Insights from a CMO: an evening with Greg Bettinelli and Jerry Jao

We’ve had a busy week here at Retention Science! We hosted a webinar earlier this week, and threw an event for local eCommerce executives just last night, right here in Los Angeles. Pictures from the event.

Both events revolved around learning lessons from Greg Bettinelli, a managing partner at Upfront Partners, co-founder of accelerator MuckerLab, and the former CMO of HauteLook. He was gracious enough to join us in a casual but insightful conversation about the journey of a CMO in a fast-growing eCommerce company to becoming a partner at one of the most successful VC firms in Los Angeles.

Last night, he joined us during an exclusive, invite-only event at Drago Centro in downtown LA to share stories, lessons, and advice from his time at HauteLook. Greg shared insights on retail marketing trends ranging from mobile commerce to hyper-personalization, as well as life after Hautelook and his journey to becoming a VC.

Here are the top insights we gained from the talk:

1. There are no marketing unicorns

Companies often look for someone who understands branding, analytics, acquisition, andcustomer retention, but there’s no such marketing unicorn! It takes a team to sift through the data, send out the emails, create the content, and strategize. You can’t, and shouldn’t, do it alone. As you meet revenue milestones, be sure to build out your team accordingly.

2. Focusing on retention is worth it

Greg mentioned that early on at Hautelook, it seemed like the business was so compelling that acquisition was the only necessary focus. After all, it seemed unfathomable that anyone wouldn’t want to return to Hautelook when there were great products and brands at low prices.

Greg said that in hindsight, underinvesting in retention programs was a misstep. Although retention efforts take longer to pay off, it is equally as important as acquisition and is crucial for long-term success. In fact, if there’s acquisition is the only thing in the mind of the marketer, it becomes harder to keep your advantage in a competitive market. It is better to build the infrastructure for robust retention capabilities early on in order and reap the benefits later.

3. Don’t forget about what happens offline

As an ecommerce company, you might have the digital side on the lockdown. But there’s a lot that happens offline too. For Hautelook, offline advertising had a much larger impact on ecommerce than anyone had originally thought. The company invested in television and working with brand ambassadors and Youtube personalities. Greg had a great tip about offline partnerships: don’t do business with anyone you wouldn’t want to work with or work for.

What more could you ask for than good company, excellent food, and insightful conversation? We’ll be taking the show to other cities with other thought leaders. New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are next on the list. Maybe we’ll see you there!