Aug 25, 2023
46 mins

TOP CMO: Amina Pasha, Thrive Market - 'From Giant to Agile'

Amina Pasha  00:00

Our marketing shifted to be a lot more inclusive, a lot more about doing healthy your way and a lot more about how we can help you get through this week. Get through that and be a trusted partner in this journey.

Ben Kaplan  00:10

This is the podcast where we go around the globe and interview marketing leaders from the world's biggest brands, fastest growing companies and most disruptive startups. Re ideas after a certain way want to spread. They want to be told that someone else's simple, surprising and significantly locking viral creativity is to make it rapidly scalable. This is TOP CMO with me, Ben Kaplan. today I'm chatting with Amina Pasha, CMO of Thrive Market, a fast growing us ecommerce retailer that offers natural and organic food. Unique to Thrive Market is its membership based model. It's like having a Costco membership. And its use of data and insights to fuel expansion of its own private label products. Ominous past experience includes key roles at the Honest Company and Procter and Gamble where she developed and evolved brands like Pantene and Pampers. So how do you take the scope and scale of a Procter and Gamble and apply its lessons to a direct to consumer membership model with a fast growing and passionate niche audience? Let's find out with Amina Pasha.

Ben Kaplan  01:29

Maybe a good starting off point is to talk about what it's like to really develop a mission driven brand. And how is that different than just developing a brand when you're putting that front and centre? And it's meant to attract a particular type of audience that would respond to that mission?

Amina Pasha  01:47

Yeah, no, it's a great question. You know, when we you are marketing a mission driven brand, you first have to then segregate the marketing and talk about what is the mission driven brand. And really, you know, I cannot take credit for this because I was not at the start of the company. It's really the founders will built this company from the mission. First, it was not backed into a mission, it was born out of the mission. And the founders, we actually had four founders, Nick, Gunner, Sasha and Kate, Nick and Sasha continued to be part of the company, Nick is the CEO, and Sasha is the co founder and CTO there, you know, David, he had an upbringing where they saw how difficult it was to live a healthy lifestyle in the US, it was not accessible. You know, Nick lived in Minnesota, where it was, you know, at least 20 miles to get to a healthy grocery store, it was certainly not affordable. And it was just, you know, almost complicated. But his mother really strived to bring that to that table and to have the children understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle from a very young age. And so when this idea actually came to Nick, it just hit a light bulb, his whole upbringing was about this. And he suddenly realised this was a much bigger problem than just his family was facing, this was a problem the entire nation is facing of how healthy has become, you know, a privilege and it's not a priority.

Ben Kaplan  03:10

And I think one thing just to find it a little bit, I think the mission is to make healthy living easy. You're an E commerce platform, there's a mission there in terms of what it means for the individual consumer or your customer. You call them members, your member, but how do you flush that out into a mission driven brand? So there's a clear mission is it sounds like it emanates from the founders, from their upbringing from founders, mom, even, which is great, but then how do you flesh out all the other things? Because given that there's certain ways a brand like that might need to behave? There's certain channels that would be important. There's certain other marketing considerations as you flesh that out into something that can be complete for the end consumer.

Amina Pasha  03:50

Yeah, no, but so it does start from the fab destroy, because that then becomes everything on how you're going to be doing your business, right? Even before you get to what the brand is the how you're doing your business, the sustainable shipping, how you're never going to, you know, do air shipping, you're going to be carbon neutral, how you're going to be zero waste, how you're going to be carbon neutral, how are you going to be carbon negative, that becomes the footprint of your mission and of your brand on how you're going to be doing business. And when you had that very clear footprint and you know, also where you're going to be going over the next five years that we we have a very clear mission strategy laid out for the next five years. Then you start establishing, okay, how do I communicate and bring this story to life to our members and bring them along the journey? So for example, during COVID, we realise that, you know, the food inequality we're seeing in America is just being exacerbated. It is now over you know, 54 million people, it's affecting African American communities, Hispanic communities, etc. We have a role to play, not just, you know, walking the talk, but actually doing the deed. So we put a state In the ground to say, we are going to raise Thrive Market is going to raise $10 million in healthy groceries by 2025. And then we put an action plan on how are we going to base that with our founders, with our drivers who are employees, and also with our members whose donations really matter, and raised all of those funds, not in 2025. But actually, earlier this year in 2023, two years in advance. And the way we did that was by consistently communicating the importance of this goal, but also doing a lot of storytelling and bringing that to life that I remember showing them, you know, the journey to getting this $10 million, how we're raising it, where the funds are going at in almost every other month, using our own assets to communicate, whether it was through email, or our organic, social, etc, to make them really see what aspect of our mission, how it was coming to life. Similarly, we recognise the importance of getting the B Corp certification, which, you know, grocery stores were not really getting, we became the largest national grocery store to get B Corp certified. And we shared that accomplishment with our members. And so it's it's very different. We're not just marketing to the sake of marketing, we're actually broadcasting our journey on these important mission milestones, how our members are getting us there, and how we're collectively driving a much bigger impact and improvement in the industry. So those are a couple of examples.

