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Should You Consider Social Selling for Your DTC Brand Growth?

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Shubhankar Mathur

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Aug 28, 2022

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9 min read

DTC Brand Growth Source: Pexels

It’s a marketer’s job to increase brand recognition and revenue with little additional expense in acquiring new customers. Direct-to-consumer advertising is an excellent strategy for reaching your target audience. While working with large retailers has its merits, direct-to-consumer firms also get several benefits from controlling their own marketing:

  • More say in the product's name, price, and where it's sold
  • Data collected directly from customers, allowing for a more in-depth analysis of your target audience.
  • New product introductions with a shorter time to market.
  • Profit margins can rise since wholesalers won't have to undercut their purchases.

Direct-to-consumer brands take a more active role in their marketing. They can't compete with the massive reach that stores like Walmart provide. Consequently, they employ a wide range of promotional tactics, including influencer marketing, SMS marketing, community building, and email. Eager to join the action?

What is DTC (or Direct-to-Consumer) marketing?

Marketing strategies that bypass intermediaries and go straight to the consumer are known as "direct-to-consumer" (DTC). Direct-to-consumer marketing, often known as D2C marketing, has skyrocketed in significance as a result of the radical shifts it has wrought in both the consumer buying process and the overall market landscape.

According to eMarketer, online retail sales will reach $6.17 trillion by 2023, with ecommerce websites taking up 22.3% of total retail sales.

Rather than depending on middlemen like brick-and-mortar stores or online marketplaces, direct-to-consumer businesses sell their wares straight to consumers. This permits direct-to-consumer enterprises to undercut well-established brands in the marketplace. Moreover, this setup lets them keep complete command over their goods' development, marketing, and sales channels.

These direct-to-consumer firms have greater leeway than their more conventional counterparts to try new approaches to distribution, such as subscriptions, collaborations with brick-and-mortar stores, and pop-up shops.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing is commonly used by innovative retail startups. However, more and more companies across a wide range of sectors, including B2B ones, are exploring direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing channels in an effort to build stronger relationships with their target audiences.

How does DTC marketing work?

Direct-to-consumer marketing (DTC) is a broad term that includes anything from brand awareness campaigns to content marketing to growth marketing to performance marketing. These are all possible through direct customer channels and direct consumer involvement.

Although digital channels like social media and online advertising are essential to direct-to-consumer campaigns, other channels like print, out-of-home, television, radio, etc. may also be used to reach and engage with the intended audience. Some of the time these alerts contain information that actually matters. And sometimes they're meant to really make people go out and buy something.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing focuses on customer acquisition, retaining customers, product merchandising, digital marketing, social media, and paid/owned/earned media since these strategies have been shown to increase sales and brand awareness. Information about these endeavors is tracked and recorded digitally. How much it costs to acquire a client (CAC) and how much money a company makes off of that customer over time (LTV / CLTV) are two common metrics used by businesses. Direct-to-consumer marketing has a totally distinct function in the pharmaceutical sector. Prescription drugs are not available to the general public without going via a physician first. Prescription medicine sales have been shown to increase when advertisements use the phrase "ask your doctor." Pharma corporations spend around $6 billion on such commercials a year.

How does branding play a role in DTC?

In direct-to-consumer businesses, the company's brand strategy is very important and should serve as the inspiration for all promotional activities. Multiple campaigns may be required, depending on the nature of the connection with the consumer or client. It's possible, for instance, that advertising that strikes a chord with a middleman like a store won't strike the same chord with the end customer. Companies can't expect to develop without first aligning their brand positioning, direct-to-consumer marketing, and target consumer/customer initiatives.

Benefits of selling directly to consumers

Now that you know that selling directly to customers may be beneficial on both ends, let's examine the specific ways in which this business model succeeds:

Higher Customer Lifetime Value

The customer’s value during their engagement with your brand is known as the customer lifetime value (CLV). Profitability is shown in a high CLV. In addition, profitable operations indicate a successful company.

The more intermediaries you have, the smaller your CLV will be since they all take a cut of your profits.

By way of illustration, if you're in the shoe business and you adhere to the standard retail model, you'll have to undercut your competitors so that wholesalers and retailers may resale your product to consumers at a higher markup.

But if you sold those sneakers to clients on your own, you'd be in complete charge of your profit margins and could thus influence customer lifetime value.

Better relationship with customers

It's common knowledge that the key to attracting and keeping consumers is to develop and nurture positive relationships with them.

One approach to do this is to make direct contact with clients at every point of interaction they have with your brand. If you're selling your wares through middlemen, it's hard to cultivate these connections.

Simply put, when you rely on middlemen to move your goods, you lose access to crucial information that may inform and improve your marketing strategy.

Let's use sneakers again as an example of a product that might be sold to retailers and distributors. You might expect quite fundamental information from the stores selling your footwear.

Data on consumers that doesn't let you gather information about their experiences, their purchases, or their position in the hierarchy of priorities when making a purchase, is quite fundamental.

