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Welcome back to another episode of the eCommerce Playbook Podcast! Today, we're joined by Marshall Morris, the co-founder and president of HomeLife Brands. Marshall shares insights on how there's a hidden asset within your eCommerce business that could generate millions at an 80% margin.

In this episode, we explore the innovative approach of HomeLife Brands, a hybrid eCommerce company with a diverse income stream, including flagship brands like and The Hero Company. Marshall discusses the value of monetizing digital data, the power of post-checkout offers, and the importance of diversifying revenue streams.

Learn how to leverage your customer base beyond traditional e-commerce methods and discover the secrets behind their success in creating profitable and sustainable businesses. Don't miss out on this valuable conversation packed with actionable insights for e-commerce entrepreneurs.

Show Notes:
  • Go to today and Redo will waive all setup fees making the software completely free.
  • The Ecommerce Playbook mailbag is open — email us at to ask us any questions you might have about the world of ecomm.

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[00:00:00] Taylor: welcome back to another episode of the e commerce playbook podcast today. I'm joined by an old friend and a fellow futurist, someone who I look to as an innovator all the time in the e commerce space.

It is Marshall Morris, the co founder and president of home life brands, and he's going to help you. Understand how there is a secret asset inside of your e commerce business that may be able to produce millions of dollars at 80 percent margin. Let's dive in today. Marshall. Great to have you, man. Good to see you, brother.

Can you tell us a little bit about what is home life brands? Cause it encapsulates a lot.

[00:00:33] Marshall Morris: Yeah. So Home Life Brands is what we can, it's called, we call it a, it's a hybrid e commerce company or another way to put it is multi dimensional e commerce company. So we started as a media company with audiences and digital and advertising, and we rolled out a store and that was eight years ago.

Now we're kind of an e commerce store with With a blog or a digital business because that, that expanded, but our business itself we have probably three or four, I say three or four, because we have a couple of brands launching flagship brands. We've launched probably 300 to 400 SKUs over that of the past 10 years.

But we have a really diverse income stream. So it's not just e commerce. We have actually memberships, we have digital revenue or launching a gaming site. We have a whole sales division for media and there's a lot of other things under that lead gen, you name it. So we've actually diversified out outside of e com to support that, that business.

So, there's a lot

[00:01:29] Taylor: And what are the largest, what are the largest brands that are underneath the parent company? And tell us a little bit about the kinds of products that you guys sell.

[00:01:36] Marshall Morris: So I heart dogs. com is probably is one of our largest brands. And under that we sell stuff for pets. So you have the traditional lines for the LTV, you have pet supplements, you have a pet focused products. And then in addition, we do a lot of people based stuff that love their pets. And so we do a huge Q4 and gifting.

So, we've done millions of dollars in, in Christmas tree toppers that were, that look like dogs. So there's this whole kind of business that's pet and people and then the other brand that's emerging quite a bit, it's called the hero company, the hero company. com. And that's men's jewelry. Under that brand, we just launched a DTC, a coffee brand, a coffee concentrate brand.

So that'll, so we're expanding that into more of an LTV brand. But the hero company again is, is more in each of these brands gives back. So the pets brand gives back to shelter dogs and there's different ways you do that. The hero company gives back to veterans who have PTSD by funding service dogs for them.

So every single brand not only does it have multiple product lines, we're always testing new SKUs and offers, but it also, they all have kind of a give back component. That's that meaningful for us.

[00:02:37] Taylor: That's super cool. So the reason I wanted to catch up with you, so for those of you, a little history, Marshall and his partner, Justin go back probably almost a decade. Now I've knowing each other, Marshall and I were in a Hampton group together for a while. So a lot of shared history and I've been a fan of what these guys have doing, been doing for a long time.

And they have at the heart of their business, so A mechanism that I think fits under something that I talk a lot about, which is this idea of margin innovation is that we are in an era where it is critical for brands to be able to produce profit and ultimately cash flow to fund their business because the availability of capital is way down.

And you put out a tweet the other day that I want to focus our conversation today around. And it said this, it said most e commerce brands are sleeping on the highest margin opportunity. And it's sitting in every brand unmonetized selling the digital data for e com efforts in some shape or form. Our digital division revenue from non e com will do 3 million this year at 80% So obviously all of us would love to figure out how to generate some income stream that reflects that kind of margin opportunity as well as volume potential.

