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DigiCom Interview With Sam Moore, Fractional CMO and Brand Strategist

Season 2, Episode 1:


This season we are kicking off with some new interviews talking through different specialities across Digital. In our first episode of season 2, we had the pleasure of talking with Sam Moore who focuses on brand marketing. Her goal is to help businesses build teams and processes that can help drive hypergrowth. Sam Moore is a fractional CMO and brand strategist based in Los Angeles. As President of Brand at Jenni Kayne, she established the business as a notable lifestyle authority across wardrobe, home, and beauty, and was one of the founding team members responsible for building Jenni Kayne into a $100M business in 6 years. As a consultant, Sam has worked with companies across a variety of business sectors including women’s health, retail, CPG, and hospitality. She is a results-driven brand builder with a passion for authentic storytelling, foundational processes, team building, and driving growth for early-stage businesses.

Connect With Sam:

IG: @samanthaomoore


Connect With DigiCom:


We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.



Transcript:


Hemant Varshney (00:01.07)

Sam, thanks for jumping on our podcast. We are very excited to have you on today. I wanted to start off by asking you what got you into digital marketing?


Sam (00:13.015)

Thank you so much for having me. I know you guys want to talk to me more often in a week than you already do. Um, so super excited to chat. Um, you know, my background is actually really focused on brand marketing. Um, I spent six and a half years at Jenny Kane, um, really leading the brand team there. Um, and we had an incredible performance team and an incredible growth team, um, and agency partners. So.


I was really exposed to performance marketing probably about like midway through my tenure at Jenny Kane. And that was really my first introduction to performance driven creative and exposure to this world and just all things digital marketing. But I will say like I never really had to have ownership over digital at my time in Jenny Kane because we had so many amazing people leading the charge there. So.


I think that once I moved on from that company and started consulting, I was actually really pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to take more ownership over the digital space. So I would say in the last two years or so, I have really been more exposed and more involved in the day-to-day of digital and performance marketing, which has been great for me and I think really rounded out my skill set.


and just what I can offer to different brand partners.


Hemant Varshney (01:44.142)

So you've worked with several different companies over the past couple of years. And I know you've been a fractional CMO. What are things that you love doing as a fractional CMO? What are some challenges when you're working with different brands?


Sam (02:02.535)

Um, I really love team building and I really love establishing processes and structure for brands that are maybe at an earlier stage in their business, or maybe don't have the resources to invest in full-time employees, um, or building out a, you know, a full fledged marketing team. I think that, um, I'm somewhat of a generalist, which I think earlier in my career, I felt really insecure about. But now I think that gives me. Um,


I think it gives me the ability to meet teams and businesses where they are, um, and provide really good guidance on how to set up the team for success, knowing that aggressive scale is usually everyone's goal. Um, so that's what I love doing. I love kind of like putting the puzzle together. I love hiring people. I love vetting out different agencies and consultants and contractors and really establishing the best team for what that business needs, um, in any given time.


Hemant Varshney (03:01.61)

I know there's a lot of advice you can give different businesses, but from a brand perspective or a CMO perspective, what are insights that you're seeing or what advice would you give to some of these newer startups that you're working with?


Sam (03:20.051)

I think establishing a really strong team that feels like they have ownership over their roles or not feels like it that they actually do have ownership over their roles. I think when you find people that are really invested in not only helping you grow your business but in their own careers, that's super important, especially when you have a small and nimble team. I think it's kind of a small, all hands on deck mindset, which those are the types of environments I've always really enjoyed.


working in, I think spending thoughtfully is always super important. But with that, knowing that you do have to spend money to make money most of the time. And then I would also say just maintaining a really authentic point of view and brand integrity, I think goes a really long way. I've seen kind of both ends of the spectrum, people that really maintain their strong brand voice and vision. And.


Um, I am personally really attracted to brands that do that, um, versus really, uh, like being a Camilla, like, yes, you have to evolve based on what the channel is that you're marketing on. But I do think like having that through line, um, sets brands apart that are going to have longevity versus. Others.


