eCommerce and the Magic of Data to Accelerate Your Business
With Jake Cook
No matter what size your business is, eCommerce has leveled the playing field. That’s what Jake and Eulalie Cook teach: How to build a successful online brand using the transformative science of data.
Jake Cook is Co-founder and CEO of Tadpull, an eCommerce service and software solution for growing online brands. The team at Tadpull provides customized eCommerce growth plans, strategy and management, and software with predictive analytics to unlock online companies’ full potential. With an incredible remote team of data scientists, ecommerce strategists, software engineers, Tadpull has been growing and evolving since its inception in 2013.
While Jake has worked for large and established companies like Google and Microsoft, these days he is deeply passionate about helping mid-market companies compete smarter by harnessing their own disparate datasets to turn data into profit with the power of AI.
Jake holds dual teaching appointments at Montana State University and the University of Montana while also guest lecturing at Harvard Business School on the topics of data science and ecommerce. He has open-sourced his course materials at ondigitalmarketing.com. He earned an undergraduate degree in physics and an MA in marketing from Drury University on a swimming scholarship.
Jake and Eulalie Cook, Ph.D. are data scientists, marketing professors and the Co-founders of Tadpull. For nearly a decade now, they have been creating and perfecting a proprietary software aptly named The Ecommerce Data Pond. This software is designed exclusively to serve mid-market companies, providing them with the same AI tools and domain expertise that the big tech firms have at their fingertips while reducing and even eliminating dependency on third-party players.
What can data tell us?
When people think of data for eCommerce, they might be thinking simply about profit margins. But before that, there is a vast range of information you can use to help you design a strategy for your business!
Tadpull helps companies master a simple flywheel that covers the 5C’s of ecommerce: Capital, Customers, Campaigns, Catalog, and Culture. Their complex data gathering systems allow you to understand where to find the right customers, how to design campaigns that work, how to manage inventory, what consumers are likely to buy based on previous purchases, and how to deliver a great customer experience every time based on your unique business model.
Jake Cook teaches about something he affectionately likes to call “non-creepy personalization”… That is, the act of making the customer experience highly personal but not to a degree that makes the person feel like they’re being watched. Tadpull has perfected the art of designing powerful and personal customer journeys.
Important lessons on timing and entrepreneurship
Before Jake founded Tadpull with his wife Eulalie Cook, they started two other companies. Jake got his first taste of what it takes to bootstrap a new business when he bought a 3D printer and began building scale models of cities. The company did so well that it attracted unexpected attention!
After receiving a cryptic phone call from Google, Jake Cook was ready to dismiss it. After all, he assumed that they were getting sued for violating terms of service – or that it was a fluke. But in fact Google was reaching out to hire them to build a 3-dimensional scale model of their company headquarters!
Jake was over the moon. Their company was steadily growing – until the recession of 2008 hit them hard. Rather than continue, they sold the 3D printer and decided to venture into something new. In this podcast episode, Jake shares some valuable insight with us into how he knew it was time to close that chapter and begin a new one. He suggests that we write down what our criteria are for being happy at work…or how we will know when it’s time to move on. What are the most important parts of your workplace happiness? Knowing his criteria for satisfaction, Jake knew when it was time to cut ties and begin a new business venture.
In their second venture, Jake realized the importance of a shared vision between business partners. Although it ended amicably, his second business was thwarted by differences in long-term visions and ideas. This is a common conundrum when Founders embark on shared partnerships.
In this episode of The Business of You, Jake shares some of the most common reasons businesses don’t work out and how you can set yourself up for success when your next big idea strikes!
How do you know who to work with?
Jake Cook has learned a lot about starting businesses and collaborating with a team. But he also shares a golden nugget of wisdom with us: Don’t work with people you don’t align with.
In the early days of running Tadpull, Jake and his team took on several smaller projects. Now, he only works with businesses made up of conscientious, thoughtful and respectful collaborators, and we should too. Jake has some great advice for us on how to tell if someone is in it for the long haul or if they’re going to expect quick fixes and ask for unreasonable solutions. In his strategic sessions with clients, he works to set expectations for the results they’ll achieve together – based on factors like timeline, budget and input.
During the 2-3 week research phase, the Tadpull team analyzes all the factors that could affect a brand’s online journey. Using their proprietary software, they can provide important hypotheses to their clients to suggest what outcomes would come to pass if their input changed. This allows for helpful conversations about timeline expectations, budget increases, or strategy shifts.
Enjoy this fascinating conversation about the art of data for eCommerce businesses, and be sure to access Jake Cook’s open-source course material in the links below. This information could empower you to take your brand’s online future into your own hands!
“Core values are something we look for when we hire. We can teach a lot of things but we can’t always teach empathy or hustle.”
“We try to reward people for trying, and for a growth mindset. The team is incredibly supportive.”
“Focus on what you can control. You can control how you prepare and how you work.”
“The modern monopolies are built on data. Customer data is how they’re able to do that. Google and Amazon have had that vision for a couple decades. The more data you have and the earlier you have it, you can identify patterns. You have to have a thesis on how to leverage the data or you have to pay a toll to Amazon or these other guys.”
“We comb through inventory data, website behavior data and financial data. We map it back to what they want to do and how fast they want to grow their business. From there, we have a sense for what’s reasonable.”
“What I really love is taking technology and mathematics and solving business problems with them. I’m not typically interested in TikTok follower count…I’m more interested in doing the work. And connecting with really sharp people who are interested in doing the work.”
“The reason eCommerce is so much fun is because it’s not just marketing – it’s got finance, it’s got operations, it’s got culture – it’s got all of these interdisciplinary areas. I’ve always found that when you cross disciplines like that, it gets to be really fascinating.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Visit Tadpull’s website at https://www.tadpull.com/
Access Jake Cook’s open-source course material at https://ondigitalmarketing.com/learn/odm/
Connect with Jake Cook on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakecook/
Read Jake and Eulalie Cook’s feature in Yahoo Finance at https://finance.yahoo.com/news/private-equity-leaders-converge-bozeman-150000196.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJZs5un1c-qDGjOUeMPQU2u9ygFs0atfrG4xpAWLxV95uztrRKmGc568b1y_kuhBy6hsMAkTORyywkfNnkNiKqxYrTol04EPB7H9J-gS5J3zo8xruvfS4SQsqvB96–E3tz0b1cRs9oAcFZkET7cwTE-Z2HJ5PweEXH9Zd_y-FYB
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