Episode 169 Featuring Joseph Ianni

Jordan West - Mindful Marketing, A Smarter Way To Run Ads

Jordan West - Mindful Marketing, A Smarter Way To Run Ads

Thanks to a podcast exchange agreement, we've been fortunate to bring on the illustrious Jordan West of Mindful Marketing. Jordan is at the top of his game when it comes to advertising, running his own brands as well as his agency which services other top performing brands. He describes the mentality of mindful marketing, it's about using ads to get you away from using ads.

Jordan West started in marketing at 22 when he bought a Taco Del Mar chain restaurant. The learning curve was large but after 5 years he had tripled the sales at the restaurant with creative marketing tactics. 


After selling the store Jordan and his wife grew their children’s clothing company Little & Lively from a small at home operation to one of the “top ten baby brands in Canada” with advanced digital marketing techniques. Jordan’s business passion is helping e-commerce brands grow exponentially.

How Jordan Balances His Responsibilities

Jordan West: Yeah, absolutely. So I am a multi-store e-commerce owner as well as an agency owner. With one of our business units right now, we're really big on purchasing brands that have a mission behind them.

So one of our brands is keep nature wild. We pick up a pound of trash for every item that we sell. And we're just going to continue to grow that group of companies. We've had, quite a few acquisitions that have fallen through recently. But that's sort of what we're doing down there. Then we also have a made in Canada clothing company, and I am wearing one of our items right now.

It's just the most comfortable clothing that you will ever wear that sort of are kind of flagship company and then running a marketing agency as well, but help service those companies. We basically, at that mindful marketing, we used everything, all the tactics, that we're implementing in our brands for our clients.

So if that's kind of what I'm up to these days, and then being a dad of three, that takes up a bit of time too. 

Joseph: So altogether, you must have like an 80 hour to 120 hour commitment, how are you balancing all of this? 

Jordan West: Well, you can see me, you know, on video right now and maybe even hear my voice.

I do not work that many hours. I hope I don't look like I work that many hours. No, my schedule is very interesting. I really try and keep it between nine and two every day. But I do have between the companies, 50 employees. So that is how we get things done.

How Mindful Marketing Use Ads To Get You Off Using Ads

Joseph: I'd like to start with a quote here. This is from your agency, we help brands avoid extinction by using paid ads to build a loyal base of repeat custom customers and quick aside so we had to image of the LinkedIn. And so I kept scrolling up and down because my short term memory was just not, I was like loyal base. Okay, repeat that to do colors. And it was so one thing that I learned from my high school marketing class long ago, was that ads have two roles, the first is to generate interest and create customers.

But the second is to validate existing customers. So if someone sees a car commercial, maybe they already own the car, but it continues to reinforce their commitment and their loyalty to the brand. Now that was in, in high school. And it was some time ago for. And the thing is I can't say that I saw a continuation of that philosophy in the e-commerce space.

In this ecosystem, to me, it seemed like ads, their primary role was to acquire the customers, but the retention and the loyalty building is all around customer service. Its community, a dialogue, or whether you have forum or Facebook page, email re-marketing, all of those factors. What is it about the ads that are building the repeat customers and are continuing on the more long form relationship with the company?

Jordan West: Yeah, so really our tagline at mindful marketing is that we use ads to get you off using ads. Right. And the idea is that we're using ads to get you off the reliance of ads. There are two different kinds of companies, post iOS 14.5, those that relied heavily on acquisition, right.

Constant acquisition. And that was the only way that you actually were able to make money, was acquiring these new customers versus the companies out there who have massive customer lifetime values. And they've got the whole retention side of things.

So as an example, one of the companies that we own, our customer lifetime value or average customer lifetime value is $1,200. Right? Our average order value is about 130. So you can see they're making between nine and 10 purchases. So we do that through building communities right now, we're building those communities on Facebook. We really think that Facebook is still prioritizing groups. And we still see even with the advent of neighborhoods, which has been in beta groups are still showing up much more you know, within the groups members themselves.

And they're making some changes right now, but I still think that's the best place to build that community and then ask the masses now. For those notifications, we always are trying to capture SMS data, text message data. And then the next one that comes in there as email. So we really want to own all of that.

