MVMT $300M Exit

We’ve all heard the story of the college dropouts who founded a small company that later in life makes them millions of dollars. Well, although cliché, this story is no different, and that’s what actually happened to Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, the co-founders at MVMT.

Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante were two ordinary college students who were $20,000 deep into debt and wanted to buy a watch that was actually good quality and affordable. Of course, this option doesn’t exist, at least until they founded their company.

So, what happened exactly?

Back in 2013, the legendary duo founded the world’s fastest-growing watch brand: MVMT!

They had no idea that only 5 years later, their company was going to have made more than $100 Million without ever needing any external investors.

Their company has sold over 1 and a half million watches in more than 160 countries as of the date of writing this article.

When did they make their money?

They had to wait until 2018 to cash in on their hard work, as Movado Group proposed to buy off their company in a $300 Million deal. The duo owned 100% of the company, so when they said yes to the offer, all of that money went straight into their pockets.

So how did they pull this off exactly?

Well, the answer is they did it by taking advantage of Social Media and using one of the strongest examples of digital marketing strategies.

Now, it’s true that in order to disrupt an industry, you need to come up with an extraordinary idea that’s never been done before. That’s exactly what Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante did. But what they did better was that they knew how to execute their idea.

They knew what Millennials wanted, and they knew where and how to reach them. The sky was their limit!

The Power of Social Media

  • Crowdfunding

Back in 2013 when the duo was about to launch their product line, they needed funding, and they weren’t about to go to external investors who were going to end up owning large parts of the company.

They went to Kickstarter and pitched their idea to them, to which they were turned down not once, but twice.

Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante still did not give up, and instead tried pitching their idea to another crowdfunding website, IndieGoGo.

The website approved them and they announced their pitch to the public. Their first goal was $15,000. But within 50 days, they raised over $300,000 from over 3000 backers from all over the world.

MVMT has become the 2nd most backed fashion on IndieGoGo’s platform back in 2013. You can tell just how much Kickstarter regrets turning down the duo’s offer.

The reason their crowdfunding journey has been so successful was that they included the following information in their pitch:

  • The mission behind their brand
  • The founders’ goals
  • A video asking people to “join the MVMT” (movement)
  • Proof of quality, and specs of every watch they made
  • Warranty
  • Clear Call-to-Action buttons

What did they do right when crowdfunding?

What Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante knew was that when crowdfunding, it’s always a great idea to reach out to your friends and family first. These people already have their trust in you and will eventually get their money back.

Second, they aimed low when setting their first goal. This does not only make it easier to reach, but it also makes people have more trust and faith in your brand. Including people who may have just found out about your brand.

The 3rd thing that they did right from the very beginning was that they knew exactly who their audience is, and the platforms they were going to use to reach them.

  • Influencer Marketing

Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante knew that one of the best ways to reach their audience is through influencer marketing. They followed a similar approach that the famous Daniel Wellington followed with their trending hashtag #DWMoments.

If you’ve been anywhere on Social Media in the past 5 years or so, then you must’ve stumbled across MVMT watches at least a few dozen times, especially on YouTube and Instagram.

MVMT wanted to target small influencers instead of paying big celebrities to show off their watches. This way, they were able to put their watches in front of the eyes of millions of people by targeting them one small group after the other, instead of paying millions of dollars for one Instagram post by Kim Kardashian. 

Apparently, the strategy worked really well for them!

How did they do it exactly?

First, they partnered with a marketing agency called Mediakix. Their first marketing campaign targeted 62 influencers who averaged 47,000 followers who have made 73 sponsored posts in the span of 1 week.

After that week, MVMT had over 100,000 likes, 2,800 comments on their posts and they were exposed to over 3 Million people on social media.

Going after small-time influencers may sound like a bad idea, but here is the catch: their followers have a lot more trust in them than fans have in supermodels and athletes. This way they end up having a much stronger effect on their followers than superstars have on theirs. Which is more likely to encourage them to actually buy the product they are promoting.

Because of this, the #jointhemvmt hashtag was born, which was one of the key pillars of the brand’s success!

The hashtag keeps on growing to this day and has over 150,000 publications all over Instagram.

MVMT as a brand chose not to focus on one type of influencers. Instead, they targeted both macro and micro-influencers. Macro influencers can reach a lot more people, further driving up the click rate and making their brand well-known.

While when they target micro-influencers, or better known as niche influencers, they target their much smaller fan base which happens to place a lot of trust in those influencers, which could almost guarantee a sale would happen.

More than this,

The brand made it a lot easier for new influencers to #jointhemvmt by adding an ambassador page to their website. When an influencer signs up, they can get discount codes that they can give to their followers.