So what do you mean by this? And can you explain a little bit about what you guys are doing?

[00:03:48] Marshall Morris: Yeah. So what I mean is that like the e commerce is, is, is a one dimensional way to work with a customer. You have a product that solves solves a problem or solves a solution, provides a solution, and then you're transactional to some extent, right? We've seen the innovation of memberships of some level where there's they're combined, so that's another dimension.

But for us, we actually look at all this as how many dimensions, like, can we actually, can we lay into an e commerce business? Cause they're not just a person who buys a dog supplement. They're a person who makes other decisions as well. And they also have other behavior as well. So, when we're looking at our customers, we're saying, okay, well, if we're scaling all these customers in, we know that a physical product especially when you're dealing with anything that's made or grown or farmed or whatever has a certain limit, like you can't go below that.

So you have to open up margin for us. One of the first things we did was actually launched an advertising division because we knew there's some products we actually didn't want to make. Like we didn't want to carry. They're too heavy to ship. There's too much competition. And they, and, and there's no way to make it positive ROI online.

However, our customers are buying those. And so, we said, okay, well, if we already have this customer in queue and we have this data, can we go ahead and sell these other brands who we're not going to compete with? Our audiences who we know are, are going to be buying that product, right? So for, in our case, we started with non competitive pet brands.

So dog food, for example. So for, for, for the, for our life cycle, we didn't want to launch dog food. It's too heavy to ship. Even though LTV is really good. And most brands are actually negative forever onto that. That's if you look at any dog food brand, it's very difficult road. So we said, okay, well, they got it.

They got to figure out how to improve their CAC. So why don't we create a mechanism that allows them to market their products to our customers who are already buying supplements, like we confirmed dog owners, and that's how it started. And so then we go to these brands and say, Hey, cause they're going, Hey, I'm doing PPC.

I'm doing meta like you. I have the same issue you have. And we say, Hey, guess what? We have an email list of half a million buyers. Who bought supplements? Would you like to email them your, your, your dog food offer? And we put together a plan, did it, and it works extremely well, right? Because these people are already making decisions.

So, that's what I mean by that. It's like you have this database of customers you're acquiring and you're just, and if you're just trying to make the revenue from your product or service, you're missing out on all these other things this consumer is doing. And so, that's our media division and it's grown exponentially.

Because the more customers we acquire, the more value that becomes to advertisers. Right. And so that's what I mean is that most people are just looking at it from a pay. I got to make a new product. All right. Now I've still, cause you sell that person that product. Say they even sign up and you're an LTV.

Well, then what, like, you know, all about them, you have their wallet, right? So it's, how do you actually expand that? Cause you need more margin margins are being compressed and they have consistently been compressed since the beginning of meta, right? Advertising gets more expensive over time. It never has gotten cheaper.

So, that's how we look at product and that's how we started. And then we've expanded into other areas as well. That's

[00:06:58] Taylor: So I love this. So. What you're highlighting is that the core asset that a brand has is its customers and everything it knows about them, right? And if you only see your capacity to monetize that relationship through just exclusively the product that you have, well, there are some businesses where that transaction may happen one time.

If you're selling somebody a mattress, if you're selling somebody, you know, even shoes, these things like they're the customer's only going to interact with you so many times. And so to just allow that asset base to just sit there and find no other way to not only just extract from it, but also bring them value.

This is the interesting thing is that in a lot of ways, my thing is. Experience of I heart dogs. And the other brands that you have is that the customers look to you as an authoritative voice on the relationship with their pet, right? Is that you guys have something to say about the, you, they know that you have a shared passion and care for your for dogs in the way that they do.

And so they trust the advice coming to you. When it comes to something like food, you have a authoritative voice that they trust you for that input. And so you've found some ways. So you namely described email, SMS and newsletters, sponsorships or claps. Can you, can we hone in here? Do you guys sell those on like a CPM basis?

Do you do a rev share? What's the actual model when you think about those relationships with those kinds of brands?

[00:08:17] Marshall Morris: Yeah. So the, the, the more niche your customer is, the more of a premium you're going to get and the more opportunity you have for how you sell it. So for us, we're, we go to partners. We don't do, we don't do affiliate anymore at all. Zero. And there are exceptions, but for 99 percent of the time, no.

