Our thesis

We’re in a new

era of marketing & advertising.

We’re in a new

era of marketing & advertising.

The Marketing Landscape
is Rapidly Changing...

We’re overdue for a serious challenge to the status quo in advertising. 

It’s no secret that fragile economic conditions in America and abroad have put pressure on the end consumer. The next twelve months are uncertain for many B2C businesses. 

Gone are the days of unchecked advertising spend. Margin is tighter. Tracking is tougher. And CMO tenure is the lowest it’s ever been. 


The wake of this efficiency drop is creating advertising chaos for brands.

Fundamental questions are becoming urgent — how should we be allocating budget? What channels should we be investing in? How can we drive better efficiency? On LinkedIn and Twitter, there’s a lot of conjecture on all of these topics.


What we’ve understood about marketing teams needs to be re-thought in order to have success in today’s landscape. The old playbooks and frameworks are losing their gusto.

Marketers must challenge the assumptions created by a previous generation with vastly different market conditions. They must adapt to a new era of advertising where channel innovation is much quicker, creative is is increasingly important, and competition is stiff.

At a time when there are more ways than ever before to connect, interact, and reach your customer, brands should be succeeding. 

In order to do so, it’s important to first understand the history of how we got here.

We’re overdue for a serious challenge to the status quo in advertising. 


It’s no secret that fragile economic conditions in America and abroad have put pressure on the end consumer. The next twelve months are uncertain for many B2C businesses. 

Gone are the days of unchecked advertising spend. Margin is tighter. Tracking is tougher. And CMO tenure is the lowest it’s ever been. 

The wake of this efficiency drop is creating advertising chaos for brands.

Fundamental questions are becoming urgent — how should we be allocating budget? What channels should we be investing in? How can we drive better efficiency? On LinkedIn and Twitter, there’s a lot of conjecture on all of these topics.

What we’ve understood about marketing teams needs to be re-thought in order to have success in today’s landscape. The old playbooks and frameworks are losing their gusto.


Marketers must challenge the assumptions created by a previous generation with vastly different market conditions. They must adapt to a new era of advertising where channel innovation is much quicker, creative is is increasingly important, and competition is stiff.

At a time when there are more ways than ever before to connect, interact, and reach your customer, brands should be succeeding. 

In order to do so, it’s important to first understand the history of how we got here.

The “Madison Ave” Model

(1950 — 2000)

Before, things were simpler.

The “golden age” of advertising saw the evolution of Madison Avenue, large agencies, and agency holding companies. Advertisers benefitted from a growing population, the increasing popularity of television, and an insatiable demand for products in the US market.

During this period, advertising was an artform that revolved around singular creative campaigns distributed via newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio, television, and direct mail. This spanned decades, eventually evolving with banner ads, affiliates, and search. Ad agencies honed their focus on creative, using it as the main instrument to drive sales and market share for clients. Most of these creative ideas were loosely rooted in data, and this is the same way creative ideation is carried out within the holding companies to this day. 


Slow distribution channel innovation, inefficient real-time attribution, and uncertain marketing spend allocation were defining features of the era. Once a marketing campaign began, it was difficult to determine which channel to attribute a purchase to, leading marketers to evaluate performance based on overall media spend rather than on a channel-by-channel basis. 

Advertising performanced was measured by — did overall sales go up? Simple.

The “DTC” Era (2008-2020)

Social media advertising changed everything. 


Facebook Ads created the most efficient marketing platform in history. Billions of dollars poured into social and the venture-backed companies investing in it as an acquisition channel. At the same time, the Shopify ecosystem made it easier than ever to get to market. 

Soon, measurable channel conversion became a normal part of the attribution equation. An entire generation of marketers became reliant on direct-response creative, deterministic attribution, and the belief that a dollar into Facebook generated an accurate channel-based return on ad spend.

Shifting from larger creative campaigns to more platform-native content, this period of time saw exponential growth in the efficiency of ad spend. 