Ben Kaplan  06:25

I'm gonna, one of the things that I think we should define a little bit is this notion of members for your model. And correct me if I summarise the value proposition very quickly, but essentially, you join as a membership, I think the rate is something like $60 a year to join for that. You're getting curated lists of products that make things easy for you and a discount over what you would pay if you went to another place of around 30% or so from what I can tell from the site. So people are members, and they have some skin in the game because they've paid to be a member. So it's not unlike if you've joined a Costco or something like that, and you've paid and there's there can be significant revenue from that. So how does the fact that they have some skin in the game they've paid to be a member? Does that change? How you communicate with them? Are there different channels? Are people more responsive? are open rates different on emails? Or how do you think about any difference from being a member versus just being a consumer that was coming to an E commerce grocery site,

Amina Pasha  07:17

I mean, that's a huge difference. Because if you think about it, you know, I've worked on brands, which where we didn't have membership, and you're constantly trying to bring in, not only bring in that consumer, but bring them back, right? We don't have that once you're in, you're already a member you're with us, hopefully for the long run, it is now really about that experience are going to be having and us building, you know, and communicating our brand values and our mission, while you're with us for that whole lifecycle. So we don't have to actually invest in remarketing, necessarily, to keep bringing you back in, we really want to spend our time, you know, educating you on our values, bringing new products, exclusive products to you that you cannot get anywhere else. So about a third of our portfolio is our own brand and exclusive products that we have, that you can't find anywhere in retail. And so educating you on that brand on what those values are, why those products we've made, then how they're ethically sourced, why they're better quality, and they're even lower price than you know any comparable product that you could find that the market usually about 1/3

Ben Kaplan  08:21

Is your own private label that reflects these values that you're having made for you based on these principles and values and the products you want the mix.

Amina Pasha  08:28

Exactly. So it's actually 28%. But yeah, so we've created our own brand that, you know, basically the insight on that was we looked across our entire portfolio, and we started becoming masters of the products that we're putting on our site, and quickly realised there were gaps in the market. There were certain products that were not there, certain products didn't exist. And instead of waiting for someone to create it, we said why don't we start creating these products that are not there. And from that we saw from our members incredible feedback. They love the products, they really gave, you know, highest ratings. And we started seeing that this could be a much bigger idea than just portfolio gaps. So we started looking more strategically across different categories that we wanted to play in and started also building muscle there. And so our members have access not only to the highest quality, best value, third party brands, but they also have access to our own brand as a unique perk. And so that becomes another, you know, very big difference, then that we have versus speechless because they have access to these types of products that they can't find anywhere else. Coming back to your question on how else we think differently about a member, you know, we have the highest retention rates in the industry, you know, close to like 70 What 72% Is that measured on the membership, that is the membership renewal rate, and that's, that's an annual that is an annual renewal rate. Exactly. Okay, so

Ben Kaplan  09:55

about three out of four are sticking with it. Okay, got it. They are here

Amina Pasha  09:58

for the long run. And it's really about us building the best experience. So they, you know, we also do a quiz right up front. So it's very different than again shopping, you know, one time or one off on a retail where we understand their needs. And so if you think about the modern consumer family, you know, if I look at myself, I'm low sugar, low carb, my husband is into high protein, the kids just want tasty, but I want them to eat hell, the Thrive Market has these unique filters, which enables you to use your lifestyle to guide what you want to shop and shop for this modern conscious consumer in that way, you can't do that at retail. So again, our members are getting a very different experience and how to engage with our products, how to shop with our products, that it's almost addictive, because they're now getting a much more personalised curated customised experience to their family's true needs. And that also starts building this habit and basket building that, you know, I'm going to get exactly what I need, and they don't have to do the heavy lifting. So when you run a grocery store, you're constantly looking at the labels is this duty free, I'm not sure I need to check here, you just click on gluten free, and then everything is gluten free, like on low sugar, and everything's low sugar, it becomes such another way for them to shop, that it drives that engagement. And so to your point, we do a lot of you know, targeted marketing programmes related to affinities understanding what consumers like, you know, what types of products and then we can really tailor our marketing message to that. So for example, if I know all the things that you like to like, you're a parent, you're a mom, you need healthy snacks, but you want low sugar and low carb, guess what I can do a very targeted, you know, marketing message to get you exactly that and get you excited about that, again, something they're not going to be able to get at a store or retail and how