So for, if a brand wants to come in and say, Hey, I want to promote this. Yeah. Then there's a, usually the email is sold on a CPM basis. So it may be and it depends on the brands. And so that, and that's always changing. So I don't want to spit a number out, but what, but most brands for a direct email send to, you know, and we, by the way, we have a really large list, right?

So we have, I think a total of 2 million emails and then we send a certain, a certain segments of that. So they're spending thousands of dollars because to, to push a button to put an offer in people's inbox. Like all at once. So instead of running like meta for 30 days in one hour or two, however long this then takes, right, boom, there's an offer.

So it's extremely effective and efficient. So, so, but we tend to sell on a CPM basis, but sometimes it's actually a cost percent because of our fixed costs. Cause obviously the bigger the email list, the more it costs us.

In addition, the better the niche. So like, for example, if you're a baby business, baby stuff, right.

Or you have a better one would be moms because you know, you're only in baby season for a minute, but moms in general. So say you're moms with toddlers, like that's a niche audience that someone's trying to reach. And so then you kind of set your own pricing. There's not a lot of people doing this right now.

Right. So, so it's usually, it costs thousands percent, but you're sending to hundreds of thousands of people in one push of a button. So it's effectively direct response at its greatest. Right.

[00:10:00] Taylor: How do you think about, so I can imagine the tension is that every time you choose to send that database, there's some potential value to sell your own product versus an external product. How do you think about the available inventory and how much you allocate to the advertising side versus how much you, to the, your transactional side of your own brand and how do you think about the division of that inventory?

[00:10:22] Marshall Morris: Yeah, that's a great question. So a couple of things. One is that we, we don't, we do have a, we do set up a cadence of send. So it's like, might be like once a week we'll offer another brand potentially. We'll do it in a value add way in a very seamless, organic way. So it's not like we're just hammering people with something they don't want.

It's maybe the higher value and they've seen everywhere. Hey, you can get this actually at this discount or this is exclusive discount or something like that. So it feels actually less of like an ad and more of like a value ad and it's very relevant. So that's one thing. Two is when you're dealing with different well, you're dealing with media though, remember the margins of product, I mean.

You have, there's so many costs involved in e com, there's so much that like actually are, when we're playing the LTV game, you can extrapolate out the value of an email and you can build that, that kind of cohort out and be like, okay, this is the value of a send,

[00:11:11] Taylor: Yeah, but the present cash

[00:11:13] Marshall Morris: but the present cash is exactly, and we live on present cash, right?

So like sending, so actually the, the media sends are more profitable in present cash. A lot of times, depending on release, depending on products and category and things like that. But so I think, so we actually, we look at it, we look at list fatigue, we look at unsubscribes, like you're looking at his data to say, okay, did I make the right choice?

When you have a niche audience though and you start understanding what their needs are, they, and they're used to getting emails from you and you do it the right way, like it's co branded. It feels really, really good. It's actually a really great offer. Not like, Hey, buy this thing. You don't, you don't even know that has nothing to do with what we're selling.

It's really seamless. It actually feels like a value add in a lot of ways. So, so I think that like the, you just manage it like what you would any other asset, right? Like you're not overdoing it and you, and then you're watching this, you're watching your list like you would normally. And you can actually draw, you can actually put the numbers together.

I did the send in my, my effective net profit on, or my net margins. This, if I do the send, you know, this is my net margin. And the, the, this is something that, that will be surprised people probably a lot of times is actually. The, there have been times and seasons essentially, cause we know meta and these challenges and things where our digital business made the business profitable.

Like we were negative


[00:12:28] Taylor: I believe it. Yeah,

[00:12:29] Marshall Morris: negative cap, right? Like negative e com. And if you look at the numbers, there's actually stretches of months where it's right. Cause we have a very heavy Q4 business and we were really good at building product for gifting for pet people. We're really good at it. We're like the best in the world, I think.

And so Q4, we just absolutely smash it. E com, but then you have 10 months where, you know, you're, you're fighting the metagods to, to figure out how to place yourself in the, in the in the, in, in, in acquired customers in competition and, And the media revenue and all the other revenue is such a big factor in sustainability.

That that's why it's, for me, it's like shocking to other brands. And I understand there's different thought processes that aren't actually jumping in this. Because you could effectively have had no investment and we've had never had a negative year. And we're in a, when we're in a very tough pet supplements is a blood bath, anything like

that, where it's just like anyone can make them. So, but we know the longterm, if we can stay in the game longterm, we're going to have market share. You, you've seen this since the beginning. When we first met, we actually took your office over that little square box office over. And how many brands have we seen come and go? I mean, I can't even tell you.