The digital agency, single-channel agency, and freelance economy all carved out market share in the quickly developing advertising space, and the “Madison Avenue Era” players found themselves on their heels struggling to develop digital competencies.

However, this time was short lived. A confluence of factors resulted in decreasing ad efficiency and fewer arbitrage opportunities on social platforms. Namely, Apple Tracking Transparency, digital channel saturation, and slowing platform growth marked the end of the DTC Era.

Which brings us to today.

Today — The “Dark Attribution” Era

Today — The “Dark Attribution” Era

The DTC Era precipitated the intense period of competition we find ourselves in today across B2C industries. Most brands are digitally native, community centric, and visually sophisticated. 

It’s easier than ever to launch a brand, influencer brands are growing fast, and commoditization seems inevitable for most product categories. Since March 2020, over 2.5 million Shopify stores have been created, a 201% increase. Competing on sales channels like DTC, retail, and third party commerce is now common ground.


Digital advertising represents over 70% of total advertising spend, a statistic which continues to grow year over year. And while the customer journey has always been multi-touch, it’s harder than ever to measure or track, with little recourse for help. Agencies, both big and small, are failing clients. A lack of data infrastructure, creative know-how, and efficient team operating processes is prevalent in both options.

Advertising on platforms has become more challenging, with the need for more sophisticated creative strategies, more in-tune customer journeys, and a modern approach to data analytics.

Legacy brands will struggle to maintain market share if their strategies do not adapt. It’s no longer sufficient to run the same playbook. But changing the playbook is easier said than done. It can be difficult to operate efficiently and make informed decisions when there are multiple sales channels, an extraordinary number of advertising mediums, increasingly complex customer journeys, and limited access and understanding of data. 

At the same time, how do you operate efficiently and make capital allocation decisions wisely when you're selling across 5+ channels, advertising online across more social channels, and evaluating 4 new channels to test? 

We’ve entered into the Dark Attribution Era.

The New Approach

So, how do you gather information that’s truly relevant about your customer and then act on that information? Stop searching new hires or new agencies who focus on the trend-du-jour. There are no silver bullets. There is no room for bloat, or for campaigns that help resumes and not the business’ bottom line.


It’s time to start prioritizing systems-level thinking and building within your marketing programs that become the most trustworthy source of data for your next set of decisions. This is how to unlock the new phases of growth over and over again. 

  • Process: Equip your team with a framework that allows you to launch and scale sustainable marketing programs for your brand, with a view towards profitable incrementality. 


  • Integrated Tactics: Every single marketing program must consider acquisition and retention as two sides of the same coin. Focus on the tactics that will deliver the right mix for your business. 


  • Measurement: Brands need robust data warehousing that pulls in every relevant metric across all sales and distribution channels in order to engineer a media mix model that makes sense for their customer journey.


  • Creative: Do you have a “process” for improving how your creative resonates with customers over time, and how that’s applied to your entire customer journey? Every campaign should start small, be tested frequently, and scale in perpetuity.  


  • Efficiency: Newer marketing programs do not deserve higher spend until they prove scalability. Look at overall MER and spend pragmatically based on revenue and profitability targets.


  • Long-term oriented: Stakeholders need to be clear about what the ultimate business outcome for the company is, what a practical roadmap looks like, and which team members and partners they need to get there.

Equipped with the right partners, agile businesses can deploy smart advertising strategies that win mind and market share. Strong growth today necessitates research, frameworks, and toolsets that empower brands to find gateways to growth.


Over the past six years, we’ve helped B2C commerce companies implement successful revenue programs that deliver sustainable growth over time. 


Equipped with the right partners, agile businesses can deploy smart advertising strategies that win mind and market share. Strong growth today necessitates research, frameworks, and toolsets that empower brands to find gateways to growth.


Over the past six years, we’ve helped B2C commerce companies implement successful revenue programs that deliver sustainable growth over time. 



