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In this special edition of the Ecommerce Playbook Podcast, Richard sits down with CTC Sales Directors Matthew Axline and Peter Hassan to discuss the most common mistakes brands make, the organizational error that destroys profitability, and the one thing they’d rather not have to say on sales calls anymore.

Show Notes:

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[00:00:00] Richard Gaffin: Hey folks, welcome to the e commerce playbook podcast. I'm your host, Richard Gaffin, director of digital product strategy here at Common Thread Collective. And I'm super stoked about today's episode because we're doing something that's slightly different.

We have a couple new guests who I don't believe have ever been on the podcast before. They are both our directors of sales. We have Peter Hassan and Matt Axlin joining us today. And what we're going to talk through, we're going to have a conversation basically about the state of the industry. So you guys know, if you listen to the podcast every month, We talk about the state of the industry from a data perspective.

In other words, a quantitative perspective. What is going on metric wise in the world of e comm, but the conversation that I want to have with Pete and Matt is around the qualitative experience that brands are having right now of this moment. And as sales guys, their job is to come in, identify the problems, and then additionally identify specifically how we solve them, which we're of course, also going to talk to today as well.

So first off, I have to ask Pete and Matt. How are you guys doing?

[00:00:59] Matthew Axline: Take it away, Pete, 

[00:01:01] Peter Hassan: doing good, doing good. Happy to be here. You know, happy to be on the podcast and looking forward to to chatting through all this.

[00:01:08] Richard Gaffin: Maddie. 

[00:01:09] Matthew Axline: Much, much the same. I'm sure this joke's already been used, but a long time listener, first time caller excited to be on. 

[00:01:16] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. Well, we're excited to have you. So, I'm going to address, I mean, the questions generally are for both of you, but guys, feel free to kind of take turns or jump in, or maybe I'll call you guys out one by one if need be. But so let's start out with that big question, the kind of the thing that I'm framing this episode with, which is, What, what are people looking for when they come to you?

What are the core problems that you find in common , amongst the brands that are basically coming to us for help. So why don't we start Matt? Why don't you give us an answer here? 

[00:01:45] Matthew Axline: Yeah, I'd say primarily the, the biggest one, and I think this has to do, and we've, we talk a lot about this here at, at CTC, which is product market fit. Meaning like we've kind of always focused on what we currently do right now. It just wasn't the focus of e commerce brands over the past. A couple of years when it was hyper growth, COVID, money was readily available, and now that's shifted and now it's changed.

And So what we do kind of fits kind of nicely into that. And that is do we maximize profit and margin as much as possible with every purchase that we do in our business? And how do we build a really clear plan for that? That connects from what we're doing day in and day out. To the finance side of our business.

And the majority of those conversations start there. And a lot of that is because that's what we talk about at CTC. That's what our marketing details. And that's the primary kind of message you hear at a CTC. So people come interested in basically tell me more. We don't have a super solid roadmap for this right now, or we're kind of Jimmy rigging it in a couple of Google sheets is, is what I hear.

We don't have insight to this. We don't have the ability to get the data, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that seems to be, there's other things in there as well, but that seems to be kind of primary option. Number one, when it comes to most of the conversations I have,

[00:03:15] Richard Gaffin: So how about UP? Liz, is it a similar experience for you? Like, yeah,

[00:03:19] Peter Hassan: Yeah, I think it's similar experience. Matt, Matt kind of summarized it pretty nicely. I think a lot of what brands are looking for, in addition to maybe some of kind of the connections and, or tactical work between connecting marketing and finance is really a sense of stability and steadiness. If you think about e commerce where we've been over the last probably Six to eight years, you kind of started in this high growth.

Facebook ads were, you know, the way for a lot of brands. And then we transitioned into three or, I guess, two or three years of a global pandemic. And all of a sudden inventory positions were different for e commerce brands return across platforms was different. And over the last two years, we've kind of come out of that and started to say, okay, where are we going next?

And so I think brands are really looking for, whether it's with an agency partner, whether it's with an internal team, whether it's with a strategic advisor, An idea of what does the future look like when, when we look at the past, it's complicated in a lot of ways and hard to compare against to what a real normal sense of, of kind of where we're going looks like.