And we're still in it. And so like, I think that there's a lot of staying power. So the mindset is, can we stay in the game as long as possible to take advantage of the best opportunities possible? You need cashflow to do that. And you need diversification to some extent that doesn't, that doesn't Completely direct your main business, right?

So these additional income streams to the main business create ecosystem that just produces cashflow.

[00:14:00] Taylor: And in some ways there's this like sort of virtuous cycle where you fund the capacity for more growth, you sell more things, the list grows in size over time, therefore your ability to charge more money makes like, and so you get this sort of virtuous cycle whereby you are, you're fueling the sustainability of the business and the future growth and the underlying asset value increases in value to So I think it's, it's super interesting.

So the other two places that you've talked about selling that are digital real estate in my mind, that in the same way, a search engine results page has value to brands. So do these other potential assets. The second one you mentioned was the checkout page on your website. And then The shipments or physical mailers inside of what I'm assuming are just the orders you're sending to your customers where you're including then an offer to something else.

So talk a little bit about those two additional areas of post checkout and inserts of physical

[00:14:48] Marshall Morris: So post checkout. So think about this. They've transacted with you. If they've, if they've converted, like you have really positive, at this point of time, you've, you've transacted the cards going through, they're very happy with the purchase, right? Like they're in that moment and the ability to say, Hey, here's another partner who has an offer, or we do a lot.

We've done legion there. It's like, Hey, if they buy this product, they're a perfect person for this. Right. So, so then it's like, okay, can we actually either a, you know, off put, put an offer together that gives them, and you start to see this across the board in different brands or Shopify plugins, they're starting to do this right where it's like after checkout, they're in shopping mode, like we're in shopping mode, right?

So it's like, okay, if they're in shopping mode, what's the next thing? So if it's a light kind offer, something they're interested in or high value, they're going to go into it. They're in that, that frame of psychology. So after post check, that's a great time to put an offer together. Either for a a brand.

So we'll have brands that come and say, Hey, I want to be there. Sometimes the post checkout will actually, we've done donations and that works really, really well where it's like, Hey, yeah, yeah, I'm in a good mood. I just transact with a brand that does really good stuff. I feel really good about that purchase.

Yeah. I'm willing to give five bucks to this, like those kinds of things. So post is really

[00:15:55] Taylor: Do those, do those charities run affiliates off of that stuff?

[00:15:58] Marshall Morris: Yeah, to some extent. So the, the, it all depends on the relationship with the charity. We're, we're in, in how you fundraise, like we're a licensed fundraiser. So we have a different, so we have a different mechanism, but the answer is yes, charities are either looking for new donors all the time, either, either leads of new donors or looking for money.

Right. And then they, they create mechanisms to help that happen. Right.

So, charities is


[00:16:21] Taylor: mean, it's every checkout and every grocery store does

[00:16:24] Marshall Morris: I mean, yeah, It's, like the boom. Yeah. So the, so post checkout offers, right? Hey, you just checked out. Hey, guess what? Here's 50 percent off. So you've unlocked the 50 percent off this other thing that we know you'd probably be interested in.

So that's, that's, that's a really big one and it's happening all the time. So as your acquisition scales, you're actually adding. Money to each, every single order on average. So what we found is that you can make CAC work on some products that doesn't work when you're just doing it paid. You add that component and then on average, all of a sudden you are positive.

Really cool.

[00:16:56] Taylor: Yeah.

[00:16:57] Marshall Morris: direct mail.

[00:16:57] Taylor: So that's, well, before we go to that one, I want to think, I want, I want to just stop and say like, okay, we've talked about your email database as an asset. Your website is an asset too. And every page on it represents some traffic that has some value to other people. And it also has some value to you.

And, and I, I love that there's this idea. And all you have to do is look at every retail media or retail. Site in the world and understand they all run retail media and the advertising becomes the highest margin portion of their business. So the idea that there is real estate all over your website, that if you inserted an ad and start, we're talking about checkout now, but let's just, let's be as extreme as we could.

Let's say the homepage where the clicks on the homepage are worth some amount of money to you. That if you could, in theory, sell some portion of those clicks to someone else at a higher price, that exchange may very well be worth it for some period of time in some area. And post checkout is the least intrusive because you've already captured your money as a brand.

