When DTC health care startup Ro launched in 2017, the startup was initially focused on connecting male patients with doctors to discuss medical conditions like erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Today, Ro now sells medication to treat 11 different conditions under three brands: Roman for men, Rory for women, and Zero, which is focused on nonsmokers. As Ro's potential audience grows, it is finding it is increasingly having to rely on more than just Facebook and Google search ads to reach new customers.
The 2020 election cycle is in full swing, and retailers are wasting no time getting political. This week, several retailers announced initiatives revolving around the current political discourse. From offering support female candidates to pledging to give employees time off to vote, brands are increasingly becoming more comfortable taking a public stance on issues. Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign is a top example of this strategy, which was viewed as both polarizing and courageous by the public and the industry. Shortly after the former NFL player's first Nike ad ran in late 2018, the sneaker maker's sales spiked by 10%, bringing in revenue of $847 million.
Retailers’ use of TikTok is still in its early days, but many are already testing the water by partnering with existing influencers on the popular app. While many brands aren’t necessarily building out official pages on the video sharing platform, retailers like Target, Kroger and Walmart are finding value in early investment in youth-geared social network.
As direct-to-consumer startups feel greater pressure to rely less on digital channels like Facebook and Google, other, they're considering investing more in traditional media advertising. That includes out of home advertising (OOH), like billboards, digital bus stops and painted murals.
Within the past year, Google has made a significant push to turn itself into more of a shopping destination. But it's also taken steps to encourage more retailers and direct-to-consumer brands to invest in YouTube. In November, YouTube announced that it was extending shopping ads to YouTube's home feed and search results, so that when a user searches for say, Puma shoes, they see an ad with a carousel of suggested products to buy.
Tik Tok has managed to attract large retailers in just two years. From Old Navy to Walmart to supermarket giant Krogers’ shoppable campaign, everyone from big box and smaller retailers have hopped on the Tik Tok wagon.
Peloton has had a rough week, following the release of a much-derided TV ad. People on Twitter criticized the company, and its market capitalization dropped. The entire saga highlights a new kind of luxury company -- and how they represent a growing cultural divide.
More direct-to-consumer brands are experimenting with partnership marketing, in order to further diversify their marketing spend away from Facebook and Google. Although there are inexpensive ways to test out partnership marketing, it can take a lot of trial and error to figure out which brands are actually effective to partner with.
Retail media is growing in importance. The idea of retailers turning their websites into media platforms isn’t a new one, but over the past few years, has commanded more interest and more attention from brands. For brands specifically, advertising on retail media isn’t an ad problem anymore -- it’s a business problem.
Direct-to-consumer brands are starting to invest more in traditional advertising channels, like billboards, television and direct mail as consumers' inboxes or Instagram feeds are getting clogged with ads from competitors. Brands who spoke with Modern Retail say that direct mail is proving to be a small, but useful part of their marketing mix to reach a select group of high-intent customers.
Over the past year, weighted blanket brand Gravity Products has started to partner more with brands on product collaborations in order to lessen its reliance on selling directly to consumers. Today, Gravity announced that it's partnering with DTC mattress brand Purple on a product collaboration. CEO Mike Grillo said that partnerships now make up nearly 18% of Gravity's revenue, up from 2% last year.
Some direct-to-consumer companies are slowly building out corporate gifting programs, as they look for more ways beyond paid advertising to reach large groups of potential new customers. Bombas piloted a corporate gifting program for the first time last year. Today, it has a team of three that manages corporate sales, two members of which were just hired in June, according to chief marketing officer Kate Huyett.
A midwestern Spice company has a very political message, and spend a lot to share it on Facebook. For the last three years, this has proven to be a good digital strategy -- so much so that its political advertising spending has been rivaling Trump's.
As Snapchat's created more in-app commerce opportunities over the past year, it's also sought to encourage consumer brands to spend more on the platform by creating more shoppable ad formats, and improving its ad targeting options.
As a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, Lowe's doesn't solely rely on digital marketing channels to raise brand awareness -- it's also looking to drive them more of its existing customers into stores, or get them to buy products in other categories. Lowe's has zeroed in on YouTube in particular as an important channel in driving customer traffic to its website, and that its customers see YouTube as a "resource for product inspiration and knowledge."
As brick-and-mortar businesses struggle to stay competitive in the Amazon era, a retail revolution has occurred.
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