Home Digital Marketing The Tail Of How A DTC Lobster Company Clawed To Growth

The Tail Of How A DTC Lobster Company Clawed To Growth


Get Maine Lobster marketer
In December 2020, Get Maine Lobster sold more lobsters in three weeks than it did in the entirety of 2019. And all this year, it’s often selling more lobster than Maine fisherman can catch.

The decade-old lobster-by-mail business experienced hockey-stick growth because CEO Mark Murrell took a big risk last March. As millions of Americans sheltered in place, business picked up. So Murrell decided to “pour gasoline on the fire” and spend money on advertising like never before.

“My directive to the agency was, ‘Here are the rules. As long as you can stick with the rules, you have no limit in how much you can spend,’” Murrell said.

The decision broke with tradition.

Until last year, the company was parsimonious with its marketing dollars, spending a little around holidays on Facebook and Google. It also used email marketing and worked with third-party sellers like Groupon and Gilt.

But like other direct-to-consumer companies, Get Maine Lobster had been investing in its data. Going into 2020, it already knew its customer acquisition cost (CAC) and long-term value (LTV) down to a tee.

So as long as its agency kept at or below the customer acquisition cost it needed to break even, Murrell allowed the agency to spend as much as it could.

“If anyone has a really strong understanding of their data – the CAC to LTV ratio, the velocity between orders and repeat buyers, and the cohorts buying, you can design what you spend to acquire a customer,” Murrell said. “Once you have that blueprint, it gives you freedom.”

A seafood stew of marketing

The agency had a blank check, but it wasn’t going to blow the budget on Facebook and Google. Get Maine Lobster methodically added new types of marketing strategies, starting with the more turnkey and laddering up in sophistication.

First, Get Maine Lobster increased its investment with Facebook and Google, which it already used – sparingly – for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other celebrations. Then, it added in Pinterest, Instagram and Bing. Third, its agency layered on affiliate marketing and influencers.


AdExchanger Daily

Get our editors’ roundup delivered to your inbox every weekday.

Lobster sales went up.

Next, Get Maine Lobster brought on programmatic, including media partners like IHeartRadio and Hulu, and geo-targeted affluent zip codes and states where its customers live. Programmatic allowed it to use its customer data to create new audiences that looked like its lobster-buying customers, further increasing conversion rates, Murrell said.

Not every media type performed as well as programmatic, which boasted 6.2X return on ad spend in December. “We’re getting ready to double down on programmatic. When I get a 6.2 ROAS, I want to know what can we spend? Is there more?”

Get Maine Lobster also invested in its owned marketing, where it could talk to customers directly. Its email marketing database size increased 300% in 2020. Push notifications, launched in July, generated $475,000 in revenue and 43,000 subscribers. Text messages, started in October, brought in more than $1 million in revenue and 19,000 subscribers.

The strong results have Murrell regretting all the money he didn’t spend before 2020.

“This marketing investment would have worked two years ago. All this while I have not been spending enough on marketing,” Murrell said.

Looking ahead, Murrell is bullish that business will continue to be strong after the pandemic. The company is investing in creating dining experiences – especially around ready-made products, like pairing lobster with beef wellington or ready-made seafood meals – that will make eating at home better.

“I think consumer behavior has changed for good,” he said. “People are still going to want to go to restaurants. But there are six other nights of the week.”

Must Read

Comic: TFW Disney+ Goes AVOD

Disney Expands Its Audience Graph And Clean Room Tech Beyond The US

Disney expands its audience graph and clean room tech to Latin America, marking the first time it will be available outside the US. The announcement precedes this week’s launch of Disney+ with ads in Latin America.

Advertible Makes Its Case To SSPs For Running Native Channel Extensions

Companies like TripleLift that created the programmatic native category are now in their awkward tween years. Cue Advertible, a “native-as-a-service” programmatic vendor, as put by co-founder and CEO Tom Anderson.

Mozilla acquires Anonym

Mozilla Acquires Anonym, A Privacy Tech Startup Founded By Two Top Former Meta Execs

Two years after leaving Meta to launch their own privacy-focused ad measurement startup in 2022, Graham Mudd and Brad Smallwood have sold their company to Mozilla.

Privacy! Commerce! Connected TV! Read all about it. Subscribe to AdExchanger Newsletters

Nope, We Haven’t Hit Peak Retail Media Yet

The move from in-store to digital shopper marketing continues, as United Airlines, Costco, PayPal, Chase and Expedia make new retail media plays. Plus: what the DSP Madhive saw in advertising sales software company Frequence.

Comic: Ad-ception

The New York Times And Instacart Integrate For Shoppable Recipes

The New York Times and Instacart are partnering for shoppable recipe videos.

Experian Enters The Third-Party Data Onboarding Business

Experian entered the third-party data onboarder market on Tuesday with a new product based on its Tapad acquisition.