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Accelerating Your DTC Business Growth – Exclusive Interview With John Moussan

John Moussan is an e-Commerce growth expert, vetted as the top 1% in his field. Leveraging his engineering background and business experiences, John created powerful strategies that can add 25% more revenue within 90 days for DTC brands. John’s been featured in several publications, including Dot Com, Magazine Digital Ad Brief’s Marketing Champions and the Brainz Global500 list. He is the founder & CEO of Great White Media, an award-winning elite global email and SMS marketing agency based in Southern California. His top core value is putting people first. His vision: To build better lifestyles for his customers, his team and the community.

smiling man in white long sleeves

John Moussan, Founder & CEO

Considering the explosive growth of e-commerce, what kind of landscape are DTC brands facing? DTC business owners are in a unique position now, juggling significant challenges but also standing on the brink of amazing opportunities. If they play their cards right, there’s huge potential for growth. For instance, during the pandemic, I had many conversations with numerous business owners frantically rushing to take their business online. What struck me the most was the extent to which they lagged behind, especially given the fact that e-commerce in the USA was already at $416B in 2017 and projected to reach $1.5T by 2027. The pandemic served merely as a catalyst, driving 10 years' worth of growth in just 90 days with almost 84% of consumers taking their shopping online. Not only that, but e-commerce is taking an even larger chunk of retail sales, which was about 19% in 2022. And it’s no secret that mobile is at the heart of this transformation, making up around 75% of total e-commerce sales. The sobering reality is that e-commerce is far from easy. Up to 80% of e-commerce businesses fail within the first 18 months and half of all small businesses close their doors within five years. There are several reasons, with poor marketing and hiring poor talent being at the top of the list. So for those in this space, whether you are new or established, the road to success is the continual sharpening of your marketing skills and hiring the best you can afford, assuming other foundational elements of the business is in place. As an industry expert, could you shed some light on the key trends influencing DTC brands today? What steps should businesses be taking to stay competitive? There are several trends that are reshaping the DTC landscape that are beyond what we can cover here. However, one key trend that caught my attention is the growing importance of sustainability in purchasing decisions. According to a study done by IBM and the National Retail Federation, about 70% of consumers in the US and Canada now prioritize sustainability when making a purchase decision. Given this shift, DTC brands that fail to embrace eco-friendly practices in their products or operations and fail to make these practices visible to their customers risk losing market share and damaging their brand’s reputation. Another key trend is artificial intelligence (AI). The reality is that it’s already revolutionizing many aspects of how business is done and if you don’t adopt it in your business, then chances are you will lose a competitive edge to those who do.

Based on your experience working with numerous DTC brands, what are some specific challenges they face and how can they overcome these obstacles to achieve growth? Through my experience working with nearly 100 brands and engaging in conversations with many more, I was able to see patterns, which include slow growth, unclear marketing plans, and struggling to find good reliable talent, to name a few. However, I discovered that a key strategy to spurring growth lies in focusing on the entire market as opposed to just the top 10% who are ready to purchase. This concept of the buyer’s pyramid was originally introduced by marketing expert Jay Abraham if I’m not mistaken. Most companies direct their efforts towards that top 10% – a segment that all brands are competing for. Just take a look at any shopping website, and chances are you will be greeted with coupons and offers. But what about the potential customer who’s not ready to purchase yet? It is a crucial question. How are we capturing these prospects? How are we following up to ensure they eventually turn into buyers? These are some of the questions that brands must address to accelerate growth. In terms of building a successful marketing strategy, what avenues do you believe businesses should focus on to reach their customers effectively? There are several ways to successfully market a business and I encourage an omnichannel approach. This strategy allows brands to meet their customers where they are, be it through social media, events, or others. Despite the popularity of messengers, social media, and chat apps, email continues to hold a central role in digital communication accounting for about 25% of a company’s revenue. The importance of email in today’s marketing landscape is highlighted in many studies including “The State of Email Marketing” benchmark report by Validity and Demand Metrics. Furthermore, SMS marketing has evolved from an optional marketing channel to an indispensable one - 80% of consumers shopping online, and nearly 40% of consumers in the USA now prefer SMS from their favorite brands.