Ben Kaplan  11:38

many different when you think of me you come from the traditional CPG world you worked at p&g Procter and Gamble you know, that sort of p&g discipline around this and, and you even use a term that I recognise from a lot of personas are sort of need states, we use the term conscious consumer as a market agent. And we've done you know, 100 150 CPG brands or companies. So conscious consumer comes up. What's different about though about what you're saying and where Thrive Market is positioned, is we do work like one of one of our clients is Albertsons, Safeway, big, huge grocery chain, usually a conscious consumers like one persona type, which is just the conscious consumer that's into healthy living, healthy lifestyle, they want to kind of bring out their best. But we're not subdividing that, usually, because that's a segment and there's lots of other segments too, that a Safeway or Albertsons has to think about. So how do you break that down? Because you're entirely focused on the sort of healthy segments. And as you indicated, there's different aspects of that whether you're a parent, whether what you want for yourself, whether it's something very niche about a certain diet that you're, you know, you've read about the Mediterranean diet, you want to pursue it now, how do you think about your personas and the need states are trying to fill?

Amina Pasha  12:43

Yeah, I mean, it is it is a psychographic, for sure. So it does start like to your point with that piano conscious, we call them wellness champions, who really, you know, who really are embracing the lifestyle. And so when we look at our audience, as well, like who our members are, there really isn't like a demographic or one size fits all, we have as many above the age of 50, as below the age of 35. We have, you know, 60% are married, about half of them have kids, so half don't have kids to your point, you know, it's you have like the city dwellers and but you also have the mom and dad with young parents. And so, you know, average age is under the age of five, so you know, that they're these busy moms. And so we really look at conscious consumers overall, but then think about the cohorts of consumers types that they can be. And we do think like, you know, the busy parent with like, you know, one or two kids a toddler age is a very different psychographic than someone who is living alone and in a bigger city, but you know, may not want to go to the grocery store or may not have a good healthy grocery store where they live. And we think about what is going to be the relevant you know, messaging and hooks to get to that busy parent. And so the busy parent, it is really those like healthy, tasty, easy snacks. It's innovation and snacks. You know, snacks is such a big category. But when you think about it, they're like, very few parents can articulate what is really fun and exciting, yet healthy in snacks. And so here's where we work with smart sweets and we bring you you know, we show this in our marketing like just less than five grammes of sugar you can give them gummies and you can have your cake too because it's less than five grammes of sugars. Or we have these innovative Thrive Market fruit, things we call them fruit circles, but they're like circle stickers and you can just keep peeling them and they're made with real strawberries, they're not you know, preservatives and lots of additives and tonnes of sugar. None of that we take all of that out and really give you what that will send through this and you show the products and we talk to that parent and that audience about these are like healthy swaps that you can get for your for your kid versus other ads where we show people going to the grocery store and just frustrated with like the assortment there or the pricing there or they can't find you know what they're looking for and they're wasting time and it becomes very obvious to someone who is struggling with that, that there's a better solution. And then crossover like and tick tock and quickly show how easy and effortless it is these quick filters and how you get what you want, and you got your time back. But you also got your healthy and you got your sustainable.

Ben Kaplan  15:16

Anytime you have two or three major trends that are colliding and surprising ways, it's going to create some unique messaging opportunities, healthier eating, saving money, flexible diets, different audiences may respond to those trends in different ways. So you've got to start experimenting with content. There's no right or wrong answer. But you will know when you found a message that works. When comments from your audiences suddenly become more specific and emotional, when the best way to engage with your content is to share a story of their own. You started at Thrive Market, it looks like right about 2020 right in the midst of this. And I think one of the things that that is interesting for where Thrive Market is positioned. And you alluded to maybe savings of time, obviously, during the pandemic, a lot of things that were not primarily virtual things like grocery shopping shifted over. And lots more people tried that. So I think the company seems well positioned for that. Also, health was obviously a big concern for a lot of that really focused on COVID, then it kind of shifted because lots of us forgot about all the other stuff that go into health besides COVID as well. And you're talking about even a different value proposition because obviously there was like the Instacart value proposition of like, Hey, you just don't have to go to the grocery store, we'll bring it to you. Now you're even talking one level further, which is like the filters to find the stuff on Instacart. And to go through it and see the ingredients or filter it for this very specific thing is kind of hard to do. So your savings times there. So what has been the sort of marketing journey from when you started may 2020, to now how has it changed and what was the ride like during the pandemic, when you really you're at the intersection of E commerce groceries, which was super impacted. And then healthy living, which was also obviously a key consideration during all this. My God,

