DTC Marketing: Is Your Brand Ready to Compete?

14 mins read

DTC brands are everywhere now. Yet, they weren’t always there. It was not so long ago when we had that clunky, time-wasting shopping experience seen as table-stakes. But things have changed with the DTC marketing.

The shift towards direct-to-consumer (DTC or D2C) brands is no surprise. And it was social media that speeded up that move. Now even traditional retailers are jumping onto the DTC trend. The reason? They want to improve the way people purchase. 

For centuries, our shopping experiences were limited. We trudged along in a warehouse or department store for a decent amount of time, finding something even not closer to what we seek. And there was no other way. 

It took some time for DTC brands to groom themselves and change the way they interact with consumers. And you know what, the latter have found that direct-to-consumer marketing comfort. Even better, statistics show that’s just what consumers want.

DTC brands simply skip that middle man. They sell products directly to end-users through e-commerce sites and social media platforms. Well, with 4.33 billion active social media users, that’s not a big deal, right?

Once chosen for convenience, DTC brands now sell higher-priced and more complex items like smart home technology. And if you are one of those digitally native brands looking for ways to adapt and evolve in the year ahead, the right DTC strategy is a must. If you had adopted direct-to-consumer strategies before the pandemic, you were doing it right. There’s also nothing wrong if you’re just starting out. All in all, it’s never too late to learn from winning brands, as it can help outrun the competition.

Pros and Cons of DTC Marketing 

Advantages for DTC Brands

  • Better margins – DTC brand cuts the middleman services, reducing wholesale prices. As a result, they can save money and spend a little extra on superior customer support. 
  • Collect customer data – when a brand sells to a customer directly, they get access to personal data to encourage repeat purchases. 

Disadvantages for DTC Brands

  • You have to go out and acquire customers yourself – the foot traffic places work no more for DTC brands.
  • The cost of social media DTC advertising has skyrocketed, with Instagram and Facebook being the new middleman in the town. 

DTC Strategies that are Hot and Trendy

#1 Memorable brand personality is key

Tons of products or services floating online make the DTC space saturated with competition. The latter becomes even more challenging for smaller brands. Today consumers support businesses they feel an affinity to. They are more likely to vote for you with their wallet if they like:

  • your story, 
  • branding, 
  • quality of product, 
  • and what you stand for.

As a new brand, to enter the DTC market, you’ll meet the lowest barriers. Yet, to reach success and scale, those are increasing daily. And it’s not just about high-quality products but distinct personalities.

Put personalization front and you can make a huge difference. The reason? Because consumers care about the interactions they have with brands. It’s a good rule of thumb for DTC brands to use every channel possible to communicate their operations’ in’s and out’s. Brands are even speaking up when things go awry. And that’s great.

#2 Evaluate people and their experiences, not a product

Shoppers are gravitating more towards innovative brands that build authentic connections and boast the same values. And statistics prove that saying that 89% are more loyal to a brand that shares their values.

Keeping consumers engaged in an ever-crowded and competitive landscape can be a cosmic struggle. For that, try to see your customers in another light, as users. It helps when you:

  • Focus on creating a highly personalized experience for each customer;
  • Make it easy for them to get the information, assistance, and guidance they need;
  • Constantly mention customer reviews;
  • Incorporate them into their marketing efforts.

In a high-stress time, make it easy for your users to step into the buying process. Skip an extra hurdle that shoppers are not willing to jump over. When your customers are feeling heard, they are more likely to become potential long-time users. Want to go even further? Then you can develop a product roadmap based on customer feedback.

#3 Building a Robust DTC Channel

Learning from the winning digitally native DTC brands is always a good idea. And if you want to do it exceptionally, it makes sense to know where consumers are looking to explore more DTC brand offers. But having a DTC channel that sells via a single platform is no longer true for smart brands. 

As a result, the best direct-to-consumer brands maintain multiple digital assets. Those are:

  • A brand website
  • A retail app that augments a brand website
  • Lifestyle app to inspire customer loyalty

Without a doubt, it can be hard to know where to start. Creating new digital experiences can take time and effort, but it is worth it. Consistent digital experiences can foster loyalty and keep the brand at the forefront of consumer consciousness.