And so if you can offer digital value there, increase your take rate, reduce the CAC functionally, or increase the AOV, however you look at it. That may fund greater acquisition all overall. And so there's all these little places where you have opportunity for monetization.

[00:18:06] Marshall Morris: that's a hundred percent. And I think that's the, it's how it's thinking through that. Cause it's different than product and, and, and like a sale, like the, the transactional component. But, but you're, we are in a world where competition is rapid. The world is flat. People can ship stuff forever. You're, you know what I mean?

Like if you're on Amazon or anywhere else, like you're going to be competing with someone else who has your product in three to six months, you know, like these things, so, but what they don't have is, is your scale. So if you're able to scale media buying and you do that well, then you add these other components on it, then you're going to have an advantage over anyone else selling, because you know, you're going to be able to have.

I hire a margin for spend and acquisition. Second thing is you do reverse. So what we'll do is we'll run petitions for nonprofits, right? And we acquire customers. Then those customers, we sell an e com. So we actually have the digital business as the top funnel and the e com as the bottom funnel, right?

Versus the other way. So there's, there's other ways you can do this in the, in that digital model. Yeah.

[00:19:07] Taylor: Yeah. Super interesting. I think there's a whole ad network here. That's potentially really cool, but I have a question about how you guys structure this internally. Do you have a specific sales team? Like who is actually responsible for the monetization of this portion of the business?

[00:19:20] Marshall Morris: So we got to the point where we, it does make sense to have someone's brain on it full time. So, Erica, who's on my team, she is actually runs that whole division. So she's responsible for working with direct clients, nonprofits, things like that, who are going to monetize this. And then we do what we call affiliates, which is any other type of revenue stream that.

Isn't direct sold, but we plug and play. Right. So like, if it's like a plug and play lead gen thing, we set it up and it just runs and she just makes sure that's running. So, so we do have a team around this because of the size of it. When we started initially, it was just me and Justin. And so that was something we kind of managed until we got to the point where.

The revenue is significant enough to put a body on it and then it scaled.

[00:19:58] Taylor: How do you guys think about, cause I know a big part of your business initially was like social accounts, right? So if I understand it right, you guys owned the largest network of pet related theme, social accounts in the world at one point, right? You may still, you may still. And so it feels like this was native to you in the sense that those were obviously assets that people would want access to and to pay for.

And so do you think it was that? The way you started that, that made this intuitive to you, that your website was also an asset, like, why do you think this was native to you guys to do that?

[00:20:27] Marshall Morris: Yeah. Cause I think it's actually our skillset. So I'm a media guy. Like I understand media monetization. Justin's an e com guy. So together, like, it's kind of like I became a media guy. He knew e com become e com guy, new media. Right. And so that overlap has been a critical. So I think it's, there's a dual school skillset component of it.

And it gets really exciting when you look at numbers, you're like, okay, I did all this work, this huge flywheel to sell this product, fulfill this product, ship this product, support this product, right? And then over here, I just sell this thing. And then boom, I get a check. Like there's this moment of like, Oh, Hey, this is really cool.

And we've, and so now we think about it, like. It is hard because Ecom requires so much mindshare. Like anyone who's doing scaling Ecom knows there's just, there's just a lot of mindshare that goes into that flywheel. But the, some of the biggest profit wins, net profit wins have come from actually, the Ecom does have those, that momentum over time, but have come from the media business, right?

So, so anyways, it was natural, but I think that. Now the information is not necessarily kind of a gray area anymore. Like you can get a lot of this intelligence, people doing, people doing all these types of different models online. And if you can find one that you're like, Hey, that can match my business.

You can sync that up in some way, shape, or form. It starts getting results. You get pretty excited about it. And I think that'll perpetuate more thinking in that area. So, it's something we kind of had in our background, but we've definitely learned a lot during the process. That's been part of it.

[00:21:50] Taylor: It seems like there's this revitalization. It's funny. There was an era and you described it where I think media brands all of a sudden we're going to sell products. And that was like, I think about that at the end of the Buzzfeed era, where there was sort of this move that like the media monetization wasn't really working that well, and they tried to make this big move and then it became brands and now it feels like brands and media are emerging back again.