Amina Pasha  17:04

it was a roller coaster ride. So I joined and six months in we went straight into the pandemic. And you know, the first trend that we remember seeing is we just started seeing certain essentials with every grocery store did just going up. And I remember talking to our ops and saying, you know, we're seeing, and we had like, you know, bamboo extracted toilet paper. So it's sustainable toilet paper, we're seeing, you know, pastas and essentials like all of this just skyrocketing. And the first journey was really a supply chain one, you know, we actually had to turn off marketing, because we were just exploding, it was just unreal and unprecedented. And even though we had stocked up as much as we couldn't get because we're online, we could immediately see that this was this was external, not just internal. Even though we had stocked up, we still were at a point where we actually had to turn on marketing. And we had to be very intentional with whatever marketing we did have, that we were still bringing in the wellness champions. And like we were bringing people who are healthy and sustainable and want to be members and are not just coming in and coming out because they just wanted a toilet paper. And that's it because that is not our consumer. And we knew that. And so while we turned off marketing we did I mean, we even had to do store hours, which I can't I can't even remember that we did it but we had to list certain timeframes, because we just could not control the demand. It was it was very difficult. And you know, a lot of retailers went through that we got out of that period. And we started very gradually turning back marketing on and very intentionally thinking about really making sure we continue to bring the right consumer and who don't want to bring people come in and drop out after a month, we want the right consumer. So the marketing message really shifted. Pre pandemic, we were you know, we were very much about niche diets and lifestyles like keto 30. These were some of our biggest lifestyles and diets. The immediate shift we started seeing is that people wanted to be healthy, but they had to survive. They could not have to constraint lifestyles and diets. And so one of the biggest shifts we made in our messaging was what I call do healthy your way, there is no right way or wrong way to do healthy right now. You know, take all that tone out of the marketing and be very inclusive. However, if you want to do healthy even one day, go for it. You need your wine, we have wide biodynamic, healthy, low sugar, wine, have a glass of wine, get through your day, because people are living day to day. I mean it was it was really nuts. And so our marketing shifted to be a lot more inclusive, a lot more about doing healthy your way and a lot more about you know, how we can help you get through this week. Get through that and be a trusted partner in this journey. And even now, believe it or not, we still see the diets and lifestyles play a much lesser role. It is just about a broader, healthier, more conscious lifestyle. Parenting was a big one. So a lot of our marketing shifted on like, what are some tips and tricks we can do when you're stuck in the pandemic and hold and so we started doing We called Thrive lives, which were like easy things like back then there wasn't as much, you know, Zoom fatigue, but you could, you know, we'd started on zoom that we took it on Instagram, where we would, you know, do like a wine happy hour for like parents, you know, and bring our, our hand muster Somalian, and like, just help you, you know, unwind and like, you know, send you some of our Thrive Market wines as well. And like, we learned, like, just people just needed a break, you know, and they wanted more from brands and just products, they really wanted some, some downtime, even if anything, and so we started thinking a lot more creatively, what more can we do to be that trusted partner during this journey? And a lot of that, you know, we've seen still continues to stay and we've seen, you know, we did not slow down post pandemic and post COVID We did not see that kind of yes, we still down a bit, but we continue to sustain momentum and growth. And this year, if anything, remember growth, you know, has exceeded all of our our growth, we're about 30% over year to date, and just last month, we're 16% over versus year ago in terms of member growth. So we have kind of taken the threads that worked even post pandemic and stretched it out. We've also seen tunnels I mean like we got into Tik Tok three years ago, you know, before Tik Tok was really a big thing. And we got in through influencers leveraging tick tock and talking up to their audiences about why they strike market, how easy it is how it's a lifesaver. And we then extended all of that into paid. And it has been a tremendous growth and success story. And we see that format that consumers are just really hungry for whether it's, you know, in stereo, so that's tick tock YouTube shorts,

Ben Kaplan  21:33

what is for other brands listening that are lots of people and we even talk to some b2b brands now that want to dabble in tick tock, what has been the best performing What have you learned over that? What works? I know you said you started influencer sounds like you're doing paid campaigns on tick tock as well, what's kind of like the Bite Size lesson over the past three years of that, that you would give advice to others?

Amina Pasha  21:54

You know, it's it's building the capability in house, I really do think that has been the biggest success. We have brought in, you know, talent that understands, you know, the creative and the media, rather than bifurcating that, like one team does. The media one team does the key creative. We've really found what has worked is having the knowledge of creative in media, like connected and like having a team leader who understands both. And so the leader we brought in, you know, she has an understanding on that media sides is understanding the creative side, we made her the leader for like, let's call it the Tiktok squad, connecting a group of like the creative teams of media folks, all of them together, thinking about it holistically, but her telling them very clearly, here's what the best practices, here's what we need to do to win. Here's a testing roadmap, and that team working as one synergistic team not bifurcating, like, Let's go figure out the creative separately, let's go for about the media separately, doing it very holistically and intentionally. And we spent a lot of our efforts on the hook, you know, we grew our hook rate by gosh, 300%, which is the first three seconds that a consumer is watching your ad, because we really figured out like what is it going to stick with someone like why are they going to want to watch the rest of the app? It's what you've seen the first few seconds?

Ben Kaplan  23:07

And what is the three second hook that you discovered? That works great. And the three second hook that you thought would work? Great, that just doesn't work at all?

