The Groundbreakers: The executives behind key changes at influential companies
Head of growth, Zitsticka
Michael Johnson, head of growth for Zitsticka, knows he can’t rest on his laurels.
Faced with developing a unique strategy to break through the noise of social media, Johnson developed and spearheaded a splashy marketing campaign in April for the launch of Zitsticka’s then-new Face Map zit stickers. Zitsticka asked approximately 100 influencers to simultaneously post on Instagram Stories a teaser image of Face Map. A second, coordinated bombardment followed on May 5, the product’s launch day. Johnson described the campaign as the company’s most successful of 2022, driving more than double the projected sales. Zitsticka saw a 231% increase in its waitlist signups during the eight-day period starting April 25, compared to the waitlist for its previous launch, the Por Vac clay mask in Jan. 2022. Overall, the April 25 tease reached over 1.7 million impressions across Zitsticka’s paid media efforts.
Today, Johnson is focused on navigating growth marketing practices impacted by Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes. He is focused on getting Zitsticka in front of as many people as possible, with relevant information that a high percentage of people will be able to easily grasp. And the proof is in the pudding: In the third quarter of 2022, Zitsticka’s new customer acquisition grew by 20% year-over-year.
On November 9, Amazon marketplace accelerator Heyday acquired Zitsticka, adding to its portfolio of Amazon-native brands. In turn, Johnson has transitioned to the Heyday team as head of DTC growth for the company portfolio.
What was Zitsticka’s marketing focus this year?
“We’ve added connected TV, where we’ve had great success because we have incredible videos. And we’re about to launch a YouTube strategy using video, and a TikTok [strategy]. If I can get the customer to the site, then I have other levers I could pull to move that customer down [the marketing funnel]. … A lot of times, brands try to be too quirky or funny, which only a small percentage of people will understand and love; you might lose a larger percentage of customers because they don’t understand the jargon. But what I’ve noticed is that quantitative reviews of a particular product are highly effective.”
What are the biggest industry changes influencing your role?
“My forté is in paid search, and that is where the majority of brands are moving dollars to. It makes sense, because with iOS 14’s [privacy changes], the retargeting capabilities are becoming less effective. Paid search is going to become more aggressive and so is TikTok influencer marketing. At the same time, influencer costs are increasing and many brands are struggling to use the influencers they want. Without giving too much away, there is a strategy I developed called ‘Mailbox Money,’ which is a cost structure strategy allowing brands with smaller budgets to work with mega influencers they haven’t [had access] to in the past.”
Click here to see all 2022 Glossy 50 honorees.