Kevin Simonson

CEO & Co-Founder, Metric Digital
Kevin Simonson is the CEO of Metric Digital, a performance marketing agency in New York City that focuses on driving revenue and customers through online advertising; and consulting Private Equity and VC Firms on due diligence and digital marketing execution. Kevin has lectured on Facebook marketing at Harvard’s Kennedy School and General Assembly.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Merchants seek the right balance between classics and fad items

    Great piece! Thanks. It's important for merchants to refresh their product lines during this typically slow period. That way, they can make sure there's still some fad-based or trendy newness going on in their marketing campaigns. Doing so can lift baseline performance and close the gap between exciting promo periods and evergreen months. Evergreen products, however, do serve a valuable function for merchants. Just because it’s past the holiday season, the summer rush, or the back-to-school push, doesn’t mean you can’t ramp up your digital marketing efforts and grow revenue with products that are enticing all year. It's all about balance and adjusting product launches according to annual calendars.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Facebook to ban advertisers if they don’t clean up their acts

    Great piece, thanks. I'm thrilled about this. Recent advertising scandals are finally forcing platforms as well as brands to realize and reckon with the issue of data. Facebook is taking a stand because they clearly know that some of their merchants are broken in their dealings in the marketing world. Radical transparency, I believe, has the power to weed out the bad actors and transform the marketing world.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2018

    Is data-driven marketing holding back storytelling?

    Great post, thanks. The onus is certainly on the retail companies. If brands want to become "data driven organizations," they must learn to stop wondering what they think and start asking what they know. To move away from hunches and instinct and closer to fact. Which is a useful approach when it comes to all technology. Performance marketing is ultimately all about data driven thinking, but making sure the story you're telling fits hand in hand with it. There's definitely a balance of being human, but also being supported by objective reality.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2018

    Is GDPR an opportunity or a threat to retailers?

    Great post, thanks. GDPR is a significant wakeup call. Medium to long term, there's a risk for retailers who sell on Facebook, Google, and other advertising platforms whose regulations and consumer preferences will limit what they can track and use for advertising purposes. Digital advertising will still be incredibly powerful under these GDPR regulations, but ultimately it will weed out bad actors who don't believe in transparency. It will raise the tide for all ships involved.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2018

    Amazon bans chronic returners

    It's definitely a controversial issue. Here's one example: Merchants who sell on Amazon but don’t have reviews yet will do this. Friends will buy their products, leave reviews, and then return those products. It's not technically illegal, but it's not transparent. Which is a bigger problem in my opinion.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2018

    Choosy marries AI and social tagging to disrupt fast fashion

    Good for them! It’s no surprise this model is getting press. The direct-to-consumer model provides more engagement, more control, more margin and more data. D2C-first companies have blazed the path for success. More companies will follow suit I imagine.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2018

    Will greater transparency drive a digital targeting backlash?

    There are already enough tech hurdles and manpower associated with running the technology and creative. But programmatic ad buys often come with additional costs and fees, both transparent and hidden. And while some drawbacks can be alleviated by going through a third-party display network, which buy ad inventory from pretty much the same place, it’s still risky. Just remember: When you lose transparency, you lose all control to optimize.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Retail loyalty programs are no longer in the cards

    For advocacy, we recommend email as the primary tool. It's a powerful way to build brand ambassadors. After all, the best way to find new customers is through existing ones. One example would be a launching a drip campaign that incentivizes customer for each new person they refer with points, rewards and so on.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    The importance of prioritizing high(er)-value customers

    Great article and discussion. Here are my ideas: No matter which business you’re in, it’s important to understand the total value a customer brings you in perpetuity. While marketers may be focused on the revenue brought in immediately after customer acquisition, the finance teams should be able to paint a fuller picture of the customer’s true value. For example, if the average customer makes 10 purchases in their lifetime, then a new customer acquisition would be 10x more valuable than a marketer may see. Being on the same page here allows the team to build a more robust and accurate ROI model.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2018

    Do retailers need to update customer persona development?

