Matt Widdoes 

Welcome to Growth at Scale. I’m your host, Matt Widdoes. This is a podcast for leaders who want to bring sustainable, predictable, scalable growth to their businesses. Every episode I sit down with world -class growth experts across product, marketing, finance, operations, you name it. The hope is that these conversations will give you real, actionable advice for building and sustaining company growth. Thank you for tuning into this episode of Growth at Scale. This week, we’re joined by Brian Sapp, who’s held senior growth roles at several high -profile gaming companies like WB Games, Jam City, and now Rec Room. Brian, thank you for being here today. 

Brian Sapp 

Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yeah, for sure. For listeners who don’t know you, we’ve known each other for many years just through the industry, but could you tell us a little bit of who are you, where have you been, and what do you do? 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I’d be happy to. I think for this to make sense, I have to go back to the beginning. In a past life, I was a musician and played in bands and decided to go attend college in LA at USC. By way of playing music, I found my way in the entertainment industry. I was the middleman between the music industry and the film industry, negotiating rights for music to be in movies, TV, and film, which was interesting, but I didn’t love it. Once the smartphone came out in 2008, 2009, and I saw games on that, I was like, that’s the future. I need to be where that is. So, decided to quit my job in 2009 and move up to San Francisco with about six months’ savings. I think during that time, I went on about 26 job interviews and ended up getting to the end of my funds and basically crashing on friends’ couches. Before I finally got a job at my number one choice, which was at the time a mobile ad network called TapJoy. And I joined TapJoy when it was about 30 people. So it was still a pretty small startup, but it was one of basically two ad networks that scale at mobile at the time. And TapJoy had such scale that we actually could drive almost any app into the top of the iOS chart. And at that time, I think the top downloads on iOS were only about 50 ,000 a day. So we could drive 20 ,000 and get you there. 

Matt Widdoes 

I remember the 25 cent, you know, or just totally pushing for the ranking. So for, you know, 100 ,000 or 75 ,000, you can get an app to number one and that has like a huge impact. And then changes were made. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, well Apple didn’t like that and so they clamped down on on incentivized installs as we called it Mm -hmm. No, it was a great. It was a great time It was the early days of mobile was kind of the wild wild west I got to work with a lot of game developers as they were just starting out so companies like Zynga where you were Supercell Kabam pocket gems and so so many great companies So I’ve been there for about three and a half years built up developer relations team helped open some international offices And then the writing was kind on a wall at Facebook and Google We’re gonna come into mobile and just destroy everybody else and I also Really wanted to get over to the content side I really liked working with the game developers and we had a publishing fund So I was like figuring out which games to publish and I really liked that side So ended up joining WB games up in San Francisco as they were getting their mobile gaming business off the ground now WB had had a fairly large console gaming business But they saw the mobile opportunity and were coming into it So they hired me as head of UA analytics and monetization and basically spent the first part of my time there helping WB studios get up to speed on mobile best practices. So this is things like what is a tutorial? How do you design an in -game economy? What’s a hard currency versus a soft currency and as our games got better the second half of my time there was really around Scaling our marketing operations And so we started launching games with higher and higher LTVs with more and more opportunity And so got to be a part of some pretty big launches there games like injustice injustice to Mortal Kombat and probably their biggest game to date game of Thrones conquest Which was when I launched shortly before I left So I was there for about three and a half years and then jam city reached out to me And I had worked with them when I was a tapjoy and they wanted me to come in and lead their UA team And it was just a larger operation mobile first company basically more games larger budget larger team More sophisticated data and analytics and so I joined jam city in 2018 move down to LA back to LA I should say and was there for about three and a half years and jam cities business model was really around acquiring studios that didn’t have the budgets that we had or the marketing sophistication and scaling those businesses. And so that learned a lot there as well as obviously operationally, but also around M &A. And then the Rec Room opportunity came along and I long felt that the future of gaming was cross -platform. And so when Rec Room reached out to me, it was basically a cross -platform UGC game where players build games for other players. And it was available on at that time about four or five platforms and it was soon to be launching on mobile. So I joined Rec Room in 2021 as head of growth and basically spun up a bunch of different teams. So traditional marketing teams like user acquisition, creative services, consumer insights, product marketing, but also a product org focused on basically improving LTV wherever we could. And we call this team the life cycle team. But they are kind of… going in and trying to find features that could potentially help us grow our LTV, which is either right up retention or monetization. And then more recently, I took over first party revenue as well. But yeah, I’ve been at Rec Room now for a little over two years and we’re across platform UGC app and really enjoying it. 

Matt Widdoes 

Got it. Yeah. So great background. And there’s so much overlap between kind of music, gaming, digital media. Generally, you know, you mentioned a number of different growth functions from the product marketing side to the paid to some of the retention, monetization pieces. You know, when you think about growth marketing in general and, you know, having been really in digital first, you know, growth marketing roles or growth functions generally, kind of since the beginning in mobile, especially when you look at kind of the evolution and all of the changes to kind of PII, like personal information, privacy tracking, et cetera, like any thoughts on, you know, how the approaches need to change, you know, trends and kind of predictions for moving forward just in the general sense, comparing the world that we live in now to kind of the early days. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s something that’s been talked about a lot over the last couple of years. But I think it changed in a couple of ways. I’ll first attack it from an operation standpoint. So the changes that Apple have made and soon to be Google have really affected day to day operations of UA, right? So basically there is less granularity and there is less real time data and less attribution for UA teams. And so just from like an operation standpoint, the ability to do what they were doing prior has radically changed to just a much slower feedback loop on how you can optimize UA and a much less effective feedback loop on how you can optimize UA. And the picture’s gotten muddier on paid versus organics and ROI. And so that’s a big change. And I think operationally it kind of is what it is. I don’t think it changes the important things which are, you know, focusing on creative and focusing on the most performant kind of campaigns and creative you can, what it does change materially is the way businesses can operate. And so I think you had a lot of companies, and this falls within gaming, but also not in gaming, that had built up these, what I’ll call, I don’t wanna say niche, but they had these ceilings at which they couldn’t scale past on the UA side. So for example, this might be a company or a game that can only scale up to about 50 grand a month in UA or 100 grand or maybe a couple hundred thousand. And when they went over that ceiling, it quickly became unprofitable. So what that meant was they were like very heavily reliant on the targeting of these UA campaigns to prop up the business, and they weren’t getting a lot of help on the organic side. And a lot of these types of games and companies because of the PII changes, basically are having a really rough go at it. Like they are not finding that growth of that sustained user top of funnel that they had before. And those companies are basically declining, right? And so I think there’s that like kind of mid tier companies are just getting hammered that were like really reliant on very narrow targeted UA to survive. And really what’s happening, and this was sort of happening before, is that a winner takes all approach is really the one that’s gonna be kind of succeeding, which is the company is with the massive budgets and the company is with the games that can both succeed on high level spending of UA, but also grab a lot of organics at the same time. And so how you kind of mix those two things together. And you see it with a lot of the top mobile games now. It’s like it’s the folks with deep pockets or and high level of organics coming in as well. So I think from like the business model side, things have changed and companies have to get much more smarter about what games they launch. They can launch them at all. I think it’s moved to bigger companies with big pockets, being able to survive and the small companies kind of getting weeded out. 