But if you're selling the sneakers online, you can also do surveys, session recordings, heat maps, and A/B testing to learn more about your consumers. Last but not least, you may boost your earnings through cross-selling and up-selling.

Consumers Prefer Buying Direct

With the advent of the internet, consumers are able to more easily communicate with the makers of the products they purchase, and many have begun to prefer doing business directly through manufacturers rather than with merchants. Research by Brandshop found that 88 percent of buyers would rather buy straight from the manufacturer.

Buying from the manufacturer provides more advantages than buying from a store. Who wouldn't want to buy a product from someone who is well familiar with all of its features and benefits?

Buying directly from the manufacturer is preferred by customers since they can have all of their queries answered by chatting with the brand's support team on the brand's eCommerce website.

Buying directly from a manufacturer allows clients to take advantage of specialized assistance, extended guarantees, reduced pricing, and individualized items.

Control over messaging, brand. data and reputation

The phrase "control" sums up the primary motivation for many companies to switch to DTC distribution. Price setting authority; data on customers; persuasive marketing; product and brand management; positive public perception.

Today's consumers are pickier than ever before. You need to ensure they have a positive interaction regardless of how they contact you.

Put another way, you're essentially killing your business if you don't manage every single consumer interaction with your brand. In the current retail structure, manufacturers have very little leverage. Even when it comes to pricing, manufacturers have limited influence. Once the product is out for purchase, there is very little they can do to boost its sales. All authority now rests with retailers and wholesalers. Manufacturers will lose money if sales at retailers are poor, and the only option to improve that situation is to spend more money on advertising.

Omnichannel commerce

By integrating several sales channels into one seamless whole, omnichannel commerce creates a consistent and enjoyable buying experience for consumers no matter how or where they choose to shop. Seventy-three percent of consumers, as reported by Harvard Business Review, employ several channels at various points in the buying process. Moreover, UC Today reports that 90% of customers desire an omnichannel experience with integrated support for several channels of communication.

The data shown above shows that consumers increasingly anticipate a consistent omnichannel shopping experience regardless of where they may be. If you don't provide a consistent feel across all touchpoints, you'll lose consumers and money. If you want to provide your consumers with a consistent brand experience throughout the buying process, you need access to all of the customer touchpoints. When using a conventional sales strategy, however, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for manufacturers to have complete visibility into every interaction a client has with their brand.

As was previously said, the traditional retail model restricts manufacturer flexibility by erecting a wall between manufacturers and customers, making it awkward for customers to connect with a manufacturer in a more natural setting.

Pitfalls of direct-to-consumer marketing There are advantages to direct-to-consumer advertising, but it's also vital to consider the risks.
  • If you want to break into a new market through DTC, you'll need to put some money down first. To launch prospecting efforts and raise brand recognition, you'll require a sizable sum of money. Unlike when purchasing from a brick-and-mortar store, no target demographics are already in place.
  • Furthermore, the liability risk for DTC brands is higher. No one else is responsible for your business's failure to succeed if you fail to attract enough clients or effectively market your goods.
  • Native digital companies need to interact with consumers across all channels. Seventy percent of shoppers check out three different sites before making a final decision.
  • Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales can complicate supply chains. The company is susceptible to a number of threats. Instead of sending goods to a few of suppliers, you'll be delivering thousands of orders directly to customers' homes.

How DTC brands can compete in a saturated market

Being one of the pioneering firms to adopt the direct-to-consumer business model meant only providing an innovative product. As more direct-to-consumer (DTC) firms enter the fray, however, competition for consumers' time and dollars increases. In order to maintain their rapid ascent, DTCs must rediscover the pioneering zeal that first catapulted them to success.

Direct-to-consumer companies should think about how to interact with consumers on the social media sites they use. Short-form videos on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat should be embraced. They need to adapt their online shopping approach for social media by creating shoppable content that readers may find naturally as they peruse product recommendations in their feeds.

Direct-to-consumer firms should also reconsider the advantages they have over those sold in stores and the drawbacks that may lead a consumer to buy the same product from a large, unbiased retailer instead. The next step is to build upon their existing strengths while coming up with innovative answers to the problems they have identified as weaknesses. Examples of this include the high prices that brick-and-mortar retailers set on products so that customers may take advantage of in-store bonuses like trying them on before buying. But direct-to-consumer businesses have a wide variety of options to offset that value-add with their own rules.

Final thoughts on DTC social media

It's no secret that in the booming direct-to-consumer sector, the most successful companies are those having a robust social presence that is consistent with the rest of their operations. Establish your brand's social media presence by thinking about what social media means for your brand, where your target audience spends time online, and how you can offer value to their lives. To thrive in today's digital, social-first landscape, try things like using less well-known social channels, expanding your reach through influencer collaborations, and making the most of each channel's unique set of features. To stand out in a growing industry that is getting saturated across all niches, it is important to diversify the ways in which you use social media.