What you’ll learn:
How do you market to consumers outside your target audience? How do you market to multiple audiences shopping at the same retailer? Today’s episode is jam packed with insights driven marketing strategies to grow your business—no matter its current scale or size. Our guest even shares her personal methodology for creating assets that optimize sales.
About our guest:
Yvethe Tyszka is the Vice President of Marketing for Coravin. She is a passionate insight driven marketer with global experience and local execution. She is successful at turning businesses around, building and motivating teams, and creating consumer centric strategies to accelerate growth.
Key takeaways from this episode:
- Yvethe’s path to VP of Marketing—2:14
- The Coravin Mission—5:55
- Coravin stats (employee count, # of skus, etc.) — 8:26
- Coravin Moments: The Coravin Wine Pairing App —10:00
- How Coravin’s unique growth build customer trust and brand credibility—11:27
- How to attract new customers outside your target audience—14:15
- How Corvain uses IP to protect product innovation—15:20
- Insights driven marketing strategy—19:18
- How to market to multiple audiences shopping at the same retailer—23:45
- A new take on competing against market leaders—25:55
- Yvethe’s marketing methodology for creating content that sells: Hacking Growth—29:42
- Create a team that owns your company’s brand—32:26
- MAP Strategy: work with retailers to create cross-channel sales—35:40
- How to create a deeper brand experience for consumers—36:46
- Key Marketing Strategy Takeaway—38:28
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Page 1 Podcast, a weekly podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from channel strategies to tariffs, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate your ecommerce sales with the big box retailers, or what we call rcommerce. Now here’s your host, Luke Peters.
Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast. I’m your host Luke Peters, and this is a podcast where I bring you the best and brightest leaders to share consumer product sales and marketing strategies that will help you grow your business. On the CEO and founder of NewAir Appliances, where I cut my teeth selling products online and have now started Retail Band where I hope to help other brands succeed in product launches, influencer marketing, and also B2B online sales strategy.
Luke Peters: Just a quick heads up, right now I am offering a free business evaluation of your online sales strategy. If you’re a brand owner online, and you’re looking for some support, advice, and really a clear cut plan to help you move forward, go ahead and find me on LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And today, I’m excited to interview Yvethe Tyszka. And Yvethe works for a brand called Coravin, which helps you preserve your wine for a longer period of time. We’ll get into that.
Luke Peters: So in this episode, we’re going to learn from Yvethe on how she’s deploying customer insight driven strategy to drive sales and exposure for Coravin. Every marketing department and brand leader needs to hear this episode. Welcome to the podcast, Yvethe.
Yvethe Tyszka: Hi. How are you? Thank you, Luke, for having me.
Luke Peters: Great to have you. Thanks for joining us today. And Yvethe is vice-president of marketing for Coravin. Prior to Coravin, she worked for Newell Brands and Spectrum Brands. Looks like you got some great experience working with some really strong brands. Before we dive into Coravin, kind of, is there anything that really shaped your marketing career? Was it one of those companies? Maybe before that? Just curious to hear how you really got excited and deep into marketing.
Yvethe Tyszka: Absolutely. Actually, it started at Nestle, which is a brand powerhouse more than a product powerhouse. I was recruited as a marketing basic trainee. That’s how all the marketing people get in, and given exposure to a lot of areas of the company, including sales, operations, warehousing, manufacturing. When you get to finally manage a brand, you have the understanding of what the sales team goes through, what the operations team goes through.
Yvethe Tyszka: You’re able to put together better strategies. One of the most fun anecdotes that I have from my time at Nestle was managing Nesquik. So at the time, Nesquik was the number seven brand in the country on milk modifiers. And the brand that was the leader was the brand that was marketing to teens. We had a bunny. Bunny is not very attractive to kids that are that old. But they’re very attractive to little kids. So we actually changed our marketing strategy to the younger kids, kids that was 3, 4, 5, started kindergarten. And we were able in two years to get form number 7 to number 2 in the market, in sales.
Luke Peters: Wow. That’s awesome. That’s a really clear, actionable example. Thanks for sharing that .Nestle. Great brand. You’ve really been fortunate to work with some brand powerhouses. No, I love speaking to marketing experts. It’s a passion of mine, with our brand at New ]Air, and something we really enjoy learning about product launches. So I’m hoping to gain some insights from you. Before we get started, I also just wanted to mention to the audience, Yvethe, obviously very deeply knowledgeable about marketing, but also deeply engaged in volunteering her time.
Luke Peters: Has been, or is a licensed, or was a licensed foster mom, which is really cool. I just did some LinkedIn stalking on you. And I know Christmas is around the corner, so I saw that you also volunteering for Operation Christmas Child. Thanks for doing that. I think that’s just… people getting involved like that make a big difference.