And, but what it seems like it's built around now is really like A lot of individual brands and audience development as the core asset. And then you'll go, okay, whether it's a YouTube channel or whether it's a big social following or whatever it might be like, that's the core asset and I figure out all these different ways to monetize it.

Obviously like someone like Mr. Beast is sort of the largest example of this, but businesses in many ways are themselves audience owners and need to think about this more that way. And so I'm curious, have you guys done. Anything on the content monetization side? Like, are you building a YouTube channel with a thought about monetization of those assets?

Like where else, what other digital real estate are you thinking about developing and how much of your goal every year is about building that versus selling things? Like, how do you think about the goals of organizationally about building those two different assets?

[00:22:59] Marshall Morris: Great question. So the goals are really two track cause he calm has its own kind of its own challenges and its own thought process because you're, you're different categories have different life cycles and different LTVs. And so this, that, that it's such a different mindset like over there. So we think about, we got to try to have two tracks or think about this.

We want to see the media business grow year over year. And we're all, there's a lot of innovation there that is always happening. So we actually have, so we look at it in two tracks now, we do know they feed each other. There's definitely an ecosystem. So the better we do an e com, the more revenue we make in media.

Right. So, so for planning and things like that, we just sit down and plan both of them separately. Then we look at the synergies together. The, now as far as the, what we're building, so we are looking at other things, so the, we're, we found that content monetization, so writing articles and blog posts and stuff like that.

We've done that quite a bit. We have tens and. Tens of thousands of pieces of content that we've written. We've we're excellent at that. And so we do a lot of that still. We still think there's a value there in that we're also test always testing new things. So, are we, so the YouTube channel we are this year, we have been playing around with doing a media channel.

The one thing that. I think that is inherently challenging when you're running e com brand is there is a certain amount of bandwidth you can dedicate. And there's, and there's, you know what I mean? And there's certain distraction when you're dealing with video media. Now, AI is obviously setting different precedent.

There's different things. The amount of time and energy to shoot a video is pretty substantial, you know? And so, but the time and energy to write a piece of content or have someone write around the world, right for us is pretty easy. So we do a lot of that just because that's how we started. And then now we're looking at how we translate that into into different forms.

So do we take that and put it into video? Do we do these kind of things? I think that from revenue though so there's different types of advertising, you have premium, which is a, is a premium meaning, Hey, I'm working with a direct brand or, or an agency and they're doing a direct media by meaning they're buying directly from me.

That's the highest value. Okay. The sec, there's another tier, which is programmatic advertising, which is like basically you know, AdSense and things like that, where you're, you know, It's really hard to build a business on that. Cause it, it's not that substantial. You need a lot of volume. Same with YouTubers.

I mean, the amount of views they have to do to actually have consistent revenue is pretty substantial. Like the amount of work in versus revenue out. Once they hit scale, like I know guys that they dedicate three to five years of their life and finally they're getting it right. And so from up for us, like.

In the econ world, things move so much faster, right? Like you got to make better decisions. You got to, you know, like you can't invest five years into an econ product. Right? Like, so, so anyways, what we look at is we look at things where we can do a user existing audiences and build something that we can jumpstart that has some potential scale pretty quickly.

So like, starting from zero is something we're trying not to start. So we have a YouTube channel. Can we use our audiences to infuse that and scale that really rapidly? Meaning like, can we get that up and running and producing revenue three to six months at the latest? If it's like, oh, well, this is, you know, look, look at this pace, it's going to be two, three years.

We might decide why we want to pursue that later. Right. Or we might set that on the back burner and let it run with very low touch. So we look at the audiences we have and so we're building things. We mentioned earlier, like we're going to be launching a gaming site. So we found that our audience this demo games, a lot of line.

And we found a mechanism where we can just plug and play it, keep them, stick you to the site. And we also found out, this is a fun one for your audience too. So, Publishers Clearinghouse, okay, has a billion dollars a year, right there. They have, if you go to pch. com, they do a tremendous amount of digital revenue.

I believe it's PCH by, by locking users into games and keeping them there like 11 minutes plus, right? And the amount of revenue they do is staggering in revenue. And you wouldn't think that, right? That's, that's the guys who go door to door. They flip the digital on and they're just printing cash.

Right. And so, so for us, we look at like, where are other ways we engage your audience because we can fatigue them in product. There's only so much people can buy, but if they're going to do it anyways, or if they're going to be, if we have attention, because that's, that's really the goal is attention.