And before the advent of all of these retention channels, of course, you continue to show people ads, right? You continue to reinforce the fact that like, hey, when you buy that link and you're going to be cool, like, whatever his name is, that is in the Lincoln commercials. You know, who is the guy? I could see them right now.

Joseph: Matthew McConaughey? 

Jordan West: Matthew McConaughey. Exactly. You buy Lincoln. You're going to be like Matthew McConaughey. And so when people see those ads who already own a Lincoln, they think, oh, I'm closer to Matthew McConaughey than ever now. Like I basically got it. I just got to work on the accent, it's a little bit different these days.

I think that we can be much more targeted with our ads. Not saying that we don't put our ads out to our current customers. Of course we do, but we don't have the reliance on having to do that. Right. Because we built up these channels that are so sticky that we don't have to. And we just kind of use that as a net to sort of gather, during a sale or during some new promo.

We kind of use that net to sort of gather up the ones who haven't seen in the past. So that's really how I view advertising. We still put a lot of money into advertising between our companies like absolutely, but I'm not obsessed with it the same way that I'm obsessed with the customer journey and actually getting that customer lifetime value higher and higher.

And that's by doing good things. It's not by just selling stuff to people. Right? If all that I'm trying to do is just, you know, be a drop shipper that just sells stuff just for the sake of making a dollar per item or something, that to me, that's not interesting. I really like building a brand and building something that people can actually glom onto, and then whatever I sell right? Needs to be good and people need to like it so that they're going to tell their friends. And then that's where word of mouth comes in.

Jordan's Ad Formula

Joseph: I want to ask you something specifically about the ad itself. So it's been a pretty consistent formula. And anytime I talk about this, the ad formula goes, old, bad, new, good, benefits over features, call to action.

I don't have to look at the sheet that time. I actually was able to pull that at a memory. And so, based on the objectives that you're trying to reach with your advertisement, have you had to derive a variation on that formula or has it largely largely been able to stick to that? Or how would you characterize it?

Jordan West: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there's a bunch of different copy formulas that we use when we're trying to write ads. It really depends what we're selling when it comes to a peril, unless you're solving a specific problem for somebody, you don't really have problems, solution, right.

For let's say for our Canadian clothing company that came to the studio, which houses a bunch of different brands, you know, really the problem that we could derive would be the people's kids, clothing falls apart. It's just not good quality. It doesn't actually last the test of time, especially for how crazy kids are right. In all the different things that they do, we make clothing that actually lasts.

And then we would put some reviews down there. I think social proof and reviews are really important when it comes to this, them being able to see themselves in the review. But that's about as good as we're going to get when it comes to apparel. Right. And selling apparel, other things that really tend to work are just seeing images of people in the same clothing as you. And so making sure that you have a ton of different models is really important when it comes to imagery.

So when it comes to apparel marketing, really the imagery and the creative is really what is driving all of this. What I picture as far as people's eye movement, when they see an ad in apparel, right? This is what if you're solving a specific problem, this isn't necessarily going to be the same thing, but it's image the first thing that they look at, then if it's Facebook newsfeed, they're going to look down to the headline, right?

So put the most amount of energy into the, into testing those headlines. Then if they like that headline, then they're going to go back up and take a look at your copy in the description. That's really where you're trying to sell it. Right. So always making sure one of the things that we noticed when we audit accounts is that people don't have hyperlinks in their ad copy description. That's where the majority of the clicks take place.

After they've looked at the image, look at the headline and then gone back up. That's true for the Facebook news feed. Now when it comes to the Instagram feed, really its image focused. You're really just trying to get that out there as much text as you can, to try to drive people using the image. Not as many people are going to read the copy and there's no hyperlinks in the copy to be on Instagram. So I'm not even sure what question I was answering of yours, but there you go. 

Building Consistency In Sales

Jordan West: Awesome question. I'm going to answer it for apparel and I'm going to say in apparel it's this is why baby clothing, right? This is why we're in baby, toddler, kids, youth, women, all the way to XXL. We're in pajamas, we're in all of these different places, head bows, all of these different things that we can do to serve the customer. Kids grow. Right? So they always need new things.