Yvethe Tyszka: It actually has been a great experience for me as a person and for us as a family to be involved in these experiences, especially fostering. Fostering is a very difficult in a way experience, because you fall in love with these kids that come to your home. You know this kid, that the objective of fostering is that this kid goes back to its parents. But through our experience and our training, I think what we learned and embraced is you got to be willing to let your heart be broken, if that can mend their hearts.
Yvethe Tyszka: Offering these kids love, and comfort in a situation that is very difficult… imagine you’re six, seven years old. You wake up, and you’re in a home that you don’t know, with people you don’t know, in a place that you don’t even know where it is geographically, because these kids have no process of that. It’s remarkable how resilient children are, and how with love, and compassion, these kids can really navigate that time. Most times goes back to their parents when their parents go through the process they need to go through.
Yvethe Tyszka: It was a really interesting experience for us when we lived in Florida. Now that we moved to Massachusetts, it’s a different licensing process, and we haven’t really got into it. But we really love being able to do that.
Luke Peters: Well, yeah. And you know, something that I guess on the outside you don’t know, or people who haven’t been foster parents, is you don’t think about that last part, which is you have to let go of these kids, and when they move back, if the goal is going back to their parents. So yeah, thanks for doing that. I mean, that’s making a real difference in someone’s life.
Luke Peters: But wow. So you have a full, well-rounded life. And speaking of marketing, and I guess why don’t we introduce the company that you’re heading up marketing for. That’s Coravin. Are you able to kind of share a little bit about the company size, as far as say total employees? And then also, just because it’s fun to understand operations, are you guys managing the distribution of your product through a warehouse yourself? Or are you using a 3PL? Would be interesting to hear a little bit about the company. And also what… also, if you could start with explaining the Coravin product.
Yvethe Tyszka: Absolutely. So our mission is a very lofty but I think real one, which is to change the way the world drinks wine. There’s a mission around the world of offering wine lovers a way to drink the wine they want in any amount without ever opening the bottle. So you don’t have to compromise with… usually, it’s one less fight to have with your spouse. Like, “Oh, I want white! I want red!” Doesn’t matter.
Yvethe Tyszka: You choose what you want. Not what’s open. When people come over to your house, you always have that person that says, “Hey, can I have one more glass?” And you have to open a new bottle. You’re like, “Ugh.” Not anymore. You can actually do that. You can also cellar your bottles, if you want to have a bottle that needs time to reach its peak. You can actually test it without opening.
Yvethe Tyszka: The flavor in that wine is not going to change more than it would change if it was closed, because there’s no oxygen that it can touch with the wine, and there’s only a needle that goes through the cork. It uses Argon gas to create pressure in the bottle. Argon is the same gas that is used by bottle makers, or sorry, by wine makers in the bottling process. It’s not going to impact the smell, or flavor, or the development of the wine. And you get your wine out, as much or as little as you want.
Yvethe Tyszka: You remove the Coravin, and the cork will reseal naturally, because it’s a very elastic material, and the design of the needle is special, so it will open a channel in the cork instead of piercing it. So it is a really great product for wine lovers, for wine connoisseurs, and it’s kind of the reason why I joined the company. Because I know that in a few years, we’re going to be asking ourselves, “Why did people ever open bottles to drink wine? It makes no sense.”
Luke Peters: Yeah. I mean, that’s a great explanation. And we’ll get into that, because I’m curious. Because I’ve been going to the Housewares show… sorry, not the Housewares. That one as well, but just the Canton Fair. I’ve seen a lot of similar products. So we’ll get a little bit into the technology. Would love to learn more there.
Luke Peters: It’s actually, partially one of the reasons I don’t drink wine, and not the only, but… or don’t drink as much, just because I might be the only wine drinker at home. My wife doesn’t. So yeah, this sounds like a remedy for that, right? When people don’t want to open up a whole bottle.
Yvethe Tyszka: Exactly.
Luke Peters: Yeah. So are you able to share any about the company size, just to understanding… are you guys doing your warehousing? Is that being done elsewhere? Also say the total employee count, or something in that range, so we can get an idea?
Yvethe Tyszka: I can share some things, because we’re a private company. We have about 70 global employees or so. We’re present as a brand in over 60 countries. U.S. is our largest market. France is the number two. And we have been growing steadily, double digit growth, in the last few years. It is definitely a startup. It’s small, and lean, but at the same time, we’ve been able to grow from only the winery to then restaurants. And now we’re in retail where consumers can purchase a Coravin at Bed, Bath & Beyond, or an Amazon, or Williams-Sonoma with ease.
Luke Peters: Yeah, wow. And that’s incredible scale though, to be in that many countries with only 70 employees. So you guys are lean, and mean, and must be doing a great job there. How about number of products, number of SKUs? Because again, it’s a product that pierces the cork, so that you can bring the wine out but not disturb the wine, so that you can drink it again later on.
Luke Peters: Are there a lot of different… I know there’s a couple versions. But is the SKU quantity kind of limited, because it’s really a uniquely focused product? Or what can you share there?
