David vs. Goliath: How DTC Brands Can Defeat Omnichannel Giants
The retail landscape is becoming more and more competitive, and shoppers’ inboxes are becoming spammier and spammier. Despite all the noise, however, we’re finding a handful of brands that are successfully rising above the marketing fray. As masters of digital, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are defying the status quo and creating a new retail world order. However, with smaller revenues and market share, how can these challenger brands take on their larger, big-budget competitors?
Fresh and forward-thinking in their approaches to digital and social-led campaigns, many DTC brands are much better at developing authentic and disruptive content that stops shoppers in their tracks (read: scroll). A testament to this success, take Glossier’s pool of 1.7 million micro-influencers and how they drive 70 percent of the company’s growth, or Dollar Shave Club’s million-view viral video campaign. Authenticity in digital is often the result of creating consistent brand experiences that feel organic and provide value.
It’s safe to say that DTC brands are experts at delivering content that’s perceived as respectful and relevant for their audiences. However, now that they’ve mastered digital, how can these innovators extend that same value into the physical world? Because even by creating the best digital experience, and efficiently reaching a major portion of their target audience, the average display ad today still only generates a .02 percent response rate.
What’s more, DTC customers are often technically savvy and find ways to filter out advertisements from their screens and inboxes, whether with ad blockers or plugins. Most have become overexposed to email promotions, with the majority of inbox offers unopened or skimmed over. With almost 90 percent of decisions involving the home, how can brands translate this massive online reach into real-world decision making and motivate a purchase? A touchpoint outside of digital could be the answer.
DTC brands already pursue a handful of avenues to achieve a physical world presence: pop-up shops, billboards, event-centered activations, brick and mortar stores, etc. For example, look at Nike’s recent React Game Go activation. All these options have one thing in common: they go against the digital grain and therefore become unexpected attention drivers for digitally native brands. But they also can add up to an expensive investment. Therefore, for DTC brands lacking Nike’s limitless budget, strategically leveraging their knowledge of how to create meaningful, disruptive content online and translating it to inexpensive marketing collateral like direct mail could circumvent cost.
If brands provide shoppers with meaningful direct mail, they can spark conversation at home — and at the heart of commerce. Based on a recent study, 76 percent of shoppers discuss relevant mail from a brand or retailer they’ve purchased from in the past. With 81 percent of recipients touching their mail every day, there’s plenty of opportunity to establish lasting connections with shoppers at a much lower advertising cost than a series of pop-up shops or physical store locations. What’s more, direct mail shoppers are highly engaged. The same study found that 61 percent of recipients consider direct mail influential in driving purchase decisions. In fact, 75 percent of direct mail shoppers talked about the product post-purchase, while 22 percent liked or followed the brand or retailer on social media.
DTC brands already have authentic digital content, fresh ideas, loyal customers and nimble marketing teams as a competitive advantage. Most, however, don’t have the sizable budgets of larger companies. Optimizing efficiency and efficacy is crucial to remaining a step ahead, as is developing a physical world presence that doesn’t break the bank. By adding a cost-effective, tangible extension as part of their marketing mix — one that feels meaningful and valuable to shoppers — DTC brands will surely emerge triumphant.
Tommy DeLuca is vice president of sales at PebblePost, the leading digital-to-direct mail marketing platform.
Tommy DeLuca is vice president of sales at PebblePost, overseeing the sales team and revenue growth. Tommy brings 12 years of success in performance-based marketing from cutting-edge digital startups.
Prior to PebblePost, Tommy served as vice president of sales at Yieldmo, a mobile native advertising platform. He also led mobile app re-engagement sales efforts at Twitter across the East Coast, LATAM and Asia through the TapCommerce acquisition. Tommy was an early entrant to the startup world having held several sales positions at Criteo and Epic Advertising.
Tommy received a B.A. in History from Villanova University and remains an avid Villanova basketball fan.