So I think a lot of the conversations are trying to understand what is that kind of stability and steadiness look like that really dovetails into a lot of what Matt described, which is this. Pure connection between marketing and finance and really creating value for the organizations that they're, they're looking to grow.

So that's kind of high level you know, happy to double click on any of those things, but I think a lot of brands have a similar sentiment, if you will, in terms of what they're

[00:04:44] Richard Gaffin: I like that for happy to double click on any of those things. That's a good one. I'm

[00:04:47] Peter Hassan: I've been using that one. I've been using that one a lot. I don't know where it got into my vocabulary, 

[00:04:51] Matthew Axline: I know, I know, exactly where it came from. 

[00:04:54] Peter Hassan: Maybe it came from Matt. I don't know. Maybe it came from Matt.

[00:04:57] Richard Gaffin: Where does it come from, man? 

[00:04:59] Matthew Axline: It came from a brand we worked with who use double click extensively. Then there are very large brands. So it, it permeated throughout CTC. 

[00:05:08] Richard Gaffin: Wow. I love,

[00:05:09] Peter Hassan: It feels like, it feels like a nice phrase, Like we're on the internet all the time. We're talking about e commerce, double click. We all know what that is. So it feels like a, it feels like a

[00:05:17] Richard Gaffin: God, I love a new evolution of of like business speak is good. Okay. So let's, let's dig into a little bit, like from the brand's perspective, what does. Or maybe a better way to frame this would be, they're coming to us looking for a specific thing, right? Which is this operational system for profit that we sort of advertise ourselves as being able to provide.

Let's talk about what is this state? Like, what is it like to work at these brands right now? In other words, maybe thinking about it from the perspective of what's going on on an organizational level. That's causing them. To come to us. So for instance, one thing that we talked about off Mike a little earlier was the idea that brands don't have an operational system.

So there's a certain amount of chaos internally or that they have conflicting metrics internally. But so let's talk about those types of characteristics that you notice in common with the brands that you talk to.

[00:06:09] Peter Hassan: Yeah. I think there's a couple of things on this. I think the first one is trying to understand the system to get the business to the next threshold of growth that they need. And oftentimes it feels like, and when we have a lot of these conversations in a high growth e commerce brand, the next problem becomes where all the resources go.

So all of a sudden meta performance is down, so all the resources go over there, right? The hiring team spends time trying to find a media buyer or an agency, all the internal team members from the creative leads to the finance leads, the marketing leads. Start to go solve that problem. But what that comes at the sacrifice of is a lot of of the other building blocks that would help a business grow to some of these higher revenue thresholds where businesses transparently a lot more.

[00:06:53] Richard Gaffin: Hmm.

[00:06:53] Peter Hassan: And so I think that's a common thread, if you will, that I feel like we've experienced across a lot of these brands is there's kind of both a short term and a long term initiative. That you know, leaders, executives, you know, people at the C level are trying to sift through. And so whether that's an internal structure, whether that's an agency, I think there's a lot of different ways to go about solving that problem.

But if you don't solve it kind of with, with two lenses in mind or two views in mind, both a short term and a longterm view. I think you can get yourself into a really sticky situation. And so a lot of these brands, again, great product market fit, they're trying to get to the next level of growth. And I think they have to be really thoughtful about kind of where they put the resources and make sure that they don't prioritize the short term too much at the sacrifice of maybe longer term profitability or.

You know, some of the constraints that longer term growth drives for those

[00:07:45] Richard Gaffin: so they're looking to put into place systems that will allow the short term and long term to become connected, right? These, these short term actions will result in a long term outcome while still putting out the short term fire that needs to be put out. Maybe. So 1 element of the, and this is something I think you brought up Matt.

So maybe you can speak to this is the idea that like, a lot of these brands are characterized by having conflicting or unclear objectives KPIs. Okay. Metrics that they're shooting for. So maybe talk through your experience of that. What are your hear you're hearing in terms of the internal state of goal setting? 

[00:08:16] Matthew Axline: Yeah, I think it's specific to each brand, but they do have some commonalities in the fact that finance typically sets the budget, especially with larger brands. Finance will set the budget. The metric goes down to marketing to bring to reality and bring to fruition. And we work with a partner right now, who's in the men's basically, like, CPG space in terms of the products that they sell.