Yvethe Tyszka: Probably from a product line perspective… so we have one system, like you said, that has a needle, goes through the cork, and you can pour without removing the cork. There’s only kind of two big flavors of it. One of them has a self-pouring feature, so it’s actually electronic, and it’s Bluetooth connected to an app that is called Coravin Moments. That’s another app, actually, that we have. The app.
Yvethe Tyszka: And the app is developed to have a pairing engine, so that you can tell it, “Hey, I want to have pizza,” and it will suggest wines for you. Or, “I have this wine,” and it will suggest foods for you. It has pairings of wine with movies, or books, or songs, or occasions, because we know that wine is usually a part of those things.
Yvethe Tyszka: You’re never just drinking wine. You’re drinking wine, or reading, or hanging out with friends. That product specifically, which is called Model Eleven, was our latest product launch. We launched in January of 2018. A very successful launch. We won three awards at the show.
Yvethe Tyszka: It’s been selling really, really well. The app, you can have the app with or without Model Eleven. Even if you don’t have a Coravin, you should have the app if you love wine. And then the other systems that are not electronic are basically differentiated by materials, color, and accents. All of them perform the same job. Even Model Eleven does. They let you pour wine without removing the cork.
Luke Peters: Wow, so interesting. So I guess driving, diving right into the business… and I know a private company, only so much you can share. But whatever you’re comfortable with. It sounds like you guys are selling… or it looks like you’re selling direct to consumer. I was on the website earlier today. You’re selling some B2B and some restaurants, and then you’re also selling different channels online.
Luke Peters: Couple questions around that. So you have just a couple SKUs. So I want to just get your thoughts on channel management, because if those same SKUs are going out to all these different channels, that can be a big challenge on the marketing and sales side. And along with that, do you implement a map pricing policy? Or do you have another way to handle the channel management and channel conflict?
Yvethe Tyszka: On the first question, I think part of the… what has made the growth of the product successful is we started with wine makers and with wineries. We wanted to make sure that we could gain their trust and their endorsement of the efficacy of the product. For the first year, year and a half, we were mainly working with wine makers. And then we progressed to restaurants and high end retailers. I think that was very critical, for us to not only have the trust and the credibility coming from winemakers, but also from restaurants that are able to open up their cellars and serve any wine they own by the glass.
Yvethe Tyszka: So once the consumers started seeing the Coravin used by increase the channels, they’re like, “Huh, I wonder where I can buy it.” At that time, we didn’t have our direct channel, so that was the only way for our consumers to get a hold of it. And that gave us credibility with the high end retailers and the very few people at the beginning that started retailing it. That started to grow, and grow, and grow as we expanded.
Yvethe Tyszka: So I think the progression was critical. I think we would have started just at retail, it would have not been the same. But by now, we’ve done over 900 different wines across the globe where we have blind tasted, or we’ve done blind tastings with over 500 wine professionals, and we’ve been successful in all of them.
Luke Peters: Wow. I mean, what a smart way to start. How long back was that? When was the company kind of gaining that traction? What year was that when it was building its trust and credibility working with winemakers first?
Yvethe Tyszka: The company opened in July 2013. I think the first year and a half or two years, it was very focused on winemakers. For example, in Napa, the biggest winemakers in Napa all loved, and endorsed, and used Coravin. If you look at Rombauer, or PEJU, Stag’s Leap, all of them use Coravin. Bordeaux, huge area for Coravin, and around the world, the main wine areas.
Yvethe Tyszka: I just went to Rioja over the summer for an event with Coravin, and most of the winemakers in Rioja use and endorse Coravin. That takes away the question of does it work, because it’s kind of difficult to… like, does it really work? Is it really years? It’s a lofty promise, that you can drink a wine in years from today. But when you see a winemaker that cannot identify bottles opened three years ago versus today of their own wine, it’s kind of like you see a picture of your child, and you don’t really know which one of the pictures is your kid.
Yvethe Tyszka: It makes it get over the barrier of credibility. So now you can trust the system. It does what it’s supposed to do. I think the next biggest hurdle is, how does it fit into my life and awareness, obviously? Because if you don’t know it exists, then it’s a moot point. The second part is, how does this fit into my life? I’m not a collectioner. I’m not a wine connoisseur. I’m just a regular person that likes to drink wine.
Yvethe Tyszka: Or in your case, if your spouse doesn’t drink wine, do I really need that? And that is the part that right now is the biggest part of our work, from a marketing perspective, is sharing this occasion, whether it’s entertaining, or my spouse doesn’t drink, or drinks a different wine than I do. I actually talked to a couple about a month ago that they don’t drink at all. And I asked them, “So what do you do when people go visit?”
Yvethe Tyszka: And they looked at each other and went, “Yeah, we need this thing!” Because we always buy a bottle, we pour a glass for them. And we have half a bottle we don’t drink, so we have to trash it. So I said, “There you go. You need a Coravin as well.”
