Issue 3

D2C: Down to Connect?

March 2019

Direct-to-Consumer brands and marketing has existed for years, but as whispers rather than shouts; now they are fully disrupting not only ecommerce markets but also brick-and-mortar as they move into physical realms. What are the best ways to approach marketing a D2C product? As a "legacy" brand, how does one survive amidst the disruption? The pieces here offer some perspectives.
High-quality products, fair prices, convenience, and storytelling — that's the basic formula for a DTC brand, with the last being one of the most critical differentiators from category incumbents. Big brands and retailers often don't try to stand for anything, and there's a reason for that. It is hard to quantify ROI around it and it doesn't lead to sales in the near term. However, founders of DTC brands who have social consciousness baked into their DNA see this as a way to win over consumers in the long-term.
Although born online, the DTC model is finding other ways to change the retail environment, with many companies planning to expand their physical presence through pop-up shops, storefronts, or placement deals at big-box retailers. Former DTC pure-players forecast to build out 850 brick-and-mortar stores. More established brands are seeing value in the DTC game as well. Nike is expanding their model as a way to provide customers with the experience they’re seeking, furthering consumer relationships while continuing to collect important data to further inform their marketing strategy.
Now that the low hanging fruit at the bottom of the funnel is becoming harder to come by, DTC brands have been quick to shift focus to offline channels that are harder to measure. What about the remainder of the open (and naturally measurable) web that these disruptors have yet to tap? Many DTC brands are missing an opportunity right in front of them, where sponsored social posts can easily be repurposed to extend a brand’s reach across premium websites. The emergence of content-based ad formats paired with advanced buying platforms suggests DTC brands might not want to overlook digital as a path for additional scale quite so quickly.
CB Insights examines how once-tiny startups have made it big. They identified four broad areas where these companies set themselves apart: in design, how they launch, the customer experience they build, and how they market themselves.
To succeed, DTC brands need clear purpose and a realistic path to scale.  The KPIs and metrics are different, as are some key skills. Brands need deep consumer insight to create a differentiated value proposition – and then have the ability to drive high lifetime-value consumers through digital channels. This delves into the DTC trend, exploring not only how brands can grab a piece of the pie, but also why it can be such a successful strategy to reach today’s consumers and exactly what they expect.
The benefits of going direct to consumer are many, but to name a few: it eliminates the barrier between the producer and the consumer, giving the producer greater control over its brand, reputation, marketing, and sales tactics; it also helps the producer directly engage, and therefore learn from their customers. This presents 21 tips to get started in direct-to-consumer marketing.
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About ANA Marketing Futures

Knowing that marketers are increasingly challenged in their efforts to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) tasked itself with creating a program designed to help marketers anticipate—and prepare for—the future of marketing.


ANA Marketing Futures is what emerged. With a focus on innovative topics and emerging trends, ANA Marketing Futures provides resources that will influence and inform via member cases, research studies, and insight from industry innovators. Check back often to learn about emerging trends and become inspired to take steps toward the growth of your business.


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