Serious Data For Serious Growth: How Northbeam Enables HexClad To Stay Efficient with Scale

Lior Torenberg
April 15, 2024

Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay swears by HexClad for a reason. 

This patented cookware is a hybrid of your favorite kitchen staples, combining the superpowers of stainless steel, cast iron, and nonstick into convenient and high-power cookware. 

Founded in 2013, HexClad quickly grew its following with celebrities like Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, and Cameron Diaz singing its praises. In 2021, Gordon Ramsay invested in HexClad and became its lead global ambassador and spokesperson, leading to a record-breaking year for the company. 

But maintaining meteoric growth year-over-year isn’t an easy task, which makes the subsequent years even more of a feat for the HexClad marketing team. 

We sat down with Cameron Bush, Director of Growth Marketing at Hexclad to learn how Northbeam helps their marketing team not only get efficient but stay efficient. 

Looking for a partner, not a provider

HexClad’s marketing team tried a lot of tools over the years to get the information they needed.

“It was a patchwork solution of Google Analytics, in-platform metrics, and static sheets that the marketing team was updating,” Cameron said. “And then we did trials with different marketing intelligence software; I often joke that most MTAs are just re-papered Google Analytics,” Cameron said.

Adding Northbeam to HexClad’s tech stack wasn’t just putting a new SaaS tool in the portfolio — it was a paradigm shift for the team.

“Switching to Northbeam was a pivotal moment in our switch to focusing on the top of the funnel because we finally had the confidence that we were able to measure it,” Cameron said. “The language of the team really matched the language we speak as far as what growth looks like, and we knew the data science rigor was there.” 

Cameron found that finding the right MTA tool, as opposed to the heavy lift of building one yourself, is crucial to doing your best work. Having a strong partner in Northbeam is what sets a team like HexClad apart from the competition. 

“Some vendors know a lot about what they know, whether that's math or data science or whatever it is, but they don’t know how to turn it into marketing a product and speak our language in that way. And that was something that Northbeam cracked the code on early on," Cameron said.

"We’ve tried all kinds of agencies, vendors, and softwares and Northbeam were the ones that really knew what we were doing as a growth marketing operation.” 

The predictive modeling of Northbeam’s MMM+ tool is mirrored by the tactics of the Data Science team. Their deep well of expertise and hands-on approach provides additional insight into precisely how to leverage your data into more efficient spending, whether you know what to look for or not.

“Week to week, when I hop on a call with the team, they always have a new sheet that they’re walking me through and I think: I didn’t even know how to ask you for this, but you’ve already created it,” Cameron said.

“That kind of proactivity has been so helpful… Northbeam has been an integral building partner for the entire HexClad operation.” 

Maturity brings a much harder battle

After two years in a row of 150% growth, HexClad remains bullish but realistic about the road ahead. 

“Once we hit maturity and all the big changes we’ve made over the last few years panned out, we had to change gears and iterate and it became an exponential process of improvement,” Cameron said. “Once you hit that steady state it’s a much, much harder battle.” 

“MMM has been a huge jumping off point. I wouldn’t know where to begin each month to decide what we spend on which days and why, and then set benchmarks for each of those in MTA. It’s all a huge puzzle that we’re putting together with a very lean team.” 

“This is the year where a lot of those inklings and decisions and difficult marketing tests that have been pushed down the road are all coming to a head, and Northbeam has been a partner in that," Cameron said. "Trying to decide where to spend that next dollar is always our daily battle, and Northbeam is the only place we go to make that decision.” 

Having a reliable system in place that accurately measures and predicts your spending is crucial when scaling year-over-year. Whether your goals are to maintain ambitious growth metrics like HexClad, or even when ramping your efforts down.

Cameron agrees: “We’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of pieces of creative over the last six months… and Northbeam has not steered us wrong yet.” 

The metrics that make it happen

Let’s get into the weeds: which metrics does HexClad’s marketing team check daily? 

“My obsessive metric is going to be ROAS, of course, but I love seeing first time versus returning customer ROAS. Not a lot of platforms give us that kind of visibility. We set a lot of our acquisition budgeting based on our first time customer orders, first time order value, and first time CAC, and then we can subtract the returning customer ROAS piece and credit retention for doing that,” Cameron said.

“That increase in returning customers year-over-year was directly measurable for us. Our email opt-in rates actually fell, but the conversion rates on those people that opted in increased massively because we were giving offers for second-time orders.” 

“That’s something we’re looking to change now: we’re going to go back towards acquisition offers as well. Those flows, they just convert so well,” Cameron said.

“We watch our data rigorously every single day and we do huge creative testing exercises at the top of the funnel. A big part of measuring that is MMM. We wouldn’t have faithfully put 70% of our budget into Meta if we didn’t have some serious data to support that.” 

“Once it proved itself week in and week out we were able to confidently scale and make projections that we genuinely believed in," Cameron said.

"And I think that’s not something that most growing direct-to-consumer businesses, particularly at this scale, are able to accomplish. Because it’s terrifying, you know, spending millions in a week.” 

It’s unwise to continually increase your ad spend over time when you cannot effectively measure your return on investment. Northbeam provides the benchmarks you need to know if spending money is worth it; especially when your growth is at 150% and your ad spend is in the millions.

Like Cameron said: “you can’t spend those millions if you don’t absolutely know that you’re going to be able to pay for them at the end of the month.”

HexClad scaled their ad spend by 100% in 2022 and another 100% in 2023, improving their MER both times.

“We’ve done a lot of work with the Northbeam team to get us to this place, and it hasn’t failed yet, so we’re going to keep doing it.” 

In an industry that is constantly evolving with new tools, legal privacy crackdowns, and SaaS snake oil salesmen coming out of the woodwork, it’s hard to know which tools will actually provide a significant value add.

“Moving to MMM+ is going to be massive for how we operate every day… all the product development that is going on to show us things like the half-life of a dollar is some of the coolest work I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know it could be done,” Cameron said.

@hexclad Making pasta from scratch? We're in! Saffron Brodetto with clams and mussels made by Chef Dafne Mejita. Get the deets on the dish below and check our pinned comment for some pasta making 101 🤌 #saffron #brodetto #clampasta #hexclad #recipes ♬ original sound - OMA

A top-of-funnel beast

“This year we’re looking for 50-60% growth; we’re taking it easy,” Cameron said. “We’re looking at both Shopify and Amazon sales because that spillover is massive; if you chart paid media spend against Amazon revenue, it really grows when we start pushing the top of the funnel. And the majority of our revenue that’s coming out of Amazon is coming from direct search.”

People know HexClad — their addressable market has been, well, addressed. This is a position that any brand would love to be in.

“We’re in this new phase of realizing that we have a top-of-funnel beast and a ton of awareness that we’re really grateful to have because I don’t think a lot of brands are able to get to that well-measured top-of-funnel scale that actually ends up supporting the business,” Cameron said.  

“We’ve been very, very lucky to have been profitable for the last three or four years, and to be able to use that profit to continue growing has been just incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it," Cameron said.

“We love being on the cutting edge of our industry, but also on the cutting edge with the software we use. Northbeam is helping us move into the direction we need to be going; it’s a marketing best practice bellwether.”

“If you would have asked me two years ago, I would’ve said the growth we’ve seen wouldn’t be possible… but it is, and it requires a really awesome partner. We’re grateful to the Northbeam team for that.”

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