Luke Peters: Yeah, I mean, there’s so many opportunities. At the same time, I guess I was going to talk about this later on, but it kind of fits into this conversation. I have seen similar products at the Canton Fair, but not to the quality of the Coravin brand. Is that because you guys must have some IP protection on it? Or have been able to keep those copy catters out because of your IP protection? Are you able to speak to that side?
Yvethe Tyszka: Yeah, it definitely is very well protected from an IP perspective. We are the only system that allows you to pour without removing the cork.
Luke Peters: Got it.
Yvethe Tyszka: In the world.
Luke Peters: Yeah.
Yvethe Tyszka: So what the difference is, when you have a system that you open and close, there’s two issues that happen. One, the wine starts degrading the moment oxygen gets in touch with it. It’s more of a process of delaying the dump it moment than truly preserving your wine. So with Coravin, if you have a bottle, they only need five more years. You put it back in the cellar. As long as it’s preserved in the right conditions, and you don’t put it in the sun or in heat, you go five years later, and it will have evolved as if you had never used the Coravin or opened the bottle, because using the Coravin, you don’t open the bottle.
Yvethe Tyszka: So that is actually a promise that is very unique. It’s a unique selling proposition from Coravin that nobody else has.
Luke Peters: And that makes a lot of sense. Because I have heard that the cheaper ones don’t work. Kind of to that point, they’re letting oxygen get in. And so I guess whenever you can say, “We’re the only one that does this,” that’s got to be a huge, huge marketing benefit. I want to talk about how do you think about marketing and how you launch products.
Luke Peters: But before we get to that, it seems the product is very specific. There’s not a lot of variations it sounds like. Is it fair to say that there are not a lot of product launches, because there’s just not new variations every year? Or are there variations coming out every year? Just curious on the product roadmap strategy.
Yvethe Tyszka: Sure, so we have… I think there’s a little bit of truth to both statements. On the one hand, the system per se, we’ve refreshed it in a way every two to three years. We launched Model Eleven, which was a complete different system. Just because we have electronics, and there’s a lot of things associated with that, with that auto pour.
Yvethe Tyszka: But we also have launched very unique accessories. I’ll tell you my favorite story was the aerator. About two years ago, we started talking about aerators with the founder and inventor of the product. Works with us at the office all the time. He is a very high end wine connoisseur. He was like, “I don’t like aerators,” blah, blah, blah.
Yvethe Tyszka: But he kind of got into the conversation based on insights, on how many wine drinkers know about aerators and appreciate aeration. And actually decanting, which actually aerates the bottle. He on a plane came up with this idea of utilizing the pressure that is created by the Argon in the system to break the wine into micro jets of wine. So it’s actually a very cool thing. You should check it out on the website. If you see a video of it, it looks like a shower of wine.
Luke Peters: Wow, okay, cool. I’ll take a look.
Yvethe Tyszka: It is the coolest thing you’ll see. By breaking the wine into 24 micro jets, you expose more wine to more oxygen faster. So you get the same effect of 60 to 90 minutes of decanting. You’ll get it in 10 seconds, while you’re pouring. That was invented, created, designed, manufactured, and sold in 99 days.
Luke Peters: Wow. That’s some speed to market. I guess what’s interesting is a lot of brands, including mine with NewAir, there’s a lot of SKUs. When you’re launching SKUs, when you’re launching new products, you give them a lot of love, but at the same time there’s others coming right behind it, and with… so it’ll be interesting to hear your philosophy on it, because with Coravin, I mean these are really highly focused. It sounds like you’re going to be able to get the whole company around these, and plan it out, and work on them a lot at a lot deeper level since there’s so many fewer product launches, which can be a benefit because you’re able to go really deep.
Luke Peters: Starting down that path, how do you gain insights on a new category? You just talked about decanting. I think I would be a great place to start, is how you gain insights. And then describe your insights driven marketing strategy.
Yvethe Tyszka: So one of the things that I found as I joined the company three and a half years ago is because we’re a startup, we don’t have a lot of investments, or departments, or resources allocated to research. So I started, and in all my interviews as I was joining, the number one question that kept coming up is, “We don’t know our consumer. We don’t know who we sell to.”
Yvethe Tyszka: However, we have a very robust, direct business. So when I joined, I managed customer care is under me. I went to my head of customer care and I said, “Tell me about what you do.” And what one of the things that she mentioned, that we had a customer satisfaction survey and a club, a loyalty club.
Yvethe Tyszka: And the loyalty club required you to register your system with us. It’s free, but you have to register. So we had information about people that owned a Coravin, that use a Coravin, and they have been answering questions for at least since 2016. So I looked into that data with her. We analyzed it, and we realized that there’s a profile that these owners of Coravin that were answering the question had. We came up with a profile of a user that is an early adopter, that has been buying Coravin since inception. And they were using it in their own homes, not necessarily in a business.
Yvethe Tyszka: These were wine connoisseurs, a little bit older in age. Skewing male. Very affluent. Extremely knowledgeable about wine. We created a persona around this profile that we called James. And there’s a way in which you have to talk to this profile about wine. However, at the same time, we went and looked into our social media properties.
