Behind the research conducted by Rakuten Marketing, which shows that British brands DTC outperforms traditional rivals when it comes to remittances, we are talking to Abi Jacks, Senior Marketing Manager, European Union, Rakuten Marketing, Doug Ker, CEO Meli Melo, DTC for luxury fashion, to understand how to drive the marketing of this matter, and the role of influential social and influential.
DTC Daily: Why Affiliate Marketing Is Perfectly Suitable for DTC Brands?
Father Cranes: There is no doubt that some DTC brands owe part of their rapid growth to their marketing – while the targeting available through social networking platforms is a brand in itself, these tools are expensive and may not be something new for DTC brands to invest in. There may also be disadvantages when it comes to using closed platforms such as Facebook, where walled gardens may make it difficult for DTCs to make full use of their data and evaluate it to better understand the behavior of their audience.
While social platforms remain a key part of this mix, partnering with affiliates, especially at the brand awareness level, can offer an alternative solution to reach key audiences. For example, 17% of people say that money-recovery sites have increased their awareness of consumer brands. The same amount also says that discount locations or discount codes have increased their awareness.
DTC special brands may find success with micro-influencers. Our research found that 11% of British consumers support micro-influencers – those with up to 30,000 followers – as an effective way to increase their interest and awareness of DTC signs with a smaller but more engaged and relevant audience. This strategy may be particularly useful on Instagram where effective marketing is highly saturated – brands need to identify the region to attract consumers' attention.
How did you use affiliate marketing?
Doug Kerr: Affiliate marketing is an essential part of our broader marketing strategy – it stimulates strong Meli Melo brand awareness across multiple regions, but its effectiveness is directly related to how it is implemented. We prioritize careful deliberation on the selection of our affiliates, but when it does, we believe that affiliate marketing can be very effective for acquiring new customers and revenue sales.
Affiliate marketing is also effective because it is scalable and allows us to track ROI through the channel and even the partner level which is incredibly useful.
Why do influencers find such a useful tool?
Doug Kerr: Working with influencers may be very rewarding, but we are selective about how we deal with them. We prefer to work in an organic way with individual influencers in exchange for mass-paid programs, the latest of which is very expensive for us at present, as we are currently collecting donations as a business. This may make it difficult for us to stand out because many well-funded big brands spend a lot on effective marketing right now, so the space is competitive.
Why is Facebook a valuable tool for DTC brands? How does its value display differ from Instagram or YouTube?
Father Cranes: We recently conducted some research that found that 44% of consumers in the UK put Facebook as a platform that raised their awareness of DTC tags with YouTube (31%) and Instagram (28%).
This is critical to DTC brands, specifically because awareness and sales are linked. For example, 28% of respondents in the UK who know about Birchbox also bought from the company, and 27% bought it from SimplyCook and 24% from Made.com. These are huge percentages, and the importance of brand awareness through social networking tools such as Facebook for DTC brands is proving to be profitable.
Doug Kerr: Facebook is particularly useful because of the tools for exploration and redirection – it's expensive but it can be an essential element of the conversion path. We also love Instagram and YouTube. Although we use Instagram in a similar way to us on Facebook, YouTube can be a great site when we have the right assets for the platform and can be a very powerful way to get traction. Pinterest is also a platform we started using and we find tremendous growth.
Social platforms are incredibly important, but brands should not be seen as the best for everyone. For the latest DTC brands in particular, social platforms are becoming more expensive, so investing time in looking at other channels that reach their audience and finding the balance here will be the key.
Advertising on social platforms is becoming more expensive. What other channels will DTCs look for to reach their audience?
Father Cranes: Social networking can be a great engine to invest ROI for DTC brands, but we have always suggested using a mix where it provides more opportunities for brand visibility across a consumer journey.
A great example is publisher MoneySavingExpert Consumer Advice. Although the site may not be the ultimate selling point for many consumers (although recent research suggests that up to one in ten), it plays an important role in creating consumer confidence for a brand they may not have heard of.
DTC brands should not rely heavily on any one approach; instead, try a combination to see what works best for them. With this mix comes the need to measure return on investment across the full path of purchase. If you limit yourself to one format and focus only on the first or last click metrics, you'll lose the place where your ad could have impacted the sale but then moved it elsewhere.