Listen On:

Kate Huyett is the CMO of Bombas, which she says has two main identifiers:

“The two main pillars that we’ve been focused on, you know, really steadily over the last six years, our comfort and mission…When someone puts our socks on their feet and they say, wow, these really are the most comfortable socks I’ve ever put on and I can feel great about wearing them because an item has been donated to someone in need.”

That second pillar of being mission-driven is rooted in the idea that brands can make a difference through the products they sell, especially if the products are of high quality. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Kate discusses what it means to be mission-driven, and why your products need to be your guiding light. Plus, Kate also touches on the importance of your overall portfolio succeeding and why podcast marketing was right for Bombas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Portfolio over Channel: The overall performance of your portfolio is far more important that the individual success of different channels. When analyzing your channels, even if every channel appears to be succeeding, if the overall return is poor, something is wrong. Make sure to look at the overall health of your portfolio and let that dictate your direction.
  • Know your Mission: Your mission and product need to be your guiding light. At Bombas, there are two main pillars they follow that lead their marketing efforts, comfort and mission. If you’re a brand-first product, let that product speak for itself.
  • Influencing the Masses: One of the more unique ways Bombas has chosen to spend its ad dollars is through podcast marketing.  Podcasts tend to have loyal listenership, which in return boasts authentic trust between the host and the audience. If an audience trusts the influencer, they are more likely to purchase your product.
  • Key Quotes:

“We’ve been focused on adding different data sources to the mix as we have them, we generally are using first-party data. Historically we have not bought much third party data to leverage in our marketing.”

“We look at each channel as a standalone. So we try to understand this channel by itself. How does it look week-over-week, year-over-year, month-over-month?. What are the key trends that we’re seeing inside of this channel?”

“It doesn’t matter if every channel thinks they’re doing really well. If the overall return on ad spend is poor, something is wrong somewhere. We’ve been really focused on making sure that the overall portfolio performs best.”

“We felt like if we were able to get our product into the hands of podcast hosts and they actually experienced it, we felt like their enthusiasm and excitement about the product would really carry through for their audiences,  I think this is still true, podcast audiences tend to be really loyal. So there’s an enormous amount of trust, between the host and the audience.”

“From early on, we’ve had a really good tension between performance and brand. The performance assets that we’re putting out into the world to market behind have a strong brand element to them. We really try to thread our brand story through everything that we do and let customers experience our brand, as much as possible for every step of their journey.”

“I’m really interested in changing behaviors around audio consumption, both on the music side, and on the spoken word side.

There’s a ton of innovation happening there and material shifts in customer behavior that are interesting. I continue to be fascinated both personally and professionally by Tik-Tok. I’m very curious how a lot of the overhead plays out there. I’m really quite curious about how consumer behavior will change or not in the wake of everything related to COVID.”

“One of the big things that we talked more about was our mission. We really saw a desire from our customers to help in their local communities. So we’ve always done things like highlight our giving partners and talk about our mission, but we increased the frequency with which we were doing that. And we saw that our customers really responded to that information.”


Kate Huyett has spent close to a decade in senior roles at start-ups. She first worked at the dating site HowAboutWe before moving to the money-transfer service TransferWise. Huyett has now spent the past five years at Bombas, the comfort-focused apparel brand that donates one item for each one sold. Today, she’s chief marketing officer. Huyett recently spoke to SheReports about socks, social mission and storytelling.

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