It's a huge testament to our brand, that in our VIP group, we have about 10,000 people in a group that we don't manage or own. We don't even touch it. There are about 8,000 people that are in our buy sell trade. That somebody is just put together and people buy, sell, and trade art clothing, right? To me, that's the biggest advertisement of all right. People know that they can take their clothes and go and sell them there and size up. If anything, it's just a testament to other people like, oh my gosh, this is like incredible quality. Now that works for clothing.

And of course, in apparel, when it comes to electronics and the obsolescence seems like a great business plan. I don't really know coming from, I've never been the CEO of one of those kinds of companies before. And I don't know what kind of decisions I'd make personally, that goes completely against my core values. I don't want to create more junk. That's not what I want to do right there. I think that there's enough people in the world, for your target market, that you can create incredible products that last a long time that more and more people will just purchase.

I mean, look at Honda, right? Like I've only ever owned Honda vehicles. I don't know if it's ever broken down any of my Honda vehicles yet. I've probably owned 10 over my life so far. Because I continually want to get the newest one or whatever it is, but they've always been so good. And that's why I buy them because they're so good. Do I buy less vehicles because they're so good. I probably doubt it. Do I like absolutely love that company and think that everything they do is amazing. Yeah. I hate that they don't have an electric vehicle yet.

His commitment in helping our environment

Jordan West: We actually purchased this brand from the two founders that created it. And we loved it because we love brands that have community built around them. And so this brand already had this incredible community called the wild keepers that go out and pick up trash. And so one of our full-time employees manages the wild keepers and that's their entire job.

And so we've got about, I believe about 5,500 people now commit to going out and picking up trash throughout the month. And so it's a really cool community experience where people get to know some of their friends in the area that are also passionate about that we really focused on trails and neighborhoods cleaning up. And so that's a big thing for us and we record all of that. All of that trash cleanup, just through certain forums that the group has, and it's really done incredible things for some of these areas.

So people now call us up, especially at, at parks, right. Where people will go and just trash it. They'll just leave all of their garbage in the parks. We'll call up the wild keepers and call up, you know, the people who run our program and just say like, Hey, is there any way you guys can come in and do a clean up there? And it really changes the environment, right?

When other people go there and see how clean it is, they're not going to just chuck their trash out. It's kind of like the broken windows idea, right? That like the more you clean that stuff up, the less bad things that are going to happen in the area. And we really believe in that. For me, I'm a mountain biker. I go out three or four times a week. I hate seeing trash on the trails. So it's really, something that I am very passionate about.

Yeah. So that's kind of what our group looks like and why I think that it's so amazing. So for people who are listening, if you can think of a way to rally your customers around, if your brand isn't quite strong enough to rally them around your brand yet, then rally them around some sort of mission. Something that you can do to get everybody on board. That's what we believe in down there. 

Joseph: Maybe as well, you know, forming a partnership or are trying to add your wage to a larger effort, like a larger organizations. Say if an environmental group is working with this particular group, you know, all of us, we can join them and be a part of a larger collective effort.

Jordan West: Absolutely. Yes. And that's the best place to start. Right? Find people who are already doing it and try and partner together with them. We've had huge companies talk to us, you know, Amex, Apple, big companies that aren't going to create their own program, but they really believe in what we're doing.

And so they want to partner together with us. So it's really cool. Think about that. Maybe that's probably the first step to take is before you create your own community, it's just trying to find other ones to partner with them. 

Joseph: I didn't want to turn this into too much of an environmental episode, but I got one. This is actually something I'm just personally curious about. Cause this is something that drives me crazy for a long, long time. I do try my best and I largely succeed, which usually ends up meaning I put things in my backpack and that I ended up throwing it up, you know, when it gets to a garbage can, I'm at home reusing bags, but over time, plastic bags have built up.

We've got quite a few of them. Do you know, like how to properly recycle them or repurpose them or anything like that. Like I have like a hundred of these in a bin and I'm trying to figure out how to do something useful with them. 

Jordan West: The question, I mean, I've got the exact same problem over here. I think that generally just reusing whatever you can, if you have any use for them is probably the best way to do it. As far as on the west coast is concerned. Most places have either banned plastic bags or they charged for these plastic bags. So you're incentivized not to use them.

