In today's digital age, consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from all angles. So how can brands cut through the noise and reach their target consumers directly?
The answer is direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing.
D2C marketing is designed for brands that skip traditional distribution channels and sell directly to their customers. By going directly to the consumer, brands can control the entire customer journey – from awareness, to purchase, and further to loyalty.
Not quite sure how to start implementing direct-to-consumer marketing? Don't worry! We’ll give you everything you need to know about D2C marketing, from its advantages to its key strategies.
Let's get started.
What is The Direct to Consumer Model?
The direct-to-consumer model, also known as D2C or DTC, is a business model where brands sell their products – you guessed it – directly to their customers. Rather than selling them wholesale to other stores, customers can purchase directly from you.
Why does this work so well? Key to this approach is the fact it enables brands to connect with their consumers directly. Let's say you're competing with Acumatica software. You could sell your software through other shops, but then it’ll be on a store page with many other competitors. Or, you could sell it directly and aim to bring attention straight to you. Plus, when you do make a sale, you get all the profits. One way to help you in this process would be to find suppliers selling in the same niche as you.
The Rise in Direct to Consumer Marketing
The D2C business model has been on the rise in recent years, with an increasing number of brands adopting this sales strategy to reach their target consumers.
In addition to the 45.5% growth from 2019 to 2020, US digital D2C sales are expected to grow another 15.9% in 2021, reaching $175 billion by 2023.
But if you want to thrive in this ever-growing field, you need a few things. Firstly, you want a strong digital infrastructure. This will allow you to quickly adapt to changing customer needs. Then, it’s time to start marketing.
Benefits of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing
There are several benefits that come with pursuing a direct-to-consumer digital marketing strategy. Here are just a few of them:
1. Greater Control
When you work with intermediaries, you have to give up some control of your brand. D2C marketing gives you more control over your brand.
Let’s say you own a makeup brand. While you can provide guidelines, you’re likely to have to give up some control over how your products are displayed on store shelves, as well as the type of promotions that are run. Not to mention you’ll be directly competing with other products in the same store!
With D2C marketing, you have complete control over your brand identity and how you want to present your products to consumers.
2. Better Connections with Customers
66% of consumers believe that trust is the most important factor in connecting with a brand. This was followed by brands aligning with their values (53%) and brands understanding their wants (51%).
D2C brands have a more personal relationship with their customers. They're not just selling a product, they're building a community who believe in the brand. These brands also have first-hand data on their customers, which they can use to create more targeted and personalized marketing messages. As you make blogging progress and drive improvements this connection will only be strengthened.
3. Faster Time-to-market
When you market directly to consumers, you can get your products and messages out to market faster. That's because you don't have to go through the lengthy process of working with intermediaries, appealing to internal stakeholders, and getting buy-in from retailers.
Suppose you sell ERP software. You may have a great new product, but you'll need to get approval from middlemen before the sales start coming in. With D2C marketing, you only need to consider your brand and your customers. This means you can start sending out messages and promoting your product much faster. That’s time you can spend improving your blog, writing guides such as ‘Top NetSuite ERP competitors‘ or ‘Best Small Business ERP software', and building hype on social media.
4. Better Margins
When you don't need to sell your products to retailers at a discount, you can pocket that extra profit and reinvest it into your product and/or marketing strategy. This allows you to create a superior product, which will only help to increase your brand loyalty and, in turn, your sales.
For example, let's say you run a Shopify store that sells eco-friendly cleaning supplies. You could use some of that extra margin to invest in more sustainable packaging or even give your customers a discount on their next purchase.
With D2C marketing, you'll find that sales come so easily you'll need a Shopify inventory tracking solution to stay on top of things!
What Motivates Online Shoppers Worldwide to Buy Directly from Brands
In their recent study, Statista set out to discover what motivates shoppers worldwide to buy directly from brands. The results showed that there are a few key factors that stand out as being particularly important to shoppers. The top three motivators were found to be:
- Price (58%)
- Free Delivery (51%)
- Free Returns (36%)
3 Tactics to Improve Your D2C Marketing Strategy
1. Build Your Brand Identity
As a D2C brand, you can't rely on retailers to build your brand identity for you. You need to take charge and build a strong, recognisable brand that will resonate with your target consumers.
Start by creating a distinct visual identity for your brand. This could include a logo, color scheme, and font choice. Then, carry this identity across all of your marketing materials, such as product videos, packaging, and social media posts.
2. Connect Using Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool that can help you connect with your target consumers directly. Use social media to share your brand's story, promote your products, and build relationships with potential and existing customers.
Make sure that your value proposition is clear on all of your social media channels. And don't be afraid to use paid social media advertising to reach a wider audience.
3. Enlist Influencers
Influencer marketing can be an effective way to reach your target consumers. Look for social media users who have a large following in your target market and who align with your brand values. Then, reach out to them and see if they're interested in working with you.
Influencers can help you promote your products, build brand awareness, and drive sales. With D2C, they can send potential customers straight to you, rather than to a retailer with alternative options. It’s a great way to give you an edge over your competitors.
3 Real-life Examples of D2C Marketing Done Right
1. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is a prime example of a company that has successfully used D2C marketing to grow its business. When they first launched their company, they did so with a hilarious and attention-grabbing video that quickly went viral. The video received 4.75 million views in the first two days and helped to propel the company to success.
The takeaway? It may be difficult to create a viral video like Dollar Shave Club, but it is possible to produce great content and use your money and other resources to market it to the right demographic. Hopefully, your audience will do the hard work from there.
Glossier is another great example of a company that has used D2C marketing to reach a wider audience. The brand has cultivated a cult following among beauty enthusiasts by taking a unique marketing approach. Rather than working with influencers, Glossier gave free products to 500 “superfans” who had purchased the most product or engaged the most with the brand. This has generated a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for the company, as well as some great press.
The takeaway? There are many ways to market your D2C brand. You don't always have to spend a lot of money to reach your target audience. Sometimes, it's enough to simply give your most loyal customers a little extra love.
Julep is a monthly customizable subscription beauty box. The company released a female empowerment video called Throw Anything at Me. The video features a woman putting on Julep makeup and then tackling women's rights issues. By highlighting their values, they connected with consumers who share them.
Takeaway: Julep's marketing strategy was based on its values and what it believes in rather than just trying to sell its products. By aligning its marketing with its values, Julep was able to create content that resonated with its target audience. This helped build a sense of trust and camaraderie between customers and the brand before asking them to make a purchase.
So there you have it. These are just a few examples of how D2C marketing can be used to reach a wider audience and grow your business.
Direct-to-consumer marketing is more relevant than ever now as we move further into the digital age. With the right tactics, you can build a strong relationship with your target consumers and grow your business.
Good luck and happy marketing!