It’s clear that businesses should not overlook the power of both email and SMS. You recently published a book, 'The Ultimate Ecommerce Growth Playbook,' what would you say are the three most important takeaways for businesses aiming to maximize their growth? The three biggest takeaways from the book are email and SMS remains an indispensable driver of revenue. Second, the combination of the tools used, such as your online platform and your email and SMS tool can greatly impact your results. And lastly, who you hire to manage this channel is crucial – the wrong team will not fail in maximizing results, but in extreme cases can harm your business, for instance by ruining your deliverability. I share stories about that in the book and I also break down our Email & SMS Profit Accelerator™, which is our 5-step system to increase growth, increase lifetime value (LTV) and build brand awareness. This approach has generated millions of dollars for the brands we’ve helped, all the while without spamming their list. We use a sustainable approach that ensures long-term success – and in many cases industry crushing results. In your experience, what issues often arise when businesses attempt to leverage email and SMS marketing, and how significant is the role of reliable talent in overcoming these? Implementing email and SMS marketing presents a variety of challenges. These range from limited time and disconnect between flows and strategy to the need for ongoing optimization. However, one of the most treacherous pitfalls is being let down by agencies and freelancers. In my view, finding reliable talent that can deliver tangible results is the most significant challenge. As a business owner or executive, it’s not your job to do this. Your role is to build the vision, provide support, and maintain accountability for your team. Otherwise, how can you scale up your business when you’re involved in every little detail? This is why hiring the right people is crucial. I’ve seen it all, from agencies to freelancers to in-house teams, and they often lack strategy. They usually are obsessed with execution – crafting the perfect email – but fall short on the strategic approach, which is what truly makes a difference. Who should businesses seek when wanting to improve their email and SMS marketing and how should they evaluate potential service providers? Drawing on my own experiences, I’ve come to conclude that most companies would benefit greatly from engaging an agency specializing in email and SMS that have a solid reputation. This assertion is reinforced by feedback we’ve received from our clients sharing that they have tried various approaches and had the best results working with us. If you’re considering hiring an agency, there are 5 key evaluation criteria you want to assess to determine their suitability. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to cover all of them here but I would like to highlight the importance of assessing their expertise which covers strategy, specialization, and data analysis among others.

Another significant factor to assess is their leadership, reputation, and credibility. Look at what they’ve contributed to the industry, awards they’ve received, and where their work has been featured.

We’ve prepared a comprehensive two-page resource for business owners interested in discovering these evaluation criteria in more depth. Just reach out to me and I’d be happy to share.

Could you describe your journey from being a mechanical engineer to founding an award-winning agency that is rated among the top 1% on Upwork globally? And what’s the best way to contact you?

The transition from being a mechanical engineer to launching an award-winning agency has been quite a journey. Despite having spent over a decade in e-commerce, my fascination with space was the original reason I pursued engineering.

A few years back, I explored a career change and spent around six months trying to break into the space industry, which proved challenging. During this time, I leveraged my e-commerce experience and started offering email marketing services on the side.

The remarkable results I generated for the first few brands I worked with gave me the confidence to create a system that could replicate this success for various brands. This is how Great White Media was born, symbolized by our logo of a great white shark dominating an email.

One of our key guiding principles is putting people first, whether they’re members of our team or our clients. This ethos is what truly sets up apart from other agencies and has shaped us into a trusted and reliable growth partner for our clients.

If you’d like to get in touch, I invite you to visit our website or connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram. In fact, if you drop me a message mentioning this interview, I’ll be more than happy to send you a complimentary copy of my book which is packed with strategies for boosting your business through email and SMS.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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