Interview with Leo Trautwein, Acting CMO of Basic Research




Today, we're bringing you another episode in our Amazon For CMOs podcast series, where we're talking to retail executives and CMOs to find out what they are doing, regarding Amazon, in their companies. 

Today's interview is with Leo Trautwein. Leo is the interim Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer at Basic Research, a general personal-care umbrella company that creates products for weight-loss and cosmetic skincare. Before joining Basic Research, Leo was Vice-President of E-commerce and Strategic Development at Vista Outdoor, he was Vice-President of Mobility Operations at Rivian Automotive, and he was also Vice-President of Direct-To-Consumer and Revenue Development at Jarden Corporation in their direct-to-consumer business.

Leo Trautwein has lots of experience across different companies in an executive function with direct-to-consumer channels, including Amazon and e-commerce stores. In today's episode, he talks to us about 1P versus 3P or selling as a vendor versus selling as a seller. He explains how companies are thinking about innovation and keeping pace with Amazon in that way, and he also shares his own thoughts about innovation and how he budgets for it. 

Leo has had a very clear overview and a clear rule of thumb around budgeting for innovation and figuring out where to best spend time and money when thinking about fringe technologies or approaches that have not yet been tried and tested by a brand. Tune in today to get some actionable advice from Leo and to find out what he thinks about experimentation within the various channels that he is working on.

You should allow the consumer to buy wherever they want to buy. That’s the true omnichannel perspective. Pricing should not be the criteria for decision. Consumers should decide where they want to buy based on the experience they’re going to have.
— Leo Trautwein


  • As a brand, it's very difficult to build traffic on Amazon.

  • Leo shares a recent, surprising example of when Amazon put some displays on the website of a certain brand, sending traffic directly to that brand. He found that to be very interesting because he had always understood Amazon to be against anyone leaving their environment.

  • If Amazon continues putting displays directly onto the websites of brands, a lot of brands may decide not to sell on Amazon but to rather figure out ways to use Amazon as an advertising platform to bring traffic to their external environment.

  • When deciding to sell on Amazon, you first have to choose whether to be there as 1P or as 3P. Many people just don't understand the implications of going either way.

  • Leo found the most successful way to be on Amazon was as both 1P and 3P.

  • Leo describes the most successful strategies and marketplace plays that he put in place.

  • Leo's primary goal was never to compete with Amazon, however, he really wanted to be the first option for every single item that Amazon was not carrying. And if the were carrying that particular item, he wanted to be the second option.

  • Most of the time, Leo managed to fly under Amazon's radar.

  • Leo explains how he managed to build the capability to sell as 3P on Amazon.

  • Leo discusses how he benefited from being both 1P and 3P.

  • Leo shares thoughts about cannibalization between the direct-to-consumer side with brick and mortar retail, and Amazon.

  • What trying to be perfect means for a brand.

  • At Jarden, Leo focused mainly on customization.

  • Leo explains how he figures out what's best worth his time to invest in, in terms of experimental innovation, specifically about marketplaces on Amazon.


  • Connect with Leo on LinkedIn

  • Find out more about Basic Research

  • For the first few days after the launch of “Amazon For CMOs”, on September 24th, the Kindle version of the book will be available for free! So sign up to get your copy. Go to to sign up for our email list and to be notified of the launch.