Meet the Moguls: 6 Takeaways from Nikki Reed, Barbara Corcoran, and Kady Srinivasan’s Clubhouse Conversation
Editor’s note: Quotes have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
In the Meet the Moguls Clubhouse series, Klaviyo is teaming up with Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, to profile some of the biggest names in the ecommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) space.
“Connecting with customers is one of the most important aspects of building a business, especially online,” said Barbara about the Meet the Moguls series.
“It’s great to hear all of these success stories and how Klaviyo has helped so many entrepreneurs grow their businesses,” she added.
For the first in the series, actress and BaYou with Love cofounder Nikki Reed joined Barbara and Kady Srinivasan, Klaviyo’s SVP of global marketing, to discuss her journey building a sustainable jewelry brand. Throughout the conversation, the three participants discussed the marketing strategies and mentalities required to build a booming DTC business.
If you missed the live show or just want a recap, keep reading for six takeaways from the discussion.
1 | Understand your mission and be authentic to your brand
Nikki started BaYou with Love in 2017 with the idea of creating sustainable, ethical, and consciously produced jewelry that didn’t exist in the marketplace at the time.
“These are all words that are part of our daily conversations today—these aren’t foreign words anymore. But when I was talking about this 10 years ago, no one was talking about it. I’m grateful everyone is talking about it now, but when we launched the company, I wanted to produce products I couldn’t find elsewhere,” said Nikki.
But before Nikki started BaYou with Love, she pursued another jewelry brand that she described as “short-lived.”
The reason it didn’t work out? There was no purpose or mission behind the brand as there is behind BaYou with Love.
“You need to have a core essence and vision behind your company,” said Nikki.
“That’s one reason why I want BaYou with Love to stay a small business. When you see astronomical growth within a company, sometimes you lose that core essence—there are too many people acting as captain of the ship. That’s something that you really feel with BaYou’s with Love—our growth mission sets us apart from other brands,” she added.
"When you see astronomical growth within a company, sometimes you lose that core essence—there are too many people acting as captain of the ship. That’s something that you really feel with BaYou's with Love—our growth mission sets us apart from other brands."
Nikki Reed, founder, BaYou with Love
Kady echoed a similar sentiment during the question-and-answer portion of the discussion and added that you can use these ideas as a foundation for your brand voice so you can make every marketing message more aligned to your business.
“Be authentic to yourself. Make your essence known. Then, when you start with that type of message and you’re also able to understand your customer journey and your ideal customer profile, you can begin creating personalized experiences and building those relationships,” said Kady.
“You’ll see the network effect works rapidly. People hear about you through word of mouth. People come to your website, and when you capture their email address, you build a virtuous loop that catapults your brand and gets your ecosystem flowing,” she added.
2 | Start at the bottom of your marketing funnel
It’s more important than ever for brands to own their first-party data rather than overly relying on third-party platforms like Facebook and Instagram to expand their audiences.
“If you rely on third-party platforms, you have to go back to them every time you want to find new customers. You don’t know who you’re targeting. You’re sending a broadcast message, hoping somebody will listen to you. And with Apple and Google announcing changes to how advertisers can target customers, the investment in these third-party platforms is going to become even more inefficient,” said Kady.
Kady added that the solution to this is a strategy she calls “flipping the funnel,” or focusing on the bottom of the funnel—setting up segments, optimizing your marketing automations, and collecting customer data on your website—before worrying about brand awareness campaigns.
“Most people build their marketing programs by thinking about their top of the funnel strategy and how they can acquire customers through these platforms. Instead, start from the bottom of the funnel. Invest in your first-party data infrastructure—invest in collecting information that lets you reach out to your customers. Don’t rely on intermediaries and middlemen that prevent you from knowing your customers. Start from the bottom of the funnel and then go up towards the top,” said Kady.
"Most people build their marketing programs by thinking about their top of the funnel strategy and how they can acquire customers through these platforms. Instead, start from the bottom of the funnel."
Kady Srinivasan, SVP of global marketing, Klaviyo
“You can scale up quickly this way, as well. Timing isn’t an issue because you’re essentially investing in yourself and your business, so it becomes much more efficient. Keep in mind: When you solidify your first-party infrastructure, your first customers are likely to be your loyal, strong advocates who then spread the word, so flipping the funnel has a tremendous amount of network effect, too,” she added.
3 | Create a dialogue and use it to inform your content
While Nikki uses a content calendar to schedule her messages for different campaigns, she said it’s important to think about marketing as conversations with your customers. She suggests using the dialogue you create within your community to drive your content instead of just focusing on promoting your products.
“We have conversations internally about the topics that we’re interested in and the topics that we think our customers will be interested in, and we approach marketing that way,” said Nikki.