And one of the things that I remember we talked about early on in the relationship was I want to be able to go back to my finance team and say, I know you give me budget. But this is actually what we need to make our forecast come to fruition this year. Not, not the other way around, not you to tell me these numbers. so I think a lot of brands are looking for that. And then in the word I often just use in general is I think brands are really, and Pete touched on this as well, looking for, for clarity in terms of what's possible in the business. There's a lot of ambiguity around it. And I'll give you an example.

Conversation I had yesterday on this, which was a brand in the home goods space there do about 30 to 40 million a year in revenue is performing well on meta right now. And I was talking with the director of marketing and the, she was discussing this with the CEO came back and told her fantastic, try and get as much margin as possible there by spending as little as possible. And she sat there and was like. Okay. Sounds good. But in reality, she told me, and she's like, I have no idea what that looks like. And I have no idea how to come to that. So I think for brands, a lot of what, when I'm having these conversations is, is, is clarity, how can we get everything kind of pointing in the same direction?

And that allows us to have kind of clear signals of when we should push and pull.

[00:10:11] Richard Gaffin: So yeah, so there, there's sort of a, I think like one thing that you're maybe illustrating there too is like a lack of, or it seems that that characteristic of, of brands is like a lack of clarity. Like, you, you even you phrase it like, I have no idea what's going on, right. I don't understand what's happening.

So it's a combination of not having the. Goals set properly, but also not even being sure what the, maybe what the metrics mean. Maybe you can unpack that a little. 

[00:10:37] Matthew Axline: Yeah. And I want to be very clear when I'm saying this, the brands that are coming to us are not like. We don't know what we're doing. Oh my gosh, help us sort of a thing, right? It's, it is that sometimes, but a lot of brands have a very kind of, especially once again, given the size they have, they have a robust setup and things kind of grow and grow and grow and they stay kind of stuck in ways that have got them to where they were.

And maybe that needs to change and evolve as they think about expanding beyond that. So, I think it's a lot of, a lot of times it's, Less of what are these metrics themselves actually mean, but how do we affect in a way that's meaningful to the bottom line of the business? How do we put together a marketing plan that ultimately ladders up and lines up to like what the business wants to achieve from a financial standpoint.

So, when I say clarity, I think it's basically putting all, you have a bunch of dots. On a map, right? And then connecting the dots with all of these and showing how each and every one of them affected in certain brands have a good way of doing that. And other others don't but the majority of the conversations that, that, that I have, there, there really isn't, there might be a connection point between a couple of them, but in terms of the entire picture of the, the entire e commerce business, it's not there.

[00:12:02] Richard Gaffin: Pete, what's your perspective on that? What's your, what's your take on it? Particularly like goal setting clarity, clarity around sort of whether or not things are working like that.

[00:12:12] Peter Hassan: Yeah. I mean, I think goal setting is probably the largest challenge that any organization has, whether it's an e commerce brand trying to chat with an agency, a agency trying to set its own, right. Let's take ourselves as an example, trying to set our own because so much of the behavior. revolves around the outcome that you're looking to go drive.

And so one of the things I think, you know, that's critical and Matt touched on this, and we talk a lot about this in our marketing is creating this shared common language so that everybody can understand how does my function impact the one now drive. And I think the difficulty with that is inevitably though, there will be multiple sub goals within kind of a broader business initiative.

And so I think one of the things that Matt and I try to discover in those types of conversations, whether or not we're the right partner for a business on their growth journey, is really kind of like, what is the end outcome that you're looking to go after, and what is the actual pathway to get there step by step, and are there places that we as a partner could help, are there resources that you may need in our partner network are there hiring decisions that you may need to engage in that actually ladder up to that goal?

But that's a critical piece of leadership that I think is really important to be intentional and thoughtful about. And again, coming out of two years of crazy explosive pandemic level growth has made people reevaluate what is reasonable and achievable. And Matt touched upon this a little bit instead of it being more of kind of this, like, Hey, we grew this much.

We're just going to continue going at that rate. Actually breaking it into its component parts and saying, okay, how does product contribute to that? How does marketing contribute to that? How does sales contribute to that? And what do we actually think is feasible? Then sets the table for you know, a team to grow at a pace that creates value.

Within the organization and then as reasonable relative to all the other business implications that they have. So I find it difficult. I think you know, it's challenging for any organization and part of our responsibility to be a thoughtful partner or potential partner is to help them see that and then figure out if we're a helpful partner in that journey, if we may be a helpful phase two partner.

