Growing Without Paid Marketing with Sugarfina founder Rosie O’Neill

On this episode of The Boss School, I speak with Sugarfina founder Rosie O’Neill about growing your business without the need for paid marketing. We talk about some of the strategies and qualities your product needs to have to actually forego paid marketing.

Rosie discusses the following in detail:

  • Add a personal touch.
  • Stalk the media that would cover you.
  • Interact with influencers and make your product something people will talk about.

Nicole Lapin and Sugarfina CEO Rosie O'Neill - The Boss School Podcast

Sometimes a lack of funding forces you to be creative. Click To Tweet

When Sugarfina started out, she hand-wrote personal notes and shipped them in each order. These notes kindly asked the customer to share their experience with a friend if they enjoyed the candy. Unsurprisingly, this method led to a serious amount of growth through word-of-mouth.

But tied to this is the idea that your product must actually be shareable. If you want people to share your product with their friends (and their digital friends on Instagram), then you need to think about the presentation. You need to think about how the product photographs, how it looks when you unbox it, and whether those are things that would get your target audience excited.

Growing Without Paid Marketing with Sugarfina founder Rosie O'Neill

The right product is inherently viral and shareable. Click To Tweet

Finally, it would help to figure out who in the media is writing about the market your product fits in. Read the blogs, the magazines, and the stories, and figure out who would actually be interested in covering your product. Reach out to them (gently) and sell your idea. Just don’t be too sales-pitchy.

In combination, all of these things have led to Sugarfina being a $40M company with only 1% of sales spent on marketing. Design your product so that you don’t need to market it to people.

Topics Covered:

  • Grit and perseverance in the face of uncertainty.
  • Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool.
  • What Rosie did right and did wrong starting out.
  • How does your product photograph?
  • People in the media want to hear from founders directly.
  • You can’t market your way out of a bad product.
  • Developing awesome partnerships.
  • Overrated and underrated business terms.
People need to learn about what disruption really mean. Click To Tweet



About Rosie O’Neill:



Shop Sugarfina candy:


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