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Brand Awareness Strategies & Tactics: A Customer Q&A

Stephanie Abe

Community Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

\With Elin Khackikian, Head of Marketing at Zoe Lev, and Charlie Cameron, SEO and Paid Marketing Lead at AlgaeCal.

If you follow AdRoll on LinkedIn, you may have noticed that we’ve been having a blast attending industry events. This includes our recent presence at the inaugural Retail Fest USA conference in San Diego, CA, where I had the honor of sponsoring the attendance of two incredible AdRoll customers: Elin Khackikian, Head of Marketing at Zoe Lev and Charlie Cameron, SEO and Paid Marketing Lead AlgaeCal. 

From left to right: Courtney from AdRoll, Elin from Zoe Lev, and Charlie from AlgaeCal.

As part of their AdRoll customer VIP event sponsorship, both Elin and Charlie took some time to sit down with me for a fireside chat and share their career experiences with the Retail Fest community. 

Read on to learn how both of these marketing experts grew their brands in 2023 and which strategies and tactics they are prioritizing for 2024 and beyond. 

Meet Elin + Zoe Lev, and Charlie + AlgaeCal

Meet Elin and Zoe Lev

Elin Khackikian is the Head of Marketing at Zoe Lev Jewelry. Zoe Lev is a female-founded fine jewelry brand based in Los Angeles, CA. For over a decade, the Zoe Lev team has been delighting customers with personalized pieces made from sustainable recycled 14k gold and precious metals. 

In her role on a team of 11 Elin is responsible for overseeing the brand’s marketing and campaign strategy and execution. Managing a quarterly campaign calendar, paid ads, social media platforms, content, and influencer marketing programs, Elin oversees all things brand and growth for Zoe Lev.

Meet Charlie and AlgaeCal

Charlie Cameron is the SEO and Paid Marketing Lead for AlgaeCal. AlgaeCal is the only clinically supported calcium supplement that is proven to increase bone density for people suffering from osteoporosis and osteopenia. 

In his role at AlgaeCal, a company of just over 100 people, Charlie is responsible for planning and executing the company’s paid marketing and SEO strategies to further its mission of helping people struggling with bone health issues. From finding the most efficient ways to generate revenue through programmatic advertising with AdRoll to leading growth on strategic third-party marketplaces through SEO, Charlie spearheads all things paid and organic search marketing at AlgaeCal. 

Now that you’re familiar with Elin’s role at Zoe Lev and Charlie’s at AlgaeCal, let’s talk about the effective brand awareness strategies and tactics that fueled their growth.

Brand Awareness Strategies & Tactics: A Customer Q&A With Elin of Zoe Lev and Charlie of AlgaeCal   

Courtney: “To kick us off, let’s hear about one or two big successes you had with your respective brands in the past year.” 

Elin: “So recently, our biggest goals were to build our brand identity and increase brand awareness. We saw about a 20% increase in revenue. Part of which we are attributing to brand awareness. 

We created a very strong brand identity and made sure it was consistent across all platforms. From social media and paid ads to content, we were very intentional with the way the Zoe Lev brand was showing up across our mixed marketing and advertising channels. 

We also leaned into our network of retail partners to do more in-person events. This helped to build brand awareness amongst our ideal customer base, which worked really well. We hope to continue with partnered in-person events going forward.” 

Charlie: “AlgaeCal, just like Zoe Lev, grew revenue just over 20%. We also increased EBITDA. It was a great year for us. 

One of our biggest wins was actually growing on third-party ecommerce marketplaces — specifically Amazon and Walmart. Our customers use these sites like search engines to shop for their CPGs [consumer-packaged goods], and it’s important for us to be where our customers are shopping for their supplement products. Just like with our website, we can optimize our pages on these platforms with the right content, creative, and copy to reach and engage people looking for help improving their bone health. 

Another one of our wins was our implementation of third-party attribution software. This enabled us to better understand the impact of our marketing touchpoints across our customer’s journey. We got a lot more efficient with our ad spend, which led to a drastic increase in ROAS. We could also map out our customer’s journey from touchpoint to touchpoint, which better enabled us to scale what’s working. 

Growing on the right third-party ecommerce platforms and better data, insights, and attribution were two key highlights on the paid side of marketing for AlgaeCal recently.” 

Courtney: “We can’t just talk about roses, we also need to talk about thorns. Elin, it would be helpful to hear about any obstacles you’ve recently faced as you were achieving those incredible goals for the Zoe Lev brand.” 