Matt Widdoes 

And existing user bases that they can cross promo into or they already have a bunch of first party data that they can leverage that nobody else has, right? It gives them a huge advantage if you have, hundreds of millions of, you know, DAU or, you know. 

Brian Sapp 

That’s exactly right.

Matt Widdoes 

 I think about Candy Crush is over a billion. Candy Crush specifically as a title has been deleted from over a billion devices and they’re still growing, right? So it’s like, it gives you a lot of data to work with. 

Brian Sapp 

It’s a lot of data. And so, you know, I think it changes fundamentally what games get green lit or what products, you know, another area that got hit pretty hard is the direct to consumer business. You know, these are folks that were making their money on Instagram, for example. And so it could be anything from like luggage to mattresses, but that targeting was really working for them. And now they’re having a much tougher time, kind of growing those businesses. So it’s not just games. It’s definitely hitting non -gaming and the direct to consumer business is hard too. I think from a marketing org standpoint, this stuff was important before, but it’s more important now, which is product marketing and trying to make sure that your marketing beats have bigger halo effects. So that does tie into IP licensing sometimes, and that might be able to help you. In Rec Room, for example, we do a number of partnerships with IP holders. We’ve worked with the NFL, the NBA. We just worked with Barbie and had Barbie’s avatar items come into the game, and these are basically beats we can do quite often in a live -operated product that can kind of help us grab that moment and get both new users and re -engaged users off of that beat. And with the Barbie, we kind of hit it pretty well in that, obviously, the movie did really well, but we saw a lot of interest from our players who hadn’t played in a while kind of come back in for that beat. So I think that stuff just becomes more important. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yeah. And I think to that point, like you had mentioned, it’s always been important, but as the edge of paid acquisition has become more dull, the value that you gain from some of these other things like product marketing, but like, you know, lifecycle campaigns, not lifecycle in the team, as you mentioned before, that’s focused on revenue and monetization, but lifecycle in the traditional push and email, et cetera. Or, you know, the, again, creatives always been important and the optimization around that and the informed elements that lead into that, like consumer insights, et cetera. But it’s even more amplified now because you have to have a lot more of those supporting elements. I’m curious, like when you think about, especially with more, I think over the last quarter, especially, but all of the generative AI and AI generally and ML has always been around. But when you look at some of these emerging trends in AI, any thoughts on, you know, how that’s going to impact growth marketing generally? 

Brian Sapp 

I think it’s still early days. I do think, like if we just look at the history, and I think you just said it like ML has been around for a long time, I think that was a big change that UA already had to go through, which was, if you remember the early days of UA was very granular, you know, set up hundreds of campaigns and, you know, three to five different creatives for each of those campaigns. And then in 2017, 2018, you know, Facebook and Google really started rolling out with the ML campaigns, which meant less work, you know, set up one campaign for each geo or sets of geo with 50 creative. And so we’ve started to see that, you know, work operations change. And I think AI is just going to be an extension of that to some extent. And probably the biggest impact is going to be around creative in the near term. And so I think this both will happen from a production standpoint and that AI in theory, and we’re starting to already see this, should be able to rebuild creative from elements that are already successful. But I also think from an ideation standpoint, so I’ve seen this with our teams a bit is that artists will use AI for ideation, right? So like, let’s throw in some ideas and see what the AI comes back with. And and that helps us form ideas around what type of avatar items we might want to bring into the game. And so probably creative is the first place. I think the second place would be strategy. I think there’s no reason why AI can’t help you come up with a global game launch plan. You know, like I haven’t tried it, but you know, it’d be interesting to put that in the chat GPT and see what it comes back with. And I think over time. 

Matt Widdoes 

Well, I think you could, yeah, you could feed in things that you’ve done in the past. I mean, I think, you know, you mentioned the ideation, the value add there, which is no small thing. I think for any creator, especially if you’ve been working on a few titles or a few products, like at some point, there’s only so many ways you can show your dog food, right? Or whatever that might be. And so the ability for generative AI to just crank out a hundred concepts and you’re like, oh, that’s a cool concept. I’m going to take. those three and now I’ve got work for the next week. I don’t want that because the hands are all messed up or any number of other things, but that’s a cool look. Or no, less like that. Here’s what you mentioned. Here’s a bunch of art that has been working. It’s been performant. Can you give me some other examples of stuff that looks like this because I’m all out and it’s like, oh, cool. Yeah, they’ve changed the foreground or the depth of field or any number of things that drive that. And we’re still early days. So when you look at some of the generative stuff, on campaign planning or even a full global launch that says, oh, here’s a real world live event that you could do where helicopters are going to come in. It’s like, okay, sure, why not? Because I think you can have it crank 50 things at a time in less than a minute. And right now, we might shrug at some of it and be like, eh, it’s so, so, but it’s so early. So when you, I don’t know, when I start, you think about how quickly this progresses. Because the curve of acceleration on this is way higher. So you take gaming as an example generally with Pong from early 70s. And you look at where we are now that’s taken, call it 40, 50 years roughly from where we’ve been. This acceleration is way faster. So we’re going to see a shift from Pong level quality to current level graphics and I don’t know, Call of Duty or something like that. That’s probably going to be more like a three to five year span of that difference in quality. And so the idea that it will at least be able to spit out the ideations of things that then humans can sort through or piecemeal together seems very realistic in a short amount of time. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think you’re spot on. And I think another interesting area, because I work at Rec Room and we have a lot of creators that are building games with our internal tools. I think another area that’s really exciting for this stuff that we’re just starting to look at is on the UGC creation side. And an analogy I’ll use is the music industry. So when I started playing music in high school, like you had to go into a a real recording studio and hit record. And, you know, that was very time consuming and get like musicians. And then obviously the drum machines have been around for a long time, but everyone was scared that was gonna kill the drummer. It didn’t, but it opened up the music to a lot more people. And then the recording tools over time and the samples and everything got so much better that now a lot of top artists just record and high school kids record everything in their rooms, right? And so I think generative AI has the ability to do that for making games and making content. And it’s gonna democratize really and level the playing field. So we’re gonna get a lot more content, just like in music that’s crap, but there’s always gonna be diamonds in the rough that rise to the top. 

