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Chris Meade's Biggest DTC Lessons from 2022

Chris Meade's Biggest DTC Lessons from 2022

Last Updated:  
June 6, 2023

Not knowing our numbers inside and out killed us. I can't tell you how many times we had conversations where we were like "Are we going for a 2.5 or a 3 ROAS? Did we account for xyz spend? Eh.. a 2.2 is acceptable. Hell with it we're shooting for a 2 and fingers crossed." Honestly, you can think the world of CROSSNET, but we're still a startup at the end of the day.

You need to know your numbers in order to survive in 2023.

How we're solving it. Triple Whale has been a game changer for helping us make smart marketing decisions. It's helped us cut down unprofitable days and scale up massive days by accurately tracking spending across all of our channels. No more forgetting "Oh we spent $1200 on Google today and we're actually not as profitable as we thought."

Triple Whale allows us to quickly sort through our advertising spend versus money brought in and provides us with a clean blended ROAS, AOV, and Blended CPA.

2022 Lessons DTC Content

The coolest thing about the software is that it’s super affordable and it even syncs up to Slack so you can get a daily recap of your previous day. Every morning around 9AM when I’m on the treadmill I know I can open my #TripleWhaleChannel and know the day before’s numbers. Download it now here.

More Employees = More Headaches

It’s cool to say you have a 20 person company or that you are “rapidly scaling headcount” but if those people don’t have 40+ hours of work to do each week and you have time to manage them you will be crushing your P&L.

Simply put this year we went away from our flashy 22 person company down to 7. This meant a ton of sad, shitty conversations that were really painful to have. What did I learn? The longer you put these conversations off the worse things get and it only happened because we were at one point sitting on cash and trying ways to scale as fast as possible.

Crazy enough, we just moved one of our full time employees to freelance and we are getting the same amount of work done for 1/4th of the cost. What a steal!

If You’re a Manager, Ask Yourself This?

  • Does every employee have KPIs that they are tracked weekly, monthly, and quarterly?
  • Does every employee understand their next promotion in the org and what a promotion looks like?
  • Do you have time to meet with your direct reports weekly?
  • Are the goals of every employee public across the org?  

Repurpose Your Old Content

This year we have super aggressive ROAS targets on performance marketing and our financial controller is cracking the whip if we are not hitting them.

What we did last year is not acceptable this year and we need to get better. We’ve realized that we have a ton of great b-roll of people playing the game but don’t have enough hooks & CTA’s.

I know my game’s a bit unique, but the most expensive thing in the content creation process is shipping the product, the actual product, and then getting people together to play, all while trying to coordinate schedules & work around the weather. Safe to say we get a lot of excuses.

Now what are we doing? Having our girlfriend, wives, and close friends shoot some intro b-roll such as “I just found this game on Amazon and our friends can’t stop playing” and then boom cutting in the b-roll of people playing that we’ve already paid for.

This will now cost us $25-100 for some intro hooks & CTA’s, compared to this:

$15 Employee Cost (1 hour of negotiation & various BS)

$40 COG

$15 Shipping

$4 Warehousing Overhead

$500 Influencer Creation Charge

Total: $574

I can now get 5-10 videos instead of the 1 I was purchasing in 2021 & 2022.

Are Patents Worth It?

I have a ton of friends that ask me if I should get a patent for my business. I hear all the time “I can’t start until my patent is filed.” It’s one thing if you’re building the next Starlink, I can’t speak on that. But if you’re selling a $25 patented dog toy I think it's better to get the business off the ground and prove out if there’s even a market in the first place.

I am very happy that we spent the time getting the patent for CROSSNET early on during the first year of building our prototype. I recognize that it probably helped build our moat and allowed for competition to not come into the market. It took three years for knock offs to come around and start eating our market share on Amazon, but by then CROSSNET was a well recognized game with national distribution.

Remember, patent’s are great but they mean shit if you can’t defend it. Target ripped us off a few years ago with a shitty knockoff of CROSSNET. Sure we had a patent, but lets be honest they would have kept us in court until I was 40 and tied up millions in court bills. Thankfully their product flopped and its off the shelves now.

International Expansion

If you’re a new business I can’t even begin to explain to you how important it is to secure your trademarks, IPS, website domains and social handles globally and early on. Even if it seems like you won’t get out to that random country in Europe or China, you simply never know what’s going to happen! We had somebody pirate about 20 different domains from us, including crossnetgame.eu (a pretty damn good one) and hold it over our heads for ransom. He wanted over $50,000! Safe to say we’ll be finding a new domain name out there.  

Did you know you can’t even get a website in Australia without a business license? It legit took over six months to get crossnetgame.com.au. So please plan ahead if you’re planning on going international this year.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and found something valuable in them. Just remember every day will not be perfect, but taking one step forward each day will lead to massive growth at the end of the year. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions. Drop me an email at [email protected] and make sure to follow my weekly newsletter, CROSSED COMMERCE, here.

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