This way they don’t only guarantee that more influencers join them, but it also allows them to track which influencers are making them the most profit.

  • Instagram

One of the ways MVMT is leveraging the power of Instagram is through its 2 pages. MVMT and MVMTforher. The accounts have more than 1.5 Million followers together and have a ton of engagement, as well as user-generated content.

One of the best ways this brand is leveraging the power of Instagram is by having a section on their website that showcases the same pictures they post on the social media platform, with the possibility to buy the product just by clicking on the picture.

This way, they guarantee that the user who’s coming in from Instagram easily finds the product he or she is looking for.

  • Facebook

Facebook is another strong point of the brand, in which they amass more than 3.6 Million likes. This social media platform is also responsible for 47% of their social traffic.

The brand has the “very responsive to messages” tag, which is very important for any business to have on their Facebook page as it encourages users to send you a message and possibly placing an order. 

Although one of the downsides of their Facebook presence is the fact they have 3.9/5 stars, which isn’t very good for a brand this big.

And despite the page’s large number of followers, it still has a very low engagement in comparison to Instagram. As only 3% of Facebook followers actually engage with their posts, photos, and videos.

This could be because they only post once or twice a week on their Facebook page, unlike Instagram which has 1 new post every day.

  • YouTube

The brand’s YouTube channel still has less than 30k subscribers, but it is used effectively as they have a total of 12 Million views on all of their videos combined.

4 of their videos have over 1 Million views, and 18 videos have more than 100K views. This shows that the brand does indeed use YouTube ads, which is a really nice way to gain both views, as well as to point users towards your website.

But this isn’t very consistent as most of their videos don’t even surpass the 10k views mark. For example, their last video which was released 5 months ago, only has 1.4k views as of October 2020.

MVMT also uses YouTube influencers or as we like to call them YouTubers to spread the word and gain traffic to their website. They use a similar approach to the one they use on Instagram, as YouTubers will gain a commission every time someone buys a product through their promotion code.

  • Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the platforms in which MVMT really shines. The brand has more than 7 million unique viewers every single month. In case you didn’t know, those are a lot of views, and that is a very big deal!

The brand has 27 boards on the platform, titled anything from “Join the MVMT”, to “Men’s Fashion”, and “Women’s Fashion”… And they are making the best of them!

MVMT only joined Pinterest in order to connect more with their female audience but has since changed their strategy once they realized how profitable the platform can be.

MVMT Watches uses the platform to share pictures in one or more of the themes they have such as travel, lifestyle, fashion, and so on. Their doing of this encourages other users to share similar pictures along with the #jointhemvmt hashtag, further spreading the word!

In a case study done by Pinterest themselves, they found that pictures of close up watches perform the best. That’s because users generally come to the platform in order to discover the products they want to either buy for themselves or their loved ones. So, here MVMT really knows what they’re doing.

Slowly, the duo realized that Pinterest is one of the best ways to promote their product and website. When doing promotions on this platform, they got twice as much conversion rate than any other social media platform, including YouTube and Instagram. In fact, a few successful campaigns on the platform have been the cause behind a 20% increase in sales, and that’s not a small number by any means!

Just because Pinterest is a predominantly feminine platform, it doesn’t mean it can’t be leveraged to advertise for men’s watches. After all, those women still buy gifts for the men in their lives, don’t they?

  • Tumblr

When asked, Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante said that Tumblr has had the most impact on them. When they could get some of their product pictures in some big tumblers, they were very successful in reaching a lot of people.

The reason behind that is because, on Tumblr too, people could post pictures with hashtags, and the #MVMT and #jointhemvmt hashtags were always present.

Although MVMT has leveraged the power of social media very effectively, it doesn’t mean they only counted on organic reach. The brand never forgot about the power of advertisements, which brings us to our next chapter!

Paid Marketing

Organic reach isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world, especially nowadays since social media companies are trying to make it more and more difficult to the point where they are basically pushing businesses to buy ads from them!

Ads are not a bad idea at all, because in the end, everybody wins! The social media platform gets paid for their services, businesses get the traffic they want, and users get the products they want!

So, let’s see how MVMT leveraged the power of Ads in each social media platform!

  • Facebook & Instagram Ads

Since Facebook and Instagram ads are integrated, for the most part, we’ll talk about both of them as one!

Like most businesses and brands, MVMT has used Facebook ads at some point in their journey. This is because Facebook ads are so good at reaching the audience that you want that it’s impossible to overlook.

