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  • Writer's pictureAlex Johns

Growing a D2C brand

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

One of the top priorities in launching & scaling a company, other than raising the money to do so, is creating a product which has a point of difference & ensuring you have the right plan for strategic growth and scale. As the digital marketplace becomes saturated and cluttered and competitors spring up daily, we help our customers grow and achieve stand out.

5 things to focus on to grow

1. Build a trusted brand

Everyone is now talking digital and the digital marketplace is incredibly crowded with the younger savvy digital natives vying for space with the large consumer brands who are throwing more money at D2C than ever before. With so much noise out there, the value of a meaningful brand is critical and cannot be underestimated. For a lot of companies, growth can quickly stagnate after the early success as new entrants steal share of voice but for some with a story to tell (Pasta Evangelists, Mindful Chef & Virgin Wines to name 3 very recent exits / floats / trade sales), strategic growth comes in the form of growth-stage capital, acquisition, exits and IPOs. Effectiveness and success in brand building and amplification have become a clear differentiating growth indicator for targeting digital inorganic growth.

2. Content is still King

In a post Covid world where digital is on the up and up and new ways of working digitally are coming on stream daily, content is very much king. Planning what content you require is a minefield which many scaling companies struggle with and making the right decision is not only mission critical, its complex. We are frequently asked which advertising channels to use, how to create the right content (in-house v outsourced), which influencers to use and which to avoid, which brand partners to approach and how to create the right content to maximise engagement with them and of course knowing how to blend video vs static content. As with everything, it all needs a detailed strategic plan and a budget – whilst in housing content creation might seem like a more cost effective way initially, would an agency with their creative flair be a better long term choice? The devil as always is in the detail but don't be afraid to pivot or change tack if things are not working out as planned.

3. Understand your customers

Customer acquisition is extremely tough for smaller companies as its costly and they can't afford to pay out on large scale digital advertising campaigns and thorough and precise customer acquisition programs. My most asked question from clients is “how do we find and sell to new customers in new markets & how do we maximise ROAS, CTR’s and Conversion".

Naturally it all takes planning and a detailed customer segmentation and mapping exercise is fundamental to any plan. This lays down a brand blueprint with precise acquisition targets and is accompanied by a cohesive roadmap with savvy acquisition techniques, brand partnerships and influencer programmes included. However, this poses a chicken/egg dilemma. Most of my clients, in the growth stage, need capital in order to reach these new customers, but it is impossible to raise that capital unless you have the right strategy in place. We’ve found that a really detailed laydown of month by month customer acquisition targets with precise ROAS provides investors with a plan they believe in and increases the likelihood of investment at a fair price.

4. Take customer data to the next level

D2C businesses have many forms of data. However, we often find that that data is untapped and sometimes ignored completely. The best way to use data is not only using historical buying data or social data to form the basis of your decisions but to create intelligent trend data which forecasts what’s likely to happen in the future.

Changing customer buying habits are forcing companies to think differently and adopt much more detailed and innovative data mining strategies. It’s no longer good enough to invest in software which allows you to understand your data; It’s about using data to understand your customers much more deeply and then link that understanding to a data driven marketing / growth strategy. Naturally with the pitfalls of GDPR carefully navigated!

5. Create memorable brand experiences

Some of the most successful programmes we have run for clients have been Omnichannel, that is a true marriage between the digital and real world. I predict the rise and rise of real life experiences for brands post Covid and with digital advertising costs on the up, being online only almost certainly isn’t enough, there are exceptions of course, but we believe strongly that a real life experience is critical. Brands like Glossier & Supreme have bridged the gap between online and real world really well and we are huge believers in Pop Ups and Experience stores, but clearly each brand is different and very careful planning is needed but done well it can be a game changer.

Final Thoughts

In today’s post digital age, where competition is everywhere, only the slickest brands with the best strategies will win. Almost without exception, those brands will understand their customers deeply, will embrace data and understand the power of great online and offline content and will have created highly engaging brand experiences in the real world. However for many, they are at the start of this transition and are planning for growth in a Post Covid revival, getting it right therefore has never been more important.

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