Matt Widdoes 

And we talked about this the other day. Were you a drummer, by the way? 

Brian Sapp 

No, I was guitarist on the bassist. 

Matt Widdoes 

You’re a guitarist. So we talked about that. And it’s an interesting parallel between, you know, I don’t know if it’s Ableton or things like that for dru-. I don’t know what it is mainly for drums. Yeah, reason, but the, And people thinking in these early days that it’s going to like completely degrade the art very similar parallels with digital photography, where everyone’s like, well, you know, nobody should be a photographer anymore because cameras are taking such great pictures now or Photoshop makes it so easy to like dodge and burn that, you know, that’s just dark rooms are dead in all sense like yet dark rooms were dead but that didn’t kill the art of photography. If anything, it accelerated it and it raised that bar to where if everybody can like really quickly make a photo that one they can take a photo instantly get feedback be like, nope, that’s not right. Make all their changes take another photo be like, yep, that looks more or less right. Get it into a digital dark room and quickly make these changes without any chemicals or any sort of like hours long process where to get from, you know, the to get from like, I have an idea to here’s the image that’s going to go on the billboard was taking multiple, multiple weeks with multiple rounds in the dark rooms and iterations and all these things because it was so slow. Now all that can be done in like 10 minutes while we might as well just walk away. It’s like, well, yeah, if you’re going to live in a dark room and if you’re going to live in a world where you only play beats on a drum, but why would I do that when I have a perfectly fine snare here that and 50 other snares I can hit. So it just it makes it more accessible. It raises the bar. So like what was great yesterday if the generative stuff can just crank out ideas just as fast. It just shifts the focus of like where the value creation is. And so like the general premise of leveraging those tools early and often to essentially master them and you can, you know, you’re not going to be in a situation where AI has suddenly replaced you because you’ve been leveraging AI even when it wasn’t that great, even when reason or Ableton wasn’t that great, even when digital cameras weren’t that great. It’s like, if you got really good at that stuff in for photography, let’s say in 1998, you were an expert by 2005 because that’s when commercially they started becoming really interesting. So I think there’s some parallels. Yeah. So, you know, any other kind of additional thoughts on like the future? of paid acquisition specifically, whether it’s in AI or some of these surrounding disciplines that help offset some of the changes in the PII side? 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I mean, it’s not going away, right? And so I think it goes back to some of the things I said earlier. It can’t be your only strategy for the most part. You really need to be thinking about a 360 model. And just to give some examples of that, at Rec Room, we have a roster of influencers that can put in creator codes and earn money when players that follow them play the game. And so this is basically a fairly large group of very devoted content creators that love Rec Room that are marketing for us. And we give them early access to these marketing beats and they’re under embargo and then the moment the beat hits, all their videos come out and it helps drive awareness. And so it’s like having strategies like that that can really help. and amplify and take the pressure off paid UA that you’ll need. And it’s really, I got a bit of performance guy ever says this, but building the brand, you know? Like, I know some people are like brands are bullshit, but it really is that to some extent, at least building trust, building authenticity and building on it, like understanding what resonates with your audience and then making sure you’re leveraging everything that you can to do that so that over time you’re relying on some paid lessons. And otherwise it’s going to be very hard to survive. 

Matt Widdoes 

Well, and things like, you know, essentially, you know, what you described there with influence is kind of like an advanced referral program, right? Where it’s eat what you kill. You’re doing something you already want to do anyways. There’s something that you believe in, but like you might as well monetize your influence within this program and you win, they win, and it’s even more, it’s like even, even more compounding in like a gaming setup versus I’m going to refer people to sweet greens, use code 605 on sweet greens to save 50 bucks on your next order, whatever that might be. It’s very different when you’re actually participating in a community like that. And, you know, on the brand side of things, same thing, it’s like bad brand is bad and people roll their eyes at it, but so is bad performance marketing and people roll their eyes at that. And so is bad SEO and there’s a million people that do bad SEO, right? And so I think it really is a matter of, I mean, it just speaks to the value of that specialization within that and teams working together, like you mentioned. And so I think it for so long because of the nature of or the lack of regulation in things like paid media with Facebook, Google, et cetera, and those algorithms getting really great, you could go, you could actually build an entire business on if you had a good product, you could build it by just like cranking the button on Facebook and like that, that actually worked for a few years between, you know, in the mid 2000s. Yeah. Yeah. And then that slowly started to kind of fade away a little bit. And but even back then, and we talked about this a lot now, which is kind of funny, which is like, imagine if people took the level of the like seriousness by which we think about things more holistically now back then, which people were still touting back then, but it’s like how much more efficient would that have been? And really great products can still survive that to some sense, but you’re always leaving stuff on the table if you’re just kind of punching, even back then, if you’re just punching the button on Facebook, Google or paid, you’re leaving stuff on the table one way or the other. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, and I think what a lot of execs from that time got addicted to measurement, and it was really hard to measure the other stuff. And you either had to have faith or you didn’t have faith, and the folks that had faith kind of benefited from it now, I feel like, and you can see that in certain companies, and the folks that didn’t have faith, they don’t have any brand to really stand on. One other interesting thing, just tying back like the influencers to paid is that our demographic is teenagers and our influencers make all of our UA ads. And they are top performing UA ads by a mile. 

Matt Widdoes 

Because they know the audience. 

Brian Sapp 

They understand exactly. And so it’s been a great resource for us. And one that’s been very different than other companies I’ve been at where it’s really about the marketing artist trying to best perform in content. 

