David Weinrot is the chief marketing officer and 12 1/2 year veteran of Shopzilla Inc. which is recognized as a first-mover in the E-commerce space. He is charged with keeping his company top-of-mind with Shopzilla’s over 40 million shoppers.
Shopzilla connects these 40 million shoppers with thousands of products through its suite of growing brands: Beso, Bizrate, Shopzilla, Retrevo, RobotOatmeal, PrixMoinsCher and SparDeinGeld as well as B2B businesses including Bizrate Insights, Shopzilla Publisher Program, and its audience targeting division Aisle A
FMG caught up with Weinrot and asked him how technology has upended traditional marketing methods and the role of a CMO.
Q: What are the skills required for today’s CMO? How have they changed?
A: I’d say that in the digital media world and the digital product world, the role of the CMO is less about managing an agency and traditional brand management and more about understanding consumer needs and their behaviors and then tailoring experiences to support them. No amount of continued advertising or celebrity or professional endorsement of a particular product would continue to drive users beyond initial trials for any of those experiences unless they are nothing short of amazing. If you don’t deliver on the mark it’s pretty clear that users won’t continue to use you.
Shopzilla has long been about connecting buyers and sellers and retailers and consumers. Our new property called beso.com is designed to support a different type of behavior—its less about price comparison and more about product discovery and style inspiration. We began to observe that individuals have a penchant to fill pockets-of-time in their lives - whether in line at Starbucks or before meetings at the office - with the passive consumption of inspired content. So, to support that behavior, we launched a visually rich, curated shopping feed on both our Beso desktop experience and our iPhone app. When we tapped into this behavior, we observed a 3x increase of dwell time.
Q: What are the challenges for today’s CMO?
A: Unlike perhaps the role of the traditional CMO, we don’t really have the luxury of being able to rely on traditional advertising to sustain use. Which is why someone in my shoes has to be incredibly focused on creating experiences that support behaviors that consumers or users exhibit.
“Everyone is an influencer.”
A: Beso.com takes the Shopzilla experience to another level. What’s unique about Beso, particularly relative to our other properties, is that it has a decidedly editorial bent to it. We realized that our contributors are really passionate about shopping and that comes through in the content that they create. Beso Rewards brings the concept of affiliate marketing to the masses. It’s about showcasing great style to inspire shoppers and rewarding them for sharing their finds. Everyone now has a platform to reach friends and family. Everyone is an influencer.
Q: How does Aisle A cull information from Shopzilla and/or Beso.com?
A: We realize that the things that people shop for say a lot about who they are. If you’re shopping for baby stroller, it says a lot about the life stage you’re in. We use that data to help marketers reach people who are in the market for strollers but we think it’s more useful to help marketers bring other messages to those who are in those life stages. There’s an emerging industry in advertising technology that allows marketers to reach audiences irrespective of the context of where they are. So [if you’re shopping for a baby stroller you’d be] ready to receive a message about things that new parents would be interested in such as vacations or baby food. We think that this is a great thing for the industry.
Q: What are the current consumer trends you’re now witnessing and how are you gearing marketing to those trends?
“I think we’re beginning to observe a rise in marketplaces.”
A: I think we’re beginning to observe a rise in marketplaces. The original marketplaces on the web were Craigslist and eBay where individuals could come and find buyers for things that they were digging out of their closet. Now it’s not just individuals, but established brands that use these outlets to reach buyers. If you think of eBay as a mall as opposed to a garage sale or a flea market—it’s a channel through which retailers and brands can reach shoppers in much the same way that J.Crew might set up a store in a mall around the corner. Amazon and buy.com have all manifested marketplaces. Now you see retailers like Petco on Amazon reaching consumers that they would not ordinarily reach. There are essentially these monuments of website that do an amazing job of aggregating audiences.
Q: What’s your long-term vision?
A: Our mission has always been about connecting buyers and sellers, shoppers and retailers, and as our company has evolved, we have appreciated the big funnel through which that process happens and it’s not always a straight line. The top is largely about inspiration and product discovery and helping shoppers understand the landscape of what’s out there and what’s available. The bottom is the price-comparison proposition—making sure you get the best deal. It’s about connecting buyers and sellers along every point in this shopping funnel. Our long-term mission is to continue to an expert job of connecting buyers and sellers at every point along this long and sometimes circuitous shopping funnel.
By Kristin Young for FMG @kristayloryoung
Chief Editor: Jed Wexler @jedwexler