“I’m very specific about the wording that we use. If I see ads we’re running that don’t reflect the ethos of the company or the conversation that we’re trying to have, we pull the content and go a different direction,” said Nikki.
She noted that marketers today typically keep their messaging short and digestible, but that doesn’t always work in favor of her brand. Instead, she uses longer-form content to spark dialogue and uses those conversations to build out the content of future campaigns.
“I don’t want to follow what everyone else is doing. I want to create a dialogue with our community, and our marketing reflects that. We have larger conversations that pour into our marketing and inform our content in advance,” said Nikki.
"I don't want to follow what everyone else is doing. I want to create a dialogue with our community, and our marketing reflects that. We have larger conversations that pour into our marketing and inform our content in advance."
Nikki Reed, founder, BaYou with Love
4 | Personalize your messaging at scale
How do you connect on an individual level with your customers, but in a way that’s scalable for your growing business?
Kady introduced the concept of personalization at scale, or using marketing automation to create one-to-many relationships with your customers.
“Consumers are demanding that marketers treat them like humans. As entrepreneurs, founders, and marketers, we need to do this at scale, but how can you do it as efficiently as possible as a small brand?” said Kady.
She explained the three core tenets of personalization at scale: Collect signals from your customers, analyze the intent and the behavior of your audience, and then figure out how to act with intention based on the data.
“Trigger messages and experiences based on intention and timing. For example, if you see that someone added an item to their shopping cart, send a personalized email based on that action. Or if someone has shown a high intent to buy because they’ve looked at a product page more than once, send an SMS message to entice them to purchase,” said Kady.
“Figure out what works for people based on where they are in the buyer’s journey and meet them there. When you do this, you essentially build surprise and delight into the customer experience. And when you do this often, you never become spam to your audience. That’s when you know you’ve won—when your customers ask you to notify them or show that they want a relationship with you rather than the other way around,” she added.
"That's when you know you've won—when your customers ask you to notify them or show that they want a relationship with you rather than the other way around."
Kady Srinivasan, SVP of global marketing, Klaviyo
This is exactly how Nikki has managed her customer relationships at BaYou with Love—by paying attention to her customers’ wants and listening to what the data is telling her in order to create relevant messaging rather than guessing what her audience is looking for.
“People are tired of being bombarded with marketing. I think that building a relationship with your customers is so much more valuable than just constantly beating people over the head with marketing. We’re strategic with two to three emails a month because we’ve found that’s our sweet spot with our customers,” said Nikki.
5 | Focus on engaging with your community
Nikki emphasized that one reason BaYou with Love is so successful is because she’s created a community to rally behind her brand and mission, which is why she encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same.
“Create a community and seek out other people who are interested in what you feel passionate about because when you can connect with other people in those communities, you get to know your audience,” said Nikki.
She encourages business owners to go beyond thinking about yourself and your own brand to uplift others. When you do this, you create a network of brand advocates, partners, and lifelong customers.
“I’m all about collaboration. I’m never thinking in terms of ‘How are we taking an audience and converting them into customers.’ Most of what I share on my personal platform isn’t even about my company or my brand, it’s about other women and other brands because I think that when everybody is doing well, we all move forward together. I’m never just thinking about how to grow my own brand,” she added.
"I think that when everybody is doing well, we all move forward together. I'm never just thinking about how to grow my own brand."
Nikki Reed, founder, BaYou with Love
In fact, for Nikki, collaborating with other founders and partnering with brands that share her values has been a huge factor in her success.
“If you have an idea or something that you love, seek out other founders that are doing something similar or who are in the same wheelhouse. Find out who their audience is, create a dialogue in that space, and work together,” said Nikki.
6 | Build a brand you can believe in
An underlying theme of this conversation between Barbara, Nikki, and Kady is that business owners have to let their brand be the guiding light to everything they do.
“I do well with my efforts because I’m true to what’s speaking to me and where I feel like I fit, and I think you have to consider that when you start a business. People, by nature, do well with what they love. I let that be my North Star. If I’m enjoying it, I’m assuming I’m growing my audience and everybody else is enjoying it,” Barbara said.
"People, by nature, do well with what they love. I let that be my North Star. If I'm enjoying it, I'm assuming I'm growing my audience and everybody else is enjoying it."
Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on ABC's Shark Tank
It’s no secret that Barbara believes that a personal investment in your brand is the key to your success.
For more stories of entrepreneurs who embody this spirit, the Meet the Mogul Clubhouse series continues with three additional DTC influencers and ecommerce experts who will share the same passion for their brands as Nikki has for BaYou with Love.
Ready to grow your business?