Nearly one-fourth of all consumers who have purchased from a D2C company reported that they first heard about the brand from a traditional media channel. In a time where we are increasingly invested in our phone screens instead of the world around us, this is a pretty significant figure.

So why are D2C brands using traditional media to read their audience, and why is it working?

What’s Happening with D2C Brands

Many of the biggest brands are selling directly to consumers. Here are a few examples of large D2C brands that are experiencing a great deal of success using a traditional eCommerce sales model:

  • Warby Parker: An online retailer for prescription eyewear; the company is valued at $1.75 billion and is one of the most successful D2C startups thanks to its try-before-you-buy model and low prices for stylish products.
  • Reformation: This successful, eco-conscious women’s retailer sells only their own brand. Their e-commerce site wasn’t so successful starting out. However, thanks to retooling the media on their own site, the company has exploded in popularity.
  • Casper: This D2C mattress manufacturer that takes all the pain out of buying a new mattress by eliminating analysis paralysis. There’s one high-quality mattress style that arrives in a small box and expands to the size of a traditional mattress. You never have to visit a store, and you have 100 days to try it out and love it. As an incentive, any mattress that gets returned in those 100 days gets donated to charity.

Other successful D2C brands, including companies in the beauty industry like Glossier, are making a big impact while the food industry is experiencing its own D2C shake-up with brands like Magic Spoon and Soylent.

You can also look to companies that offer subscriptions such as BarkBox, Madison Reed, Winc, Blue Apron and Dollar Shave Club for more examples of how D2C brands are reaching their customers. 

D2C Traditional Media Channels

How did you learn about your favorite D2C brand? Maybe it was the modern-day equivalent of a radio spot — a podcast ad like one of Blue Apron’s favorite strategies?

Across the board, D2C companies are shifting their focus to more traditional marketing mediums with the goal of attaining a broad customer base. This makes sense when you think about the fact that many of their consumers first learn about the brand through word-of-mouth or by seeing an ad on the subway. 

Nearly one in four U.S. Internet users claims to have first heard about a particular D2C brand they’ve purchased from traditional media channels, including out of home (OOH) and word-of-mouth. 

Best Practices for Leveraging Traditional Media 

How do you convince your consumers to buy from you? How are D2C companies getting their customers to shop with them over Amazon or a local store? The answer:

Leveraging traditional media and marketing channels.

D2C brands are using traditional media strategies such as out of home, newspaper and magazine print ads, video, radio and more to reach their consumers. 

Traditional media isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about continuous testing to discover the most effective channels for your brand and your products.

So what do you need to know about leveraging traditional media? Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Use traditional media to sell a lifestyle: Build your media around more than just your product. What’s your mission? How are you changing lives? What makes your brand unique? This should be heavily highlighted in your traditional media channels.
  • Build a community that goes beyond your product: Offer content, podcasts, magazine ads and articles, and an active social media presence.
  • Focus on a winning customer experience: Your value extends beyond your product. Invest in traditional media that enhances the consumer experience.
  • Create an event: Whether it’s a subscription launch or the release of a new product, you’re letting customers in on your community by building relationships and giving them a sense of belonging.
  • Make exceptional content: This Dollar Shave Club video went viral and effectively launched the brand. Why? It was memorable and it stayed true to the brand.

Direct to Consumer Brands and COVID-19

Since many D2C brands are online retailers, they are achieving a higher growth in sales. With more people shopping online, we’ve seen a total shift in how people are buying during the pandemic and how they are spending their money. 

The key takeaway is that many are choosing to shop online for specific products and in specific sectors. If you’re a D2C brand looking to create a successful traditional media strategy, what should you remember?

  1. Create an unforgettable brand experience
  2. Find the most effective media methods for your brand
  3. Continue to test and refine these methods
  4. Build a community and sell a lifestyle

At MBI, we’re leaders in creating traditional media strategies and pairing them with digital activations to exceed your advertising goals. Want to learn more about how we can help you and what traditional media outlets to pursue? Contact us today, and we will connect you with one of our media strategists to get you started.