Matt Widdoes 

Well, and that authenticity is so important and kind of living and breathing it where it’s like, that doesn’t make sense to me and I love this thing. And it’s one of those things where in order to really get something and understand something from a marketing standpoint, you have to you really have to like live and breathe it and love it. And because of just the nature of work, you don’t always like love, live and breathe the product that you’re working on, which goes back to the importance of speaking with your customer, getting the data that just shows us like, OK, well, everybody spends very little time on this thing and they they are all in on this thing, even though the product teams and other teams internally are really trying to push this thing because we think it’s going to do this thing. And maybe it will and maybe it won’t. But, you know, we we built it without talking to the customer. So it’s no surprise nobody’s using it or it’s not being surfaced in a way that makes sense in the flow and in the way that the user is using it versus the way we want them to use it. And so those types of things, especially at scale, are kind of never ending. And I think that going back to the customer, having a closer connectivity to your users and really understanding the path that people are taking. You know, there’s these things call I can’t remember where they’re called. I think they’re called Desire Paths. And there’s a whole subreddit about this, which is a really kind of a funny thing when you hear what a Desire Path is. And we’ve all seen them very common on college campuses where you have the the sidewalks that are paved. And then you have these like beaten paths of where people actually walk. You see it all the time, like through bushes or something, not necessarily on a college campus, but it’s like any time there’s a really well worn path through something that’s a Desire Path and the Reddit subreddit is such a niche thing. But it’s like that’s the thing, which is like there are the paths you build and then there are the paths it. people are actually taking and how do you find those desire paths within your product, within your onboarding or whatever that might be so that you can better set up users for success in a way that makes more sense for the ways that they want to use it. I think the UGC side and what you guys are doing at Rec Room give you all of this additional data where that is at the forefront. It’s like Rec Room without the users doesn’t really exist. They’re building the product alongside you guys and you’re just kind of facilitating, in some ways, and correct me if we’re wrong, but you’re ultimately facilitating the world that these people want to create and live in and experience. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I love that example of desire path because that really resonates with me because I think if there’s one job of a product team, it’s to kind of remove obstructions to those desire paths because it’s not always evident. What you think is going to work doesn’t, as we know, very well in the UA world, rarely ever works. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yes. Because you have all your own preconceptions, you have all of your own filters and things. Just by the very definition of an average person, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to be perfectly average, right? You’re going to swing too far this way or too far this way or in the case of things like a slots game, a mobile slots game. It’s like, if you’re not a deep mobile slots player, you can’t possibly understand why people want to play that. And so when you look at some ad that’s really flashy and lights and crazy, crazy, crazy, and you’re like, oh my god, that’s never going to work. And then it works, you’re like, oh, that’s because people play slots because they like the lights, they like the music, they like all of those things that maybe might turn somebody off. We were talking about it the other day, which is like, if you’ve ever seen, if you’re ever getting an ad over in this, no news to you, but if you’re ever getting an ad over and over and over again, that you think is like the worst, the most annoying ad ever. And you hear people say this all the time, like, oh my god, I hate that ad. I see that ad all the time. I hate that ad. It’s like, that ad’s working. That ad is converting. Or the company’s about to go out of business because they’re not tracking it. But like, odds are, if you’re seeing something over and over, especially over the course of many months, it’s because it’s working better than any other ad. And that’s where, and I think your point on measurement earlier, where the ability to measure paid in that way, it’s no wonder that so many people gravitate towards that because they have a chance to understand it and have some sense of predictability or control that may or may not be actualized, but they at least feel that way, where you lose, it’s less connected to things like product marketing or more nuanced kind of elements. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, absolutely.

Matt Widdoes 

 And I’m curious, you’ve spent a ton of time in growth in these various roles. I’m curious, like any stories you’ve got that you might want to highlight about just like, I don’t know, kind of something that maybe revealed something that was unexpected or just a general story. A lot of our listeners are founders or senior members of growth teams at larger orgs. So these stories are always interesting. Anything that comes to mind there? 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, well, I think it’s kind of kind of walk through the Jam City model, if you will, because, you know, we were really a performance marketing machine, and it was all about identifying games that we could scale, where the studios either didn’t have the resources or the sophistication to do it themselves. And so one, probably like our biggest kind of success here, well, there’s several, but Disney, which has a long history of getting in and out of the gaming business, they, you know, every five years decide they want to get back into it, every five years they decide they want to get out of it. So we were on the tail end of them deciding to get out of it. And they had this game called Disney Emoji Blitz, which was a match three game with emoji Disney characters that you could then also get a keyboard in your phone that had all the emojis, Disney emojis. And this game was doing about 35, 40 million a year, and we acquired the game and the studio. And we’re able to scale that to about 80 to 100 million a year with no change other than marketing. And really what we did over that time was probably three major areas where the first one was just data. It was just like, let’s really get our analytics in and understand what the LTV of these users look like, what the trajectory of those LTVs look like. And we didn’t do anything for the first year. We basically just kind of let it be and waited until we had enough data. 

Matt Widdoes 

And when you say didn’t do anything for the first year and tying that back into your previous point of essentially doubled their revenue to around 100 million without changing anything outside of the marketing, given that you didn’t do anything in the first year, does that mean there was no real marketing happening in that year, no buying, no whatever, or didn’t change anything for the first year and they were still running like nothing had ever changed? 

Brian Sapp 

I should say we kept it steady. Kept it steady. We kept the UA budget somewhere in like the six figures. And just kept it kind of where it was when Disney had it. 

Matt Widdoes 

So observed for a year and kind of… 

Brian Sapp 

Well, I should say it was that at that time Disney was fixated on a one year payback. So basically we were like, okay, let’s keep the budget where it is, we’ll get the one year payback. And so kind of use that one year to really capture a lot of analytics, testing. I think at this point we took over the game, we start testing new campaigns, testing, with our existing match three catalog, we kind of knew what to go ahead and just launch. And then on the creative side, we ran a very long six month to eight month creative testing process to kind of get everything in place. And so these are all things that Disney wasn’t really doing. And then once all that was in place, we started scaling. And so what I always want to understand is how does the ROI perform at scale? What are the diminishing returns as we scale? And so we were able to basically start two xing, three xing spend with really no change to ROI. And part of this was Disney was just a little gunshot. about spending that much money. Other parts, they were very fixated on one year. And so, yeah, we started seeing, as we 2x, 3x that ROI slipping a little bit later, a little bit later. And we eventually got up to about five to six X to spend. We were able to basically map out that the amount of money we were making was the same as the one year at about five to six X on total profitability. So what I mean by that is like, it was really our ability to kind of look at the knowledge to scale this game and understand the profitability over three, two to three years, versus just the one year window. And I think a lot of traditional companies and even boards and investors I talked to, they get kind of fixated on this like either one year payback or 200% ROAS, you know, or like 150% ROAS, you kind of have to be in that range. And I think they’re kind of, you know, missing the forest for the trees kind of thing. So if we’re spending $500 ,000 a month at 200% in ROAS, we’re spending 500, we’re making a million, a million minus five, we’re about 500 in profitability every month. If we were able to, you know, to re -ex that to 1 .5 million a month, and our ROAS lowered to 150% ROAS, we’d be doing 1 .5 million for, what is that? 2 .25 million in top line minus the 1 .5, we’ve been making 750K in profit. And so while you’re spending more money upfront, your total revenue is higher and you’re actually bringing home more profit. And so it’s kind of understanding that scale and where your long -term ROAS is. And I think that’s a big thing that helped a lot of sophisticated gaming companies scale and that they’re willing to increase their return on ad spend. If you can scale enough where the total profit is more than it was at the small level of spend. And that’s hard to do because not a lot of games can just five X, you know, your UA and get nearly the same ROAS or 25% worse. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yeah, it requires you having very strong predictive analytics teams. So they can say, so they can quickly diagnose, you know, within a day or two of campaigns being up and they can accurately predict how much revenue you’re gonna have at month, you know, month one, year one. 

