Direct to Consumer (D2C) brands interact directly with the consumers without having to go through middlemen, sellers, wholesalers, etc. They rely on digital platforms to interact with consumers and resultantly, it allows them to reach the consumer faster. It also helps understand consumer needs better at a micro level due to the direct interactions involved.
Marketing the product effectively plays a pivotal role in determining the success of a D2C brand. As a D2C brand, your product becomes your hero, right from the packaging to the visuals as that is what will create your brand’s first impression with the audience. There have been many times when good products have failed because they weren’t marketed in the right way.
“Effective marketing for D2C brands involves studying different social commerce platforms separately, build content, visual imagery, and rich video assets that connect with consumers, and then natively integrate the social commerce tools in your messaging to create a holistic shopping experience and cash on a product sale. Performance marketing and a laser-sharp focus on ‘bottom of the funnel’ metrics like add-to-cart and conversion rate can help a D2C brand scale pretty rapidly. At SUGAR, we have found a larger value unlocked by investing in a solid content + earned media strategy that can organically expand top of the funnel metrics via high-quality traffic and assets that keep on giving,” says Vineeta Singh, Co-founder & CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics.
“The online D2C model operations, careful selection of target audience, extensive SEO, CRO, and innovative social media strategies have helped us come a long way. We target a specific audience and understand the needs of the customers using predictive modeling capabilities. This approach has helped us in onboarding a large demographic of millennial and gen-Z customers who shave or trim regularly or wish to begin shaving and are looking for suitable products. Our focus is digital marketing in online channels because we feel we are able to better connect with the customers this way and add value to their lives in real-time,” adds Asawari Pawar, CMO, LetsShave.
Promoting Brand on Marketplaces
The strategies for marketplace promotions are very similar to marketing the brand on any other digital platform. It is based on consumer segmentation based on various demographic and psychographic data. The objective is to reach the consumers at the right time so that we build consideration and improve conversions.
“One of the most critical things for a brand to present on the online marketplace is having a strategic product portfolio. We have a presence across major e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart, Myntra, Grofers, Snapdeal, Bigbasket, Trell, and various other partnerships. We focus on a specific market segment with the right product assortment - single and value packs. We strive to strengthen the existing user relationships and promote meaningful engagement to foster trust by encouraging ratings, reviews, feedback, and referrals. Additionally, some marketplaces provide great marketing tools assets. A thoughtful mix and match of all these bring out the best of brand promotion and performance. Coupons and cashback are other great add-ons,” asserts Pawar.
“For a D2C brand, harnessing marketplaces can instantly boost growth while allowing the brand to reach customers through various channels. For SUGAR, we ensure that the brand stands out among other brands on every e-commerce platform via advertising it in the right way. We engage in innovative tie-ups to generate good content that would attract the customers and get them to pick our brand over the other 100s of options. We also have been tailoring to every e-commerce platform with few exclusive makeup kits, merchandise and offers basis the platforms,” adds Singh.
Jewelry brand Candere by Kalyan Jewellers engages in paid promotions during special occasions to promote their offerings and boost sales.
Social Media: An Irreplaceable Marketing Tool
Social Media presence plays a major role in D2C brand presence and growth. It is literally one of the best tools to create personalized content and reach out to customers in different segments in large numbers. One of the key advantages of social media marketing is that there is a meaningful understanding of the customer persona which provides an insight into what exactly they need and is thus useful for the brand to formulate marketing strategies accordingly to address their needs.
“Social media is a wonderful tool to increase brand awareness and establish our brand positioning to desired audience demographics. We promote our product lines by creating engaging content based on the inspiration behind each collection. We regularly use Facebook and Instagram ads to reach customers and use social media to amplify our campaigns. From time to time, we do indulge in influencer marketing if it fits in with our core campaign communication,” Rupesh Jain, Founder, and CEO, Candere by Kalyan Jewellers shares.
D2C customers are more evolved and hence tend to look for more engaging content that highlights the brand or the product recall value before they make an informed investment choice. Consumers do thorough research and comparisons virtually before making a purchase. Hence social media plays an important role in staying digitally connected with modern-day consumers.
“As far as our marketing strategies are concerned, we focus on creating relevant content that is informative and educative on social media. We leverage the brand value and product benefits using social media channels. This helps consumers understand our offerings better and also select products that are best suited for them,” says Aarti Gill, Co-founder, OZiva.
SUGAR started off as a digital-first brand so there's a lot that they have dabbled with over the years - everything from performance to influencer to affiliate marketing but if there's one overarching theme that you'll see across everything they do - it's this: Content.
“I think building a brand involves building a voice before you build sales. And a voice is only as powerful and the content it articulates - consistently and clearly - across time, geography and channels. Hence, we have always focused on curating rich content that is engaging with the audience and not very product-centric. Lately, we have been curating a lot of educative infographics/ tips, etc., and ensuring that our content is customized as per the platform to be able to achieve maximum engagement. This strategy has led us to be one of the fastest-growing beauty brands in the country with an Instagram following on 1.5M+, a milestone which very few beauty brands have reached,” Singh shares.
Role of Social Influencers
In today’s tech-savvy world, influencer marketers are taking content creation to the next level, making them able to capture the attention of wholly new demographics of clients. The tool of influencer marketing can be a remarkable way to create more brand awareness.
“Currently, influencer marketing has become one of the most efficient and productive ways of reaching out to new potential customers. The process includes finding influencers with a specific target audience that resonate with our brand. Working with influencers increases brand visibility and helps in building a meaningful online presence to help gain the customer's trust over the product and the brand,” Pawar states.
“For SUGAR, influencer marketing has played a big part in creating the online and offline popularity the brand has gained over the past 6 years. Churning rich, genuine, and engaging content, to an audience who holds great interest in makeup – SUGAR’s extended family of social influencers to date helps create a stir about our new launches and products. We engage with 120+ influencers month-on-month, and we always prioritized the quality of their work - rich and educative content over the number of followers they have. There’ve been influencers whom we’ve been working with since day one and they have grown over the years alongside the brand,” adds Singh.
What Does the Future Hold?
The most important aspect of marketing is to be able to communicate the brand’s value proposition in the best possible manner to the audience.
“There is currently an industry race to provide and innovate new ways of best-in-class customer experience. At Candere we have always been heavily focused on elevating the customer experience and personalization, but with the help of AI and machine learning, we are now aiming towards increasing CSAT and NPS score and thus customer retention,” states Jain.
“We aim to improvize content marketing, make it more personalized, and while engaging further with the influencers. We are preparing ourselves to use data-driven automated marketing tools that will help us save time, scale faster, improve the ROI and avoid damages that may be caused by intuition-based or gut-based decisions in our customer acquisition funnels,” says Pawar resonating the same thoughts.
“We ensure that every marketing activity ties back to this central objective. We have recently onboarded Deepika Padukone as our brand ambassador to further promote our brand philosophy of ‘Har Tarah se Better’ to a larger audience. Similarly, we will continue to create and invest in marketing activities that help build brand awareness and salience,” adds Gill.
While SUGAR’s content game has always been strong, the brand aims to make it stronger in the coming years. As it grows stronger on social media, its focus will be on curating strong content that caters to individual platforms.
“We will also be looking at various innovative collaborations to strengthen our reach and engagement with the consumers. Also further strengthening our core pillars – distribution, product, content, and community building will be key. In line with these we will be building and expanding our retail footprint, enhancing retail marketing and visual merchandising experience,” Singh concludes.