The Design Business Show 208: E-Commerce Brand Strategy with Monica Sharma-Patnekar

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | January 9, 2023

Monica is an eCommerce brand mentor & consultant, a purpose-driven (digital) brand, marketing & strategy professional with 17 years of global experience building brands. She’s worked across diverse sectors and companies from Fortune500 to scale- & start-ups.

It all started with an MSc. Business Administration, major in Marketing.

She’s worked with Fortune500 companies across brand management, strategy consulting & global marketing. In addition, she has been hired by Google to coach their premium partners – 7-figure scale-ups, Tech, and SaaS & agencies who work with eCommerce businesses.

Monica offers high-touch coaching & mentorship to small business, conscious, eCommerce & product, and retail entrepreneurs.

She is Dutch by birth and Indian by heritage. Global by choice & education.⁠⁠⁠ A creative thinker.⁠ A dancer.⁠ A chai fanatic.⁠ A mom of 2 girls.⁠⁠

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Business With Monica + E-Commerce Strategy

  • We talk about how the eCommerce space is growing
  • Monica worked in the corporate world for 10 years but decided she wanted to go out on her own and continue the work she was doing, but for small businesses where she could feel the impact she was having
  • In the corporate world, Monica worked in brand management for a wide range of brands for a magazine  
  • Monica then moved into strategy consulting, where she got to take brands from position to action plan to marketing structure
  • Right after leaving the corporate world, Monica had a store selling home accessories but quickly realized that wasn’t what she wanted to be doing
  • The clients Monica works with have usually been in business for 1 – 3 years and have made 6 figures or close to it
  • Monica has noticed that most people don’t think about doing the brand work, customer work, or strategy work before they start
  • The first thing Monica makes sure clients do is to get to know their customers where they do research and in-depth customer and audience interviews – you cannot run a business when you don’t know whom you’re speaking to  
  • Monica uses a technique called customer story probing, where you invite customers to tell you stories so you can dive deeper into their emotions, needs, wants, and desires
  • The 4Ds or the desire over demographic framework Monica uses outlines the 4 question categories you need to ask your customers – demographics, desires, do, and delight
  • How you should base your marketing communication on your customers and where they live, but Monica shares some evergreen communication, such as email marketing
  • Monica shares that many people forget about the post-purchase and says you must be nurturing your customers after they have purchased from you
  • It’s important to move away from a strategy that focuses on just the features of your product to one that evokes emotion
  • Monica uses what she calls the customer benefit ladder to get different messaging pieces out – think about the functional benefits, the emotional benefits, the transformational benefits, and the societal benefits of your product
  • As an example, Monica talks about Starbucks and how they were focused on creating a “third place” between home and work where you could go and hang out and get great coffee – they combine functional and emotional benefits
  • There are many ways to get customer feedback, but Monica says nothing beats doing customer interviews because you can dive deeper into their motivations
  • Because Monica dives in deep with her clients, she works one on one with them, and right now, she currently offers a 6-week or 6-month mentorship
  • Most of Monica’s clients are referral based
  • Monica shares that her strategy is the same across her different clients, but the implementation is what’s different for each client  
  • How Monica works with the client’s team (if they have one), instead of just with the CEO, for example – this makes sure there is cocreation, and there’s not just one person making a plan
  • Monica’s expertise is in brand strategy, which is different from brand design and copywriting
  • For marketing her own business, Monica does a lot on Instagram and LinkedIn but says she’s been trying to do a lot more podcast interviews and collaborations with other people and shares that she will be adding a blog to her website soon
  • Another way Monica markets herself is through her email lists that she emails consistently
  • The keys to your business to create sustainable growth and impact are understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing, your customers, and your numbers – if you can combine your findings, you will see the answers
  • Connect with Monica on Instagram or LinkedIn, and visit her website and get access to her 4D Download so you can take action and get to know your customers


Links mentioned:

Business With Monica

Connect with Monica on Instagram 

Connect with Monica on LinkedIn

4D – Desires over Demographics Download


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