You know, or if there are other resources, obviously we see a lot of different businesses that we think could be helpful on that. But it's certainly kind of this ever evolving pursuit but I also think you have to be I think you have to be comfortable with the fact that it is always evolving, right?

The goals of the organization are always going to change. Right. There are certainly ones that are maybe more immovable than others. But I think in some senses you'd have to be comfortable with the fact that that's going to be an evolving, moving target, a little bit like a piece of art. You're not quite sure when it's done.

But at some point you kind of have to be comfortable with the fact that it is what it is and, or it's going to be, you know, continuously evolving as the organization grows and changes.

[00:14:58] Richard Gaffin: That makes sense. So, so in terms then of. Like what's evolving, what's fixed. So I'd like the most important thing, and you kind of mentioned it before is like, there's, there's clarity at the very top about what exactly we're trying to do with this business. Taylor and I've talked about many times.

Like, are you, how are you trying to grow? How fast are you trying to grow? Are you trying to be profitable? Are you trying to achieve top on growth? Whatever. To what extent are people, is there disagreement at the, about what the pinnacle is about what that top tier metric is when people come to us? Now, I imagine a lot of the time people are coming to us because they know about our thing about profitability or whatever, but to what extent do you, would you say that there's a, there's agreement at the top about what the business is trying to do?

[00:15:40] Peter Hassan: Yeah. I'd be curious, Matt, your, your perspective on this. I think often there's agreement. I think getting to a level of comfortability with what's required to go to go on that journey is probably a harder challenge or a harder pill to swallow, if you will. I often think, you know, we're Matt and I, or at least I can speak for myself.

I find myself in conversations with people that are way smarter than me, with way more experience. And what I can see is like, they have a really good sense of where they're trying to steer the ship. I think bringing the right people along and getting comfortable with, Hey, if we're going to go after this thing, it might require us to take a couple steps backward.

In order to build kind of a good foundation in which we can grow from again, or which we can scale from again, I think I often find that to be a kind of a harder place to find alignment. I see a lot of these kind of, you know, you were talking, you know, 10 million plus high growth e commerce brands. They typically have a pretty good sense for kind of what that broader initiative is, but it's about getting comfortable with what is it actually going to take to get there.

And hopefully, you know, we can be, we can be helpful in that in that conversation at the very least. But Matt, I'm curious what your what your perspective is on it.

[00:16:46] Matthew Axline: Yeah, I think that's well said the, the other layer that I would throw onto that is they, they, they may have and they often do a good sense of kind of what the overall business goal objective is. but they're not sure if they're right. Or if that's, that's possible. And I'll give an example of a brand we get a profit system with and then continued to start working with.

They're a very high growth brand. They're close to 90, a hundred million, or at least that's what they're forecasting for this year throughout all their different distribution points. And they wanted to work with us because he wanted a second opinion on his forecast. He's like, I want someone to gut check me.

On this. I want someone to gut check my strategy and a second opinion here. And that's why we ended up working with them. So I feel like oftentimes it's, we put this together. It is our, kind of our, our likeliest scenario based on the inputs that we have, but we're not a hundred percent sure if that's actually possible.

And I experienced that a lot in, in my conversations, or if it's, it's less than that, it's. It's different than that. It's, Hey, we would like a second opinion on this, or we'd like an outside opinion on whether or not we are realistically heading in the, in a good direction for the business. 

[00:18:03] Richard Gaffin: so that kind of brings up another question that I had for both of you, but so in reference to what you just said, Matt, about like, they have an idea about what's possible. And they're not sure if it's right or wrong. They're coming to us for a second opinion and off of the second opinion. Maybe that what's possible is not quite what you thought is possible, which put me in mind of Pete.

You had mentioned that there's alignment on the top line goal, but the actual what's going to be required to execute it is the harder pill to swallow. So I think my question is, what do you feel are the toughest pills to swallow? For these brands, when they, when they come to you, what are the things that they have to accept that they have to do that they, you can tell that they don't want to do that.

Well, I'll start with you. So you feel like you have an answer for me. 

