AdDiego 2018: A Day of Networking & Learning Amazon Q4 Strategy

Over 150+ experts representing retail brands and CPC Strategy gathered at the beautiful Alexandria campus in sunny San Diego last week for our annual AdDiego conference.

This year featured a full day of expert discussions around innovative Amazon strategies to drive growth in Q4 and beyond.

The event was packed with seasoned Amazon experts, successful retail brands like Franklin Sports, Nixon, and Guthy|Renker, insightful conversations, and delicious food and drinks.

 

 

“Amazon’s ecosystem is rapidly changing,” said Rick Backus, CPC Strategy’s CEO, setting the tone for the day’s presentations in his opening speech.

“Brands that want to win in an Amazon-dominated landscape need to understand the way that Amazon operates.”

You need to be agile, sophisticated, data-driven, and ready to act quickly on Amazon’s moves. It’s more important than ever to have working, innovative strategies that drive real growth in today’s competitive marketplace.

-Rick Backus, Co-founder and CEO of CPC Strategy

 

Here’s a brief recap of each of the presentations held throughout the all-day event in chronological order.

The day began with a California-inspired breakfast that was both delicious yet light enough for guests to power on for a full day of learning and networking.

 

1. How Franklin Sports Tackles Amazon Strategy

After a light breakfast, everyone filed into the Americana main hall for a presentation on Unpacking Franklin Sports’ Strategy for Success on Amazon, presented by Scott Kennedy of Franklin Sports and Pat Petriello of CPC Strategy.

There’s a lot to learn from a sports giant that spends $1+ million across 600+ AMS campaigns.

Established in 1949, Franklin Sports has a come along way in building its status as an iconic sports brand. Scott and Pat explained how Franklin Sports has seen incredible success by embracing the ecommerce revolution.

 

 

They both touched on how a solid campaign structure that allows for granular optimizations down the road based on actionable data can lead to significant growth on Amazon’s marketplace.

Topics covered:

  • Poor Campaign Structure
  • Bringing Down ACoS & Achieving ACoS Goals
  • Pushing For More Sophisticated Analyses
  • How technology like the CAPx Platform can help manage day-to-day operations

 

“The days where one-off growth hacks worked on Amazon are over,” stated Pat Petriello.

“You need to have a comprehensive Amazon strategy and campaign structure where small adjustments drive sustainable, marginal gains across your catalog throughout the whole year for strong overall sales growth.”

As Amazon continues to evolve, having a granular campaign structure is important for making further optimizations down the road. It’s necessary for achieving your ACoS goals and leveraging valuable data to make optimizations.


-Scott Kennedy, Director of Ecommerce Analytics and Digital Marketing at Franklin Sports

 

2. The Amazon Hybrid Model: Take Control of Your Growth on Amazon

The Hybrid model of using both Amazon’s Vendor and Seller platforms has become a hot topic this year.

This presentation featured Jeff Coleman and Eric Kauss, experts in Marketplace and Vendor Operations, who discussed the intricacies of both Vendor Central and Seller Central, how businesses can evaluate if the hybrid strategy is a fit for their goals, operational issues, and how to transition from 1P to 3P.

Should you be selling on both Vendor Central and Seller Central? The right decision requires careful consideration of each platform as well as your own business to determine the costs and profitability of using both.

jeff coleman addiego

-Jeff Coleman, VP of Marketplace Channels at CPC Strategy

 

Topics covered:

  • Where does selling on Amazon stand today?
  • Vendor Central vs Seller Central considerations
  • 1P vs 3P cost structure
  • 1P vs 3P gross profitability analysis

 

 

“The challenges are different for each platform and there are measures you can take to improvise on each” says Eric Kauss.

“An effective hybrid strategy will leverage strengths from both the Vendor and Seller side to drive your brand’s performance on Amazon’s marketplace.”

 

3. Amazon Growth in Q4 2018: Lessons Learned from Guthy | Renker

When it comes to understanding Marketplace trends, there’s no better authority than Guthy-Renker.

One of the most successful direct marketing companies that owns a host of beauty brands, Guthy-Renker knows first-hand what it takes to build a loyal fan base and achieve year-over-year growth on Amazon’s marketplace.

 

Courtney Manuel of Guthy-Renker and Nancy-Lee McLaughlin of CPC Strategy joined together to discuss emerging trends for the number one category on Amazon as well as actionable strategies for beauty brands (and others) to make the most of the busy shopping season.

Topics covered:

  • A recap of Q4 2017
  • 5 big emerging trends of 2018
  • How Guthy Renker is responding to these changes
  • Q4 Action items checklist

 

We believe it’s always more actionable and insightful when you not only speak to the emerging trends but present a live case study of a brand (like Guthy Renker) who is currently working through these opportunities and challenges.

– Courtney Manuel, Marketing Manager at Guthy-Renker

 

Read the full recap of the Lessons Learned from Guthy|Renker: Amazon Growth in Q4 2018 here.

 

 

ad diego lunch

Attendees enjoyed a “Taste of San Diego” in the afternoon, featuring delicious bites from Farmer & The Seahorse, crafted by award-winning celebrity chef Brian Malarkey.

 

4. Ask The Experts: Leverage Last Year’s Insights To Power Your 2018 Q4 Amazon Growth Strategy

After a delicious lunch, four of our top Amazon experts presented Q4 Amazon Ad Strategy, which covered best practices and advanced techniques for achieving strong performance during the upcoming holiday season.

We’re here discuss how to prepare your campaigns and be ready for Q4. We want to make sure you are prepared to get the most out of the increased traffic that we’re going to see in Q4, specifically as it relates to your Sponsored Products advertising efforts.