Yvethe Tyszka: The traffic on Google Analytics and the behavior in the customer journeys in Google Analytics. We have at the time a loyalty tool called Hand Buy that is one of those things where if you buy, I get $25 and you get $25. I think Uber has them, and other companies have them. So we started looking at who was advocating for us. And who was this emerging consumer that was coming up?
Yvethe Tyszka: And it was completely different. It was a skew in female, a little bit younger, say 40s. Customer knows about wine, but at a point in her life where, “I know what I want, and I want that experience with my wine to be good. But I use wine as a difference in my day. I come home, I take off my shoes, I pour a glass of wine, and now my day about me starts. I stop doing what I have to do and do what I want to do.
Yvethe Tyszka: So that was kind of a pivotal moment in our marketing strategy, in being able to talk to two different audiences, and understanding that they don’t want to hear the same things. So with that knowledge very fresh in our hands, we started studying about what’s happening in social media in our own property. And we realized that when we posted casual content in Twitter, for example, the content bombed. But if you posted it on Instagram, it was very successful.
Yvethe Tyszka: And by continuing to dig in this data that we owned, we realized that James lives in Twitter. Jennifer lives in Instagram and Facebook. You can’t talk to James about 50 Shades of Red Wine, because he thinks it’s stupid. But if you talk to Jennifer about it, she finds it’s fun, and she engages with that. However, if you talk to Jennifer about the side of the river that the grapes were on in such and such vineyard, it’s boring for her. So that content has to go to Twitter, where James absolutely loves to talk about that.
Yvethe Tyszka: I think that was a very critical moment for us to truly focus the resources that we had, which are not… we’re not a big company resource. We’re very lean and mean, also in how we allocate our resourcing. In telling James, and talking to James in the way he wants to talk about and engage in wine, and creating a parallel strategy for Jennifer, who’s a more casual wine drinker.
Yvethe Tyszka: And that has allowed us to do different colors in our Coravin, different promotional strategies, different channels. Because James is a little bit more digital than Jennifer. Jennifer is the one that goes to retail. So if we don’t have that audience, if we don’t talk to her, our retail distribution is not going to be vibrant.
Luke Peters: Super interesting. That’s interesting that you even managed customer care. I thought that was… just being VP of the marketing function, but also managing customer care, and then going through the data, and then finding your two profiles, and putting those together. I was going to dig deeper and find out, wait a minute. If you have two different profiles, how do you not get your marketing message mixed up? But I think you kind of explained it by just saying that Twitter is for James, and then the female profile is on Instagram and Facebook.
Luke Peters: But you’re creating… you still don’t have different SKUs, do you? I mean, it’s still the same SKU. So then what are you do say on your digital retail pages, like on a Wayfair or a Williams-Sonoma? Do you have to combine the two profiles? How do you have to think about it from that experience?
Yvethe Tyszka: Yeah, so I think that’s a great question. What we did is, once we identified these profiles, so we have this data, we wanted to make sure that we listened to them live. We did some focus groups with James and Jennifer, and combined, and some targets… some people that were not our targets, but a little bit younger, millennials, to understand how they view wine.
Yvethe Tyszka: And one of the things that was very clear is that wine, whether you’re a Jennifer or a James, wine is an intermediate point in your day. You may see it a little bit different, maybe for James. Wine is a little bit more about what he knows about it, but it’s also a reward for a job well done during the day.
Yvethe Tyszka: For Jennifer, it’s a moment of relaxation. It’s a break in her day. Even if she did a fantastic job at work, she doesn’t think of it as a reward. She thinks of it like, “Great, now I can think about me, and I can relax. I can celebrate the little things in life, like putting my kids to bed.” That is a Coravin moment I can celebrate.
Yvethe Tyszka: We heard these things from them, and we actually crafted our first campaign which was launched in 2017, a for TV commercial. Every line of that commercial came from the mouth of a consumer. I think that’s why it resonated so well with them, whether it was a Jennifer or a James. The theme of having wine be a break in the day was constant.
Yvethe Tyszka: I can tell you, from that moment to today, every single time that we do qualitative research and we ask them how they feel about wine, inevitably it comes up at the end of the day, there’s nothing better than a glass of wine. Every single time.
Luke Peters: Wow. Super insightful. We sell wine coolers, so this is like… I’m taking notes here. I’ll send our final podcast to my marketing team. Yeah, we’re always… we’re doing the same things. We’re looking at customer insights, shelving types, and glass types, and what they’re looking for for storage. But I like that, how you summed it up. It’s a break in the day, and I think that’s that’s a great way to say it.
Luke Peters: Yvethe, by the way, question just kind of going back in time, when you were with other Nestle, and Newell, and Spectrum, did you have really clear customer profiles like you do here at Coravin? Was that something that you always had?