If you’d like to learn more about how we partner with our portfolio of brands, schedule a free discovery call with our team. 



If you’d like to learn more about how we partner with our portfolio of brands, schedule a free discovery call with our team. 


We invest & partner with early-stage commerce ventures.

We invest & partner with early-stage commerce ventures.

Our investment syndicate, Darkmatter, is focused on needle-moving commerce businesses. We have a number of ways we strategically partner with and approach investments. Click below to learn more about how we partner with brands and firms.

👋 Speak to a member
of our team

Frequent questions

with specific answers

Frequent questions

with specific answers

We need results immediately. How do you deliver?

What’s your pricing structure?

Can you deliver on our creative or brand needs?

Do you have experience with businesses in my industry?

I am a head of growth within my company. Will your team replace my job?

You have multiple global offices — are you just an outsource provider?

Our thesis

We’re in a new

era of marketing &

advertising.

The Marketing Landscape
is Rapidly Changing...

We’re overdue for a serious challenge to the status quo in advertising. 

It’s no secret that fragile economic conditions in America and abroad have put pressure on the end consumer. The next twelve months are uncertain for many B2C businesses. 

Gone are the days of unchecked advertising spend. Margin is tighter. Tracking is tougher. And CMO tenure is the lowest it’s ever been. 


The wake of this efficiency drop is creating advertising chaos for brands.

Fundamental questions are becoming urgent — how should we be allocating budget? What channels should we be investing in? How can we drive better efficiency? On LinkedIn and Twitter, there’s a lot of conjecture on all of these topics.


What we’ve understood about marketing teams needs to be re-thought in order to have success in today’s landscape. The old playbooks and frameworks are losing their gusto.

Marketers must challenge the assumptions created by a previous generation with vastly different market conditions. They must adapt to a new era of advertising where channel innovation is much quicker, creative is is increasingly important, and competition is stiff.

At a time when there are more ways than ever before to connect, interact, and reach your customer, brands should be succeeding. 

In order to do so, it’s important to first understand the history of how we got here.

The “Madison Ave” Model

(1950 — 2000)

Before, things were simpler.

The “golden age” of advertising saw the evolution of Madison Avenue, large agencies, and agency holding companies. Advertisers benefitted from a growing population, the increasing popularity of television, and an insatiable demand for products in the US market.

During this period, advertising was an artform that revolved around singular creative campaigns distributed via newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio, television, and direct mail. This spanned decades, eventually evolving with banner ads, affiliates, and search. Ad agencies honed their focus on creative, using it as the main instrument to drive sales and market share for clients. Most of these creative ideas were loosely rooted in data, and this is the same way creative ideation is carried out within the holding companies to this day. 


Slow distribution channel innovation, inefficient real-time attribution, and uncertain marketing spend allocation were defining features of the era. Once a marketing campaign began, it was difficult to determine which channel to attribute a purchase to, leading marketers to evaluate performance based on overall media spend rather than on a channel-by-channel basis. 

Advertising performanced was measured by — did overall sales go up? Simple.

The “DTC” Era (2008-2020)

Social media advertising changed everything. 


Facebook Ads created the most efficient marketing platform in history. Billions of dollars poured into social and the venture-backed companies investing in it as an acquisition channel. At the same time, the Shopify ecosystem made it easier than ever to get to market. 

Soon, measurable channel conversion became a normal part of the attribution equation. An entire generation of marketers became reliant on direct-response creative, deterministic attribution, and the belief that a dollar into Facebook generated an accurate channel-based return on ad spend.

Shifting from larger creative campaigns to more platform-native content, this period of time saw exponential growth in the efficiency of ad spend. 

The digital agency, single-channel agency, and freelance economy all carved out market share in the quickly developing advertising space, and the “Madison Avenue Era” players found themselves on their heels struggling to develop digital competencies.