MVMT mainly uses their Instagram and Facebook ads to promote pictures of the products they have. They also make sure that the picture of the product can direct you directly to the product page on their website, allowing the users to make a purchase immediately.

Following this method is one of the best ways to ensure you boost your e-commerce sales, as the users have nowhere to be lost and are directly sent to make the purchase.

But MVMT isn’t the only one paying for these ads. Like we said before, influencers earn commissions every time someone makes a purchase using their promo code or link.

You see how MVMT is winning the ads game left and right? 

  • Google Ads

If you look in Ahrefs, you’ll find that MVMT is only bidding 772 keywords around the world, and around 1 third of them are in the US. Overall, for a brand this size, that is a pretty low bidding number.

What’s stranger is that the company isn’t bidding enough in some really big markets such as the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, and France.

If I were behind MVMT’s marketing team, I would definitely increase the bids in those countries as they can drastically drive up the sales.

SEO

One of the biggest sources of traffic for MVMT is search, as the image above clearly shows. This shows just how important SEO is in driving traffic to your website!

  • Traffic & Ranking

MVMT has over 2 Million visitors to the website every single month, and they rank #412 in the world in the shopping category. This, as well, is a big deal.

The above image also shows us a lot of very important information. The average time on the website is just shy of 3 minutes, which is considered more than great when it comes to Google’s search algorithms.

The bounce is also at 43%, which is very good and means that more than half people who visit the website actually stay and discover other pages.

Most of the website’s visitors come from English-speaking countries, and that’s because the website is only available in English. This, too, is one-way MVMT could improve their website.

Although the website allows you to change the country, it does not change the language no matter what country you choose.

But it’s not all bad!

Having a website in one language has its advantages as well!

This means that all of rankings are concentrated in one place and one place only, which is the main domain.

As you can see in the image below, doing this allowed them to organically rank for 74 thousand keywords. If you don’t know what that means, it’s very good for business!

Even more so, MVMT ranks 18 thousand keywords just in the US alone.

Although MVMT still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to increasing their sales outside of the US, they appear to be doing great in their home country.

  • Backlink Profile

The above image shows it all. MVMT has 29.4K backlinks spread across 2.28K referring domains. This shows that the brand focuses more on the quality of the backlinks it receives, as opposed to quantity. All of this has served them really well when it comes to their search engine optimization.

The number of backlinks the brand receives has been steadily growing since January 2014 up until now, which is very healthy for their website.

  • Page Speed

The speed at which the website loads is very important when it comes to SEO. Unfortunately, MVMT doesn’t perform very well in this category.

This is not unexpected as online shopping websites usually score low in page speed since they have a lot of pictures showcasing their products. In the case of MVMT, it takes the page 12.8 seconds for the page to load, at that speed, most users will probably be gone by the time the website loads.

  • Email Marketing

Email marketing is a very important channel to get to your audience. And MVMT is definitely not missing out on this one.

If you subscribe to their newsletter, you can expect at least 5 emails every week, sending you promotions, new offers, new collections, discounts, and more!

Their emails are well designed and make you want to keep on reading, as well as they aren’t too long! Overall, the purpose of those emails is to make you go back to their website, which they seem to be doing a very good job at.

The reason why email marketing is so beneficial for a company is that when somebody signs up to your newsletter, it’s because they either have already liked your brand or have purchased something from you. Either way, they are already fans of yours and would like to find out more! It is also much easier to upsell an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.

  • User Experience

Since MVMT sells both Men and Women’s products, choosing which gender you’re shopping for is the first thing you see when you go into their website.

The website also has a Best Sellers section which they renamed Trending Now. You also get a sneak peek of this page on the home page to give you an idea of what you can find there, as well as of the products that are selling really well on any given day.

When it comes to the site’s product page, it just looks great!

It’s straight to the point, visually pleasing, doesn’t have too many distractions, and serves its purpose. It gives you the option to add an extra strap, then the “Add to Cart” button. Everything is as simple and smooth as can be!

Moving on to the checkout page!

Again, MVMT follows a very simple, yet smooth approach. When you’re on this page, you won’t see any other distractions, upsells, products, or anything.

They want you to focus on buying the product, and they are not joking about it. Not even the menu is present on this page!

The only things you can see on this page are the product image, the price, the free shipping, and the space to put your information. That’s it!

Of course, you have the option to choose to either pay using PayPal or through entering your Credit Card information.

After that, all you have to enter is the following:

  • Customer info (address, phone number, email…)
  • Shipping method
  • Payment info

MVMT has made it as simple as possible for you to check out so that the customer does not change their mind when the slightest inconvenience comes their way, which is a great strategy that can save you from losing a lot of sales.

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