#4 Set up Social Commerce Strategy

Data shared by Sprout Social states that 87% of eCommerce shoppers believe social media helps them make a shopping decision. That means that there is a new addition to the trends blog and that it’s never too late to step up the social commerce strategy for any DTC brand.

For sure, social media is not a new concept. But the thing is that increasing online shopping behavior is changing, and a brand that improves the shopping experience wins. So, if you want to survive in 2022, evolution is key.

Besides sharing high-quality content and building a following, you can take advantage of influencers. Some of the winning DTC companies have benefited from influencer marketing in record time. But as with everything in our life, the rules of the game have changed. Influencer marketing is getting more expensive. And for brands to cut expenses, especially new ones, micro-influencers come for help.

And it’s not always about Instagram and Facebook. So far, Pinterest is a huge player in DTC advertising and promotion. The key thing is that Pinterest is all about non-branded searches. So, whatever you type there, there’s no limit to your choice.

#5 Extend in Category Reach

For some obvious reasons, top brands have lost market share in certain categories. Today the approach is more how it feels than how it looks; DTC companies are taking market share. It is a great opportunity for digital natives to expand their product offerings. Here are some numbers you might use to your advantage. Thus, over the next years, consumers do plan to purchase from DTC brands that cover:

  • Food/grocery – 25%

It is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce categories worldwide. It helps that even in the pandemic, supermarkets remained open. So, growth in this category is expected.

  • Apparel – 20%

The competition online for direct brands is going to be even stronger in this niche. It becomes challenging to compete with 52 percent of consumers that appeal to bands that follow more sustainable practices. All in all, it’s the second-largest contributor to pollution.

  • Household items – 17%

The Global eCommerce web traffic for homeware spiked 318% in the second quarter of 2020. Yet, in 2021, the growth is to slow somewhat, but no means it will collapse.

  • Health tech – 16%

The number of consumers who said that wellness is very or extremely important grew to 77% in 2020. This industry is now worth $4.5 trillion and is not going to slow down.

  • Footwear/accessories – 16%.

Several DTC companies started with totally new categories. You can find breast pump brands, power tools, and convenience stores offering same-day delivery on items. What’s their secret? The intimate knowledge of their target demographic and highly effective influencer marketing.

#6 Compelling DTC Advertising with People, not Product at Its Core

To get your business in front of prospects, you need to advertise it. In some cases, it can be complicated. For some B2B companies, there is no such ability to sell directly to customers. The classic example that proves that is the pharmaceutical industry. There is a middleman included in this process. Here’s what we mean. To buy the subscription drug you saw in a commercial on TV, you go to the doctor. Thus, it’s safe to say that the main idea is to encourage interaction between a customer and the middleman who sells the product. 

Advertising can help take your business from obscurity into success, but it can take time and effort. To do it right, make sure you follow some best practices:

  • Put your brand first, not a product
  • Measure your success and adjust it
  • Afraid not to mix ad types
  • Sponsored posts on social media
  • Jump in to engage with prospects and customers

#7 DTC Marketing is the Future

2022 is expected to be the first-ever trillion-dollar year in U.S. commerce. Want to get a piece of that luxury pie? Then make sure your message is delivered to the right audience at the right times and in the right mindset. 

While the competition in the DTC world continues to rise, you might need help to distribute your news and stories online. For that, all-in-one services like PRNEWS.IO make the distribution process a breeze. If you don’t want to run the risk of falling into irrelevance, think on your feet and let us help you go where your target audience is. 

The biggest challenge in 2022 will continue to be the pandemic. And if your niche is the one that won’t benefit from lockdowns, you need to streamline your DTC marketing efforts. All in all, other retailers are ready to step in and invest in direct-to-consumer channels that are just as reliable.

DTC Marketing FAQs

📍What Is DTC Marketing?

DTC marketing is about promoting and selling your products directly to your consumers, cutting the third parties’ services. A brand sets the price for its product, promotes it online, and sells it directly. And to get a better result, it needs to focus on its representation.

📍 What Is DTC Advertising?  

DTC advertising is a type of marketing where ads appeal to consumers directly, not a business. As a result, it can help build brand awareness in public. 

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Nastya Zelenovskaya

Content marketing manager at PRNEWS.IO.

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