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As direct-to-consumer brands are deploying data-based digital channel strategies to compete in an unstable and saturated market, strategists such as Maison MRKT, a consumer agency for fashion and lifestyle products, are advising these companies on digital customer acquisition strategies — specializing in the e-commerce niche.

The firm offers a proprietary blend of digital marketing and channel strategy services for clients that incorporate intelligence and analytics, social media marketing, ad retargeting and reengagement, pay-per-click marketing, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization and lead generation. Maison MRKT’s initiative in the e-commerce fashion space is timely as online sales are projected to triple over the next decade, according to the company.

“The primary thing that brings clients to us is the desire for them to figure out how to scale their direct to consumer businesses,” said Matthew Nastos, a cofounder of Maison MRKT. He added, “We work with our clients to help them plan and figure out what their budgets and targets will be and [determine] the channels they need to activate in order to realize strong returns and create sales.” Nastos founded the agency in 2014 with his brother Lexi, and today, the team collectively draws experience from brands Theory, Scoop NYC, ENK and The Cools.

Clients seek Maison MRKT’s services when preparing to launch an online property, creating a new business, or more commonly, when existing online properties are looking to scale and elevate a business from the nascent stage to a more advanced level. The agency effectively increases targeted traffic to e-commerce sites that results in higher conversion rates. Clients include Opening Ceremony, Georg Jensen, Joie, Pamela Love, Equipment, Cynthia Rowley, Iro and Fivestory.

Its bespoke services begin with a comprehensive overview of a brand’s personality, tenets and objectives. “We base everything that we plan around clients’ brand pillars and their overarching value proposition,” Nastos told WWD. “That core set of values really sets them apart from their competition. It’s our responsibility to figure out not only how to effectively communicate those value points, but also find the right target audience for each of those brand pillars.”

Matthew Nastos  Photo courtesy of Maison MRKT

Maison MRKT’s success speaks in numbers: When approached by a men’s multibrand retailer that aimed to increase online performance, overall traffic over a seven-month period increased by as much as 39.7 percent year-over-year. And conversion rates as high as 172 percent were achieved for a contemporary women’s ready-to-wear collection that sought the firm’s expertise in paid marketing strategy, the company said.

Perhaps most surprising is the firm’s emphasis on e-mail marketing, which at first glance appears outdated when likened to the wide selection of more advanced marketing technologies. “A lesson that we learned very early on is that e-mail, even though it’s been around since the dawn of the Internet, is still a hugely important and very consistent driver of sales for every one of our clients,” Nastos said. In fashion e-commerce and digital marketing, the strongest channels are Facebook, Google and Instagram, according to the company.

“We wanted to make sure that we were able to know only use that as a channel but also provide meaningful routes for optimization and ways for our clients to better utilize their respective e-mail databases,” Nastos said. The firm worked with an accessory company that aimed to increase e-mail marketing performance through segmentation, targeted content and precision scheduling. In a single year, the company experienced a 347 percent overall increase in e-mail-related revenue over the previous year.

“We try to advise our clients on two key things: One, is to always adopt an attitude of trial and error and experimentation because the nature of working with any kind of new channel or young channel is that you don’t really know what the results will be until you actually try it,” he said. “In addition to that, [we say to] always swim with the tide.”

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