Television can drive big awareness, but with digital media brands can take small steps with small budgets and “test and learn” their way to success. This, in essence, is the approach online and brick-and-mortar retailer West Elm has taken during nearly 30 consecutive months of profitability.
West Elm has shied away from spending money on TV commercials because “there’s no real specific ROI that you can pull out from it without doing a lot of very sort of fuzzy math,” says Luke Chatelain, Vice President of Innovation at West Elm. Chatelain was among the many industry executives who attended the recent Beet.TV Leadership Summit titled Outcomes, presented by video marketing technology provider Eyeview.
During one panel discussion, he explained the beauty of small budgets, small steps and ramping up successes. “Digital allows us to do a really small spend to set a benchmark and understand what the benefits and the potential are for an application, or piece of content, a technology, a delivery mechanism, and scale that up as we start to see success,” said Chatelain.
“We tend to have this desire and ability to validate those things before we actually go out there and spend large dollars on them,” he added.
Asked about the challenges of personalizing video to engage with specific audience segments by moderator Rebecca Lieb, who is an Advisory Board Member at Netswitch Technology Management Inc., Chatelain again stressed small steps. “If you look at it from an entire business perspective, it’s a rather massive potential,” he said. “Understanding small steps toward bringing your business forward is really important in how you can handle personalization.”
Chatelain is no stranger to industry jargon. “If I had a nickel for every time someone said machine learning, without actually understanding what machine learning was, I would have a yacht at this point,” he told the audience.