originally, one of the things that you pointed out to me and I just I would like, I was like, yes, like how have we not been chatting about this more? But you're like, the web should be way more diverse than it is. And every brand should be thinking about their customers, you know, in a much more catered way than they do. We we talk about personalization on the web and when we say that, what we mean is product recommendations.

Alex: [00:40:48] Yeah. {laughter}

Brian: [00:40:49] Like, it's super funny. I remember going to a panel at Shoptalk like maybe four years ago and it was a panel on personalization. And I remember leaving it feeling very dissatisfied. I wish that this article had been that panel because [00:41:11] I feel like this to me gets at what the heart of customizing the web is, which is not everyone's the same and like the opportunity for the web to be so... There's the opportunity for the web to be so many more things to so many more people, for brands to be so many more things, to so many more people. We think that we have to regress the mean, but we have the ability to not do that and we just haven't done anything with that power. [00:41:39]

Alex: [00:41:40] Yeah. Honestly, I think the challenge is that it is very brand specific and it's specific to your customer, your product, your brand. So it's a doing it well there are no best practices, just to plug my brand again. So it's like the product recommendations, that is a venue where just collecting a boatload of data is effective, and you can create these like one to one recommendations. But then to do anything else like, that's more, you basically have to put your customers into some kind of grouping of like causative buckets. And that's where you can't take a purely analytics based approach. It's like you do need some kind of greater context about how you would even go about doing that, which is where I think a lot of friends get stuck and why things don't progress to that stage.

Brian: [00:42:44] Oh my gosh, yes. I was just having a conversation with Chris Gasser, who's another friend of the show and has written articles as well with us. And he was just talking about how marketers don't have the vision or ability to see beyond the tools that they're given and ultimately there's a lot of lazy marketers out there who just want to use the tools they have to do the little job that they've created for themselves instead of like looking out and sort of looking past that and saying, "Wait a minute, let's talk, let's get real here. Marketing is more than just loading a whole bunch of people into a single funnel."

Alex: [00:43:22] Yeah.

Brian: [00:43:23] And so I think that's amazing. Well, I know we're coming up on time here. Alex, I would love any final last thoughts you've got for the brands and retailers that are listening about what they should be looking at right now in light of the crisises, there are multiple that we've been talking about on the show. What are some things that the people could do right now that would be helpful for them or maybe invest in for the next, maybe six months?

Alex: [00:43:58] Yeah. Thinking ahead to the next year and just some of the general headwinds that everyone has been experiencing in the DTC world, I think. I mean, it's actually very hard to give standard advice, but I think something that is worthwhile for anyone to focus on is like trying to go back and really understand the narrative behind your business and like how you got to where you are now and where you're trying to go, and that sounds like completely like basic 101 advice, but you need to know. I mean, you need to know what you want to do with your business. Am I going to have this down to my grandchildren? Or am I going to try to sell it in three years? That determines the narrative that you're trying to build and then the tactics that you're trying to pursue. So that's definitely one thing. And then I would say the other thing I would focus on is really being thoughtful about all of the activities that you're currently pursuing and just trying to understand what's truly driving like incremental impact to the business because a lot of especially unfortunately in the martech space, a lot of the vendors and things that are implemented, they're good at proving out what looks like a successful result. But in actuality, it's kind of like cannibalizing revenue from somewhere else in the business. So like really getting a handle on what's driving your customer acquisition and retention and making sure you go into the next year with a clear POV on that.

Brian: [00:45:56] I love it. That's such great advice. What a great place to wrap it up. Alex, thank you so much for joining us. NoBestPractices.co. And you're also super active on social: LinkedIn, Twitter. What's your Twitter handle?

Alex: [00:46:12] So my Twitter is, HeyItsAlexP, not Alex G. I was not able... When I changed my name after I got married, the Alex G was taken. So it's still, HeyItsAlexP.

Brian: [00:46:26] Awesome. Well, if you have any questions for Alex or any comments or want to provide feedback and engage in the conversation, please reach out to us here at Future Commerce. Future Commerce on Twitter and reach out to Alex as well. We would love to engage with you. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll see you next week.

Phillip: [00:46:47] Thank you, Alex.

Alex: [00:46:49] Thank you, guys.

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