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How Customer Data Helps Big Brands Respond to DTC Challengers

If you’ve spent time on any social media platform in the past few years, chances are you’ve seen ads for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. The success of the most well-known of these – Warby Parker, Harry’s, Allbirds, Casper – has led to an entire generation of DTC challengers taking on everything from toothbrushes to potted plants (a fuzzy “moss” ball can be yours for only $9!).

In fact, according to a fascinating article from Inc, just about every single consumer product will see at least one DTC challenger in the coming years. What’s behind this massive shift?

The IAB, a leading trade group for marketers, actually focused a recent report on the phenomenon. One part of their diagnosis? Global supply chains have become much more efficient, lowering costs and the barrier to entry for creation of consumer goods.

This phenomenon is fundamentally changing the way all B2C brands approach their sales and marketing strategies. As Vivoom’s Katherine Hays puts it:

Big brands can no longer “buy” audiences as a primary means to reach consumers. Instead, they need to build their own. DTC darlings like Warby Parker can teach a masters course in this as they consistently develop stronger, one-to-one relationships with consumers that make up loyal, engaged audiences.

Indeed, savvy DTC brands are building up massive troves of first-party customer data thanks to very clever consumer engagement strategies. This data, in turn, allows them to engage more consumers and generate even more valuable data that helps them sell. It’s a virtuous cycle.

More traditional brands, who long relied on “purchased” audiences and wholesale strategies to drive sales, are playing catch-up to compete. If you’re a marketer hoping to advance your brand’s audience-building and engagement strategies, here’s how to start:

Consolidate customer data and put it under marketing’s control

Your customer data is not very useful if it’s controlled by another team or requires an IT request just to get access. Creating a consistent, personalized and engaging customer experience that rivals those of DTC competitors requires having a single database that informs tactics across all channels.

Focus on the data that matters

Whether it’s accessible or not, brands collect massive quantities of customer data, but only some of it is useful to marketers. Which customer data points can be used to predict future behavior or create a more personalized experience? Focus on, and collect, those data points in a marketer-managed customer data platform where they can be quickly leveraged.

End the channel mindset

DTC brands’ target audiences don’t think about channels. They might see an in-app ad on their phones, check out an email while on their computers at work, then purchase on the website via a tablet from their sofas at home. Having a different strategy for each channel can complicate this otherwise seamless experience.

This requires a customer-centric approach in which every experience is personalized based on a central repository of data, which goes back to our first point.

Future-proof your marketing stack

No matter what martech comes next – from AI and machine learning to AR and VR – a simple, easy-to-use and consolidated database will ensure that everything in your marketing stack is working off the same page.

Interested in learning more about QuickPivot’s Customer Data Platform? We’d love to hear from you.

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