Can we monetize that way in some way, shape or form? So, we're adding, so we're adding things that typically try to monetize attention. Like we're launching that that the game part of, we're also looking at launching some other business divisions that are around and solving other problems. Like one of the things we're talking about, we've talked for years which is a, believe it or not, it's like a memorial site because when dogs.

People passed, you have a morning and people come to that. And there's that the same morning process happens. We lose a pet, but there's not that kind of. As much of that community morning, right. And it's real, like it's the emotions or the motion, emotional process you go through with losing a dog that's close is very similar to when you lose a human.

Right. So, so for example, can we launch a site that allows people to, you know, put up their memorials and, you know, and then, so we use digital revenue, maybe you buy flowers for 5 and it donates it to a shelter. Like think about bigger picture, like solving a problem for customers. That's not. Physical products.

So we're always thinking about that. We have a queue of ideas, but it's got to be scalable. It's got to move. We've got to be able to get it going in three months. Typically. Like we want to see proven revenue and like it can scale three months. We don't want to slow bake something for three years. So, so we are, we're always exploring, does the AI accelerate that?

So we're really excited about that. We launched an app called pet vet. ai. It's in the app store. We're testing it. Can we, can we, you know, and that's more of like a, An AI vet essentially. Right. Like you can ask questions. So we're always doing R and D on, can we take something that we want to do that normally would take a lot of time, energy and effort and use modern technology to accelerate that.

So we can see that proof of concept realized in three, you know, three months. So that's kind of how we think about it. It's got to move fast because things change so, so fast. We just can't play that long, that long game you know, with, with, with the ecosystem we live in.

So hopefully that gave

[00:28:54] Taylor: it's super. That's great. It's super interesting, man. So let's imagine someone's listening and they have eight figure e commerce business. What would you recommend as the easiest way to sort of dip into these waters? Like, how would you think about? Is it email? Do you think that's easiest way is to call up three similar brands that you think would be value add to your audience and say, Hey, we've set aside four emails this month for partners and we have 500, 000 people on our list.

And so we're going to charge you, you know, five grand, whatever you can do some quick math to some CPM that, and see if they would see if you could generate 20, 000 off a four email. Like, is that what you would recommend somebody do? Is that the simplest roadmap?

[00:29:35] Marshall Morris: I think so. I think so. That's the easiest. The other way to do it would be post checkout. There's actually some tools like a Shopify, like there's this brand we've looked at. We haven't used them yet. It's called rocket RCKT, I think, and they do post checkout offers. It's a plug and play thing with Shopify.

We know the guys who sold that's a team. Maybe, you know, them. We're exploring that like we already do. We did, we built that in the absence of that our own internal system, but like now you can plug and play at Shopify. Right. And see, is there revenue there? And then you can kind of build back emails.

Really great. When I reach out to some brands, they're not competing. Say I have this available. That's how we started. Second thing is one thing that a lot of brands don't do is we, we, we have a lot of newsletters because we know that people are buying product also have questions and we're in this niche together.

We're in this pet space together. So we'll build out niche newsletters as well. And then that kind of runs. So we have a senior dog newsletter. We have a healthy hound newsletter, which is health. We have a company newsletter, right. For dogs and cats. So like the idea is that we, we added those and those are also obviously easy.

To monetize as well. Cause you can find a partner, you can use live intent to monetize them programmatically. But you start thinking about like, I go zoom up. It's like this. If your business was dead and someone's trying to sell it, the only value they would have would be the audience. Like how many brands have you, I have a Brent's going to be like, well, we had a great product, but now it's somewhere locked up and we don't like, all we have is this database.

Like that's ultimately at the end of the day. What's left if everything goes, you know, shuts down, so you want to start figuring out ways to monetize that. Cause that is the, actually the gold mine, like to be able to return to your audience and sell them something else or get them involved in something else.

That is the gold standard. So anyways, email, yes, that's a great way to do it. You could test the waters that way. That's obviously the easiest, the biggest bang for your buck would be like someone paying us in a direct email. It's the highest response. So

that's a really great way to get started.

[00:31:26] Taylor: Yeah. It's, so I think that one, if you're in the pet space, reach out to Marshall. He's on Twitter. You can find him. We know a lot of good people in that space. I think these are super fascinating ideas. We, we played with variation versions of this at Kalo. We did like a, we once did a, an exchange with Mizzen in Maine where we had a shared influencer in Jason Kalipa.

