Growth Masters Interview Matevz Fatur

Matevz Fatur

Prepare for an enlightening conversation with the growth master, Matevz Fatur, as we dive deep into the world of business expansion, strategy, and success.

1. Can you provide some insight into your background and how you became involved in ecommerce growth?

Sure, I was always in "sales jobs" since I can remember.... (even before student times). I was always looking for pay connected with a result, not an hourly rate - because I knew I can "beat the norm".

Around 12-13 years ago when I found about the thing called affiliate marketing where you can sell other people's stuff and don't need to deal with customers while just collecting money from a "written word campaign" (email) that sold whatever product - I was blown away :)

Soon I pivoted in ecommerce, since I wanted to upgrade the sales psychology online + wanted to learn the whole 9-yards about the product being "invented" to product being "used".

So it's been for sure over 10 years of experience in eCommerce & online marketing and a big chunk of that time was working for a multichannel corporation generating €500-700M/year in revenue.

My focus for my clients is mostly profit growth (bottom line) since there are too many "burned" and without proper cash-flow brands because all they wanted to do was scale and grow (horizontally or vertically or both).

2. What sparked your interest in helping ecommerce brands achieve significant growth, and what drives your passion in this area?

As in the last sentence of the previous answer - it's mind-boggling when you see a multi 7-figure brand with a great product that is struggling with profit margins (and too high fixed costs). They are 1 black-swan event away and they will need to close the doors. (Seen the story on my own eyes few times already)

3. Could you share a standout success story where your strategies led to remarkable growth for an ecommerce brand?

Transforming 1-product store with 7% profit margin to "non-believing" 42% profit margin next year with incorporating info product to their sales process - case study.

- 2.4€ MIO yearly revenue with 7% profit margin (168k€ EBITDA)
- 10 team members
- 1-product store (fitness industry)
- Outsourced media buying agency (very problematic)
- One channel acquisition approach (90% relied on FB/IG)
- Neglecting other channels & possibilities
- Very little focus on retention

- Big optimization of the business and focus on retention with AOV and LTV growth 870k€ yearly revenue with 42% profit margin (365k€ EBITDA -› more than 2X comparing to previous year)
- 3 team members
- 1-product store (fitness industry) + added new hit "info products" (workout videos with insanely high profit margin, since it's a video product)
- Multichannel acquisition approach and hardcore optimized CAC
- Biggest focus on retention strategy (email + closed groups of buyers)
- It's not all about growth of the top line -› sometimes you have to "save" the business from over-eating itself for the sake of top line and focus "under the hood" to have a healthy bottom line where you and your team can "breath much more easier"

They brought more than 30% of its yearly revenue through email channel in one market, with an 8% conversion rate!

4. In your opinion, what are the key factors that differentiate successful ecommerce growth strategies from those that fall short?

What I see times and times again with my clients (or from talks with decision makers from different niches) - is longevity.

Meaning: Thinking and developing strategy for 3-5 years ahead instead for a Q or even a month upfront. Every brand has a yearly plan and forecast - but soon when something is not reaching the numbers, they shift to hardcore selling (to meet the numbers) instead to focus on the long-term plan.

If we put it in context and the applicable action-plan, I have 2 things to focus on:
a) focus on the LTV (real retention is your friend and much cheaper than ACQ)
b) mind a "buyers awareness cycle" and stand out from everyone else

Don't just bluntly sell only to that 3-5% of the people that are ready to buy NOW. The same ones that 95% of your direct and indirect competitors are trying to influence and overbid with ads on every platform known to mankind :)
Make sure that you tap into the blue-market-strategy and EDUCATE the audience which are NOT yet solution aware, or even better - audience that are NOT yet problem aware. This way you can create a great video-educational campaign (long term) that will serve this audience with 25X cheaper CPMs where almost no one is competing and later in the timeline - when they are ready to buy, you'll be their 1st choice!

5. How do you approach developing a comprehensive growth strategy that aligns with an ecommerce brand's unique goals and challenges?

Consulting in ecommerce is way different than agency work (what I was offering in the past).

With 10+ years of experience I’ve also gained an insight towards offline channels that are connected with ecommerce (retail, DRTV, wholesale, telemarketing, direkt-shopping, print, etc.) that gives me a better overview of 360° of each brand.

Strategy is always customized and never the same for a single brand.

If we take a look in more direct strategy steps that could give you better insights:

- we always identify 1st what is doing best (performing best and bringing results) and we double-down on that activity (in-front-of-the-nose strategy as it sounds, funny enough that a big majority of the brands don't test it before we start working together) :)
- than we move on the things that are eating up the profit-margin (unnecessary costs, where are the holes in their marketing, mistakes on advertising platforms, etc.)
- move to where they are leaving money on the table (increasing AOV and LTV, suitable communication strategy, proper utilizing of 0 party data, etc.)
- and finish where there are opportunities to grow and expand healthily (customer service & help, after purchase activities, growth to new platforms, tapping to new audiences, expanding the product portfolio and growth to new markets, etc.)