Hemant Varshney (04:40.046)

So you mentioned channels, and different channels have different audiences. How do brand campaigns play a role in paid campaigns? From our experience, sometimes there can be a clash. Other times, there isn't. Of course, we want to minimalize the clash. But also, out of the clash, we find a lot of cool insights. What are your thoughts on that?


Sam (05:08.871)

Yeah, I think there's always that sort of push and pull between brand and performance marketing and to some extent that's healthy. And I think, you know, that, that challenge makes both teams better. Um, but I do think it's super important for them, those two functions of marketing to work really closely together. Um, you know, like we've seen, there's a halo effect when there's a strong brand campaign or if they're strong, uh, pain media and, um, all tides really rise together. So that's my.


perspective on performance and brand, I think it's really important that they work hand in hand.


Hemant Varshney (05:46.132)

What is a brand, it doesn't have to be a brand that you've worked with, but you know what is one of your favorite brands and why?


Sam (05:55.547)

Um, I mean, like I said, I think it's really cool when brands kind of maintain that authenticity across visuals, tone, copy assets, um, both in their organic and non-organic channels. Um, I think that sets people apart and it is difficult to do. It's difficult to create performance driven creative that, um, is both really impactful and also upholds your brand standards. Um,


So that's something I always look for. I think a lot of brands out of Australia are doing a really cool job. One brand I love in particular is a woman's ready to wear and swim brand called Zulu and Zephyr. They, I think just do a phenomenal job of making really beautiful performance creative. Like I click on their ads every single time and I know it's an ad obviously, but I think when you can maintain that sort of integrity,


your brand just stands out.


Hemant Varshney (06:57.77)

Yeah, I agree. And I think oftentimes we're playing the fine line of brand integrity and also trying to find the next performance unlock. It is a balance. And I think it's important to test and learn. There are times where it's just not possible to test and learn because of the brand guidelines. They might be stricter. But I think.


Sam (07:04.487)

Right.


Hemant Varshney (07:27.542)

Just a recommendation from me is always like test and learn. You can always test something that is maybe not as polished at a smaller budget just to find unlocks.


Sam (07:38.303)

Yeah, I will say that was a really big learning for me, especially during my time at Jenny Kane. I really like held that brand so closely to my heart, which, you know, for better or worse, I think there are learnings with that. But now I definitely encourage clients to kind of push the boundaries when it comes to testing performance. But if you can find that sweet spot of like toeing the line of, you know, trying to find those unlocks.


while also maintaining brand. I think that is the game changer, but yeah, it's definitely hard to do.


Hemant Varshney (08:16.33)

Yeah Where do you see digital going in the next you know three to five years and what do you see? With all the brands that you're working with become more and more prevalent


Sam (08:28.639)

Yeah, I think that a lot of teams that I'm working with are starting to take a more holistic approach to channel planning and to marketing in general. I think a couple of years back, we were seeing people just throwing money at Facebook and kind of looking to grow at any cost. That said, with all of the changes to iOS, new platforms, new channels, like it's things are constantly evolving. So I do think that people are starting to.


talk more about attribution and just looking at how all of the channels, both paid and unpaid really play into account. And I think, I mean, that's why I love working with you guys, to be honest. I think you have a really unique approach on holistic chanting, planning and attribution. And I do think that's the direction that people are going to go on and just give more weight to different channels than, you know, Facebook and Google.


Hemant Varshney (09:25.034)

Yeah, thank you for mentioning that. I think in the past, prior to 2022, 2023, it was growth at all costs, especially for a lot of these VC-backed companies. But then after we've seen bank failures, the road to profitability is probably the most important thing.


Sam (09:39.113)

Yeah.


Hemant Varshney (09:51.822)

Brands are looking to like double growth, triple growth, but now because of cash constraints, it's just very different, right? Like the entire landscape. And so it's about profitable growth and maybe you grow at 50%. There are brands that can double growth, but it's also understanding your unit economics. That's something unbelievably important.