– Pat Petriello, Head of Marketplace at CPC Strategy

 

This breakout session allowed each speaker to address common pain points and techniques to best position your brand for a profitable Q4: testing, gathering data, and building out compelling creative.

Topics covered included:

  • Biggest concerns heading into Q4
  • Advice on budget allocation and promotions
  • How to stay competitive in high-traffic categories
  • Leveraging data and planning for inventory
  • Amazon’s organic rank algorithm

 

Read the full recap of Q4 Amazon Ad Strategy: AdDiego Panel Experts Share Best Practices here.

 

 

5. The Amazon/Ecommerce Quandary How Brands Balance an Ecommerce & Amazon Strategy to Maximize Profit

Many of today’s direct-to-consumer brands face a familiar problem: how to balance a strategy that includes both Amazon and an ecommerce website for maximum performance.

In this session Retail Search  Experts Josh Brisco and Lewis Brannon dive into the benefits of an omnichannel approach and explain how a direct-consumer ecommerce funnel can help drive traffic and performance on Amazon.

 

 

Topics covered:

  • Ecommerce 101 & Direct-to-Consumer Benefits
  • Amazon & Ecommerce Channel Comparison
  • Cross-Channel Resource Allocation & Merchandising Strategies
  • Integrating Insights across Channels to Maximize Performance

 

Your ecommerce website is your brand’s launchpad. It gives you access to valuable data, enables you to build a real relationship with your customers, and ultimately make the most out of your traffic by directing traffic to your high CVR product pages on Amazon.

josh brisco ad diego

-Josh Brisco, Senior Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

 

6. Leveraging External Traffic to Your Amazon Business

There are major advantages to driving external traffic to your Amazon business.

In this presentation, Aaron Gooden, Sarah Sanchez, and Robert Shepard — experts on Amazon, Social, and Google — present actionable strategies for driving Web-to-Amazon (W2A) traffic in a cost-effective way to capture demand and increase sales.

 

 

Topics covered:

  • Impact & Benefits of Driving External Traffic to Your Amazon Business
  • Optimizing Amazon Stores & Detail Pages to Drive Conversions
  • How to Implement a Web-to-Amazon Strategy on Google & Facebook
  • Success Stories & Q4 Takeaways

 

Brands that make the most out of Q4 are the ones that can direct off-Amazon traffic from both Google and Facebook to your highly optimized Amazon store and content pages that can capture demand and convert customers.

-Aaron Gooden, Lead Marketplace Channel Analyst

 

7. Amazon Branding: Take Your A+, EBC, & Store Content to the Next Level

Competition on Amazon is only increasing, which is forcing brands to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Leo Carrillo and AJ Swamy, experts on Amazon’s Marketplace and Client Services, presented how an Amazon branding strategy that features premium content can improve the visibility and value proposition of your brand on today’s crowded Marketplace.

 

 

Topics covered:

  • Amazon Then vs Amazon Now
  • Branding On Amazon 101
  • The Ideal Customer Experience
  • How To Track Success

 

You can no longer simply copy content from your Shopify store or website hope it will work on Amazon. You have to take a sophisticated brand strategy that includes media optimized for Amazon’s store and content pages.

-Leo Carrillo, Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy

 

8. The Brand’s Dilemma Panel: Learning, Building, and Growing on Amazon

After the breakout sessions, AdDiego guests reconvened in the Illumina theater for a panel on the organic development of brand strategy on Amazon.

This panel was hosted by our very own Pat Petriello and featured experts from four major brands:

 

 

I’m honored to be joined by these wonderful people up here. Each of them is going to share their own unique story of how they have learned to build and manage their brands on Amazon.

pat petriello

– Pat Petriello, Head of Marketplace at CPC Strategy

 

9. Closing Session: Global Marketplace Tetris and Fireside Chat With Gary Penn and Nii Ahene

The final session to round out the day before happy hour was led by Gary Penn, VP of Digital & eCommerce at Nixon.

With over 20+ years in the industry where he led multiple major lifestyle brands (Columbia, Quicksilver, DC, Nixon), Gary Penn has deep first-hand knowledge of what it takes to expand your brands offering on Amazon to new regions across the globe.

 

Topics covered:

  • Global Marketplace strategy
  • What it takes to go international
  • Localization challenges
  • Leveraging regional retail distribution partners

 

Most brands still struggle with a global strategy because going beyond 1P in the U.S. is incredibly complex. Brands that want to go global need to understand that it takes strategy, resources, regional partners, and the patience to make it all work.

-Gary Penn, VP of Digital & eCommerce at Nixon

 

Happy Hour!

After a final speech from Rick Backus to round out the day, everyone transitioned to a happy hour that featured local cuisine and craft drinks.

 

ad diego happy hour

 

 

I loved being a part of AdDiego. The day was just really well done. Kestrel and the rest of the team really rocked it!

-Daquent Robinson, Director of Sales, eTail, at The Honest Company

 

AdDiego was a valuable and enjoyable event all around. The speaker presentations were full of actionable recommendations for Q4. The lunchtime and happy hour were both great for networking and making new contacts with a diverse group of people. I look forward to attending again next year!

-Noah Koff, Founder and CEO at Redwood Portland

 


Links to Presentations & Slides:

Morning Presentations: Americana Conference Room

Afternoon Presentations: Chronicle Conference Room

Afternoon Presentations: Illumina Conference Room

About the AuthorGreg graduated from CSU Sacramento with a degree in International Relations. After teaching English in Istanbul, he returned to California to pursue writing about tech and digital marketing. See all posts by this author here.