Elin: “One of the biggest (and likely one of the most relatable) challenges we’ve been facing is inflation. From the cost of manufacturing to the cost of marketing, we’ve been having to deal with the prices of many goods and services going up. 

We like to keep our margins small for our customers, as we deeply value providing quality 14K gold jewelry at an affordable price to them. To do this in the face of inflation, we need to constantly check our budget and ensure that what we’re investing in is genuinely helping us to further our mission.”

Courtney: “Charlie, when we think about AlgaeCal going forward, what’s top-of-mind for you as you’re looking to grow, or maintain, the AlgaeCal brand? 

Charlie: “For sure! Up next, we’re focusing on video content. There’s a massive amount of content getting produced and published online every single day. With AI, that is only going to grow. 

You really need to find out where your customers are hanging out online. A miss for AlgaeCal is that we haven’t focused on YouTube — even though this is a place where a lot of our customers are going to do their bone health research. 

Going forward, we want to create YouTube content that helps people who are learning about how to improve bone health on this channel access the information they need to do just that. Once we have created the longer-form YouTube video content, we will slice and dice it into short clips for paid video ads and organic social media content. 

Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard about the partnership between Andrew Huberman and Athletic Greens before, but we’re getting very close to partnering with a pretty big YouTuber in our space in a similar fashion. We can’t share anything more just yet, but we believe that this partnership is going to be worth its weight in gold. Having someone that has genuine credibility talk about and endorse your product is so valuable. 

All in all, we’re focusing on strategic influencer marketing partnerships, as well as showing up with expert bone health information in digital spaces where people are looking for it.” 

Courtney: “Elin, we’d love to hear about this topic from you. How are you going to be building on the recent successes with the Zoe Lev brand going forward?” 

Elin: “Similarly to Charlie, content is a key focus for Zoe Lev going forward. AI is making it easier and more streamlined for lean teams to be able to produce content. 

The harder part for those who, like Zoe Lev, have a strong omnichannel presence, is going to be figuring out what kind of content is the right kind for the various channels it’s being published on. The content that works on Instagram doesn’t always work on TikTok, and vice versa. With us for example, UGC works well on TikTok but doesn’t perform so great on IG reels. A big focus for us next lies in figuring out what works where, and then how to scale it in each place.” 

Retail Fest was a blast!

Courtney: “What is one tried-and-true strategy you’ve stood by year after year and that you’re going to keep rolling with going forward?” 

Elin: “I don’t think there’s just one answer to this question, but one thing I’ll always do is home in on the platforms that take off for us in the ways that we need them to. For example, we use Google Ads for reach, AdRoll for brand awareness and retargeting campaigns, and our CRM for email marketing campaigns and custom retention.” 

Charlie: “Something that has always worked well for us is sharing our customers’ stories. Our customers often come to AlgaeCal with a serious bone health issue like osteoporosis or osteopenia. And more often than not, they receive their scary diagnosis from their doctor after suffering a painful and debilitating bone injury. Faced with going on a prescription medication that has some pretty serious side effects, many people with bone health issues are interested in a more natural and less invasive way to improve their bone health. 

When they hear AlgaeCal customer success stories of people measurably improving their bone health through before and after DEXA scan results, it deeply resonates. Featuring this content along the right places in the shopper journey reliably drives conversion results. 

Beyond the campaign performance results, telling customer stories does wonders for you and your team. It’s super inspiring to be making a difference in people’s lives with your product.”  

Courtney: “To close out, we’d love for each of you to think back to when you were getting started in your careers. What is one piece of advice you’d give your younger selves?”

Elin: “You could build your brand, have it look all pretty, and have your ecommerce store set up, and even if you do all of that right it can take time to make profits. A key takeaway for us was not to focus on profit from the get-go. Start with brand growth and revenue, and profits will soon follow.” 

Charlie: “I agree with Elin. You have to do things well the first time. There is nothing worse than redoing a brand after establishing your business. Having a solid brand identity and voice right off the bat is key. It’s really hard to connect with your customers and make sales without it.” 

Tune Into Elin & Charlie’s Discussion On-Demand 

If you’d prefer to watch or listen to this conversation, tune in to Elin and Charlie’s discussion on-demand. If you’d like to explore how AdRoll can help you grow your business like we help Elin and Charlie grow theirs, please get in touch.

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