6. Can you discuss the role of data analytics and insights in shaping effective growth strategies for ecommerce brands?

You know probably as everyone else who ever used data analytics - that this is one of the biggest pains, because it's extremely hard to get one real "source of truth" for your numbers.

I tackle it from 2 directions:
a) macro, which is your overview on a longer time horizon (GA, TripleWhale, etc.)
**with help of my "CMO dashboard" I created (I'll send it to you - I saw you were interested in it)
b) micro, which is your overview on a shorter time horizon (specific platforms that you use for performance marketing and other data gathering tools)
Overall - smashing your head through the wall while trying to catch a big enough ROAS per each channel is NOT the way to go.
You should focus more on overall strategy and "blended ROAS" or “MER” or whatever you wanna call it - which will give you a better "group overview" in performance numbers.

And DON'T FORGET to include measuring customer service, team spirit, engaged brand ambassadors, partners & vendors and everyone who belongs to your business. In too many cases this is neglected and can hit you "from behind" one day, when you're now looking ;)

7. What are some common misconceptions about ecommerce brand growth that you've encountered, and how do you address them?

- growth is most important
(it's not - and from my answers you already know why, especially if you wanna be in the biz for the long-run)

- ecom it's easy as 1-2-3, like all the dropship gurus with their courses were teaching in 2015-2018
(for the real ecom brand, you need way more than "buy cheap and sell expensive" strategy)

"tiktok is new Facebook & if you're not on it, you're missing additional XY% revenue"
(tiktok is NOT for every brand... + it is NOT new Facebook, because it has ALGO in the beginner stages, while FB has approx 15 years old ALGO which knows 50x more data about its users, e.g. it can serve you way better. TikTok is NOT "new anything" for that matter, but it's a good addition to your marketing mix if you know your audience and how to serve them with the new format - yes!)

8. How do you navigate the balance between short-term revenue boosts and sustainable, long-term growth for ecommerce brands?

Like in every business - you need long term goals, supported with strategy & out-of-the box thinking, to do and have a different approach as your competitors.

- focusing on actions for higher AOV and LTV will give you that sustainable growth (not forgetting stellar customer service and help)
- having always a new/interesting idea for short boosts of revenue will help you overcome quarterly plans that are not looking so good there is A LOT of opportunities for guerilla marketing tactics in ecommerce that almost no one is utilizing, but always bring great results)

9. When working with ecommerce brands, how do you tailor your approach to accommodate different industries, like fashion, jewellery or self-care?

I don't work with just everyone. If I don't know the industry well enough, I rather pass and recommend someone else.

But even more important - If we are a great fit with people (decision makers usually) and if we "click", is way more powerful and easy to achieve great results VS if I work with brand in the industry I know inside-out, but people are not on the same page as me.

10. What's your perspective on the interplay between user experience and ecommerce growth, and how do you optimize both?

Customer service + UX (not only purchasing online, but even more important - after purchse experience and activities) are most important for the long-run brand growth.

If you just wanna grow really quickly - no problemo: with right marketing strategies & pre-sale strategies, you can sell tons of your products. But what will this help you if the next week/month you are 90% down with sales and don't have any retention in play.

Real brands need to work on the CORE of the biz all the time --> great product, great experience, making sure customers are USING their product (properly) and upsell them additional solutions (new products) in the nearest future possible.

11. How do you stay ahead of evolving digital marketing trends and algorithms to ensure continuous growth for your clients?

When loving this game, nothing is difficult to stay up to date. Plus no one can know everything right-off-the-bat, so I am very aware that there are new things that are not "running in my blood" yet as they should ;)

Very important: We all know that things are changing very rapidly - but the problem is that 90% of the new things are gone in a year or sooner.

So one thing I also advocate is - be aware of new trends. Before one becomes a real trend, 100 goes down the drain.

So focusing 80% of your business on core activities will always bring better results. Other 20% can be for playing with the "new shiny objects" ;)

12. Can you discuss the significance of customer feedback and insights in shaping successful ecommerce growth initiatives?

Without real feedback, brand is lost.
You cannot grow your product portfolio and "know what your audience needs" without actually getting their feedback.
It all comes down to knowing your clients (and your audience). Where are they spending their time, what are their fears, what are their desires, who they wanna impress, where are their "trigger points"....

Not getting feedback and trying to make a long-term strategy is the same as meeting your new GF on a date and next day you’re already planning your perfect wedding day (without even knowing her color, idea, style, music, friends, family...and if she's even into you) :D

13. Finally, what advice would you offer to ecommerce brands looking to embark on a journey of significant growth and expansion?

Make sure you KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
Without really knowing your numbers, you can get burned really quickly. Few that should always be in the forefront of your CMO's mind:
Positive net cash-flow.
Profit margins.
MER/blanded ROAS
Stars on confirmed reviews (customer feedback)
And a few more interesting ones ;)

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