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LET’S TALK EXPERIENTIAL: Ryan Devlin, Co-Founder of This Bar Saves Lives

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

1 - What are you optimistic about with your brand for the remainder of 2019?

Huge growth! We are making our way into Walmart, Albertsons, pushing up into Canada, and a few other big accounts that I can’t reveal yet. Growth for any company is exciting, but at This Saves Lives it’s even more exciting, as it means we are helping more children around the world. Because of our customers, more than 16 million packets of lifesaving food are being distributed. We expect to see that number make huge leaps through the end of this year and into 2020.

2 - How important are measures like CPA (cost per acquisition), LTV (lifetime value), or Cost Per Sample/Cost Per Interaction toward measuring marketing effectiveness? How do you link field marketing, sampling, experiential back to these internal measurement tools? Or is that your approach at all?

At first we marketed almost entirely by instinct. It was a hearts-and-minds campaign and we could afford to customize strategies to each retailer. But with a big national footprint like we have now, it’s incredibly important to use data to drive our marketing strategy. We’re working with CPA / LTV and some other KPIs when it comes to measuring DTC business success. But as our focus is on in-store marketing, like running promos and in-store messaging, we are really combing through KPIs that relate more to the success of those programs. When we secure secondary placements and end caps with signage, it can have a huge impact on product engagement and ultimately sales.

And then there’s also a component that isn’t measured – like sharing impact stories from the field, celebrating our nonprofit partners, participating in domestic nonprofit events, etc. As a cause-driven brand, bringing life to our mission is a huge lever for us. We don’t put as much analytical pressure on this because that approach to our business isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the relationships we bridge and the good we encourage around the world… we don’t just believe in our mission, we are making it happen… and our customers are too. Sharing about the lives of the families who are thriving because of YOUR purchase isn’t just great for business — it feels good too.

3 - Is there a better way to measure success and effectiveness, like ‘brand love’ or social lift? If so, what programs are you putting in place that speak to those metrics?

That stuff is fun and important, but at the end of the day (as basic as it sounds) the best way to measure success is in sales. If our velocities are strong – meaning our bars are flying off the shelves – then we know people are trying us, loving us, and making us part of their routine. Authentic social engagements and 5-star reviews are important, and we absolutely measure those, but if our product wasn’t selling, what would be the point?

4 - Do you take more of an experiential marketing approach or more of a brand halo and awareness approach toward marketing spends? How has that changed over the last year?

1) Point-of sale 2) Brand halo 3) Experiential. We have a great voice and we love telling stories, so brand halo is a big focus. But not nearly as big as getting our message to consumers at the point of sale (and also getting samples into their mouths). Our product is awesome, our cause is awesome, and when people experience that, we have customers for life.

Experiential marketing is so fun, but not as effective for us at this stage. We used to do a lot of fun stunts, but we pulled back on them as we focus on taking care of all of our retail partners. However we still do a lot with our cause marketing in terms of our impact stories, and we also engage our celeb supporters in really meaningful ways.

5 - What was the biggest trends affecting your brand in 2019? Are there trends you are tracking that you expect to have a major impact for 2019 and into 2020?

Snacking continues to be a super hot category. Millennials snack more than any generation. We’re seeing incredible opportunity where we are. Our line of kid’s bars is really on trend too — they’re school safe and free of the top 8 allergens, have low sugar, and offer a full serving of fruits and veggies in each bar. Plus, as always, they help to save lives!

6 - How would you rank the following marketing tools for increasing exposure for your brand? (1 = most important, 6 = least important)

Out of Home — 4

Radio/TV — 6

PR — 3

Shopper Marketing — 1 (if this includes in-store shelf displays, etc)

Events — 5

Sampling/Street Teaming — 2

7 - In five words or less tell us the single most important way a brand should be engaging with its consumers.

Be more than a product

8 - BONUS: What question would you have liked to have been asked?

Should every brand have a social component now, or is it a gimmick? Answer: Brands that don’t authentically go beyond the product will be laying with the dinosaurs in the near future.



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