The Inevitable Transition To DTC: 3 Top Tips for Running a Successful Direct-To-Consumer Marketing Operation

Part one in the Creating a System for Success series.

The world of marketing has been experiencing rapid changes in the past five years, and recent events have increased those changes exponentially. COVID-19 realities, somber unemployment reports, and the projected economic aftermath are forcing many companies to rely on online revenue streams more than ever before.

Gone are the days when companies would hire an advertising agency to devise a “cool” slogan to increase awareness without some Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) strategy behind it. Companies can no longer afford to develop a video ad for six months, release it to the world, and hope for the best.

A transition to online DTC marketing is certainly not easy. The online DTC world can be erratic, unstable, and ever-changing. Companies that aren’t able to adapt and change the way they view performance and distribution can have a hard time growing in what some consider a new, unforgiving online marketing landscape.

As a company that has launched six brands and over 100 products in the past six years, we at Scale have been able to distill the DTC framework into a science — and have significantly benefited from it. It started with laser-focusing on the right things.

Here are three things to focus on when trying to succeed as an online DTC player.

1. Know How To Report Properly

Focusing on the right reporting methodologies, the right metrics and analytics, tracking performance improvements, and knowing how to gain insights are very important. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a great way to measure how effective your strategies are at meeting objectives. Measuring them against each other can show you how you’ve improved and what needs to change, and as your company’s needs change, how you report and how you prioritize the data will change as well.

At Scale, we utilize weekly, monthly, and quarterly comparison reports to track our progress. These reports, which act as living breathing documents, change over time to reflect our evolving goals to maintain constant optimization.

You can learn more about utilizing performance reports by following part two in our Creating System for Success series: The Right Report Is Key.

2. Have the Right Meeting Cadence

Companies tend to overlook the meeting’s rhythm as a factor of success, but in the DTC online world, it’s probably the most critical factor, especially in a fast-growing startup environment. It’s all about having the right people look at the right report with the right schedule and being action-driven about implementation.

At Scale, our meeting cadence is typically based on how fast we can interpret the data and draw out report findings. In other words, how you scrutinize and then optimize the data and ultimately share it with employees is key to implementation. And the most efficient meeting schedule will go a long way in helping to ascertain what is and isn’t working within a given team’s performance. Communication between teams throughout this process is our priority.

You can learn more about building a meeting rhythm that works by following part three in our Creating System for Success series: Building An Action-Item Oriented Meeting Rhythm That Works.

3. Know How To Test Properly

At Scale, we like to narrow variables down as much as possible to those proven effective. Increasing the pace at which you test iterations is the key to a successful campaign. Having a testing schedule will allow for gradual evidence-based improvements over time instead of significant sweeping changes that are much more difficult and riskier to manage. Testing often will also allow you the opportunity to catch any issues you might have missed in previous tests. Having a deep and thorough understanding of why variation A is doing better than variation B will help you gain the insight you need to progress safely in the online DTC environment.

In our experience of testing for tens of thousands of campaigns, the time we’ve saved and the knowledge we’ve gained in the long-term has meant a considerable amount for increasing profitability.

You can find some tips on how to master the art of testing by following part three in our Creating System for Success series: The Art of Iterative Testing: Test Everything!

Creating a successful DTC marketing operation doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. If you create an effective plan that works for your company and your goals and are willing to be flexible with those plans as your company’s needs change, then you’re more than halfway to creating a system of success.

Customer Acquisition Expert / Creative Strategist / partner @ Scale Media, a tech-driven DTC company that builds and deploys next-generation CPG brands.