Yvethe Tyszka: Not really. In Nestle a little bit better, especially with brands like Nesquik, which is the milk modifier made for children. It actually depends on how you see it. You can succeed or fail. And in Nestle, specifically with Nesquik, when I started managing the brand, the market was dominated by a brand that was marketing to teens.
Yvethe Tyszka: So 14, 15, that were drinking this as a smoothie, as a chocolate smoothie. The character for Nesquik is a bunny. So honestly, it’s lame if you’re 14 or 13. So the strategy that we practiced to win in the market was to actually appeal to children, to four, five-year-olds that are starting to drink milk, or that are not wanting to drink milk anymore, or formula, and are getting into, “You have to drink milk, so now we’re going to make it taste like chocolate.”
Yvethe Tyszka: And by doing that for three years in a row, we went from number seven in the market to number two in the market. We actually created, if you will, a generation Nesquik that was starting very young, and then growing with them, until they were too cool for the bunny. So you get to capitalize on seven years of milk drinking that in the past would’ve been, “Oh, let’s go with what the leader in the market is going.” Sometimes you have to… I am a big believer in promotion.
Yvethe Tyszka: What happens was, I don’t have the money, and the resource, and the type of brand to go fight with this guy. There’s a whole promotion next to it, but nobody’s switching. That’s what I’m going to make my market. And it was tremendously successful, to the point that we were the second brand.
Luke Peters: That’s gold. And I think it’s funny. I’ve seen those brands in my house as well, I think Ovaltine, and I think there might’ve been another as well. I’m always seeing these chocolate drinks, and I’m like, “Man, where’s the water?” I’m always giving the kids a hard time.
Yvethe Tyszka: It’s true. But you know, I had grown up with the Nesquik bunny when I was a kid. So I had… when I was offered the opportunity to manage everything, I was actually told that I could change the chocolate brand if I wanted to and bring Milo, which was very strong in Brazil, my country. And I told the vice-president of marketing at the time, “No, no, no. We’re going to find a way with Nesquik, because I grew up with it. The bunny went to my birthday.” One of my birthdays. I think I was like eight.
Yvethe Tyszka: It was something where we just have to look at the problem in a different way. Why go after the same audience that the market leader has? It’s also a fight, and it kind of tires you when there’s a whole other segment of the market that is not being catered to. There’s not a real brand that is leading the charge. And we created a direct marketing… at the time, there wasn’t email as it is today.
Yvethe Tyszka: There was a direct marketing club where we send them things four times a year in the mail. And it was a type of a DHL or FedEx type of mail. So imagine if the FedEx person comes to your door and goes, and knocks, and asks for your four-year-old. The moms were like, “What?” And the kids were all excited that they’re getting a package for them. So it did end up being very successful in brand awareness, and brand equity, but also in sales.
Luke Peters: Yeah, and the way you approach it is spot-on with the going with the Blue Ocean strategy. And 100%, if there’s a new market out there that can be created, or if you can avoid competing head-to-head with somebody who’s already entrenched in a category, that’s the right approach. That’s a cool story, just seeing it all the way through. Bringing it back to Coravin, because I really, really like how you really, really clearly identified these customer profiles.
Luke Peters: A lot of us brands, that’s who this audience is, a lot of brand owners and CEOs, we always say we’re going to do it. And we think our marketing teams are doing it, but truth be told it’s it’s hard to be so clear about it, because you’re always afraid of leaving some profiles out, right? Or if you’re only speak to one, are you not speaking to others? So I really like that approach.
Luke Peters: And how about walking us through how you handle assets? Even if you want to talk about how they’re created at the company, if you have internal teams, as far as content photography and video, or if your Outsourcing part of those functions. It would be interesting to understand just the assets and the cycle of creating it. Because your site’s really… it’s beautifully done. And it’s because you’re dealing with a sophisticated end consumer, but it would be great to hear your approach.
Yvethe Tyszka: Well, thank you for your comments on the website. Actually, the website is one of those stories that I like as well, as a nimble, small company. I’m in charge of eCommerce for the world, but I’m also in charge of a bunch of other stuff. So the VP of IT and myself got together, and we decided to implement this methodology called hacking growth.
Yvethe Tyszka: Hacking growth is a team methodology where we have different people in a team. We have a product person. We have a designer, a content creator that is part of the team. We have developers. And we all work together on the site. So it’s the core of the methodology is test small and scale what wins.
Yvethe Tyszka: So we spend the whole year testing, and… because Q4 obviously is a big season for us. Testing and scaling, testing and modifying, so that when we got to the end of the year, the site would be optimized for us to make the most of it. So this is truly a complete team effort, even though I do the forecast and I own the revenue, at the end of the day, the way the site works has been a collaboration of people who have other jobs in the company, but that also are part of this team.
Yvethe Tyszka: So we found that that’s a really good way to have content that is created, and to have value that is added by people that don’t necessarily own the website, but they co-own it, and they do in little, tiny pieces. So going back to your question on content, we have a content manager in house. But we also create content for the world. So it’s not realistic to think that she’s going to do all the work.
