I guess technically Craft 52 started in the Upslope Brewing Company Taproom in late 2016. Jonathan and I developed the concept over IPAs. We were gonna fuse branding and gorgeous content productions, with savvy digital distribution all integrated across slick websites we built. Brand think tank meets Red Bull Media House meets paid media agency meets dev shop meets the moon and the stars. In short, we were gonna run marketing departments and the internet…at the same time. A simple concept no?
So maybe about June 2017 we got rolling with a few regular clients and some small projects. Good stuff to get our feet wet. When anyone would give us an audience, we’d walk into meetings with a semi-half-baked pitch that covered all the bases and the entire outfield of our digital philosophy: Great content smartly distributed across multiple channels, telling some epic brand story, bells, unicorns, the internet, then…profits. There was interest for sure. But not a ton of traction. The idea was cool, but far too complex.
By early 2018 after some slips and stumbles, our approach had organically shifted. We started to let the big, grandiose idea of our creative agency take a back seat. We weren’t put here to assert our vision of digital marketing on the world. We were put here to listen to clients and have some attainable solutions to the all-to-common problems brands face in digital.
One of the coolest things about digital marketing is that small problems tend to have small solutions, and those small solutions tend to spawn slightly more complicated problems with slightly more complicated solutions. Then those slightly more complicated solutions tend to spawn big problems…but these big problems are often the good kind, the kind that make money.
The biggest challenge brands face in digital is getting the solution to the first small problem off the whiteboard. Digital marketing has far more in common with bricklaying than it does with Powerpoint presentations. It’s 100% hands on, roll-up-the sleeves, do the work, break stuff, fix stuff, fail, succeed, repeat.
Turns out that when you show up with a few solutions that work AND you’re willing to put in the work, you tend to get hired. And with a few wins with the small problems, you start getting entrusted with the bigger ones. Figuring out this agency thing has been hard, but it gets easier every day.
A lot has changed at Craft 52 in the last 12-15 odd months since we’ve been a bonafide company. Our focus has shifted. We still offer the services we set out to offer in the beginning: content, storytelling, brand strategy. But we love nothing more than to get into the muck of digital: conversion strategy, channel development, code, platform integrations, marketing automations, data mining, sales growth.
As we’ve loosened our grip on “creative” and leaned into the focus of “digital” in our services suite one thing that has stuck. Keep it Simple. Do Good Work. It’s our north star and the one truth we feel applies to all digital marketing efforts. If that philosophy jives with you, then we’d love to work together and learn things alongside each other. Drop us a line.
By this point (if you’ve made it here), I know what you’re saying… “Screw you Craft 52 and your clickbaity title. Where is my listicle!?!?!?” Don’t fret. It’s below.
5 Realities That Will Help Improve your Digital Marketing As A Growing E-commerce Brand:
- Marketing Automation is going to be a major part of the digital future. For those of you already on board, high five. If you don’t know what that is or how it’s used, contact us right away. We can help.
- The free ride is over. It’s not 2012 anymore. Social algorithms suppress more and more organic reach. Prices are rising on paid media as more brands adopt it. Don’t expect to go viral unless you’re Donald Trump, a Russian troll, a friend of Meghan Markle, or exceptionally gifted a making cat videos. Building audiences takes time, money, and the will to persist. The good news, hard earned audiences reap huge rewards.
- Show up Every Day. Produce content that provides real value to your audience. Push it to your audience, even if you didn’t quite dot every “I” or cross every “T”. Then wake up the next day check the data, learn something and do it all over again. Find a cadence that’s sustainable for your organization cause these days, consistency is king. Perfection, excessive brainstorming, analysis paralysis is the death of digital success.
- Shopify is the future. Cloud-based e-comm platforms are easy, they work, they have great support, and they interface beautifully with other critical marketing softwares. Yes, they have some limitations. Yes, your hyper trick, involved, convoluted product and sales strategy might require a custom solution (like WooCommerce…which we work with, or Magento, which we don’t touch.). But you’re gonna pay dearly for the development and upkeep for that custom, self-hosted system. Why not spare yourself some pain, and tweak your business a hair to adapt to a system that’s easy to use and easy to maintain platform like Shopify? Need help getting started on Shopify. Give us a call.
- Know your numbers. Conversion Rate. REAL Cost of Acquisition. These are the only metrics that really matter in e-comm. If you don’t have them find them. Then slap them on a post-it note on your monitor. Commit them to memory. All digital strategy derives from these numbers. Need help finding these numbers? Optimizing your existing numbers? Seeing deep into the souls of these numbers? We can help with that.
Editor’s Note: We want this blog to be completely transparent about Craft 52 and our thoughts on digital marketing. It’s gonna be written off the cuff, about stuff we find interesting, published irregularly. But if this stuff is interesting to you, by all means, we encourage you to subscribe. We’ll email tasty, and probably sometimes tasteless, nuggets about digital marketing, ecommerce, code, marketing software and the like anytime we spit them out of our brains. It’ll be fun, we promise.