MVMT Watches, run by two college dropouts Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, was “the world’s fastest-growing watch brand in 2017”, according to Forbes.
In 2013, Kassan and LaPlante partnered to build MVMT after sharing the same passion for creating high-quality, stylish and affordable watches. At that time, Kassan was working as a valet to pay off his debt of $20,000. Fast forward five years, MVMT has:
- Made an annual revenue of over $90M.
- Sold over 1.5 million watches, sunglasses, and other similar products in 160+ countries.
- Won Shopify’s Build-a-Business award in the category of Jewelry and Crafts.
Now, this is the definition of scaling fast. The company’s astounding growth might seem like a stroke of luck. So what did Kassan and LaPlante do to grow their brand in such a short time?
Let’s dive into some strategies that Kassan and LaPlante used to turn a dream into a reality.
Share user-generated content to create social proof
It was a challenge for the two founders to prove themselves among well-established brands like Rolex, Citizen, and Timex. One of the major challenges of going online-first is gaining trust from the users, because they have to make purchase decisions without physically interacting with the product.
Kassan and LaPlante were aware of this. Therefore, they used positive feedback and reviews from initial customers to build trust among a larger audience. They shared user-generated content on their social media and website to showcase social proof. This was a crucial step to build their brand and establish trust with new customers.
Leverage micro-influencers to target niche audiences
MVMT worked with micro-influencers on different social platforms to reach out to niche communities without spending millions. These influencers had concentrated reach and dedicated audiences who trust them and the products they recommend. This helped MVMT build credibility and increase their visibility.
On their first influencer marketing campaign, MVMT partnered with 62 influencers with an average of 47,000 followers each to create 73 sponsored Instagram posts. After a week, they gained 100,000 likes, 2,800 comments, and the posts got exposed to over 3 million people. This gave rise to the hashtag #JointheMVMT on various social platforms which has over 120,000 posts today (Source: Alex Fedotoff).
Focus on users, not your products, in marketing campaigns to improve conversions
When Instagram advertising became available, MVMT combined its Facebook ads strategy with Instagram distribution. Their initial ad strategy was to generate huge volumes of ads, test different creatives to lots of different audiences. This helped them understand who their target audience is and the kind of content their audience resonates with. They realized that their most performing ads had high-quality photos with short and compelling call-to-action. Once they figured out their key audience, they adopted a new ad strategy- focus more on the customers than the product. They started designing ads that their customers resonated with. This way they gained more visibility. According to MVMT’s ad manager Steven Dinelli, their user centric approach to ads helped the company improve its cost per action by 20%.
Alongside Facebook and Instagram ads, MVMT also uses Google Ads to drive conversions and increase their online sales. To compete with other Shopify watch stores, their key strategy on Google Ads has been to bid on a large set of keywords to leverage the opportunity of grabbing traffic from targeted, mid-to-long tail keywords. According to Ahrefs, MVMT bid on 772 keywords worldwide in 2018. These keywords aligned well with their customers' searches. Choosing effective keywords and directing them to the company’s homepage helped them gain a lot of traffic to their site. They had traffic of over 2 million visitors per month in 2018.
Consistency in branding to build trust with customers
MVMT’s approach is to sell a lifestyle and not the product- as we’ve already seen in their marketing campaigns. Watches are largely undifferentiated, so instead of focusing on features, they focus on selling a fun, luxurious lifestyle.
They capture the essence of this lifestyle in the images and messages they share. Their pictures mostly feature stylish millennials showing off MVMT watches living a luxury lifestyle. Their visuals are clean, crisp, enticing, and more importantly consistent across all platforms. Their consistency has helped them build a long-lasting relationship with their customers.
The story of MVMT’s success is inspiring. Their consistency in generating high-quality content along with their expertise in online marketing helped them transform their startup into a wildly profitable business. For anyone wanting to grow their online business, MVMT’s tactics and strategic plans can be of great help.