Air Fryers and Genie Bras: Direct-to-Consumer Marketing & Creating #1 Products with Matt Fisher

Episode Summary

Episode 31 of The Verblio Show

“What’s more important: selling product or having a beautiful commercial?”

If there’s anyone that knows how to sell product, it’s Matt Fisher. One of Steve’s former LiveOps colleagues, Matt is currently dominating the direct-to-consumer space as COO of Tristar. Tristar is responsible for some of the #1 products in the world every year, including “As Seen on TV” megahits like the Air Fryer and Copper Chef.

In Episode 31 of The Verblio Show, Matt and Steve talk about how he and the Tristar team find these products and turn them into household names. They also discuss:

  • The marketing lessons that apply whether you’re selling cookware on TV or B2B solutions on the internet
  • What the goal of innovation *should* be
  • How the Genie Bra came into existence
  • Matt’s favorite infomercial of all time

Guest-at-a-Glance

📛 Name: Matt Fisher

💥 What he does: COO at Tristar Products, one of the leading companies for direct-to-consumer products in the world. Former VP of Sales at LiveOps.

🖱️ Find Matt on the web: Tristar | LinkedIn

💡 Get smart: “Innovation is not good for the sake of innovation. Innovation is exciting because you solve a problem.”

Top Tips from This Episode

Understand your customer 👉

Matt’s career has taken him from engineering to product to sales, but what’s driven him at every step is understanding the customer. “The customer, from my perspective, is the most important thing,” Matt says. “You can have great products, but you need to be able to sell them and you need to understand your customer.”

Working in the direct-to-consumer space has only furthered that focus. “We have a direct line to the customer where most people don’t,” he explains. “How do you utilize that to your benefit in order to change your product, change your marketing, change the way you resonate to the customer in what you’re solving for them?”

Know your sphere of influence 👉

Another part of Matt’s success throughout his varied career is being able to jump in and make waves in whatever area of the company needs it most. One component of that is having a wide range of interests: “I’m lucky because I enjoy lots of things,” Matt says. The other piece, though, is choosing the right big initiatives.

“When you think about the ‘big one,’ you want to grab the big, tent pole initiative that’s gonna change not just your department but hopefully the company.” That requires knowing what goals you can drive, and where you have the power to effect change. Ask yourself, “’What’s gonna change the way my boss or my division looks at me in order to really drive results there? What’s in my sphere of influence?’”

Episode Highlights

Product is king 👑

“We have a slogan, which is, first of all, product is always king. So as good as your marketing is, and as good a spokesperson as you have, if your product’s not good and it doesn’t resonate, it’s dead in the water.”

What’s more exciting than a perfect product? An almost-perfect product

“There are products that, no matter what you do, you can’t screw it up, right? It’s just the perfect product and people love it. And then there’s the stuff that is close, and you just have to reiterate on the name. Maybe you have to reiterate on how you’re doing the marketing. And those are ones that are the most exciting, because there’s a lot of work that goes into that to try to make it from a single to a home run.”

Innovation = solving a problem

“If you do your job right, people will want your product because you’re solving something that they really need. And that goes for any sort of innovation, right? Innovation is not good for the sake of innovation. Innovation is exciting because you solve a problem. I started in technology, and the basis of technology is, how do you solve these people’s problems? Because you’re not really building a product. You’re really trying to solve the problem in the beginning.”

The ingredients of an “As Seen on TV” success

“It’s gotta be mass market for us. It’s gotta solve a problem that can be demonstrated. Hopefully it can be sold into every retailer in America—every box store. We’re not necessarily gonna be in Bloomingdale’s anytime soon with our products, but we’ll be in Walmart, we’ll be in Target, we’ll be in Kohl’s. …Our demo can fluctuate, but it definitely skews on the older side, so 30-plus. When we look at products that are younger, we really have to rethink the marketing.”

That’s show biz, baby

“The movie business is the same kind of thing. It’s one out of 10. A blockbuster pays for all the failures. …I probably look at anywhere from 200 to 500 products a year, and our CEO probably looks at even more. And we select close to about 50 to 100 products a year that we’ll do some form of marketing for, and really see what works. And about 10 of those products we’ll bring to market. And usually it’s about three products a year will be home runs, and the rest will be singles or doubles.”

How to get on TV 📺

“When we look at TV, what you need to start really thinking through is who’s your producer, who’s gonna write the script, who’s gonna put together your production. That’s number one. Number two is your marketing agency and your media company. …They’re gonna go buy your media. So what they’re gonna end up doing is they figure out what is the right test media for you to run on, spend money on the production that you had with the commercial, and you can look at your results.

…And then if it works, or you need the scale, that’s the next step, which is, how do you put your marketing budget together and which stations do you spend on? And then once you’ve got that scaled, now you’re starting to think through what’s your next iteration of your offer or your commercial, or how do you interlay some of that? And what’s great is, once you are on TV with strong marketing, it all comes back to you. Because ultimately those customers are driven back to the web, and you are able to retarget them. You’re able to connect with them, and they’re purchasing your product from multiple different channels.”

Top quotes

🎙️ Matt:

[20:41] “As good as your marketing is, and as good a spokesperson as you have, if your product’s not good and it doesn’t resonate, it’s dead in the water.”

 [27:57] “Every digital marketer at some points ends up on TV, and there’s a key reason: It is because digital advertising can’t scale as much as TV does.”

[31:24] “What’s more important, selling product or having a beautiful commercial?”

[35:14] “Whether it’s with the direct-to-consumer business or a brand-oriented business, you have to have product awareness that’s going to drive demand.”

[35:35] “If you do your job right, people will want your product, because you’re solving something that they really need.”

[35:46] “Innovation is not good for the sake of innovation. Innovation is exciting because you solve a problem.”

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