The rise in direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands has been prominent since the beginning of the Internet age, but it has become more pronounced as mobile usage increased. Brands that are “born online” tend to have a different approach to their marketing and advertising strategies in comparison to traditional brands, as noted in a recent IAB UK study.

Digital connection has increased the number of direct-to-consumer brands in the marketplace, but other brands shouldn't forget their purpose and strengths in the pursuit to stay relevant.
Digital connection has increased the number of direct-to-consumer brands in the marketplace, but other brands shouldn't forget their purpose and strengths in the pursuit to stay relevant.

Audiences for DTC brands tend to be early adopters and more affluent. They also tend to be incredibly brand loyal. The nature of DTC brands being online and immediate means they can cater to these audiences needs. They also communicate in a different way compared to traditional advertisers.

DTC brands often begin their marketing strategies with a digital-first approach with results that can be tracked and measured immediately. There is a focus on channel efficiency and strategy mix.

These brands are disrupting the marketplace with a threat to long-term brand building. Traditional brands are attempting to mirror direct-response metrics in a bid to keep up with the fast-paced market.

However, chasing an immediate efficiency can be to the detriment of long-term brand building. Brands need to balance both metrics. With the mix of DTC brands trying new marketing strategies and traditional brands trying to mirror DTC, we are seeing an overall shift to short-term KPIs in an attempt to chase the consumer purchase.

It is important to understand that a consumer-centric approach should come first. Understanding behaviours and attitudes should be central to building a brand. Being able to influence consumer purchase behaviour often comes down to standing out as a brand and being front of mind.

With such a fast-paced environment, brands need to focus on their own strengths rather than chasing the immediate sale.