However, this time was short lived. A confluence of factors resulted in decreasing ad efficiency and fewer arbitrage opportunities on social platforms. Namely, Apple Tracking Transparency, digital channel saturation, and slowing platform growth marked the end of the DTC Era.

Which brings us to today.

Today — The “Dark Attribution” Era

The DTC Era precipitated the intense period of competition we find ourselves in today across B2C industries. Most brands are digitally native, community centric, and visually sophisticated. 

It’s easier than ever to launch a brand, influencer brands are growing fast, and commoditization seems inevitable for most product categories. Since March 2020, over 2.5 million Shopify stores have been created, a 201% increase. Competing on sales channels like DTC, retail, and third party commerce is now common ground.


Digital advertising represents over 70% of total advertising spend, a statistic which continues to grow year over year. And while the customer journey has always been multi-touch, it’s harder than ever to measure or track, with little recourse for help. Agencies, both big and small, are failing clients. A lack of data infrastructure, creative know-how, and efficient team operating processes is prevalent in both options.

Advertising on platforms has become more challenging, with the need for more sophisticated creative strategies, more in-tune customer journeys, and a modern approach to data analytics.

Legacy brands will struggle to maintain market share if their strategies do not adapt. It’s no longer sufficient to run the same playbook. But changing the playbook is easier said than done. It can be difficult to operate efficiently and make informed decisions when there are multiple sales channels, an extraordinary number of advertising mediums, increasingly complex customer journeys, and limited access and understanding of data. 

At the same time, how do you operate efficiently and make capital allocation decisions wisely when you're selling across 5+ channels, advertising online across more social channels, and evaluating 4 new channels to test? 

We’ve entered into the Dark Attribution Era.

The New Approach

So, how do you gather information that’s truly relevant about your customer and then act on that information? Stop searching new hires or new agencies who focus on the trend-du-jour. There are no silver bullets. There is no room for bloat, or for campaigns that help resumes and not the business’ bottom line.


It’s time to start prioritizing systems-level thinking and building within your marketing programs that become the most trustworthy source of data for your next set of decisions. This is how to unlock the new phases of growth over and over again. 

  • Process: Equip your team with a framework that allows you to launch and scale sustainable marketing programs for your brand, with a view towards profitable incrementality. 


  • Integrated Tactics: Every single marketing program must consider acquisition and retention as two sides of the same coin. Focus on the tactics that will deliver the right mix for your business. 


  • Measurement: Brands need robust data warehousing that pulls in every relevant metric across all sales and distribution channels in order to engineer a media mix model that makes sense for their customer journey.


  • Creative: Do you have a “process” for improving how your creative resonates with customers over time, and how that’s applied to your entire customer journey? Every campaign should start small, be tested frequently, and scale in perpetuity.  


  • Efficiency: Newer marketing programs do not deserve higher spend until they prove scalability. Look at overall MER and spend pragmatically based on revenue and profitability targets.


  • Long-term oriented: Stakeholders need to be clear about what the ultimate business outcome for the company is, what a practical roadmap looks like, and which team members and partners they need to get there.

Equipped with the right partners, agile businesses can deploy smart advertising strategies that win mind and market share. Strong growth today necessitates research, frameworks, and toolsets that empower brands to find gateways to growth.


Over the past six years, we’ve helped B2C commerce companies implement successful revenue programs that deliver sustainable growth over time. 



If you’d like to learn more about how we partner with our portfolio of brands, schedule a free discovery call with our team. 


We invest & partner with early-stage commerce ventures.

Our investment syndicate, Darkmatter, is focused on needle-moving commerce businesses. We have a number of ways we strategically partner with and approach investments. Click below to learn more about how we partner with brands and firms.

👋 Speak to a member
of our team

Frequent questions

with specific answers

We need results immediately. How do you deliver?

What’s your pricing structure?

Can you deliver on our creative or brand needs?

Do you have experience with businesses in my industry?

I am a head of growth within my company. Will your team replace my job?

You have multiple global offices — are you just an outsource provider?