    Thanks Tom, great stuff as usual. Okay, so, regardless of whether AI replaces the process, there are several persona fundamentals to consider. One of the questions we ask our clients to consider when building out ideal customers is: Who is the kind of person that, if they had this product, and you took it away from them, would feel some sort of pain? This question helps us build out specifically who that person is in terms of their needs and media consumption, what kind of similar brands they're shopping with, and so on. Then we use that to build out the company’s initial audience. We help the brand match messaging to the language of this customer profile. Which helps us establish a strong starting point for the website and other marketing materials going forward. The goal is being highly customer oriented with your messaging. Focusing less on describing your product, and more on hitting specific triggers for the customer. Hope that adds to the conversation.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Whole Foods to become a Prime perk for Amazon’s customers

    Thanks George, great review. IMHO, the biggest positive effect for Amazon/Whole Foods will be Customer Lifetime Value. We work with e-commerce clients every day, and have found that a key factor affecting the long-term impact of advertising is CLV. It's not as directly related to revenue as other metrics, but it's certainly worth being aware of and measuring. It all goes back to the question: What is the probability of your customers making repeat purchases? Thanks to this new initiative, it's higher!
  • Posted on: 05/01/2018

    Chico’s decides to join Amazon, since it can’t beat it

    Great article! Thanks George. Not surprised about this partnership. Amazon makes a lot of money for a lot of companies. $177 billion dollars, according to recent projections. Not bad. It’s certainly more money than the revenue generated on most e-commerce websites. But companies should remember this: Amazon is a marketplace. It’s not a tool to help you specifically make more money. Our agency still prioritizes Amazon as a focus channel alongside search and social. We view it as extremely important for modern, growing e-commerce brands. We work with several of our clients on both paid Amazon and operational management, and have seen outstanding results. But only if it’s integrated with your other digital marketing efforts.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Micro-targeting across the customer journey impacts research and analysis

    Awesome excerpts Joel. Wanted to add my $0.02. So, targeting is perhaps the greatest advantage of digital advertising for retailers. Especially for prospecting. Retail companies can analyze a site, brand, products, and fans, then build additional targeting groups with various levels of granularity. Now, there are a few keys to doing so. First, pick targeting layers wisely. We recommend items like: competitors, similar brands, affinities, geo, interest, age, gender, device, etc. And then, you layer these variables on top of lookalikes for additional granularity. Launch ads that communicate directly with the niche being served.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Could ‘platform thinking’ be a blueprint for retail success?

    Agreed that platform thinking is necessary. But be careful about data transparency. Also, at a high level, let's be sure to differentiate between the people who understand the platform (AI, machine learning, programmatic ad buying), and those who understand the protocol (email marketing.) Retail companies need to focus on using the protocol to achieve results. This is why something like email marketing will always exist, Twitter will not. When you have something that becomes a protocol, versus a platform, the protocol almost always wins out. Because you have control. It’s completely transparent. Anybody can use it, it’s free. Facebook could change their mind any day, and everyone would be screwed. Retail companies should beware: The farther you are away you get from the protocol, the potential opportunity to obfuscate the data becomes greater.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Kohl’s is on a roll coming off the holidays

    Kohl's is a great example of how retail companies can manage seasonality and use it to affect growth. Whether it’s a startup or a large global organization, every ecommerce company wants to know how to grow revenue during evergreen periods. Sounds like their technology is very advanced, but remember, that's just a tactic. From a strategic standpoint, retailers all have the same goal in the post-holiday or post-season period: Give customers a reason to buy from you again and again. What we tell our retail clients who struggle with post-holiday blues is, don’t be afraid to introduce new products during baseline periods. Doing so can lift baseline performance and close the gap between exciting promo periods and evergreen months. For example, anytime you have newness on the site, you not only give your visitors a reason to buy, but you train them to come back more often. They can expect something different when they get there. Whereas if customers checked the site a lot, but saw it was the exact same every visit, they would be trained to check less often in the future. At the very least, even if your company doesn't have new product arrivals on a regular basis, you can still feature a new collection. Every company may not have all the resources Kohl's does, nor are they attracting Amazon's eye. But they can still grow after the holiday rush if they think strategically.
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