Marketing strategies by Cody Plofker, CMO of Jones Road Beauty
Jones Road Beauty, led by Bobbi Brown, employs innovative marketing strategies to fuel its rapid growth. CMO Cody Plofker focuses on segmentation for ad testing, prioritizes marketing efficiency ratio (MER) over return on ad spend (ROAS), and aims to optimize ads for profitability. Flexibility and data-driven decisions contribute greatly to Jones Road Beauty's success, highlighting the importance of evolving customer avatars and perfecting buyer journeys. With Airboxr, you can automate reports for customer segmentation and ad performance analysis.
Jones Road was founded by make up artist Bobbi Brown in 2020, on the very day her non-compete agreement with Estee Lauder came to an end, and has been growing non-stop ever since. According to BeautyMatter, their revenues for 2023 are expected to be above $100m. Brown had signed a 25-year non-compete agreement back in 1995 when she sold Bobbi Brown Cosmetics for $74.5m. The business is fully bootstrapped, funded by a $2m initial investment by her and her husband.
If you’re a brand doing 8 figures in revenue, you can automate reports to help you test marketing strategies like Jones Road Beauty does. Here are some strategies you could implement:
Use segmentation to test ad audiences and improve reach
Plofker found that when running ads, they kept reaching the same people over and over, no matter how they tried to switch things up. They didn’t have the bandwidth to try other marketing channels like TV ads to diversify their top of funnel, so they instead did incrementality testing to improve the reach of their ads.
Their ads usually are focused on reach, as opposed to lower or mid funnel events like add to carts and landing page views. As a next step, Plofker intends to run ads optimized for site visitors completing the quiz, a lower funnel event which may help them to reach audiences with greater purchase intent.
One other marketing experiment Jones Road could test is to use their substantial customer list. Meta Ads allows you to create a customer list as a custom audience. This would allow Jones Road to use this new custom audience in different ways:
Use the customer list as a control group in their incrementality testing efforts (so they no longer see the ads).
Create a lookalike audience from their existing customer base to reach more high purchase intent audiences.
Airboxr automatically retrieves your customer lists from Shopify into your spreadsheets. The Customer Segment Builder Hop is a powerful report that shows individual customers’ total sales, orders, cancellations, lifetime duration, and AOV. This can be filtered by any metric in the report, or it can be used wholesale.
For more specific customer lists, check out these other reports:
The Buyers by SKU Hop which retrieves lists of customers who have purchased specific SKUs defined by you.
The Customers by Location Hop for when you want to target or exclude customers in specific markets.
The Most Valuable Customers Hop which does an RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) analysis on your customers to find the best ones.
Review your ad performance using MER and aMER, not ROAS
Jones Road Beauty does not measure ROAS to determine the effectiveness of their ad spend; instead, they look at MER, or marketing efficiency ratio. This is calculated as revenue over ad spend, where spending 20% of your revenue on ads would give you an MER of 5, which is a target for some businesses.
Why look at MER instead of ROAS? “You can go so far down the rabbit hole with attribution; it’s best to keep it simple,” says Plofker. As the company does not yet do offline marketing, their MER includes only spend across their different ad platforms, compared against revenue from their sales channels.
They also look at aMER, or Acquisition Marketing Efficiency Ratio, to determine how effectively they are acquiring new customers. This is calculated as new customer revenue divided by ad spend.
Jones Road Beauty’s marketing strategy is to be more aggressive with ads in the weeks leading up to a sale period, like Black Friday. For example, while they know the general aim is a 5 MER, they also have historical data to show that their MER during Black Friday is 6 or 7, which allows them to spend more for a 4 or 3.5 MER prior to the sale.
Airboxr shows MER on a daily basis using the Daily ROAS Report, which takes total ad spend and divides it by total sales on Shopify. Having this daily breakdown makes it easy to compare MER across different time periods, or to create lookback reports.
To find aMER, you can take sales figures from our New Customers Sales Hop, and use the Daily ROAS Report to compare against total sales, total ad spend, and the ratio of ad spend that correlates to sales from new customers. For example, if 25% of your sales come from new customers, then your aMER is sales from new customers divided by 25% of your total ad spend.
Start to optimize your ads for profitability
Now that Jones Road Beauty has hit certain milestones in their growth, they want to start optimizing for profitability. While they have previously been targeting to spend a certain (undisclosed) percentage of their net revenue on marketing, they are now getting to a size where they want to start maximizing contribution dollars, or contribution margin.
“Our shift for next year is going from efficiency - optimizing MER, aMER - to optimizing our spend and marketing to total contribution dollars,” says Plofker. This is a major shift that changes the way the marketing team looks at their performance, but all things considered it will lead to an improved bottom line.
How do you review your ads based on profitability, instead of revenue? You have to include your cost of goods sold (COGS) into the calculation. Removing COGS from Total Sales gives you Gross Profit, which when you divide by Total Spend gives you Profit on Ad Spend. You can also automatically generate this report for your Shopify store using our Daily Profit on Ad Spend Hop. The resulting figure shows you how much profit you’re making compared to every dollar of spend.
Jones Road Beauty’s phenomenal growth has been a sublime combination of Bobbi Brown’s magnetic personality and rigorous testing of marketing campaigns to fill their acquisition funnel. We’re excited to see how their strategies change in the coming year.