12/08/2020

RGRM-Vacation

Your Unforgettable Journey

The Update: Milk Bar Delivery Marketing

0:03 The beauty of digital advertising for us 0:05 specifically through the pandemic 0:06 is...

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The beauty of digital advertising for us

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specifically through the pandemic

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is in the flexibility

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of when we can pivot.

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On this episode of The Update

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we talked to Christina Tosi from Milk Bar

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on how their digital transformation

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has led to sustainable growth.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself

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and the story behind Milk Bar.

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So I grew up in the Midwest

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and went to college for electrical engineering and applied mathematics.

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And I ended up somehow moving to New York City

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to go to culinary school and work my way up in

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fine dining restaurants.

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And along the way I realized

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that my love of baking cookies

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and being a formally trained pastry chef,

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that there was still sort of like a lot of gray area in between.

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And so I decided to create my own destiny

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and I opened Milk Bar in November of 2008.

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And my vision was to create a quirky American style bakery

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that served cookies, cakes, pies and ice cream

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where we could just show up in the world and show up in people’s lives on our terms.

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So prior to the pandemic,

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what was your company strategy and goals for 2020?

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Prior to the pandemic

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from a company standpoint

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were to continue to think about Milk Bar

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as the three channels that we exist as revenue stream.

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One is our brick and mortar channel,

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which is the channel that I originally opened Milk bar with.

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It was with 18 store fronts

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across the United States.

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It was continuing to invest in our online or e-comm business,

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which I call our care package business.

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And to launch and grow into grocery through our consumer packaged goods line.

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So tell us more about those differences after COVID-19 hit.

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When the pandemic hit in the US

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it very much gave us an invitation

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into the more intimate part of people’s lives

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because people were trying to find ways to celebrate from home.

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Employers were trying to find ways to show up for their employees

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to say thank you for showing up to work today.

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People were trying to figure out how to engage with one another

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even though they couldn’t celebrate or share that moment together.

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We became the conduit for that online which became a really interesting opportunity.

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How has your shift to e-commerce changed the revenue makeup of your business?

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You know, it’s interesting because of the pandemic there are

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we have less stores open and therefore less opportunity

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to garner the revenue that we’re accustomed to

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coming in from brick and mortar.

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Which means that we’re naturally making a shift and we’re pivoting to more

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And you know that is challenging us to look at

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the ways in which our business interacts

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from operations and fulfillment on down.

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With the majority of your bakeries closed during the pandemic,

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how has digital been an area of growth for your business?

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What we’ve actually done is taken

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some of the resource that we would put into stores

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from an advertising and real life standpoint,

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and we’ve pivoted them online.

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So we have more ads that exist online

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and we have a keener eye and a deeper focus

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to the customization of those ads online

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to educate our customers about

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how and when we can show up for them in real life,

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how and when they can get their strawberry shortcake cake

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in time for their given celebration and so on and so forth.

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We’ve actually doubled or tripled down

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on our online ad space because of our limitations

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at our closed stores and so on.

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What role did digital advertising and Google in particular play

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kind of as you made the shift?

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Google analytics to look and understand

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what our search terms that people

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are looking for from a flavor standpoint.

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What are search terms that people are looking for from an occasion standpoint.

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When people come to our site,

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when and where are they spending the most time?

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When do we lose them if we lose them.

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Are they looking for recipes?

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Is it about the rainbow sprinkle image?

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It’s everything visual and language and product

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that we’re studying across the board.

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Can you share a little more about how you use kind of digital advertising

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for you to customize your experiences with your consumers?

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What’s really really really powerful for us from a digital advertising customization standpoint is

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we are able to create and craft multiple different ads

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in the landscape to see which one actually lands.

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Which one is gaining the most momentum.

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Which one is converting in the most powerful way.

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And you’re able to constantly improve

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and pivot and customize from there

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until you’ve landed on places where you’re actually getting

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the most return possible, you know,

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larger and more productive than your wildest dreams.

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What advice would you give business owners

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who are just starting in their digital advertising or e-commerce journey?

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There is so much opportunity and so much

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continued untapped opportunity online

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and the value of continuing

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to double and triple down on our ad space

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and the flexibility with which we can

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shape our ads in the performance of the ad

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is all the more powerful. We are seeing

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you know record CACs beyond our wildest imagination

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because of our ability to

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and to constantly be shaping our message through ads.

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And the continued reality that our

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community and our customers are spending their time online.

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How will that look and change through the remainder of this year?

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We’re not sure but we’re really really really excited

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about the insane progress that we’re seeing in the digital space.

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What’s next for Milk Bar and will that change as your stores reopen?

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Oh Selin, if I had a crystal ball!

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We went into the pandemic with 18 stores,

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five of them have remained open through the pandemic.

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We’ve grown our digital footprint in a really really really exciting and energizing way

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and we’ve launched into retail

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through grocery stores.

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We will continue to ask ourselves the question on a daily basis.

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How can we and how do we show up in people’s lives?

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My sense is that that will continue to be

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incredibly powerful in the digital space.

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As it relates to stores and in grocery,

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we’re going to show up every day and figure it out.

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It’s not for the faint of heart,

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but nothing worth doing in life that really matters

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And so we’re here for the challenge.