Direct-to-consumer marketing (D2C) is promoting and selling a product or service directly to consumers. This cuts out the need for any intermediaries, since you as a company have direct contact with your customers.
This strategy is rapidly gaining popularity since the business landscape is starting to change. One reason is that by cutting out the middlemen your profit margin grows. This is true for many businesses, even for advertising. Another reason is that millennials are looking for authentic brand experience, streamlined purchase experiences, and maximum convenience.
What are Millenial Shoppers?
Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1996, has no problem opting for alternatives to conventional retailers. They favor brands that directly address their priorities: convenience, low cost, authenticity, and a seamless shopping experience. Online-first companies with a strong focus on e-commerce satisfy these priorities because Millennials are used to purchase online.
The Pros of Direct to Consumer Marketing
Control. Direct Consumer Marketing gives you maximum control over your product, brand messaging, and customer service.
First-Party Data. Direct-to-consumer marketing allows you to get customer data directly. This gives you a clear picture of your customer behavior. You can use this data for a unique, personalized customer experience.
Customer Relationship. Direct interactions with your customers let you learn how what is important for your customers. This helps you shape the product that you are selling.
Cons of Direct to Consumer Marketing
Supply Chain. Selling a product directly to consumers is not easy. You need to keep track of your supply chain and handle logistics. Even simple tasks like packaging your product, going to the post office, and sending your product to your customer can become quickly overwhelming, when not planned in advance.
Conversions. Customers expect a monetary benefit if they buy directly from producers. In order to attract customers, you can offer free trials. Though free trials attract potential consumers, you can run into problems when consumers cancel at the end of the free trial. Unfortunately, there is no magic silver bullet to solve this problem. It’s simply trying what works best.
How to implement Direct to Consumer Marketing?
Successful D2C requires expertise in several areas. Beyond product development, you need to know how to acquire customers and understand shipping logistics. You have to devote more time and resources to processes that are typically handled by others.
Having an online presence is a no-brainer. You have to show your customers how your product works and where to get it. What is important, is to constantly generate content and updates on your website. This means you need to write a blog about your products. For blogging, there are many sources to get your inspiration from. Check out other companies that sell similar products. Write how-tos. Write about your business struggles. It’s all about authenticity.
If you sell products/services, make it easy for your customers to buy them online. There are many tools out there that help you create online shops and reservation systems. You need a certain level of expertise to master them.
Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to promote your product is a double-edged sword. While you can gain an audience, remember there are third-party platforms. This means that you have no exclusive channel to users and no control over what your customers actually experience.
Ask your friends for honest reviews of your products and to post them on platforms like Google, Yelp, and so on. Don’t buy reviews and likes, they are simply not worth it.
Give away coupons for existing customers if they bring you a new paying customer. This strategy has been used by many companies in the past to grow their customer base. It’s advertising money well spent.
Toole like Matomo lets you analyze the behavior of your online users and keep the data to yourself. Having first-party data is simply the foundation for making business decisions.
If you want to know what is working and whatnot, you have to run experiments. Don’t be afraid of losing potential customers: it’s always better to know when something is not working than playing it safe and not trying out anything. A/B testing can be done on many different levels, like for example testing different colors for buttons on your website or using different positions of a call to action.
Should You Implement a Direct to Consumer Marketing Strategy?
The answer is yes. But you need to be able to handle the logistical digital challenges of your business. Contact us, if you need our help with that.