Brian Sapp 

I think day would be noisy, but I think monthly is the right date. 

Matt Widdoes 

Well, yeah, and it’s like to make the, so we’ve, I mean, we’ve always made, you know, day three, day seven type targets to lead, you know, lead us to where like, how are we doing in that pot? Because at scale, you know, if you’re spending 350 million a year, right? It’s like, okay, you gotta, because the money’s gotta go out at some point and you have to like work as best as you can with some of that leading indicator stuff. I think nowadays for sure a day would be, the day does not clean enough to really get good reads there, but it requires having strong predictive analytics. It requires, I think the trap that a lot of early stage companies get in, not really a trap, but like one of the limitations that they see. is that they’re like, well, I don’t have like fully baked cohort. So I’ve only had, you know, 100 people came in six months ago. So I only have a hundred people that are quote, fully baked at six months. And then like last month, 10 ,000 people came in, which is great, but I still don’t know what they’re going to do. And our product has changed so much that if we’re going to look at what they did within the first three to seven days here, it doesn’t really map back to what they, what that six month cat, you know, cohort did in their first three to seven days. So it requires that. So it requires a little bit of history, willingness to take risk from the investors or from the financing, which requires some, some capital. And it requires to like, to your point, additional data science to say, well. The ability for the media teams to turn up the dial on the scale. And to your point, it’s like, scale is king at the end of the day because I can’t count the times somebody would come to me and say, hey, we have this amazing campaign right now. Wanted to flag it and it’s crushing. It’s doing 20% day three ROAS. My first question is always like what’s spent? Because if you tell me it’s at $1 ,500 a day, okay, that’s great. I don’t want to like pop the bubble, but ultimately that’s not that exciting. If you tell me it spent $150 ,000 last week and it’s a new campaign and it’s consistently holding it 20% day three, day seven ROAS. And we especially, we have a one year payback like, okay, I’m like put more into it and see if that’s breaking. And then over that next month, it’s like, how would the day 30 shaking out? Because maybe that 20% is actually what we’re targeting day 30 anyways. So like, what do I care? And if at day 30 it’s like, okay, how can we keep shoveling money into that, into that breaks? So if you have a media buying team who can push the gas on the fail side and monitor that, the predictive analytics teams to make sure that that early data is mapping out, we’re like back testing that. And then you’ve got the data team required who’s sometimes a different team within your data team to say, hey, by the way, like keep cranking that, we actually want you to crank that until it goes down to nine, because maybe our target’s 10. And now we can start to see the correlation between the scale and what we’re giving up on the bottom. So that to your point, we can make a business decision that says, okay, do we want 750K a month or do we want 500K a month? You pick. And if we want 750K a month, we’re going to need to invest 5 million here. And if we want 500K a month, we’re going to need to invest 3 .5 million. But if it’s predictable and profitable, that’s where like, I think in the trenches, you get those opportunities to scale where other companies who aren’t looking at that or aren’t appropriately to do that don’t. And it sounds like that was the big win on the Disney game is that essentially they were, and I guess this goes with being in and out of gaming, but it sounds like they were just kind of like brute forcing it and you know, left it. Is Boxcar children in kind of situation or what was it? 

Brian Sapp 

Conservative. Conservative. Like it’s good to push to the limit to understand where that efficiency really breaks down. That said, totally understand, I’ve been a part of a lot of these companies that could be public, you know, and a lot of times this revenue doesn’t pay back for a long time and so they might not want to have that cost on their P &L, you know, in the month. For sure. Obviously every company is different and every company has the way they’re gonna handle their finances, but if you take that stuff out of the picture, it’s really good to understand, you know, and you need the funds to do it, you need the aggressiveness, you need the entrepreneur -ness. Obviously, and it helps when you have a lot of data and a lot of portfolio to measure against, you have more faith in your data than a company that has nothing to compare to. But yeah, pushing those limits, I think really tells you a lot and tells you what the elasticity is of that ROI and ultimately does the extra funds pay off for more profit or not. And to your point, scale, a lot of good things come with scale, as we know, like more organics. Scales out competitors pushes out competitors and makes it harder for incumbents to come in. So there’s a lot of benefits to it plus a massive scale at X’s are retargeting mechanism and Almost don’t need to do anything because it’s coming back 

Matt Widdoes 

It’s funny you mentioned on the public side public company side of that How many times I’ve seen or heard of or been privy to but have seen it personally where you get in a situation Because you’re dealing with the street you’re dealing with other things and you know Like you said sometimes maybe you don’t want to put that out there because of any number of reasons But how often and I’ve just seen this across the board how often? Accounting teams and finance teams who are operating on Traditional fiscal calendars are in Q4 saying alright Let’s unload all this money into paid because we have benefits of offsetting some of revenues or whatever that would be so much Better off doing that in Q1 because in Q4 like everybody’s in everybody’s partly because of that But it’s like it’s Christmas right? It’s it’s holiday season people are buying gifts Yeah, but you have Coca -Cola running ads you have like everybody and their brother are running You know black Friday sales and all this other stuff so like the November December time is the absolute like least efficient time to be running media and Usually like last shipping day of Christmas, you know before Christmas, you know December 22nd or something like that’s not uncommon That’s like super efficient time to be running or you’ve got all these new devices on mobile being opened on on Christmas morning And you know that 26 7th 8th 9th, you know 30th super efficient But in January so much of that budget is getting dropped back down people are kind of working through these lower Q1 expectations and ironically the you know if you go off a CPM but just the general costs of Advertising like plummet in January and everyone’s really quiet So anyways for anybody out there who’s who’s got a good grip on your finances who can tolerate pushing money out in Q1 Please do that instead and reap to benefits. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I actually knew one entertainment company which would not be named but They only wanted the the UA budget to pay back within the fiscal year. So they would spend heavily in Q1 and then Q2 and then slow down Q3, Q4. It just shows you like, you know, it’s just every accounting company is different and like what they decide is not always best for the product. You know? 