Yvethe Tyszka: So we partner with certain vendors for some videos, the videos on how to unbox, and how to use the products we do outside. The design of a lot of the things is done inside. So a lot of the point of sale material is designed internally. The social media content is designed with our social media agency. They curate the content, they curate it and they publish it for us. So it’s a really good balance of both.
Yvethe Tyszka: But we have internally a director of consumer and corporate marketing, and the content managers that make sure that everything looks and feels the same, so that our brand is present in the same way everywhere.
Luke Peters: Yeah, makes sense.
Yvethe Tyszka: So I hope that helps.
Luke Peters: Yeah, no, it does.
Yvethe Tyszka: I don’t know if I answered your question well.
Luke Peters: I’m writing questions down, so I’m listening to how you have it set up and writing it down. But no, I like that. So you call that terminology, you call it hacking growth, where you test-
Yvethe Tyszka: Hacking growth. It’s actually based on a book.
Luke Peters: Wow, okay. Do you know the name of it?
Yvethe Tyszka: We didn’t come up with it, but it’s based on a book, and it was recommended to us by the company that we partnered for the website development. So all of our developers, they work for this other company. They have been reading the book, and have been talking about the book, and our VP of IT went for a conference over there and came back and said, “Oh, we need to read this book.” And we read it and was like, “Wow, the methodology looks interesting, but it seems like a daunting task when you first think of it.”
Yvethe Tyszka: It’s like, “Who’s going to be in the team? How are these people going to have time?” It’s a lot of time. So we decided to… we polled the team, and we said, “Okay, guys. This is the first time we do this. This is all about working together. But we want all of these to have a piece of the website. You have different skill sets and abilities that we… there’s no one person in the room that can have all of that, so we’re going to work as a team.
Yvethe Tyszka: So every Monday since January, we’ve met for an hour, at least every Monday. And every Monday we go through, “What are the things that we’re going to test? What are the results of the test last week? What are we going to implement?” And truly, at the beginning it was a little bumpy. I think like, everything usually is.
Yvethe Tyszka: But by now, it’s a well-oiled machine. They have taken such a huge ownership of the things that we do on the website, and digitally, and email marketing, or on the website, that it has become easier for the VP of IT and myself to become more augmentors and guiders for this team than doers, which we had to be at the beginning. So it also I think empowers the team in a very different way. If they fail, if something that we test doesn’t succeed, your test is so small that it doesn’t impact overall the performance of the site.
Yvethe Tyszka: But if it succeeds, you’re able to scale and make a huge impact. So I think it has the best of both worlds.
Luke Peters: Yeah, and so talking about the site really quick, are you guys on… are you able to share the platform? Are you on Shopify, or Magento? Or what’s the backend platform that you’re on?
Yvethe Tyszka: We’re on Magento.
Luke Peters: You’re on Magento.
Yvethe Tyszka: Magento.
Luke Peters: Okay. And then do you have an eCommerce manager? Or are you having to kind of handle all of that, as far as deciding on apps and-
Yvethe Tyszka: Yeah, so global eCommerce falls under me. And I don’t have a person that manages that. So that’s a part of what I do. A lot of that is making sure we are firm on the pricing, the forecast, the revenue. I kind of co-own that with the VP of IT, but ultimately, I’m responsible for it. So I think this methodology of having a team that can own the execution, the ideas, the testing, they truly are the owners of how the website looks in every single country where we are.
Yvethe Tyszka: We do this on a global level, so we have members of the team in Europe that participate in our course every week. And they can bring that experience and that knowledge of what’s going on in their regions. But we do the forecast, for example, from here. So it’s been a really interesting experience for all of us.
Luke Peters: And again, you may or may not be able to share, but just with a lot of companies, even mine included, obviously it’s selling through some of these large retailers. It’s easier to get eyeballs on products, especially now, than it was seven or eight years ago. So Amazon’s owning a huge share of online sales. Other companies that you work with, Wayfair and all those others, are owning a huge share. And a lot of direct to consumer brands are… usually their websites is a much smaller share of total business sales. Is that the same with you guys? Or is that actually a really strong component of overall sales and growth?
Yvethe Tyszka: I wouldn’t say it’s the main one. I think the way that we have partnered with the sales team I think has been the most critical thing that we’ve done, to make sure that both can grow at the same time. So we decided when… at least when I started managing the site, I talked to the head of sales, and I said, “I want to be a complementary channel to you, not a competitor.” So when you go to our site, you will see a lot of bundles, and a lot of things that nobody else offers.
Yvethe Tyszka: And that’s because we want to offer the consumer a different experience. We want to make sure that if you want to buy an accessory for your product, that you can find it with us. Any type of needle. Every type of aerator. Cases. Carry cases. So there’s no way a retailer’s going to carry this big of an assortment. And we also create bundles that offer you more value.
