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Defining the Direct-to-Consumer Growth Playbook

Updated: Jul. 16, 2021
Published: Jul. 10, 2019

Marco Marandiz, growth strategist for high-potential direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands at 2PM, a media company and investment fund, joined us for our most recent episode of Simulmedia Live. The discussion, moderated by Matt Collins, Simulmedia’s SVP of Marketing, and Nikhil Lai, Simulmedia’s Evangelist, focused on whether D2C brands should build their own e-commerce infrastructure, bring media buying and measurement in-house, launch on TV, and more.

We've also summarized the highlights of the episode in a recap below.

The D2C brand to agency dynamic is changing.

D2C brands are disrupting traditional media agency relationships like they’re disrupting the customer experience offered by indirect retailers like Macy’s or Nordstrom.

Nikhil gives the example of a D2C lingerie company that owns its customer relationships in the same vein as it owns its media buying and measurement in-house.

Marco says owning your branding goes hand-in-hand with owning the customer experience.

Brands with ambitions to become nationally-acclaimed should prioritize technology, while smaller, more niche brands should focus primarily on branding as their “secret sauce.”

D2Cs must maintain focus while extracting the most out of their relationships with agencies.

In order to maintain these relationships, Marco says D2Cs should encourage their team to hold agencies accountable, otherwise develop media buying in-house.

Access to granular data via an in-house data science team gives D2Cs a competitive advantage.

However, if you do decide to outsource offline media planning and buying, Nikhil recommends finding a partner that can tell you more about your audience than you already know.

Providing a great customer experience is a key differentiator.

By mastering their target audience’s customer experience, D2C products go from the customer’s “disposable income” category to “necessity” category.

Access to customer insights also enables D2Cs to find their target audience on multiple platforms.

Marco says brands that rely entirely on Instagram are placing a risky bet. Marco adds it’s important to run a different playbook on each platform. If your first campaign on a platform fails, don’t lose hope. ‘Failing fast’ can prepare you for optimization.

TV wields the power of credibility and creates brand experiences.

Brands that have taken the necessary steps to learn about their audience and know how to find them across channels know that linear TV retains public trust and mass-reach unlike other media.

Marco and Nikhil agree that brands turn to TV when they want to become ‘larger than life’ and earn credibility uniquely available on TV.