✌️ Heartcore Consumer Insights

Edition #72

Hi there,

Welcome to the 72nd edition of Heartcore Consumer Insights. Curated with 🖤 every week by the Heartcore Team.

If you missed the past newsletters, you can catch up here. Now, let’s dive in!

10 Marketing Lessons for every early-stage founder - Sophia Bendz & Christian Meerman (former CMOs at Spotify and Zalando)

  1. Create a unique - and protected - brand name: check any brand protection infringements on Day One. Ask a brand lawyer to check your name and register it on at least a continental level. You really don't want to change your name after having already spent millions of dollars in advertising with it.

  2. Nail what your brand stands for: who are you and what role do you want to play in your users’ lives? Think seriously about what’s your reason for being as a brand, what’s the insight that took you there, who you want to present yourself as. Repeatedly ask yourselves this when you define your brand.

  3. Get your 3 USPs straight once and forever: customers can have a hard time remembering too many USPs (unique selling propositions). Zalando used 10 different USPs initially but those got diluted by missing consistency. They thus defined 3 core USPs and from that day onwards they were put on every single marketing product and ad exactly in the same wording, order, and so forth. This made everything more streamlined and consistent.

  4. Don’t scale before you know your product is badly wanted: to see if you’ve built something that consumers want, roll out a beta where a limited number of users are invited. For some reason, we humans seem to get more excited when access is limited. That way you can also scale the technology in a controlled way and see how your users interact with the product. This type of back-and-forth also builds a relationship of trust and loyalty, creating a strong foundation to build a brand on.

  5. Every dollar counts - bulletproof your marketing analytics: you need absolute clarity on all marketing spends per channel. Build a complete landscape overview of your marketing spend, efficiencies, and revenue resulting in your main steering KPIs, CAC, and CLV. A bulletproof marketing analytics team is crucial to give you the database to make the right decisions.

  6. Look at your KPIs every single morning: each and every morning, look at all important KPIs and take immediate actions if some KPIs are out of place. Double down if suddenly a channel proves to be more efficient than anticipated and shift budgets to more efficient channels if a channel’s KPIs worsen.

  7. Marketing doesn’t stop at traffic: When there’s room in your budget for segmentation studies, such studies can well be worth every dollar spent. You'll need to deeply understand your users’ behavior in order to create compelling communication and build your product in relevant, tailored ways.

  8. It’s all about repeat: once you’ve identified your core messages, make sure you stay consistent throughout your communication channels and repeat the message. Repeat it all the time, everywhere. This makes it easier for current and desired users to remember who you are, what you stand for, and why they should choose your brand.

  9. Define, optimize, and fuel your marketing flywheel: A marketing flywheel gets kickstarted through a sophisticated overview of all relevant customer acquisition and retention channels that a company uses successfully to grow its customer base and to nurture its existing customer base leading it to further engagement and ultimately monetization and revenues.

  10. Create a loved brand and community: The way you greet someone calling the reception, behave at our office, approach external communications, train the customer support team, create offline expression at events will reflect your true DNA. Think about what kind of brand and community you want to foster.

Your CAC doesn’t matter - Jason Bornstein, Principal at Forerunner

  • If the last decade met the market desire for starting online businesses and changed the game for acquiring customers efficiently online, the next decade will push forward opportunities for businesses to invest as many resources in loyalty as they do in acquisition.

  • For digital brands and consumer tech platforms on accelerated trajectories, growth has historically been synonymous with acquisition.

  • Many consumer companies obsess over CAC and don't conceptualize the strategy and levers for LTV. While focussing on the 3x LTV:CAC benchmark, CAC usually receives more airtime and resources than LTV.

  • Yet, some of the most successful, beloved, and iconic brands of the past few decades are built on compelling and sophisticated loyalty efforts which massively push LTV forward.

  • According to a recent Forerunner survey, 75% of consumers belong to a loyalty program, 48% belong to 3+ programs, 61% are more likely to spend where they are a program member.

  • The loyalty landscape is shifting: a path is emerging for venture-backed brands and platforms to create compelling and modern loyalty offerings that have previously been reserved for incumbent at-scale brands and platforms. Successful strategies will vary by category, business model, and scale, but now is the time.

🇪🇺 Notable European early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Bling, a France-based cash-on-demand service that allows customers to receive €100 instantly, raises €10M with Goodwater - link

  • THIS, a UK-based plant-based meat alternative start-up, raises £11M with BGF/Lever VC - link

  • Taptap Send, a UK-based cross-border payments company, raises $13.4M with Canaan/Reid Hoffman  - link

  • Electra, a France-based electric charging stations park, raises €15M with Serena/Eurazeo/Frst - link

🇺🇸 Notable US early-stage Consumer rounds :

  • Happs, an L.A.-based app that lets creators stream live video simultaneously across social platforms, raises $4.7M with Bullpen/Crosslink/Goodwater - link

  • Batch, an N.Y.C-based startup creating QR codes to enable “one-tap checkout” experiences in the physical world, raises $5M with Coatue/Seven Seven Six - link

  • Cabana, a Seattle-based startup that turns vans into bookable mobile hotels, raises $10M with Craft/Goldcrest - link

  • Rarible, an NFT marketplace raises $14.2M with Venrock/CoinFund/01 Advisors - link

  • Atom Finance, an N.Y.C-based consumer-focused finance information platform, raises $28M with SoftBank/General Catalyst - link

  • Paceline, an S.F-based fitness rewards platform, raises $29.5M with Acrew/Mubadala/Montage - link

🔭 Notable later stage Consumer rounds :

  • Snackpass, an S.F-based social food ordering platform, raises $70M with Craft/a16z/General Catalyst/YC - link

  • VRChat, an S.F-based social virtual reality platform, raises $80M in with Anthos/Makers Fund/GFR - link

  • Lower, a Columbus-based one-stop-shop to save for a home, obtain or refinance a mortgage and get insurance, raises $100M with Accel - link

  • The GOAT Group, an L.A-based sneaker, and streetwear company, raises $195M with Park West/Franklin Templeton/Adage – link

🍭 Notable Consumer Exits

  • BuzzFeed goes public via SPAC. Buzzfeed is an N.Y.C-based cross-platform digital media company - link

🖤 Heartcore

  • Visa acquires our portfolio company Tink. Tink is a Sweden-based fintech operating Europe’s leading Open Banking network - link

  • Our portfolio company Kontakt.io is hiring for various roles (Customer Success, Engineering, HR, Product, Sales, and Marketing) - link

Heartcore Consumer Insights is a weekly newsletter covering notable consumer rounds and exits and top content in the B2C space.