Matt Widdoes 

I love the idea of like, because essentially what we’re brought in to do as, you know, people who drive growth is essentially everybody wants you to build the money machine. So I want to put in a dollar and I want it to spit out a dollar 50. And everybody, unironically are like, and by the way, if you can do that, I got unlimited money. It’s like, well, of course you have unlimited money. Unlimited money. If I can do that. The other irony is somebody’s like, and I have a very little amount of money to pay you to build the money machine. But anyways, if you take all that off the plate, the idea that somebody in this case, in this case, an entertainment company that will not be named is like, we’ve built you a money machine. You put in a dollar, it spits out a dollar 15. They say, cool, I want to put less money in during these times of the year, even though it’s not a if it’s out the same amount of money, it’s kind of funny. But I’m guessing, oh man, I can’t even, I was gonna say I’m guessing that’s like a smaller company, but maybe not because it’s any number of things. And this gets into the like, when you’re managing things to impress the street or investors or any, that’s usually always because there’s some investor that wants to see something. And I’m curious like on that topic, because that hasn’t gone away and isn’t really changing in the grand scheme of things. Like how do you think about ROI and ROAS and like where do you think startups or boards or investors kind of get things wrong on that topic? 

Brian Sapp 

I think it really does come down to like a fixation on the payback period. And it obviously depends on the product. Some products have the life cycle by which they’d need to pay back within three months. These tend to be more like direct to consumer or non gaming. But yeah. 

Matt Widdoes 

Or like hyper casual gaming or something like that. But yeah, the direct to consumer stuff where it’s either high consideration, like one time purchase or a lot of the E -com stuff is like you’re looking for running shoes. It’s gonna be cold in three months. 

Brian Sapp 

Subscription models like those, a lot of them don’t make it past six months or something. So that’s fine. And that’s the way that business has to operate. I think gaming is so specific that a lot of people just don’t have the understanding of the year over year returns in gaming and really mobile. Nobody knew this at the beginning of mobile. I remember everyone was like 30 day retention. That’s all anybody was fixated on. And then, you know, it kept getting pushed out. And then now it’s multi year. And so it’s really just understanding that and then understanding what you’re willing to risk and then understanding to the best of your ability and no one’s ever gonna get this perfect. And it’s always a moving target, but understanding incrementality. And that’s a big one for us at Rec Room because we are cross platform. So it’s a good one. 

Matt Widdoes 

And on the like, you know, on the topic of like ROAS generally, any thoughts on how people should be thinking about that? I’m assuming that your opinion is that people’s look back on that is to narrowly focus or to kind of short term. And there’s lots of people who operate on, I want to break even on year two. It’s like, that’s fine because they’re especially in more social things where they benefit from the audience. Challenge, I guess, and this is from an investor’s perspective, it’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen in two years or how, and you don’t want to be left like holding this bag where you’re like, oh man, we were going to make profit on you guys in 18 months and now something new came out and everybody’s attention is there. How do you think through balancing that desire, one, to maintain cash flow and some of those things, but sometimes that’s not even a problem. Sometimes some massive company has no cash flow challenge. But managing cash flow, managing the unpredictable nature of even taking out the macroeconomic side, just taking over how fickle consumers can be because you could see a world where every year somebody might think, oh, Candy Crush is going to be, this is the year Candy Crush is going to fall and it continues to crush. And so. How do you think about balancing that? And what are some inputs that somebody could look at if they say, okay, I’m hearing what Brian’s saying. I’ve been thinking that we’re being a little too narrowly focused on a six -month payback or a three -month payback. What are some things that somebody might look at or where might they dive in or what pieces of data might they leverage to come back with an argument to their board or to an investor or to their CEO or whoever to say, I want to take a shot at maybe increasing that to eight months or 12 months or two years. What are some elements that somebody might look at there? 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, it’s a good question. There’s a lot of considerations for it. And so I’ll just start off by saying I’ve never, and this is in gaming, not in non -gaming, I’ve always looked back on the data and been like, we should have spent more. Always in my life. And so that’s an aside, but that’s there. And it frames a little bit of my cowboy mentality, if you will. 

Matt Widdoes 

Users are always cheaper a year ago. 

Brian Sapp 

And I think what I’ve learned is that if a user is going to stick around, they tend to stick around, they really form a relationship with the game over years, especially payers. And again, I think that was something that was really hard for people to wrap their head around for a long time. And so going to your question, I think if there’s cash flow is tight and the funds are tight, I think you obviously have to start with small window, you know, and you have to build that data over time. And so when you hit the six, nine, 12, 18, 24 month windows where you’ve had enough cohorts going through, you have to revisit it every single time. And hopefully you’re getting the data that tells you, can we push this back? And then that’s number one. So it’s like understanding that curve and that retention, that LTV and that payer percentage over time. Backtesting that. And that wouldn’t like tell someone to just spend unless they understood that. And I think there is this like fine line of intuition and data, and you’re never going to have it all. And you’re going to have to make gut calls. And I think the more you do it, the more better you get edit and it kind of just comes with experience. But I know that’s not a great answer. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yeah, I mean, but it is all, it’s all going to be coming back to the data. So it’s like, hey, I mean, and I think factoring in things like our CACs, right? So like, let’s go back and do a retro on those CACs month -to -month over, you know, rewind X months, right? Nine months, 18 months. Let’s look at our assumptions back then and what we were buying towards, which is okay, we’re buying towards this six month payback and we expect that to shake out like this on day 7, 1430, 60, whatever. And then backtesting that to say like, you know, we expected break, you know, if we were expecting break even on month six or something like that, what was that tail that we were operating against? Because there’s definitely some number that went into that that said, okay, we’re going to break even on month six. And then on average, those people are going to be worth this much, which gives us this return on this net return on ad spend. And then let’s see if that’s accelerated because you also have these unknowns. Like where your own product is going to advance to where once I could look at this and say, everyone’s going to get bored with this. It’s like, yeah, everybody would have gotten bored with this if we hadn’t changed it over the next year and a half, but we’ve changed it massively. And we’ve introduced new product lines and we’ve introduced new revenue streams or mechanics that get people to convert earlier or mechanics that get people to retain longer or share. It’s like how many products have essentially no sharing element or how many products have essentially no lifecycle programs or campaigns that are trying to get people back. When that gets introduced nine months down the road and you’re not backtesting that LTV or sanity checking those efforts, even in general, even without a holdout or anything, but just sanity checking how the business has changed, how the product has changed, how the dynamics of the buying has changed, like all those do feed into it. And so I think it is that constant drumbeat of backtesting because that’s one of the data camp. And in some ways don’t really live in the marketing or they can, but like the larger the company, these decisions are coming down from the finance teams, the accounting teams, and all these other things that maybe where they’re not in a position to fully understand the context of how those other elements have changed. 

