Take these insights and expand the target to not just those who are likely to purchase a product (as done in conversion strategy) but those that share similar traits to people who are. This will increase your overall reach without trying to hit the entire national market.
Brands can start with 10-15% of the overall media budget and test into each new channel, funding these efforts enough to get market feedback and slowly grow the budgets over time. Yes, even performance brands can find success in TV.
Message: Transition from sales activism to brand building
Many DTC brands leverage logic-based messages over emotive ones. This works great to drive short-term sales but may limit a brand’s ability for long-term growth. It trains consumers to be sensitive to things like price, promotion or features and fails to drive an irrational love of a brand.
One place to start is to onboard a team to lead this effort. Brand building and sales teams are typically composed of very different personalities. If that’s not possible, start with your consumers and the relevant category. Find a nonrational reason to love the product.
McDonald’s doesn’t talk about how technically good their hamburgers are, they simply chirp that when a customer eats one, they’re “lovin’ it.” Nike doesn’t go into product specs in a 30-second TV ad, they tell us their products help athletes “just do it.”
Unique selling propositions are for rational sales models. These brands have traded product differentiation for product distinction that helps the brand stand out in the crowd. Find out what is missing in the marketplace and fill that gap.
Measurement: Transition from direct attribution to cross-channel contribution
DTC media channels can be easy to measure and quick to optimize. Last-touch attribution is the bread and butter for rapid growth but only tells part of the story, particularly when it comes to building a brand. Brands must leverage multiple measurement solutions to triangulate results and identify channels, strategies and tactics that are working best.
When moving into offline strategies like linear TV, OOH, radio and podcasts, many DTC brands are exploring marketing mix modeling (MMM) as a comprehensive solution. This is also true for brands that market primarily within digital because walled gardens and the iOS 14 update have made it difficult to directly tie media exposure to conversion.
MMM also has the advantage, when done right, to provide insight into marketing’s impact on KPIs beyond sales, allowing for true war-gaming against short- and long-term goals. Additionally, there are new and innovative multi-touch attribution solutions that can bridge the online-offline divide through things like automatic content recognition to help tie TV exposures to a DTC sale.
Many brands leverage experimentation to try new things and bring learnings to larger campaigns. No measurement solution is perfect, which is why it’s key to leverage multiple approaches and put extra effort into your integration strategy.
Sustained DTC growth: Building a brand
There comes a point when every DTC brand must consider investing in larger brand building activities, and it is important to begin making that transition before fully exhausting cost-per-acquisition media tactics. Brand building requires a large and sustained presence, but one that will pay off in the long run.
There is no such thing as a niche brand, only small ones, and small brands often struggle to remain relevant for long. If you’re wondering if it is time to begin the transition, it probably is.