4 Tips to Help Challenger Brands Live Up to Their Full Potential

Welcome to the new DTC era of marketing

As a DTC marketer, I’ve not only had the benefit of being the head of marketing of one of the newest brands challenging the status quo, but I’ve been able to join a community of DTC marketers that I’ve gotten to know, learn from and share experiences with.

DTC marketers today have to be more than just a brand specialist or a growth specialist or analytics specialist. DTC marketers must be all of these at once. We have to reach a customer, bring them down the funnel and retain them, all while maintaining a consistent level of branding.

I’ve noticed in the face of this great challenge that successful DTC marketers are the ones who are able to stay laser focused on telling a consistent story to their customers, no matter the channel or experience. And I believe there are four key things marketers can do today to improve brand consistency in the DTC era.

Increase the visibility of work between teams and people

Marketing in general has changed, but the biggest change in the DTC era is that marketing is the connective tissue across all of an organization’s functions: product, commerce, website, supply chain and more.

As DTC marketers, we can no longer afford to work in silos or do our own thing. Increasing collaboration should be at the top of every marketer’s priority list because when teams are working better together, everyone has visibility into what’s going on.

DTC marketers must be quick on our feet, or we lose the race before it even begins.

It is crucial that marketers communicate and show what they’re doing in real time. I’ve heard from peers at challenger brands that have experienced tremendous growth that they often don’t realize they have team members working on the exact same thing. Some brands are better at achieving and maintaining this critical visibility than others, and those are the teams that typically have the right processes in place. Because when you have a lack of visibility, teams slow down, the work suffers, and the result is an inconsistent brand experience that fails to connect with your consumer.

Create alignment across channels

Today’s users are accustomed to consuming a brand’s content across multiple touchpoints. You have to be everywhere the customers are. When it comes to consistency, nothing screams “We have no idea what we’re doing” than when a brand looks and feels one way on Instagram and then shows up in a completely different way in a real-life activation.

In the DTC era, everything is marketing. That includes every external touchpoint from a brand’s website, social, outdoor, audio, video, etc. Brands must be aligned and consistent across channels in order to make each exposure to the brand more effective. The more effective each touchpoint is, the better your cost per acquisition and return on ad spend numbers will be.

React with speed

DTC brands can grow 100% overnight. Part of that recipe for success is being able to capitalize on something that works in real-time versus needing to sell it through bureaucratic red tape and missing your moment. Having outdated methods of communication or the wrong processes can slow you down, especially if you don’t have the right tools in place. By not moving fast enough, another DTC brand will capitalize on your moment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that as you scale, you are acquiring new audiences that are completely unfamiliar with your brand, so your brand messaging has to be dialed. Otherwise, it’s easy to overspend on the wrong message that, in the end, just isn’t going to perform. I can’t say it enough: DTC marketers must be quick on our feet, or we lose the race before it even begins. 

Empower people with the right tools

Last, but certainly not least, one of the most commonly heard phrases in the DTC marketing industry is that you are your only as good as your tools. Your tech stack is incredibly important to your success as DTC marketer. If you’re still using spreadsheets to plan campaigns and email to collaborate, you are behind. There are a lot of different solutions out, there but with the right tools, a great mar-tech stack enables and empowers your team to move as fast as you need to.

With the advent of the DTC marketer, the world of marketing has rapidly evolved and will continue to evolve as these marketers connect with more customers and experiment with more ways to engage them. The future is with us DTC marketers, with our teams of tens (not hundreds), powered by technology and with an obsessive eye on efficiency and consistency. Welcome to the new marketing era.