[00:18:48] Matthew Axline: That top line revenue may not be up into the right as it was last year. I think that's a big one. Oftentimes when we come on board with, with brands and it's for a good reason. It's because the growth of the contribution margin. And it is going to be higher, but oftentimes, and this is just once, once again, kind of the environment that though we were in for, for so long, which was, you know, revenue, I can't, I can't tell you how many businesses I saw where it was like 2020, 30 million in growth, 

2021, you know, 35 and then up and up and then 22, 23, and then pacing a little bit lower, right? In 24 starts to start to kind of hit that, that downward trend. So I feel like that's a big one. It's kind of the adjustments on that as a business outcome, keeping in mind, we still want that to grow, but not at the expense of, of net negative dollars. I, I, I say that, but. In just my recent experience, I think I'm thinking of a couple of brands in particular that I've spoken to.

I think brands, given that we're a little bit more into this environment where cash has been a little bit tighter, interest rates aren't exactly friendly at the moment. I think brands are coming around to that a little bit more, which is like, Hey, we still have top line goals that we want to hit, but we're okay with not being as aggressive there because we want to make sure we have our, our, our margin here in the business.

So I think that's, that's a big one. 

[00:20:17] Richard Gaffin: Pete, what's your, what's your perspective on that?

[00:20:19] Peter Hassan: Yeah. I mean, similar, similar in a lot of ways to what Matt said. I think it's probably broadly applicable to any job. Whether it's the three of us sitting here, whether it's building an e commerce business, really the root of it is what are you willing to sacrifice for what type of outcome, right? If you want to be excellent, if you want to be world class, you probably have to make a handful more trade offs than the person that maybe doesn't, doesn't want to be the best in the world.

So I think a lot about that and, you know, a lot of what Matt described, which is kind of trying to move away from this world of revenue being a vanity metric and moving more towards contribution dollars and profitability is certainly one of those things. I also think about resourcing. How many people does it actually take to do the job?

Well, I think we've had as an agency speaking on behalf of common thread and in our evolution, we've had to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, how many people does it take to serve our clients in a really excellent way? And being open and honest with yourself about that answer. Now there's, you know, there's not a one size fits all for those types of conversations.

Every business is unique. You're obviously dealing with people. That's potentially a little bit trickier than moving the media budget around to ensure that you're driving contribution dollars on an e commerce basis that may be a little bit of an easier pill or to swallow, if you will. But I certainly think you have to look at all, all components of those, all components of a business in that way.

They kind of think about, okay, do we have the right type of structure? Are we, are we making the decisions? And then I think the last piece is hiring right now. We're on, we're on the agency side of things, the three of us. So people come to us to hire us, right? They hire us for our talent. They hire us for our systems.

They hire us for our experience. And for some people, that's the right choice. For other folks I talk to, it's probably a better choice that they hire an internal team member to manage the media, to manage you know, team, to help build out the future of that department. And so I think part of the conversations we have, hopefully, is we can be at least in the experiences that we've had and the perspectives that we get.

You know, Matt and I talk to a lot of different businesses on a weekly and a monthly basis. Hopefully we can at least lend, you know, an opinion on what are the right choices based on the outcomes that you're looking to go after. So I think you kind of have to look yourself in the mirror and try to figure out on each one of those areas, team, you know, potential partners, media budgets, all the, all those kinds of things are, are, are these things we're willing to do and what's the outcome that we're gonna create.

But yeah, Matt, Matt nailed it. A lot of what we see, at least in the current state is an over inflated media budget relative to the outcome it's creating. And trying to really get diligent and efficient about how do we spend those dollars? How do we stair step those? How do we make sure they're incremental?

How do we make sure they're producing contribution margin, et cetera? And then once you have a good foundation, you can do the fun part of marketing. You can think about net new ideas, new creative angles. Once you have a really clear understanding of your economic side of your business.

[00:23:11] Richard Gaffin: I do want to let, allow you a chance to respond, Matt, because you look, you've looked thought provoked by some of what Pete was saying around, particularly when resourcing, it sounds like, 

[00:23:20] Matthew Axline: yeah. Oh, and that just comes from, I just drawn my own experiences of a brand that we just started working with who basically came to us and said like, here are all the things that we can do. What do you recommend? Right. Like of all the things, right. So SEO, influencers, content, media, email, affiliate, top of funnel.

hiring people internally, all of these different things. And it was one of those situations where it was like, okay, let's walk into this challenge together and understand what's going to be the most important based on where you are at. They're a large wholesale brand. Who's relatively, I don't want to say nascent online, but they just have never prioritized it online.

