Many companies starting out with digital marketing make beginner mistakes that can be easily avoided. Whether it’s launching before you are ready, over-spending on creative, or hiring too large or too small, Sam helps brands grow through optimizing their digital marketing strategy.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Sam’s first foray into advertising was as a professional livestream gamer on YouTube at the age of 13. In college, he bought and resold used textbooks on eBay out of his dorm room before being hired at Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerMedia. Today, as the Director of Marketing at dog subscription brand BarkBox, Sam consistently finds new ways to acquire new customers efficiently (happy dogs) while simultaneously building out teams to dedicate to existing functional channels.
Leading up to the company going public, Sam was a key player in driving substantial growth as BARK made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2021 with a value of $1.6 billion. Sam is also the founder of PilCommerce, a digital growth agency focused on helping medium to small direct to consumer brands with customer acquisition and retention across various marketing channels.
“Growing up I was the kid selling lemonade on the street with the biggest sign and undercutting my neighbor by 25 cents,” Sam explains. “Fast forward 20 years and I have applied that ‘biggest sign’ mindset to everything I have done.”
Sam’s forté is helping direct-to-consumer ecommerce brands use paid media channels efficiently to acquire new customers. “Everything I do is about acquiring new customers — growing these businesses when it’s down to the wire.”
Efficiency is the main goal in Sam’s work. “Efficiency without breaking the bank. We want to make sure every single person that comes to the brand’s site from an ad has a chance of converting. We want to capture a new customer as efficiently and cheaply as possible.”
When it comes to subscription brand digital marketing, Sam says the biggest gap in the industry is retention. “Not everyone thinks about retention. If you have 5000 subscribers coming back every single month, you only need 100-200 new subscribers each month to continue consistent growth. It’s crucial to make sure the customer keeps coming back over and over again.”
Merging acquisition with retention is Sam’s key to brand marketing success. The top three things he believes brands must have in place to secure an optimized acquisition and retention system include: a good product, clear targeting, and promotions. “The product you are selling must be good, first and foremost. Next you want to look at who you’re targeting. Who is getting your ad? Make sure that they are customers who will come back. And last, utilize promotions to get them in the door.”
As a leader in the digital marketing space as Director of Marketing for a public company as well as the founder of his own digital marketing agency, Sam believes that you don’t need a big name to be successful in the digital marketing space. “There is nothing special about these gigantic media agencies except for a name. You can do this on your own if you meet people, connect with the right people and build those relationships.”