Sam (10:15.263)

Yeah, and I think that sort of healthy growth is, you know, best for most businesses, right? I think we saw a lot of people that, again, were just trying to grow at all costs, and I'm not sure that that's really scalable. And I do think it is harder to maintain brand authenticity when you're growing at that scale.


Hemant Varshney (10:37.982)

Yeah, yeah. And even adding on to layers that you had mentioned, hiring the right team. You have to hire so much faster versus taking time to make a decision to bring the right person on. So yeah, there's a lot of challenges that can go with it, both from an operational standpoint, but then also a cash flow perspective.


Sam (11:02.151)

Yeah, I think that's interesting around like team and foundation because I've always worked sort of in a startup environment. So my, my mindset's always like, okay, well, how can we get the most out of the resources that we have versus just adding headcount to add it because you should have this manager or you should have this person or you should have that agency. So, um, I'm definitely aligned there and kind of like that slower build and really setting up process and infrastructure from.


the get go knowing that of course sometimes you just have to like go for it. But I do think there's value in that study build.


Hemant Varshney (11:41.736)

What's one question you wish we'd asked you, and how would you answer it?


Sam (11:48.563)

Um, well, I don't, I mean, you guys know that my background is really not in digital. I'm not a digital expert. Um, and I think, um, especially earlier on in your career in marketing in general, I talked to a lot of, um, younger women who are trying to decide kind of like what path they want to go in, um, and try to give them guidance. I'm not sure how helpful I ended up being, but I think that


I always come back to, I think it's really valuable when you can join a team that is small and nimble and you can kind of get exposure to different roles and different avenues of marketing at one company versus going to a super large corporation where you're somewhat pigeonholed in a very specific task. And I think knowing that asking a million questions is okay.


I'm sure you guys can attest to this, because I ask you guys a million questions every single week. But I think when I was younger, I was fearful that made me come off as inexperienced or not fit for the role that I was in. So I probably limited myself in that capacity as far as really growing in the digital space earlier on in my career, because I would rather have been seen as knowing.


So now I'm kind of just like, you gotta embrace that you can't be an expert in everything. Oftentimes you are working with experts, so take advantage of them, ask the dumb questions, ask as many questions as possible. And I think that's something that's super valuable.


Hemant Varshney (13:30.378)

Yeah, and I definitely think it's important for startups to weave that into their ethos, where it's okay to ask questions.


and just continuously fire away at questions. I know when, even from a Digi-Con perspective, when we're onboarding new team members, and it doesn't matter how seasoned someone is, everybody goes through a very similar flow in the sense of you're trained first on reporting and why that is important. You might be someone leading creative initiatives, but that's where, you know...


the information that we're pulling in and the insights we're providing come from, or like it's a director level position, but at the same time, they're doing reporting first.


because of how granular our reporting gets, right? And like, even those folks that are at a director level, they're asking us a million questions. And sometimes it's just like, hey, you know what? Let's just sit down and go through Excel and it'll make your life much easier. Or other times it's like, oh, I didn't know we could do X, Y, and Z, and that's okay. So yeah, I very much echo your sentiment.


Sam (14:42.747)

Yeah, I think people like to say like, no question. What is the phrase? No questions are a stupid question, but like, I don't know if that's actually the culture that's presented. Um, so yes, I agree. Ask all of the questions. I'm sure you guys would like me to ask less questions than I do, but I've learned so much from working with you that I don't care. I mean, keep asking you questions.


Hemant Varshney (15:04.986)

Yep. Keep asking us questions. Sam, where can our listeners find you and how can they get in touch with you?


Sam (15:11.775)

No fancy website or anything, just on LinkedIn. My name's Samantha Moore. I'm also on Instagram at Samantha O. Moore. Yeah.


Hemant Varshney (15:22.978)

We'll be sure to share your LinkedIn at the end of the podcast. Thank you for jumping on with us.


Sam (15:29.815)

Okay.


Thank you guys for having me.


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