Amina Pasha  23:14

That three second hook that works? Wait is very specific, typically a question? Like, can you get organic grocery stores? Can you get organic groceries for 30% Last at these three stores, and we listed the three stores and we put Thrive Market? And you know, it's so provocative because they're suddenly like, wait a minute, and I get it? No, I can't, but I can't get it at right back. Wait, what's the Thrive Market and then you watch the rest of the app because it solves a complete problem or a pain point in your life. So think about our consumers, you know, life problem. And can I save? You know, $400 this month on groceries? Yes, you can Thrive Market. Here's how Yeah, and then this secret. So it is a very problem solution. But it's like solving an immediate life problem that someone's having. They can't get healthy organic groceries for 300 bucks last month but Thrive Market come in and do that. And like immediate answer, you know, very clear, what hasn't worked is like a hook that focuses on just just sustainable or just healthy and sustainable. That's just not hard hitting enough for someone to really want to watch the rest of the ad. So we really learned like, you know, the duality of benefits, high quality plus affordability, high quality plus convenience, like get right to the crux of the problem in the first three seconds, make it very snappy and and punchy and show tonnes of products that make them proof points as they're watching the ads. And you're telling them the real difference and how Thrive Market can get you high quality organic groceries for less, which today, even if you Google it, the Google is the first to tell you that organic groceries will cost you more forget about it. We basically created ads that we call our Mythbusters that just take these myths away, and so have proof points at Thrive Market and that's kind of the secret and you just keep refreshing those hooks surprisingly, our founder Nick Green was our viral ad on tick tock which we never thought would happen because we tested Then on on meta, and it wasn't because there are a lot of founder ads and meta, but when we did our founder ad on tick tock, they weren't really many founder ads on tick tock, and he was so provocative about how he was talking about Thrive Market and how you can save and your lifetime savings with Thrive Market that people just loved it and it went viral, it became 60% of our spend that month. So you've got to really understand what it's going to take to like, unlock a life problem in three seconds, and then someone's going to be interested to hear the rest of your ad. So that's the best the secret and once you figure it out, refreshing it.

Ben Kaplan  25:31

And you've alluded to the team structure, I know one of the things that has really changed at Thrive Market is the embrace of remote work. And you went from 25,000 square foot offices to downsize this was what how does that work for the marketing team creative media that you want them to collaborate? You just made a great point about not wanting it to be siloed? How does it work in sort of a remote first culture where you do have some physical locations or understanding or kind of through co working spaces?

Amina Pasha  25:58

Yeah, I think the key word for making remote first work is intentional. Everything we do is intentional. Now, like it has to be there is no more watercooler talk or like, you know, rapid conversations happening offline. So it does take a lot more effort.

Ben Kaplan  26:13

And we're talking about 600 people in the company Is that about right?

Amina Pasha  26:16

Yeah, we have probably seen food axes 800. But we have like 250 in the headquarters. And the big. So we just for context, we have now moved into WeWorks, which was a big bold decision we made we were about to move from our 25,000 square foot office to another office to another office. And just when we were about to make the last move, we actually went into we worked for a month test drive. And we fell in love with that. And we were like this is the most flexible, you know, kind of autonomous space that we can have. Yet it feels like you're going into a company because there are other companies there with you. You're not isolated, you're not alone. There's a lot more people here on any given day. And we flipped the switch this year. And it has been absolutely incredible to see how we're able to use the space. And I'll give you an example of intentionality last week, for example. So one of the things we're doing this year is that we have like four summits. So four times a year, the intentionally bring all of our leaders together two times a year, we bring the whole company together. And so last week was accumulation of both we had leaders and we have drivers were employees all together, we plan out a whole week long agenda, it was the most tremendous experience I've seen at any company, because the amount of engagement and impact that we were able to have on you know, not just on the business, but community and social and culture and brainstorming, it did take, you know, weeks of planning, it was not something you could just wing off. But the amount of output we caught we had, you know, two key business problems, we were talking action plans came out immediately, we spent we had the entire company do like the disc colour surveys. So we know everybody's communication style the entire company, which is breakthrough, because once you know how to communicate better with people, you can take that back remote first, and you can tailor that, you know, we should all have the exact communication styles and colours as well, which was hugely powerful for the whole company to know like when you're dressing and exactly who you're talking to what is their communication style, having it connect and unpack. And then we also did you know, a mission, you know, building, you know, social event where we actually box, you know, hundreds of boxes that are now going to be b2b that we all hand packed ourselves. And we turn it into a competition, very Thrive style, this, you could do it the fastest. So you're saying

Ben Kaplan  28:29

that if you're not going to have quantity of interaction direct, you're going to try to like amp it up with quality of that during this, you'll have

Amina Pasha  28:35

quality and you have for you do them? Well, you structure it. And I honestly think we're getting way more out of it. You know, and we've also spent a lot of time figuring out how to get better at remote first, you know, so we do our culture surveys, we figure out what's working, what's not, there's an there's an action plan tailored to that. But we do a lot, you know, that is very, very methodically planned out for those in person interactions that we have, and then you can the best of both worlds, you know about you know, only 40% of our staff is now based in LA so we have to recognise that we have to be remote for us. You know, we have to physically fly in people, we can't have them coming on a daily basis. So all of these interactions have to really, you know, make make a world of difference.

