Brag About Your Email List, Not Your Door Count

The following is a preview of Episode 53 of Startup Confidential, the fastest-growing podcast for founders of consumer brands.

Yes, the chest-beating about door count continues unabated in the trade media. Must be proof of traction, eh?  Um, no. 

So, there are 38,000 primary grocery points of distribution, including Walmart, in the U.S.

When you read articles about 3,000 doors, 5,000 doors, don’t be impressed. Which doors? And what pray tell is the sell-through? 

As I mention in my book – Ramping Your Brand – there is no statistical correlation between increases in distribution breadth and long-term growth, let alone the likelihood of scaling. 

These door count shout-outs are, I know, simply a proxy for how much we’re growing. But, they don’t establish anything, and I see naive founders too often impressed by these media PR statements. 

Do you know what I wish founders would brag about?

Their email list.

Their SMS list.  

Their DTC 12-month retention rate. 

The number of unsolicited fan emails they get every week and how it’s trending

Any rich (*!-hole can buy distribution. It’s not impressive. And it proves little. But they keep showing up at Bevnet anyways. 

But you know what you can’t buy?  Fans. 

You can buy email lists, BTW, for direct marketing mass-market crap or for spamming. But not fan emails.

Those precious emails pile up in direct proportion to the memorability of your offering. 

(Interested in listening to more? Episode 53 will be live here September 1.)

Dr. James Richardson

[email protected]