Brian Sapp 

Yes. That’s all I was going to say is that it sort of should live in those camps, but they don’t always have the expertise to have it live in those camps. And that’s what I think is really important in my experience a lot is again, I think more P&L based, not like, what does the business look like? So I think the other part of this is the one at the lower levels of payback and shorter payback windows and lower levels to spend, I think you also need to like, just test, right? Like push up spend for a month, see what happened. Like you need to really like understand what the data looks like as you kind of start pushing and pulling. So that’s a big part of it. Two – I think this is, and I think this is the skill set that I don’t see in a lot of finance departments, but you know, if you get the right growth lead and the right data lead and the right finance person, it’s really shoring up the projected ROI and projected like, you know, ROAS, if you will, at large levels of spend or as you scale up with what it does to the business month by month by month. And those tend to be two different models unless you have an amazing data science team that can shore up both into one model. And that usually requires some very like advanced programming. And so you need someone who can kind of shore up both those things. And that that’s usually the case you bring to the board, which is like, here’s what we think will happen as we scale based on the tests that we’ve done. Here’s the return on spend. So like that kind of lives in its own thing. So we’re spending this much, we’re making this much. Here’s what it does for the business month over month over month over month in terms of revenue, the AUMAU, you know, all that. And you have to bring that to the board and be like, this is what we think it’ll look like, let’s say you, you know, and the good thing about UA is that you can always pull back. Yeah, well, it’s like, it’s immediate. 

Matt Widdoes 

Well, and I think the other thing about in many cases is that if the case is compelling enough, there’s always like money in the banana stand. So if you’re like, Hey, this is what we can do. And they look at the cash balance and they say, well, okay, give us a second. And then they’re like, all right, this is how we’re going to handle the money side of that. And go figure that out. But that’s like a finance person saying, but it’s like, Hey, I have this ability, again, going back to that money and that money machine analogy, we make these improvements to the money machine, or because of these new conditions, we’re going to the money machine can take in more, we have like four slots to put in dollars now instead of just the one, we’re going to be out of the money that we have right now. If we did this right now, we’d be out of money in like four months. But we know how that money comes back. It’s like a joke, but it’s a real thing, which is like, there are some problems that money can solve. And so it’s like, and those are the easiest things, right? Because because it’s like, Oh, okay, this is just a money problem. And it’s like, if it’s a money problem, it’s a money opportunity, there’s unlimited people who want to put money into pretty well proven, you know, opportunities on that side. So I think it’s, you know, I think that’s another good note for somebody is like, you’ve got to do all the work to build out the case. But like, if you can show that, like people are going to want to pursue that, and that has massive impacts on growth, because you think of the kind of exponential impact for most products, where, you know, when you’re looking at these charts, it’s like so much of that is compounding. When you think about the brand lift and the recognition, all these things that come from larger scale that aren’t really immediately traceable back to that next incremental dollar, those have massive dividends over the course of 20 years, 30, 40 years. I think it was Louis Vuitton or somebody that didn’t make any money for the first 20 years, nobody knew anything of them. But it’s like, if you, yeah, that compounding interest is really important. So I’m curious, you know, you’ve worked on a ton of kind of mobile only games and products, you know, having switched over now to Rec Room, which is kind of UGC and cross platform, like anything that stand out of like pros and cons there, and just like any major, maybe not even a pro or con, but just how are they different? Anything that you’ve observed? 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, well, I’ll start with the cons. I mean, just from the like, resourcing side. When I know referendum I think we’re on seven platforms now, so we are on iOS Google Play PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5 Both Xboxes VR so Oculus Quest Steam and PC and yeah, and so from a resource side that means we’re shipping to each one of those platforms and so there’s just a cost to being compliant with each platform and Shipping to each of those platforms and there’s a cost on a QA side and the cost on the production pipeline side from the design side There is a the challenge of designing the game so that it works on all those platforms Like that is especially when you’re mixing in BR, which is very immersive and then how that ties back into Console and mobile and so you know, I think there’s big challenges on that side that you know, 

Matt Widdoes 

It’s almost like multiple products I mean, it’s like the same thing, but it’s It’s different teams is different skill sets. It’s different channels on the marketing side It lives under one brand, but ultimately they operate almost like different decisions you. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah. And so, but you know, we decided that we wanted to be radically cross platform. And so we decided to invest in that area. Now, the reason we do that is because of the pros, which are, Rec Room is inherently very social platform. And so like almost the number one reason most of the players come in is to socialize with their friends. And so we felt it important to be to basically be whatever platform you have at home, you can play a record. And so there’s a social network to do it. And every new platform we launch on we have pretty successful launches because all of their friends tell their friends about the launch. And so it’s really for that social connectivity. And so that’s a big probably primary reason and making all interact with each other no big deal. So if you’re on Xbox, PlayStation, you can all voice chat with each other play with each other in real time in different rooms and different games. So that’s a big part of it. Secondly, on the marketing side, we see just bigger halo effects. So, you know, when we push up on mobile, or we get featuring on mobile, or, you know, to a lesser extent, the other platforms, everybody has a mobile device. So the halo effect tends to be mobile to cross platform versus cross platform to mobile. And so, you know, because of that, we focus a lot on our marketing on mobile, but we see the benefits on all the platforms, the most part. And so that’s that’s the other big reason. And then lastly, we’re not beholden to any one platform. So if there are challenges with specific platforms, say hardware sales are down on one platform, or whatever, we are kind of arbitrage against that risk. And so that really kind of, you know, spreads our risk out. And so those are basically the pros and cons to cross platform versus straight up mobile. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yeah, and I guess that makes sense to where you can maybe acquire, yeah, I mean, and certainly in most console situations, you can acquire more easily on mobile and then use that as a transition and where the experience is going to be better on, I mean, I don’t know, I haven’t, I haven’t gone deep on that. But in most cases, the experience, whether you’re on Xbox or a switch or desktop or whatever, it’s going to be better than you know, mouse and keyboard is going to be better than mobile almost every single time as far as is immersiveness and the ability to quickly type something and then go do something else where it’s a really dynamic environment. I’m curious, for people that are less familiar with Rec Room, because on the surface it appears very similar to Roblox, but I know it’s very different. What are some of the ways that it is different? 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, good question. So Rec Room was first launched in VR, and because of that, that was the very first platform it was launched on. The founders of Rec Room all came from HoloLens at Microsoft. Because of that, it has an immersive layer that Roblox does not. So when you open Roblox, you’re kind of just straight up into like almost looks like an app store. Rec Room has these kind of, what we call literally the Rec Room, which is a social hub that is immersive. So you’re walking around a 3D environment, and then you can kind of, if you so choose, launch into 2D experiences to go to different games, or you can kind of walk through doors to get there. So it’s very much like a 3D immersive environment. Players also have their own dorm room, we call it. Basically, their safe space. And so a lot of our players, again, they’re fairly young. Like, let’s say 9 to 16 is the main demo. They take decorating their dorm room very seriously. And they basically will redesign it in their form and have friends over into it. So it’s a bit more immersive. And then the other big difference is on the creation side. So all of the creation tool, well, most of the creation is done in -game. And so players basically use this thing called the Maker Pen, which is basically a version. It basically turns whatever they want. It handles all the programming for them so they can basically draw shapes and use circuits to build the world. And it’s very social. So a lot of our top games in Rec Room are built by teams of creators. It’s a group of like three to six people that build together in Rec Room. And so it’s a very social creation, more so than Roblox, which is more traditional kind of coding. And so those are probably the biggest differences. And like immersion first and the creation that’s in -game versus on a desktop. 