Ben Kaplan  29:23

To use a nautical metaphor in a smaller company, senior marketing executives or like seasoned captains steering nimble canoes, decisions of where to go are made with the agility of a paddles swift stroke. But when you're a marketing leader at a large company, you're like the captain of a huge cruise ship. You make decisions from a higher vantage point based on the overall conditions that you can observe. You'll be less agile, of course, but you'll have greater ability to avoid dangerous waters ahead. So how do you combine the best from both? How can you paddle swiftly and intentionally, both less need for course Correction overall.

Amina Pasha  30:06

When I was making the shift from png to honest, you know, I had worked in BB and beauty. So I knew I had experience there. And even though ecommerce was completely new to me, and of course, working for a mission, you know, female founder led company was going to be completely new to me, you have to change a lot, you know, and you cannot change everything overnight, I will tell you, like the first six months were the hardest six months, my entire career, because I didn't anticipate how much I would have to change, I was also a new mom. So throw that in, I had that was my first child. So I was being a new mom. And I would joke to my husband, I would say, you know, I have changed everything from city location, Job Manager, boss, motherhood, everything except for you, and my son, those are the only two constants I have right now in my life. So definitely, you know, you need to go in eyes wide open that it is going to be a lot of change, it was change on people front. So when you're in a big company, you tend to be in I was on Pampers, which was a $10 billion brand, you know, you're not the only person managing a $10 billion brand, you're managing up a tear. So I was looking at the premium tier, I was managing the tier of a brand, to now suddenly managing a whole riot, you know, it's a very big shift that you're making. And the first thing you have to really understand is like, what's working? What's not like? What do I events? Where do I even start, right? And the first 3060 90 days, you have to really quickly assess people process plans, and they didn't profitability, right, you have to assess the whole thing of like, what's working, what's not my people in my team, and the process of interacting with the rest of the company, what's working, what's not on the business, you know, what's working, what's not in, like, all our planning processes, and it was a lot, you know, there's a lot to take on, but you chunk it out, and you start methodically addressing each of those areas. Because in P and G, the process is great, the people are great, the budgets are great, there's a lot, right, and so usually you get to you get the luxury of really anchoring on the business, you know, and focusing on the business. Now, of course, there's a lot of multi layered complex decision making. So that's not easy, you have to get through all of that. But here, you know, when you start, when you move to a smaller company, and you're kinematics in the brand, you have to really think holistically of everything that's happening. And you have to also think nonlinearly, like you, you have to approach problems in a way that you probably have never thought about. And so the way to do that is to quickly find mentors, who can help you, you know, with certain problems and give you novel ideas for certain solutions, you know, or make you think about people in a more extended way than you've ever imagined. And I actually found it very useful to talk to, you know, the founder or the CEO, because they would extend by thinking and pull, pull it in directions that it hadn't been tested before, and all of these funds. And so yeah, there's there's a lot of that happening. But at the core of it, there's also a tonne of value, you can add, there's so much I knew about baby and beauty, that it was immediately able to come in and be like, we've got to ship that strategy here on baby gotta think about performance, it's not just about the safety of the non toxicity, we've got to think about innovation we've got to think about so Also think about all the things that you do now, because we are adding humans, we tend to listen to our inner demons, Oh, these are the things they don't know. But hang on, here are all the things you do know. So immediately start adding value. So the business sees that you are, you know, in control, you're adding tonnes of value, while you may be having to fix issues on the other areas. And it's this duality of approach that helped me you know, when I moved from Honest to Thrive, it was more like a lateral move, because I had done it already. And I remember coming in, in my first week, Nicholas eel goes like, you know, what, what do you see as an as an issue? Is it communication? Where can we get better? And I said, you know, we need to roll out racy, because people are not clear on their role. And he was like, What's racy? And I as soon as I told them, he to this day thinks that I invented racy, which I have no, I definitely did not, but he embraced it. So well. He's like, I'm gonna we need to roll this out across the entire company. And within a month, we had rolled out RACI. And it made roles and responsibilities. So clear, that meeting started becoming so much more effective when people know that they're the are and then the driver versus the contributor. They're the process owner of the prover like getting that level of clarity in like a smaller company who like the first month, it's just monumental, you know, and so these things you learn along the journey, but you've got to like, do both sides, figure out what you don't know, start addressing that. But at the same time, add tonnes of value where you do now the business or the structure. If you've done in commerce and done retail work, can you quickly add value and it's those two things which, you know, got me through success and got me through some of the hard times in on both sides.