And so developing a specific kind of action plan for that, just maybe kind of think around the resourcing side of things, but yeah, Pete's once again, I think we've, we've, we've kind of hit on all the topics and the points the revenue side of things, kind of adjusting our approach on that and hard pill to swallow, I guess I would say you know, there's, there's, there's a few of those and it's, and it's, what I'd say is this is not just kinderly our recommendation.

It's more of just, Hey, this is where you want to go from a business standpoint. Here's the financials of your business. here's what's possible. And it's, it's less of like us being negative Nancy's, if you will, in that, at least the way I, the way I see it, then more of just like, what are the cold hard facts that's in the data and the financials?

[00:24:52] Richard Gaffin: yeah. Which ultimately is like what people are looking for from us is not an opinion, but the facts. And I think like we have a unique ability to provide that to them in some ways. 

[00:25:01] Matthew Axline: Yeah. Yeah. Most definitely. And I want to be clear, you know, not here to like sugar coat that CTC provides all the answers to everything and that, and that sort of a stuff. But I think the approach that we take is very grounded in. finance and data in providing as much accuracy as we can on that, which goes back to my initial point on product market fit.

It's just kind of the ecosystem that we're in right now. The clarity of connecting all these different points and painting a picture for the brand of what's possible for, for the future based on their data and financials 

[00:25:36] Richard Gaffin: No, that makes sense. Okay. So for the last little bit, I'm going to ask a few rapid fire ish questions. Okay. And see if we get something interesting out of it. So first is. One, what's the number one problem people are having with their current agencies when they come, come to us 

[00:25:52] Matthew Axline: outgrown? If you'll stagnant with them, and this has been with brands who are 15 million and then brands who are 90 million. And what I'd say, and this is sort of a bigger topic, and I promise we'll rapid fire. This is, I 

think there's a lot of, there's a lot of commonalities. And between all the brands that are, that are, that I speak to at least in terms of what is their, their pressing needs specifically on this point, it's, we feel like we've been with them for too long.

They're kind of stagnant. They're not coming to us with, with new ideas or the biggest brand in their portfolio, et cetera, et cetera. We feel like we need to kind of level up in our relationship there.

[00:26:33] Richard Gaffin: Okay. So, all right. So I'm going to jump straight to question number two. I'm going to go to you, Pete, on this one. What is, in your experience, the number one thing that That you observe brands getting wrong, whether that's operationally, whether it's in terms of the metrics they're using, is there some common thread between something that you feel like, okay, there's, there's a trend towards something that is in the wrong direction.

[00:26:59] Peter Hassan: Yeah, that's a good question. I would say most commonly the pursuit of the actual truth in the, in the financial metrics that impact marketing. I find brands get wrong. And one of the things we try to help with, and one of the things that, you know, I think is critically important is like, if you, if we're going to take the unit economics of a sale, for example, to set an acquisition target, let's be 100 percent accurate, let's not be 95 percent accurate.

Let's not be 98 percent accurate. Let's go the extra mile. Ask the, ask the finance leader, ask whoever it is in the organization to get the truth. And I think a lot of the conversations and this, you have to look at yourself in the mirror of your own, you know, your own job when you do these kinds of things, like go, go find the root truth.

And I think when I talk to a lot of brands, it's like, well, we think the acquisition target should be 50. And it's like, well, should it be 50? Should it be 55? Should it be 45? What do we actually need to make the business work? And going the extra mile to find that information I think is, is really critically

[00:28:02] Richard Gaffin: Yeah. I love that answer. I think that's the, the tendency I feel, or I observe sometimes for people to round numbers. Like to say like, well, you know, it's 55 is the same as 51 or whatever. Or in terms of like thinking about taking into account every single cost on the PNL and not just saying like, well, let's not worry about that when it's only a few hundred bucks, like that, that temptation is very strong.

And I think about even in my own work with the PNL that I managed, that can be a temptation as well to say like, ah, we're not so worried about that cost. Oh, fees. That's fine. They'll just take them out. You know? And I think that that's definitely a commonality. For a lot of brands.

