Episode 3: Being More Direct In a Post-COVID World

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The 2020's Will Be the Decade of 'Direct to Consumer'

Since digital media became mainstream, every decade has had a defining theme. The 1990s was all about the ‘banner’, the 2000’s saw ‘search’ take over as the dominant ad-model and the 2010’s was all about ‘social’. 

The unprecedented events at the start of the 2020’s have made it clear that ‘direct to customer’ will be the centralized theme of this decade.

While direct to consumer brands are a large part of this movement, having a more direct business plan is just as relevant to the B2B market. ‘Direct’ businesses have a new way of managing their supply chain, while fundamentally changing a‘cost’ of acquiring a customer, into a new model of lifetime ‘value’.

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At Theorem we focus our teams on being ‘expert, transparent, effective – and direct’.  And Mastering the art of being direct to consumers is now a business – critical skill for the majority of our clients. 

While almost 2.6% of USA retail will be D2C this year ($17.75bn – IAB/eMarketer), over 65% of us also think that its important brands are committed to making society better (Kantar), so more than ever companies need to take the opportunity to interact with their customers in a positive and direct manner.

A notable side-effect of COVID-19 is that it has accelerated the need for businesses of all types to have better direct relationships with their customers.

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To continue our series on ‘Marketing during the Pandemic’ we’ve collated what our teams and customers see as the most important elements of being a direct to consumer operation:
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1. Start With a Direct State of Mind

To be a good direct to consumer business you have to start with the right brief, the right business plan and direct being in your DNA. Moving from CPA to LTV, and taking responsibility for more of your value chain affects all aspects of your operations.

2. Have Direct Conversations

The digital market has too often been comfortable operating in grey areas and obfuscation because understanding the tech was hard. Taking the upside of direct ownership also means getting into the detail. Asking your vendors the tough questions on transparent terms.

The best way you can communicate through this crisis and long after is with a direct to consumer, and vendor, approach.

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3. Focus Everything on Understanding the Customer

It’s the oldest adage in marketing – know your customer. If you know what they want, you can put them at the top of your business plan and flow all metrics and decision-making from that insight.

4. Own the Strategy, Not the Execution

These days you can’t do everything. Media, marketing and commerce are too complex to stay on top of all the time. Use your team to create, communicate and optimize the world’s best strategy… and let someone else worry about operational execution. 

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5. Get the Data. Own the Data.

It’s the energy for every good direct business. We all know why amazon keeps winning! There is no shortcut. If you don’t have direct ownership of your data, expect significant challenges implementing a direct to consumer initiative. 

6. Use Insight to Optimize Creative

There is no ‘brand’ advertising or ‘response’ advertising in a direct world – every communication is designed to sell your product. Use your customer understanding, data and tech to power creative that is instantly effective in communicating its message.

Don’t over target- don’t let the data drive you, but do use it to best balance efficiency with reach. A great way to do this is exploring new direct to consumer trends like kinetic emails or user centric design strategies.

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7. Encourage and Facilitate Direct Feedback

Utilize email – but help customers connect how they want by using direct messaging, app-integrations and chat-bots. Create the feedback loop and build customer service into how you run marketing. Tie it to your data so that you can amplify and suppress messages. 

8. Create Better Pricing

If you own the strategy, choose the tech, optimize the supply chain and own the data you will probably create better margins. This is as true in B2B as it is in B2C. If you are a brand in-housing or a commercial publisher, own the plan, in-house the thinking and outsource the services. If better margins mean better prices for customers, you will likely increase market share.

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9. Be Ready to Take Responsibility

It’s not a downside – more of a watch-out. If there are challenges, you have no one to go to but yourself! If something isn’t working in your supply chain, take responsibility and be able to act. 

10. Be Set-Up to Act Fast

Being more direct brings you closer to customers. Those customers will expect instant response. The more direct you go, the faster you will need to operate. 

One of the key elements of creating a direct to consumer strategy is ensuring that you have the bandwidth to react and respond as quickly as possible. 

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Before you being to strategize how you can integrate these elements into your business strategy, there are a few things to consider.  

Questions to Ask Yourself:

All Business are unique. But they share many similar challenges. The most effective way to be a more direct business is to ask yourself some key questions: 

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We’ve been helping our clients have a more direct relationship with their customers for nearly 20 years. And we are ready to assist those in need of a more robust direct to consumer marketing strategy.

If you would like to know more about anything we have learnt along the way, then please do get in touch. Hello@TheoremInc.net

Be Well & Stay Safe

Be on the look out for Episode 4 of our Marketing During COVID-19 Series where we will focus on Advice  for Brands on Being More Direct in a Post COVID-19 World
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