Ben Kaplan  34:43

And I think racy by racy I think you mean sort of the framework of responsible, accountable consulted inform clarifying everyone's role and it's amazing in all kinds of marketing programmes, how much clarifying the role helps and maybe the the phrase being like if multiple People are responsible, then no one's responsible, then then it's very, very unclear.

Amina Pasha  35:04

And how much ownership sits on if you are in are the responsible process owner, how much ownership lies on you, you know, like it that meetings should be set up by you, you should be taking the meeting notes you should be following up like really driving that accountability and empowerment to the R. And that has been a big big shift, you know, we've we've wanted to see is like getting our not just our leaders, but like the next level of leaders out and as your company matures and your you know, each level starts operating, ideally, a level above the impact that can have on the organisation is very profound, you know, and it also is, it's a science of, you know, empowerment, but there's also big sense of pride and reward going with that empowerment because you see it in the business impact and the results of that type of leadership can bring.

Ben Kaplan  35:47

And final two questions for you. One is just we talked about the transition from Procter and Gamble to the Honest Company, and then to Thrive Market and different size and scale of company. What was it like specifically from the Honest Company to Thrive Market? I know I mean, the Honest Company is well known for being a celebrity involved company with Jessica Alba's involvement in that company. What did you take with you from that experience in terms of the role of celebrity marketing, the attention that draws? So what did you take from that? And what did you learn from that for unique positioning, and then that kind of move to where you are now?

Amina Pasha  36:20

Yeah, I mean, even an honest even though we had a celebrity, she was the founder. And so, you know, the even the brand was built on her story. And she even wrote a book, you know, the honest lifestyle about it. And so, to me, it's about the authenticity of the brand, you know, it should go back to like, in that case, there was a complete direct linear connection there. In the case of Thrive Market, our real celebrities are actually the health and wellness experts, it's just a no brainer, these are the people who not only are using Thrive Market, but they have equity in the company, they've helped us build this company. And so, you know, we go to like Thomas de Lauer, who is like one of our keto experts, and he was one of the earliest stakeholders in the company. And we still to this day, use him for tonnes of marketing to his audience, he's got a huge, you know, 2 million audience on YouTube, and a very, very engaged. And we actually then went one step further, where we used him to actually co create products, which we're about to release, you know, coming in August. And so, because he has so much expertise in Quito, and we have so much expertise in the health and sustainable space, it's just a natural connection. And he's not a celebrity, per se, like in illustre. But in his space, he actually is, you know, he's a he is a an authority and a trusted partner, and then an institution and himself. And so we've thought more, you know, strategically about who are these health and wellness influencers, we actually had wellness mama, who's been again, and you know, with Dr. Market from the start, she was one of the first equity investors to come last week through our Thrive week Summit, and talk to our audience about raising six kids and how incredible it was while reading this brand on the side. To me, she is like more than a celebrity. She is like a powerhouse, you know, like someone like that is like inspirational to us all, like how she, how she has done it. And she talked about this inside of just having making your kids autonomous, she's like, I can't do everything for them. So I don't, they are autonomous individuals, they can eat when they want, or they can not eat, and they will survive and, you know, profound insights like that. So we've used what we believe are our celebrities, which is not celebrities in the in the real, you know, illustre sense, but in the sense that will appeal to our audience and have such an addictive audience and captive audience that it makes more sense for us in that way

Ben Kaplan  38:39

has the use of influencers, but having them a stake in the business has that made a difference? It sounds like it's changed the dynamic a lot, to make them more more partners, rather than a transactional place to place an ad or get some brand awareness and move on profound difference.

Amina Pasha  38:55

I mean, the not only know the brand, they understand the brand, you know, and the nuance is very different, very different, because they had helped us see see us grow up, they have seen us in our nascent stages and our toddler stage and our growing up stage. And they you know, also give me a lot of Intel, every time I meet these influencers, you know, over lunch or whatnot, they give me so much insights on like, you know, how can you think about this? Or have you guys thought about that or like, think about, you know, some of my audiences like sometimes feels like, you know, private market is too petty centric, how do we open the door to beyond the pantry and like they are, they really acutely understand the brand so well, that they are really an extension of us, you know, and we we look to them, as you know, not only to obviously dye their audience, but also to help us understand, you know, some of our deeper deep rooted barriers to their audience so we can get better in terms of our product development or in terms of our marketing. And so that level of commitment, I mean, the amount of time they invest and spend with us, what does it take for that they're doing it because They genuinely are interested in the brand's success and long term success. And when they see something that they don't like, they have a strong point of view, they will come in to us, which is great. You know, it's not just a signature partnership, it is a real trusted partnership that goes the, you know, the nth mile with us and is in here for the long run to help us build this company and see it succeed. So there's a very big difference. And I think more importantly than that, is that our members and our consumers see that difference. They know that we're not just paying for an advertisement here, we're actually working with partners that believe in this brand, and know what products to recommend, because things didn't themselves, you know. And that's, that's the real difference that it makes. And my