Matt Widdoes 

Cool. Well, and not to put you on the spot, but I’m curious, are there any, again, a lot of our listeners are founders or senior at larger companies? And they answer maybe no, but any kind of resources that you go to where you kind of keep up with trends, it could be blogs, it could be newsletters, it could be books, or, you know, and it doesn’t have to be related to paid, but just any areas that somebody might dig in that you could point them towards where if they found some of this interesting and said, oh, I’d like to like learn more about that, that you’d recommend they pick up or subscribe to. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I think deconstructor of fun and mostly focused on the business of games, but their blog posts are very good. It’s also a Slack group. Outside of that, honestly, like there used to be a bunch of resources, but as the industry has matured, I feel like they’ve all kind of fallen off to the wayside, like they stopped being updated. And at this point, it’s sort of like, if you’re not doing it, I don’t know if it’s a great resource.

Matt Widdoes 

I think that’s the other challenge is it’s such a zero -sum game that it’s like all of the stuff that’s really working well is highly protected and a lot of the stuff. I was talking to somebody about this the other day, which is if you ever see somebody who’s got like a $1 ,000 course on how to print money in options trading, no. If it was a good strategy, the second they sold it like six times, it’s not. The very fact that it’s being sold, it’s like if I said for $1 ,000, I will tell you the best place to fish on this normal -sized lake. Do you want to buy that? You probably shouldn’t because if you get there and there’s like 15 other boats, it’s not a great place to fish anymore. Because of the nature of that, particularly with paid, but with all things growth, you’d never, and this is why at conferences and stuff like that, most people are kind of rolling their eyes at the content because nobody, no company wants you to get, they tell them all the things that’s working right now at our company because our competitors are in the audience. And nobody generally wants to really reveal that because it makes their job harder the second everybody else is going that. So I think the big takeaway there really is that there is no shortcut. Just like in options trading or growing your business, there’s no shortcut that certainly you can buy your way into for a few thousand dollars. But generally, you’re going to have to kind of chart your own course and may grow in way in these things. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, I mean, I think in the early days of mobile and UA, it was all about going to the conferences and getting tips from your network. And you could bring back some super valuable stuff like this beta program with Facebook is working really well and then that would spread like wildfire and everybody got in it. And there was an advantage to that. Like over time, as these platforms have become more automated, the human intelligence side has become less important to be frank. Like there’s not a lot of like secret sauce thing. You just look at what people are doing and look at the business and I think it goes back to the fundamentals now more than ever. It’s like you need a product that resonates, that retains, that monetizes and you need that brand. You need creative is really important. The messaging is really important. And then the math and the data. I don’t think there’s like a lot of secret sauce anymore to be honest. That’s part of the reason why these blogs have kind of faded away. 

Matt Widdoes 

Yeah, well, this is the classic hard work works. That’s the secret is that you just have to grind it out and make mistakes and track and work, you know, collaborate and kind of share. And really, I think a big piece too, and this has always been the case is like calling your shots generally. This is like following a scientific method, which is this is what we think is going to happen. This is how we’re going to measure it. This is how we’re going to eliminate some of the noise. This is how we’re going to activate it and when and how we’re going to set again, to the noise point, here’s how we’re going to separate it out from these other things. And then depending on any outcomes there, this is how we’re going to re -attack that. And then when we feel like we have a good grip on why it’s working and, you know, what the key ingredients are, now we’re going to try and scale it, see where that breaks while we’re testing some other thesis in this other area, right? And that that assembly line is, is ultimately, and the quality of that assembly line and the inputs into that really are, are what separate the barring, calling all products equal cause product obviously separates a lot of people as well. But that’s really where the winners and losers are sorted. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah. And I think what works for one doesn’t work for another. And so I think that’s a big thing. 

Matt Widdoes 

Well, I think, and to that point, the, I think this is a big thing that we talk a lot about is just because it worked a year ago or didn’t work a year ago, does not mean it won’t work now. So it’s like, you always have to be revisiting that just like in the conversation around your, predictive analytics and revenue and payback windows, you also have to be revisiting the strategies and revisiting the creative that you threw on the ground that didn’t work and be willing to, you know, it’s kind of a feel, but like at some point, it’s like, we’ve tried that a million times, we’re not going to try it again, it’s not a valid, it’s like, we tried that a million times in the last two weeks, sure. But at some point, there is a time decay on both winning strategies and strategies that once appeared to be losers. 

Brian Sapp 

Yeah, always question your assumptions. 

Matt Widdoes 

For sure. Well, Brian, thank you so much for the time today. It’s always a pleasure catching up. I look forward to the next time. 

Brian Sapp 

No, this is really fun. I enjoyed the conversation. 

Matt Widdoes 

Cool. Well, we’ll do it again. Thanks again. Cool. Bye. If you enjoyed this conversation, why not subscribe so you catch every episode of growth at scale? See you next time. 

Book a complimentary consultation with one of our experts
to learn how MAVAN can help your business grow.


Want more growth insights?

Thank you! form is submitted


Related Content

  • Lifecycle is a conversation: Exploring Lifecycle Marketing with LaToya Bowlah on Growth@Scale

    LaToya Bowlah delves into the complexities of lifecycle marketing, emphasizing its role in reducing acquisition costs and enhancing customer experience. Discover her strategic advice on achieving a balance between conversion goals and providing real customer value.

    Read More
  • Unpacking Lifecycle Marketing: Insights from Latoya Bowlah’s Expert Perspective

    LaToya Bowlah delves into the complexities of lifecycle marketing, emphasizing its role in reducing acquisition costs and enhancing customer experience. Discover her strategic advice on achieving a balance between conversion goals and providing real customer value.

    Read More
  • Growth@Scale – Episode 29 – LaToya Bowlah

    Read the transcript of Episode 29 of Growth at Scale where Matt speaks with LaToya Bowlah

    Read More