And I think that's probably the first step, right? It's just like, anytime that you need to use a plastic bag, maybe to think like, is there any other way I could do this without that, without getting them into the environment. And besides that, I mean, on the west coast also, we do have recycling for at specific recyclers, see, you can do that.

I think the biggest thing is just getting them out of the environment. And making sure that they're not clogging up streams and that they're not, you know, making nature look disgusting. And that's why that company is keep nature wild or really believe in that sort of idea of making sure that all the nature around us is wild because we've done crazy things over the years.

We've created all sorts of garbage and we've seen those pictures. Often, well, we don't see it as much in Canada as we do in the states. I think that we treat the environment a little bit differently and especially west coast over here, like that's all, you know, it's huge. It's what we talk about all the time. So yes, there you go. There's your answer.

Significant shifts happening in the industry and how he deals with it

Joseph: Well, I'd like to get your take on this as well, because this is the first time that I've actually had the opportunity to mention it. But Facebook isn't even going to be Facebook before too long. It's switching over to a new name called Meta, which if I was 20 years old and I was still on my postmodern bent, where I love everything turning meta, I'd be super stoked about it. Now? Not so much.

I think back to all of the work that I've done here on this show and trying to acquire and share our knowledge based on Facebook, but I haven't exactly spent a heck of a lot of money on the platform, whereas, well, I'm just wondering, what's going through the minds of yourself and your peers with Facebook undergoing such a significant shift, how much pivoting do you think you're going to have to deal with in the coming months?

Jordan West: Yeah, it's a great question. I mean, I think that the platform itself and the 22 different ad placements that they have are not going away, right. Instagram, you know, has seen record amounts of people on it. Especially as they've moved to reels. reels are a huge part of Instagram. Now they've really pulled in like RH demographic into using reels and staying on that platform rather than going over to Tiktok.

And Facebook itself probably won't change the actual platform of Facebook. It's a general company that's gone to meta. I think that the metaverse is going to be interesting, probably be a lot of advertising opportunities there. I don't think the company is going away anytime soon. I still think that it's the number one customer acquisition channel.

We've delved into Tiktok and it's just not robust of a platform. Yes. I think it's going to get there. Also I think that the demographic that is on Tiktok, their wallets aren't quite as open as Facebook and Instagram, and all of the surrounding apps as well. So that's sort of my take on things.

How he manages multiple apps he uses for marketing

Jordan West: This is how it happens, right? You start out knowing that and you realize on your website that you've got an issue that you don't know how to solve, and you don't have the money yet to solve it because you're still new. So you add an app that solves that problem for now. And then another problem pops up and then soon 68 different problems have popped up and you've solved them all with apps. And you realize that now you actually have the revenue that you don't need to do that and solve those problems, because the original theme that you were using, didn't have some of that functionality.

And that's really what it comes down to right is like the basic Shopify themes just don't have the functionality built into them. Now I believe dawn 2.0, has a ton of functionality built into it. Do you still need external apps? Absolutely. Do you need 68 external apps? No. Now my solve for this luckily between our companies, I just hired a very strategic head of. I'm trying to think what exactly what his, what his role as essentially he's our e-commerce strategist. And so he's already gone in, and he's identified 30 apps that we no longer need.

So we'll start to make sure that we start taking away those, there are certain apps that you, that you must have, like for instance, we're at the place now where we need an inventory management system. Well, you have to have that plugin to your, to the backend of Shopify, you have to have a customer service portal. If please don't run things on g-mail guys gorgeous, love the guys over at gorgeous, great, great platform. There's those ones that you really need, but basically any web functionality you can get a developer to do for you.

And most likely it's going to, after over a year, pay off for you. And that's where the guys at Debutify, really nailed it. When you look at all of the different features and functionality that they have built in, that would probably eliminate 40 of mine. So find something. And what that does is site speed is so important these days and those apps just drag your site down. That's just a huge part. And just a really quick answer to say, think twice before you instill one of those. And also lots of times you'll add an app and it won't when you deleted it, won't take the code off your website.

The code is still sitting there slowing your website down. 

Joseph Ianni
Joseph Ianni

Debutify is the easiest way to launch and scale your eCommerce brand.

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