Ben Kaplan  40:39

final question for you is, where do you think this is all headed for CPG? Marketing, food and beverage marketing, grocery marketing, in the next three to five years? Where do you think this is all going? If you're an up and coming marketer, or you're someone who's breaking into the industry, what's the skills? What's the knowledge? What are the trends that you need to know now for what we'll be doing three to five years from now? Because in many ways, three to five years ago, we would have never predicted all the things would have happened to get us where we are today? Oh, yeah. Online

Amina Pasha  41:07

healthy grocery is, it's not even a thing. Now. It's like a movement. People have figured it out. People know that it's a thing. And, you know, if you want to get into me, I feel so lucky and blessed. Because I went into Thrive Market during the pandemic, I couldn't have picked a better brand to get into the pandemic, with but either coming out of you know, because this health conscious movement, you know, and trend is not going away, right? People have woken up, they want to be healthy. In fact, there was a new consumer study that was saying, if you could make 25% more money, or be 25% more healthy, which one would you be, and everybody picked healthy, because the reality is that people are realising that help is truly Well, they've seen it firsthand during the pandemic go gone away, and what it does to you that it's not just about making more money, right, it is really about investing in yourself. And it is it is about the groceries. So to me, I think the healthy online grocery space is the trend. And if you can get into it, it is definitely going to grow. And I think that the solution or like where we as marketers can be better is like, how do we make it truly easier, you know, like, for us easiest part of our DNA, but I still think we have a journey even to make it easy. One of the things that we launched, you know, a couple years ago was like the world's first shoppable cookbook. And it was like, to me, it's like this is real marketing. It's like people want healthy recipes in 1520 minutes or less, but they don't know where to begin, and what do they buy. And so we made a cookbook with QR codes where you simply scan the code, you get the ingredients, boom, make the recipe and all the recipes are from our influencers for my health and wellness experts. So who better to know what to cook then then then our experts themselves? And that to me was like, you know, it's such a profound simple thing to do we give it as a as a first order you know, gift with purchase, but it is capitalising on all the trends, right? Like they want easy, but they want experts, they want QR codes, get it shoppable and I think marketers who are going to be thinking holistically and nonlinearly about how to do marketing, it are going to win. And so if you're in this space and you want to get in it's like how do I solve a life problem, but do it in a way no one else has done it and then really broadcast it and then give it I mean we're giving it for free we're actually just giving it to like you know, members to come in, and it's still our preferred gift to this day and it is sitting in their kitchen. So it becomes an iconic moment, brand moment for us as well. So, you know, those are a couple of flavours of of you know how I would try to think nonlinearly as a marketer in this healthy and online grocery space and how you can really stand out as a brand and really when I really think that the brands that can really think out of the box and how to innovate you know, I go back to my like Thrive Market roots stickers, like that's innovation like that's fun, tasty, but it's healthy too and it's easy our overnight you know oatmeal square which which are made with real dates and raisins, put it in the fridge, add the water morning, you're done five minutes done, you don't have to think about the innovative products that you can be building and doing that are going to enhance our consumers lifestyle, you're gonna win, you know, and I still go to the traditional grocery stores I see the same snack brands that I grew up with. They're hardly any healthy snack brands in these grocery stores and yet on Thrive Market we have smart sweets and I've been like broadcasting them like any egg tries my sweet sweet grammes of sugar and so how can we find you know better alternatives to having our cake and eating it too and I think that's truly going to continue to be a space of of innovation, low sugar and low carb but tastes great, you know, and it sounds easy to do and it's not.

Ben Kaplan  44:41

According to Amina Pasha, one of the first things you need to do as a successful marketer is to recognise your role on the team. Whether you're steering the ship, adding value as a contributor, overseeing processes, or just giving approvals. clarity in these roles can help everyone work better I don't know where to begin on Miller says the most important thing is to get a panoramic view so that you can gain a perspective on the entire business instead of zeroing in on just one part, once you have that perspective, you'll be better able to move more quickly. And you'll have more confidence in evaluating what's working and what's not something that you've got to do it high speed when you're at the helm of a fast growing brand. What if you're facing a particularly perplexing problem, Amina says you don't have to solve it alone and can tap into the wisdom of mentors. Don't underestimate either the problem solving power of engaging in meaningful dialogues with your founders or CO for fast growing companies. It's not the hurdles in our path, but rather the spirit with which we leap over them that ultimately defines our journey. For TOP CMO, I'm Ben Kaplan.


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