And so there was a really obvious way for us to speak to our shared customer bases around him. And so we took that. A subset of our orders of people who came from specific regions or specific product categories that we knew served a similar audience. And we put an offer in each other's sends for, you know, a couple of months, that was like a trade of kind about the similar number of shipments.

And so the idea is the same, right? That there's some value you have that would be valuable to me. And then we could trade in kind, or we could look at that as a cash value and determine it from there. So. These are all, I think, interesting and novel things to explore. I, I'll say that if you're listening and you're an agency owner, it has been transformative for our business to be able to think about the content that we create as having potential sponsors that would be interested in helping to fund that content creation and Support in the distribution to their audience in exchange for authentic pre roll reads and mid roll reads and examples of their product in it, in a way that we've been able to functionally create a negative CAC for our business on the service side under a very similar principle.

So the idea is that like, if I'm already out sending emails and creating content, building this audience, can I figure out and get clear on the ability to monetize it? So I think there is a. And I, I've been trying to just watch creators. I feel like there is so much to be learned about the way that they are going about solving for and monetizing their business.

And I know how desperate everybody is to find another way other than just putting coins into the meta machine to make their business work, right? Like we're all in pursuit of that. And so under this banner of margin innovation, I think there's a lot of cool things happening and Marshall, you're one of the people doing it.

So thanks, man. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. Where can people follow you? Where can they continue to keep up with what you're

[00:33:30] Marshall Morris: Yeah. Thank you. Marshall S. Morris on linked or Twitter. And then I also, I do a lot more LinkedIn. I'm in those two places, so you can just ping me. I'm pretty open. I'm, I'm the one running it, right? So just shoot me if you want to chat, shoot me, shoot me a message or whatever. But I

love this

[00:33:44] Taylor: you want to, I was going to say, if you want to see what it looks like, go sign up for the email at I heart dogs. com and you'll start to see the, what does it actually look like to receive a sponsorship email? How natural do they feel? How easy is it to see what's going on? And keep an update on what, what they're doing.

person, including

[00:33:59] Marshall Morris: Awesome. Yeah, it's, it's, it's been a pleasure. There's so much more here. I think that we are, and I'll say this when we were, when we were doing this, when cash was cheap, people were like, you're crazy. And then we're like maybe we are crazy.

[00:34:12] Taylor: influencers,

[00:34:13] Marshall Morris: cash is expensive, people are like, you're brilliant.

And it's like, no, we were just doing the same thing. Like we're just

[00:34:17] Taylor: Exactly.

[00:34:18] Marshall Morris: We're just trying to make

[00:34:18] Taylor: That's so true. Yeah. All along the way. And it's funny because it's like a bootstrappers mindset. It's what you do when you weren't using external dollars is that you're constantly sourcing present cash. And so you tend to innovate again, margin.

You, you solve for the present need, which is you innovate towards the future. Efficiency of dollars today. And that's what this market is requiring. What people are is an evolving skill, but then there's this group of people that to your point have been doing it all along. So, I'm glad it's in vogue, man.

Your skill is much needed in the

[00:34:47] Marshall Morris: Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah. It's awesome. We love, we love it. And thank you for what you're doing too. I think the way you play, the way you run your business is very much how we think it's, you got to play multi dimensional chess. Like these, a lot of these players, like I have a product it's selling, look at my Shopify numbers.

And like, I guarantee you in 12 months and without any innovation, without any thought and a dance, like you gotta, you gotta be multidimensional in this stuff because

That's how you stay. I mean, we've been an eight feet. We've had multiple seven figure brands. We have an eight figure brand. I mean, we've done it for 10 years straight through everything, like consistently.

So, so cash flows king And present cash is important.

[00:35:25] Taylor: yeah, that's it, man. Well, you guys are, you're turning into the cockroaches of

[00:35:30] Marshall Morris: yeah, that's it

[00:35:31] Taylor: but but we appreciate the learnings, man. That's the, that's the species of the study. How did they make it through it all? You know? So I

[00:35:37] Marshall Morris: twinkie last forever? Yeah

[00:35:40] Taylor: awesome, buddy. Well, always good to catch up and we'll talk soon.

[00:35:42] Marshall Morris: man.

[00:35:43] Taylor: man.