Casper, Away, Glossier, Warby Parker. Do all these direct to consumer companies have in common? They are disrupting their given industries and they are known for their killer marketing. So what can you learn from some of the best DTC or direct to consumer companies and apply it to your business?
Number one, limit choices. Casper began by selling what they thought was a perfect bed. Bonobos started with a single pair of men’s pants. Harry’s started with one type of razor. Eliminate unnecessary choices for your customers. Much like when ice cream was just vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. In a world where your customers are inundated, make it simple for them.
Number two, go big and bold. When you are trying to disrupt an industry or even competing in a space where there are bigger and more established competitors, shock and awe is necessary to make a splash. You have to build a brand quickly. Let’s look at Casper. Casper’s founders set out to build a digital first brand around sleep from the start. It was never just about selling a mattress. To build that kind of brand quickly, the company decided to bet big on influencer marketing.
They reached out to various Instagram and Twitter influencers and leveraged Hollywood connections to get some major buzz going around its mattresses. That company even opened a satellite office in LA with the main goal being to get more influencers on board. When Kylie Jenner posted a picture of her new Casper mattress in her home in March of 2015, it got over 800,000 likes and immediately doubled Casper’s net mattress sales.
This strategy applies to B2B companies too. You don’t need Kylie Jenner Instagramming your service, but you can reach out to influencers who your buyers already respect. I was recently approached by Microsoft to create and share content, since my audience is you, business owners and leaders, it was a win-win. I was able to share my story on how I’ve scaled my business over the last 10 years and Microsoft was able to drive traffic to their new growth center.
Number three, use the velvet rope strategy, AKA the wait list. For example, customers who wanted Harry’s razors could sign up on a waiting list. But those who shared the campaign would their friends on social networks would get bumped up the list and get free stuff from handles to razorblades to pre-shave gel. Building excitement around a new product or service is a great way to get customers excited.
Have you ever seen how many unboxing videos are on YouTube? From iPhones to BarkBoxes, people love watching others unbox their items, and if you think this doesn’t apply to you, think again. Specialist ID, a company which sells badge holders among other security accessories has a slew of customers writing reviews, which include detailed videos of their badge holders. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, you can find a way to make customers feel special.
Number four, elevate the end-to-end experience. These companies aren’t just raising the bar on quality or limiting choice. They’re raising the bar on the overall customer experience. You don’t just get the soap or the pants, or the luggage you need. You have a frictionless buying experience. This is key. They make it fun. Their products might not even be that much better than their traditional competitors, but it’s the overall experience and customer service that sets them apart.
In the coming years, I predict a huge uptake in B2B eCommerce. Regardless of your industry, you can find a way to elevate the customer experience. Call it the price of doing business. For example, Bonobos aims for 90% or higher marks on all their support emails. Casper offers to come pick up your mattress if you don’t like it within a hundred days of sleeping on it. Dollar Shave Club didn’t just sell cheaper razors, they sold a subscription so their customers can save time and money.
Recurring revenue with high retention means faster growth. So not only do you keep your customers, you also get them referring their friends and overall increasing a customers lifetime value. You make more on a customer than you spend acquiring them. Great marketing. According to CB Insights from late 2014 through 2015, Dollar Shave Club outspent Gillette on TV ads, 64 million to 43 million. That same year, they took a commanding lead in the online razor market.
Which brings us to number five, triple down on digital marketing. Casper killed it with SEO. Dollar Shave Club outspent Gillette. Glossier, a booming beauty brand that started as a beauty blog has a store in Soho. They don’t want you to go visit their store in Soho, New York because they think you’ll buy makeup. They want you to go, so you will take pictures of the store, post them on Instagram and share them so that other people all around the world will buy makeup.
And if you don’t think B2B customers want to take an Instagrammable pick at the next trade show, you don’t understand the modern customer. Remember the cool are blades are effing great video that Dollar Shave Club put out? You may have seen like that video went viral, but there was a lot of marketing behind it. The company let various media outlets know when the video was going to go up. They gave the press early access. They spent money promoting the video on social media. They paid for mentions on shows like Howard Stern.
Great marketing is not an accident. Everlane, a company that sells high-quality apparel, took the stance of radical transparency to launch the creative infographic of how much a designer T-shirt really costs and what it actually sells for. They got tons of PR coverage right out of the gate.
A big takeaway here is that to compete today, your brand has to be relevant. If you need help marketing your brand, contact me and my team at Zen Media. And if you found this video valuable, I hope you’ll leave a comment, like and share with others. Your support means the world to us. Thanks for watching.