[00:28:38] Peter Hassan: Taylor talked about it in the finance leader podcast he did this morning. Everyone talks about revenue. Everybody's got a different definition of revenue, right? You could talk about net sales. You could think about before shipping, you could think about after ship, like after discounts. So I think pursuing the truth.

And then gut checking it with everybody internally, make sure everybody's on the same page. It's a hard exercise. You have to be transparent. You have to be uncomfortable, have uncomfortable conversations. But I think when the brands that are growing the fastest and doing it, you know, in the most profitable way are the ones that have, you know, done that work and you know, have those conversations to find alignment.


[00:29:16] Richard Gaffin: Matt, you want, do you want to jump in? 

[00:29:18] Matthew Axline: Yeah, I think that's, well, yeah, the only thing I was going to say that I would later on, just kind of dependent on where the brand's at at the time is that the success doesn't happen overnight sort of scenario. Like you don't get better if you will overnight, there's a step by step process for, for doing that.

And so oftentimes I feel there's. At least some semblance of cool. I'm going to come to an agency and they're going to give me a shot in the arm and I'm going to be up and good. I'll be on my way, sort of a deal. And it's like, not how it works. Right. Cause typically if you're in that situation, there's a reason.

And so there's very much a step by step process to get it back onto a better path. 

[00:30:02] Richard Gaffin: that's a, no, that's a really, really good I think like, Oh, so that's one of, one of the things that I really like about our system as well, of like daily metric expectations, so that there's some, some short term feedback towards we're moving in the right direction. Even if everything is still messed up the day after we started, you know what I mean?

Cool. All right. One, one last rapid fire and I'll send it to both of you, but we'll start with you, Matt. What's one thing that you've been saying in your sales pitch? That you're sick of saying, and you wish you didn't have to say anymore. It could be information that everybody should be getting at this point.

It could be, it could be, you just don't want to have to say double click anymore, or maybe you do. I don't know, but curious. What, what do you feel like is you shouldn't have to say anymore? 

[00:30:43] Matthew Axline: The first thing that comes to mind is CTC is a tech enabled growth agency that leverages your marketing tactics to drive your financial outcomes. Pretty much our mission statement. 

I feel like I say that day in and day out, but it's just, you know, it's got a nice punch to it and I really like it. So that was the first thing that came to my mind.

Let's go to Pete and I'll see if something else pops up in there. 

[00:31:04] Peter Hassan: I mean, the rapid fire answer in the spirit of the question is. Contribution margin is the most important metric to track on a daily basis. I, maybe I say that multiple times in my small room here in Echo Park in Los Angeles. And therefore, you know, that's the reason I'm tired of saying that, but I guess tired is the wrong word.

I I'm enthusiastic when I say it because I think it really matters. And I, I can speak for probably the three of us when I say we want to see as many of these businesses succeed as we possibly can. So enthusiastic is the right word. Maybe I've heard my voice a little bit too much. So maybe I'm just tired, tired of it from that standpoint, but excited, excited, and enthusiastic about

[00:31:42] Richard Gaffin: totally. Yeah. 

[00:31:43] Matthew Axline: got a, I got a little one that'll stir the pot just real 

quickly. View attribute view attribution. Doesn't matter. 

[00:31:50] Peter Hassan: Yeah, that's a good one.

[00:31:51] Richard Gaffin: that. Yeah. Cause the idea is like, not necessarily, are you tired of your own voice, but it's like, what if we could approach these and these could be givens that contribution margin was, is the most important thing or that view attribution doesn't matter. Or even that, like the idea of connecting financial outcomes to marketing outcomes, like we say in our mission statement.

It's just such a given that you don't really have to explain that part. But anyway, cool guys. Well, appreciate y'all jumping on. This is great. This is really interesting stuff. I would love to do it again. Cause I think this perspective is really helpful maybe with some specific examples or whatever.

But anyway, folks, of course, if you would like. To have a hard look at your your business and to get some answers, maybe get that second opinion. You can talk to both of these fellas, just come to a comment, threadco. com hire us button. Let us know who you are, what you're about, what you're looking for.

And we'd love to have a chat with you, but Pete and Matt, thanks so much for joining me and everybody who's listening to take care and we'll see you all next week.

[00:32:46] Peter Hassan: for having 

[00:32:47] Matthew Axline: Thanks.