Yvethe Tyszka: But price-wise, and I think you asked this question a little bit earlier, we do have kind of a match policy, where all of us sell at the same price. When we are on sale, everybody is on sale. When we’re not on sale, we’re not on sale. So we don’t want to be a competitor to our retailers. We want to make sure the consumer can find kind of a deeper experience with us. So you have a lot more learning, kind of like we talked Coravin as a product is always the same, regardless of the flavor.
Yvethe Tyszka: So a lot of people ask, “Which one should I buy?” So we offer people ways to identify that. You can take a quiz, which is kind of fun. You can look at a chart. And if you’re more analytical and you want to see the differences. And then it’s easier for you to choose. If you want to see reviews, this is the place to come. The history of the company. So I think we’re offering a different experience. And we’ve been growing steadily, at the same rate that the retailer’s growing, but it is a part of our business, but it’s not the number one driver of the business. Retail is the lion’s share.
Luke Peters: Yeah. And thanks for sharing that extra, that information. Because that is interesting. I always ask that on the podcast about channel conflict, because it’s always a big deal. So congrats, you guys were able to manage that with a map policy. But also, I think for the audience, a key takeaway there is that if they can bundle products… and it’s hard to do it with every type of product. But if you’re creative, you’re going to find a way. It sounds like that’s another way that you can avoid channel conflict, is by creating unique bundles on the Coravin website. So thanks for sharing.
Luke Peters: That’s really tangible, useful information, and a cool, really cool strategy. I can tell your marketing knowledge is so deep, and I think a lot of… by the way, a lot of the audience is going to be companies, brands that are really good. Maybe they came in store first, you know? And Coravin is starting in July 2013, you guys kind of started digital. So if you can think, a lot of brands will start in-store, and they really have to learn digital. And that’s not really their DNA. I guess just kind of finishing up our conversation here, what is maybe a really key, practical bit of advice or even a philosophy that you can share with other brand owners on how they can improve their marketing strategy or even marketing teams at their companies?
Yvethe Tyszka: I think for me, and this has been throughout my whole career in marketing, I always start with the consumer. I think sometimes, we want to start with the product, because it’s easier. We want to start with the experience or the channels. I think if you start with the consumer, and you really listen, they will give you everything you need to craft your marketing strategy. They’ll tell you where they want to listen from you. They’ll tell you where they want to engage with you. They’ll tell you the products they’re thinking about.
Yvethe Tyszka: I think a lot of people that I talk to, a lot of my peers, they tell me, “Well, if the consumer doesn’t know that the product exists, they can’t really tell you. Then the item wouldn’t exist. And I tend to disagree with that. I think the need of a knife for me was never verbalized by any consumer. But the need of communication and connectivity, I bet you was verbalized 1,000 times. So we have to listen beyond the product, and just listen for the need of the consumer. If you hear people that are saying, “Ugh, I have to buy this wine,” and like you would tell me, “Maybe my spouse doesn’t drink, and I do, and I don’t know what to do, because… maybe I’ll just pass and I won’t drink anything.” Well, that is a need right there. There is an answer.
Yvethe Tyszka: The consumer will find kind of ways around to solve for it, until you tell them, “You don’t have to. You don’t have to compromise. You don’t have to settle. You actually can do what you deep inside want to do.” And all of this is coming from the consumer. So I guess that is something that has been a constant in my whole career.
Yvethe Tyszka: If you listen to the consumer and really try to lead with data and insights, versus just go in purely with your gut. I think that’s a really good balance between the two, but a lot of times, as innovators, and especially in categories of products that are new, we tend to think, “The consumer doesn’t know. I just have to tell them.” And when you turn that around, I think you find a richer pool of information to really craft strategies that work.
Luke Peters: Wow. That’s spot on. I love it. And I like how you’re able to say things so succinctly. But always start with the consumer, not the product. We’re all guilty of doing the opposite, so that’s a perfect message at your end. Yeah, we always want to tinker with the product. How do we make the product better, and on, and on, and on. But yeah, like you said, the consumer will tell you what to do. That’s awesome. Thanks for that, Yvethe.
Luke Peters: How can listeners connect with you or find you? Is LinkedIn a good option? Or is there anywhere else that you would prefer?
Yvethe Tyszka: Yeah, LinkedIn is a great option. Yvethe Tyszka. The spelling of my last name is a little interesting. It’s T Y S Z K A. But absolutely, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. You can check out Coravin.com. You can see the senior management team here, and I’ll be there. A picture of me. And I’m sure you can connect with me that way as well.
Luke Peters: Awesome. Thanks, Yvethe. I want to thank you for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast, and also all of our listeners. Thanks for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast, sponsored by Retail Band. And quick reminder, if you’re looking for a free evaluation of your online digital strategy, and also take a look to see if influencer marketing could be an opportunity for you, contact me on LinkedIn or find me at Luke@RetailBand.com. Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed this content, would really appreciate a review. And take care.
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