4 Direct Response Tactics for D2C Growth

Was your D2C brand born online?  Many direct to consumer marketers are finding it hard to steer away from what they know…the safe and often predictable returns of digital marketing.  But they forget that some direct response tactics can be useful in growing their customer base.

Growth is essential. Believe it or not, there’s still a large population who simply don’t discover new products onlinelet alone purchase them. Only 5% of US Internet users expect to make the majority of their online purchases directly with D2C companies in the next 5 years.

So how do you reach new customers and grow beyond your digital universe? First, some perspective. 

When I got into the media business, direct response TV (DRTV) was growing in popularity as it became more attractive to advertisers looking for immediate sales.  New brands with little to no retail presence could transact directly with consumers by showing one and two-minute commercials over broadcast and cable TV networks. The customer would call an 800 number and voila -- a few days later, their package would arrive.  This is not so different from what consumers experience with Amazon today.   

It was a fun time because DRTV worked...and in some cases, it worked very well.  The big reach of TV, combined with unsold commercial inventory across dozens of outlets (something digital media buyers can manage programmatically today) allowed marketers to advertise with low media rates and high frequency of message.  Their return on investment was often good enough to justify increased investment into the medium. In a short time, an unknown product could rise from complete oblivion to rock star status, all through this single medium. 

Today, we have an entire generation of products that have been born online and marketing managers are being held accountable for more bottom-line business results.  Over half of US marketers say their role includes overseeing a direct response strategy. Therefore, it’s important to analyze both media consumption and the consumer experience, then bring your message outside of the online-only environment if you want to drive additional growth.   

Here are some tips to consider: 

#1 Start by committing to growth. 

IAB CEO, Randall Rothenburg, stated it best. As a D2C brand, you must “drive down the acquisition costs, focus on the community, change the omnichannel and adapt to a new environment, use the channels to foster relationships to physical and online environments, and increase the speed of releasing content by becoming newsrooms.” 

Begin by thinking – what media can I incorporate in order to bring my business to the next level?  If you’ve only used online advertising it may be time to explore the various advantages each offline media channel offers.  Also, consider using the omnichannel approach in order to have an impact at every stage of the customer journey. 

#2 Offline media can help grow your company because it’s acting more like digital media.  

On average, only one-third of US Internet users have made a purchase after seeing a post from a social media influencer. Given time, this number could grow, but it’s important to evaluate what results other media channels can deliver in the short term. 

For example, many cable networks, like A&E, are creating tools that allow D2C marketers the ability to target and optimize commercial buys on a single network, as well as, create reports like those of Facebook and Google. 

NBC has created a new program for D2C brands looking into premium video, which allows them to build scale and awareness.

#3 Reach broad and targeted audiences through new forms of TV. 

It’s not just DRTV anymore.  A DR approach is often available with every paid medium. The more media channels there are, the more opportunities you have available to target, excite and connect with your audience.  

According to Activate Inc., many of the top D2C brands have less than 50% brand awareness. TV remains to be one of the top channels to increase reach, brand awareness and online search.  In turn, this will drive more online conversions. 

An excellent option for many D2C businesses is OTT. It has the ability to combine the numerous benefits of TV along with inventory that targets a specific desired audience. OTT can lead to greater awareness at an efficient cost.  

Even adding out-of-home advertising to your media mix could result in a lower cost per acquisition. Generating local buzz with an eye-catching outdoor placement may be what your business needs. Read more about additional outdoor benefits in our recent blog post. 

#4 Go From Clicks to Bricks.

Many consumers love convenience and great customer service. So, brands may consider bringing their products offline and into physical stores, aka going from “clicks to bricks.” Storefront advertising, mall kiosks, etc. can be great options to get those customers in the door.  

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