Channel Bakers CEO Joshua Kreitzer explains how advertisers can move forward through challenges

16 June 2023

Joshua Kreitzer

In 2016, about a year after launching Channel Bakers from a single laptop on a little desk in his daughter’s room, Joshua Kreitzer broke his collarbone while mountain biking. Coming out of surgery, his wife asked him three questions: What year is it? Who is the president? And, can you get the company’s payroll done before it’s due on Monday? “I have a picture of me with the gauze on my arms, and I’m sitting there with two laptops resubmitting invoices,” Kreitzer remembers. “I kid you not, I got them done two hours before payroll was due.”

It’s this kind of relentless forward momentum that has propelled Kreitzer’s Channel Bakers – which helps brands grow their businesses online – to expand tremendously over the course of the past eight years. Today, Channel Bakers is an award-winning, full-service global agency with 300 employees across four continents, and is an Amazon Ads advanced partner.

Below, Kreitzer shares the advice that has helped him throughout his career, and how brands and marketers can keep moving forward, learn, grow and be curious.

To start, give me a little background on your career and how you got to where you’re at now.

I started my career in the late ’90s at a consumer electronics distributor. I got to understand how products move from global manufacturing plants to store shelves. From there, I worked at an internet retailer, and by 2013, I was working at an electronics brand when I actually got to be a beta tester for Amazon Ads sponsored ads. And I got so excited that I quit my day job to start one of the first Amazon-specialized advertising agencies.

I started Channel Bakers in 2015 from a laptop on a little desk in my daughter’s room. To this day, I’m still 100% the owner, and the company remains private. We have 300 employees in countries around the world, and we’re still growing. And we’ve been able to do that because Amazon Ads continues to innovate their ad products and bring new value to advertisers.

What is the best advice that has helped you along the way that you’d like to share with other marketers and advertisers?

The best advice I have stems from my favourite Walt Disney quote: “Around here, we don’t look backward for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” That is my favourite quote of all time because the best advice I would give is to be passionate about learning. We can’t look backward for very long. Around our office here at Channel Bakers, we value intuition and innovation. We figure things out. If it doesn’t work, that’s OK: Let’s find a way to make it work.

Can you give me an example of how you’ve applied this advice to your own career?

You know, the landscape of advertising was not where I came from. But it was something I knew I needed to learn—this digital performance marketing stuff. And I just drank from a fire hose – I’d read any white paper, watch any video, listen to any podcast. I paid to take myself to trade shows – anywhere I could go learn about advertising. I did all of that.

When Amazon Ads released its sponsored ad products, I had all this knowledge of advertising, and I got to apply it to something. Had I not done all that learning, would I have been confident enough to quit my day job and start an agency centred on Amazon Ads? Maybe, maybe not. I chose to invest in myself.

How can brands and marketers use this advice to better serve their customers?

When there are economic headwinds, it’s easy to get into a constrictive mindset and pull back. And if we’re pulling back, we’re not moving forward, right? Well, if you work for a brand that is wanting to pull back on budgets and spend, lean into what new features Amazon Ads is bringing to the brand. Keep moving forward, and use those budgets to test and learn. This is an exploratory time to help brands continue to grow.

Talking about testing and learning, have you seen anything that’s been working or that has been a good example of what brands can do right now?

Sponsored Display video is where we’re seeing really good value. And the cost to advertise is still relatively low with any Amazon Ads product that involves video. The reason this is important is because it has high engagement and click-through rates, and you’re providing your brand’s story up front before consumers even get to your product detail page. So, you’re building the emotional attachment to your brand and your product. Not a lot of brands have video assets; there’s also less competition right now for video solutions. Now is the time to double down on a video content strategy, whether that’s Sponsored Display video or Streaming TV.

How would you advise brands to keep that kind of forward momentum going that we’re talking about?

Keeping forward momentum comes from measurement and being able to tell the story with numbers that helps advertisers lean in as a brand. We always encourage our clients to look beyond return on ad spend. We look at things like brand lift, organic rankings, and other things that Amazon Ads does to help improve customer experiences.

With Amazon Marketing Cloud [AMC], we get signals and metrics that help us shape a number of really important aspects of what our advertising is doing. We can identify what kind of brand lift or conversion lift we could get using different Amazon Ads solutions. We can go back to the client and say, “By leveraging X, you will get Y”. We can tell a good story based on insights from AMC. In the mindset of awareness, consideration, and conversion, we want to get really laser focused on identifying what lines are really performing against our [key performance indicators] that have been informed by AMC.

1 Source: Study conducted by Amazon. (Average across all Amazon Seller Central accounts with at least $0.05 in ad spend on the following dates: Pre-festive season: 12/10/2015; Black Friday: 27/11/2015; Cyber Monday: 30/11/2015; Mid-December: 07/12/2015).