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From Lyndon’s weekly Thursday email sign up here

Back by popular demand – thank you to all 3 of you who replied to say I, Lyndon, should write at least one more email before giving up 🫣 – we’re back to dig into a fun business topic: customer personas.

And what better way to talk about how important they are than by looking at one of the best & terribly performing marking campaigns of last fall?

Everyone likes a good train wreck … as long as no one gets hurt.

In what, at the time, looked like a stroke of genius, on Nov 16, 2023, Snoop Dogg Tweeted this:

If you don’t know why this is a shocking statement ask your friends 🤷‍♂️

Four days later Solo Stove, a smokeless fire pit company, dropped a 30-second video with Snoop Dogg deadpanning about quitting smoking as the camera pulls out to bring the fire pit into focus, and the bait & switch is dropped: Snoop Dogg is the new “smokesman” of the company.

Solo Stove on YouTube has 24K subscribers, but this commercial has over 1.8M views. It was a perfectly executed viral moment using a very shocking statement from a well-known celebrity to drive traffic and bring awareness to a company that many people have never heard of. For example, these are the top comments on the video on YouTube that perfectly capture most of the articles that discussed this advertising campaign (at the time…)

As I’m writing this, Snoop’s Tweet (shared above) has 150 million views, 697 thousand likes, 125 thousand reshares, and 34 thousand comments. I’m comfortable in saying that no one will disagree with me calling it viral.

Umm, Lyndon … I believe the term you started with was “train wreck”, everything you’re talking about is marketing genius – what’s up

If this is where the story ended, that would 100% be right. This campaign performed amazingly if you look at plays, views, & engagements. But sadly those numbers don’t pay the bills.

In January, Solo Brands (Solo Stove’s parent company) announced it was “mutually separating” with their CEO (read firing) and to quote Marketing Dive:

In a press release detailing the company’s updated 2023 financials, Solo Brands said that full-year revenue is expected to land in the range of $490 million to $500 million versus prior guidance of $520 million to $540 million. Executives did not mince words regarding the Snoop Dogg partnership’s impact on performance.

“While our unique marketing campaigns raised brand awareness of Solo Stove to an expanded and new audience of consumers, it did not lead to the sales lift that we had planned, which, combined with the increased marketing investments, negatively impacted our EBITDA,” said CFO Andrea Tarbox in a statement.

In case you’ve never taken the time to learn the language & listen to the annual reports of a public company (I have … I’m a nerd #sorrynotsorry) basically what they are saying here is they had projected to make $30-40 million more during 2023 than they actually did & the marketing campaign was really expensive and didn’t bring in the expected sales.

It’s possible to have really good marketing and get tons of traffic, but if you’re talking to the wrong people they’re not going to convert – whether you’re asking them to buy something, sign up for an email list, or show up for a meetup.

This brings us to your customer persona.

I, Lyndon, looking at Solo Brands would have assumed that their customer base was outdoorsy people who may be into camping, fishing, or even grilling in their backyards. Oddly enough Snoop Dogg doesn’t give me that vibe… Turns out, in Solo Brands’s 2022 annual report they thought the same thing:

We believe that we have been successful in marketing our products by associating our brand and products with outdoor activities to be experienced with family and friends

If I had to guess, part of being a company that went public in 2021, they were now finding pressure to appeal to a larger audience and bring in more customers to grow their business which led them trying out a new audience with a new “smokesman” (it really is such a good marketing term).

Not gonna lie, I’m sure a lot of people WAY, way, way, smarter than me worked on this marketing campaign. And there was a lot of good that came from it. But at the end of the day, it didn’t drive the results that were promised (looking at you external agency that sold this as a good idea).

How does this affect you?

You can prevent this from happening to you by taking the extra time to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you’re aligning who you’re partnering with and how you’re talking about your offers.

Then, create a customer persona to give specifics on who you’re talking to and an easy way to answer the question: “will this resonate with my potential customers?” when making decisions.

  • What externally identifiable things separate your customers from the average person? (relevant demographics: age, geography, gender, education, family status, income, etc)
  • What internally makes them tick and make decisions? (relevant psychographics: passions, hobbies, habits, vision board top hits, binges, etc)
  • What transition are they going through, or phase are they experiencing in _____? (phase examples: new kid, 5k → 10k months, adding a VA, 1 → 3 IG posts a week, etc)
  • What are the biggest questions they’re currently trying to answer? (okay so this may be more of a marketing question, but it’s soo helpful)

By definition, this exercise is to narrow down who you’re focusing on. Find the things that matter and focus on those. If geography or having kids does not affect if someone makes a good client don’t worry about including it, but for the right businesses those are pivotal to who would be a best fit client.

I recently went through this process for our podcast The Ambitious Dreamer Podcast to help us much better focus on which guests we choose to have, the topics we cover, and even what formats we choose to lean into moving forward. Here’s the un-edited messy output of my process:


  • Age: 16-35
  • Gender: Female
  • Education: High school +
  • Income: $0-100k a year ($0-5k month)
  • Biz owners
    • Current phase between: Side hustle ↔ first few years of biz
    • Service Based
    • Personal Brand
    • US-based
    • No full-time employees


  • Highly passionate about their thing
  • Creative
  • Don’t fit into “traditional” structure well
  • Started a business to have balance (work + life)
  • Not always understood by family + friends
  • High intuition + EQ
  • Earning money is about making a good life for friends + family, not just themselves

Phases they’re in

  • Starting a business
  • Leaving a stable W2 income
  • Struggling to make friends with small business owners who “get it”
  • The first wave of clients is waning in the first slowdown or slump
  • The market changed and the consistent “one trick pony” biz is struggling
  • Overworked to make ends meet because of low prices
  • Working nights & weekends and personal relationships are struggling
  • Holding onto a “crutch” of some sort (ie: a client that is no longer a good fit, being affiliated with a business model that no loner aligns, etc.)

Biggest questions:

  • How do I find clients?
  • How to get to $5k months?
  • What is the most important thing to work on with limited time?
  • How do I build a sustainable business?
  • How do I market my business online?
  • Feel more comfortable/confident showing myself as a personal brand?
  • Where is my next rent check coming from?

Not gonna lie, it’s a little intimidating sharing unfiltered thoughts, hit reply comment below and let me know if it’s helpful 🥹

TL;DR: Having something go viral with the wrong people who have no interest in you & your offers is a lot of work (and possibly expensive) for minimal payoff – just ask Solo Brand’s Ex CEO (too soon?)

Being clear on your audience saves you time, focuses your attention, & allows you to move on opportunities more quickly, all because you’re not second guessing if your audience & customers will be on board with whatever it is (I know it’ll be grand, whatever it is 🎉)

If you missed last week’s email on 3 ways to improve your time management, you can read it on the blog here.

I’d be eternally grateful if you would hit reply comment below and let me know your thoughts on this case study style of email. Should I do more of these? Should I dedicate a whole email to how to leverage the persona you just created? I know I’m gonna regret this next one… Should I spend more time on Taylor Swift topics?

See you next week,


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We're Jo & Lyndon

Business Coaches for Branding Photographers; Content Creators, and the hosts of The Ambitious Dreamer Podcast.