The Empowered Marketer: Demystifying Liquid Diets With Mark Olivieri of OWYN

Alexandra McPeak
Sep 20, 2019 · 5 min read

The health and wellness marketing is crowded with buzzwords, but OWYN wants to put their money quite literally where their mouth is with plant-based and allergen-free protein shakes.

OWYN stands for Only What You Need, and the brand goes the extra mile to create new processes and levels of transparency to validate that they are the cleanest beverage brand on the market. But how has OWYN CMO Mark Olivieri managed to communicate their mission to the right customers and differentiate from competitors?

In this episode of the Empowered Marketer, we talk to Mark about:

  • Creating a strategy with third-party retailers that preserves online performance
  • Narrowing down your audience to find brand lovers and advocates
  • Using influencers to drive traffic, email to convert, and data to retain new buyers

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Episode Takeaways

Cara Hogan: You’re finding these people who either have dietary restrictions or just want to eat in a very specific way. How do you identify them? How do you market to them, and what channels have been the most effective for that?

Mark Olivieri: Given the positioning that we identified in the market space before launching, we went after informed enthusiasts. Those are the ones who have dietary restrictions, either voluntarily or involuntarily. They’re the smaller group of vegans, plant-based, anti-allergen, special nutrition needs consumers that are already well-versed in the space and that get their information from experts within the scientific and nutrition communities. That audience we size to be approximately 115 million Americans, which is about 35% of the population.

They’re the ones who are going to really advocate for us and they’re going to be the ones who are going to extend our mission beyond what we could do ourselves. The informed enthusiast is someone who is constantly leveraging social media and blogs to share their personal stories about the brands they’ve discovered and the things that they’re finding out in regards to diet and nutrition, and they’re extending that message to the broader allergen community.

Our goal is to use the informed enthusiasts’ vocal strength to guide the lifestyle enthusiast, ultimately to spread our movement throughout the world. The lifestyle enthusiast is more like our halo target consumer. We define them as the common humans of today — hardworking parents, students, people that are generally active without spending the majority of their time in the gym. They’re approaching nutrition as passive — getting their information from those with prior knowledge, i.e. the informed enthusiasts, rather than doing the extensive research themselves. So we’re we’re using our cult audience to extend our message to a more generalized audience.

Cara: So do you have an influencer marketing strategy specifically or are you trying to do it more organically?

Mark: The wellness industry is definitely one that tends to be very fickle because the barrier to entry is low outside of beverage. Beverage is different because the supply chain landscape is just vastly constricted. But because of that, the behavior within the wellness industry, especially among the influencers, is one where they’re constantly looking for new items because they’re looking to outperform, go above their plateau, or find something better than what they had.

So influencers were a huge part of our plan early on. We launched the brand initially to go after the sports nutrition consumer, and within the first two months of launch using our data online, we learned that our consumer was not that. Our consumer was about 80% female millennial and had more of a passive approach to nutrition and exercise.

Taking that knowledge and seeing that our conversion rate growth was really coming from email, we pivoted our dollars significantly toward the right influencer in order to get more traffic to our site so we could capture more data, capture more emails, and to begin to build out this journey.

My belief is that impressions are like dating. I’m never going to expect somebody to come to the altar with us upon first impression. Email allows us to educate the consumer and continue to date them. Then at the right time, with the right message and the right consumer, we can get them to convert. So email has been a huge part of our strategy. It wasn’t out of the gate, but then we shifted. The combination of influencers and their reach, their credibility, and their ability to drive landing page views with our ability to capture data and use that data through email is what’s really helped to drive our direct-to-consumer push early on.

Cara: So how do you get people to keep coming back? You get them to your site, they convert, they sign up for your emails, maybe they buy their first couple shakes, and then what? How do you keep them buying again and again?

Mark: It all comes down to data. Data tells us so many things from cross-selling opportunities, to when someone has lapsed as a purchaser. But more importantly, it really begins with understanding our repeat rate and our repeat curve, and if a customer is lagging that repeat curve, we know there’s an opportunity there to push to accomplish our ultimate LTV goal. So we are open to all forms of retention, whether paid or unpaid, and we’re using this data to determine what’s the best way to retain our customers.

To learn more about OWYN, visit or follow them on Instagram @liveowyn

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