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.
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.
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 digitally-native brands are spending more on brand marketing, they find they may have to manage tension between different members of their marketing team, as what's best for the brand may not always be deemed best by performance marketing standards.
Multi-touch attribution has become the attribution method of choice for brands, especially direct-to-consumer ones, once they start advertising on more channels than just Facebook and Google. But switching to a multi-touch attribution model isn't as simple of a switch as transitioning from one software vendor to another. It is often a months-long project, that requires close communication between a brand's marketing and data science teams.
As direct-to-consumer brands expand into new categories, they're starting to hire more marketers with a special focus on retention, whose goal is to win over more business from repeat customers. Brands that currently have openings for retention marketers at various levels include Brooklinen, Care/Of, Peloton and Prose.
Attribution has been a sore spot for brands, especially those that are diversifying their marketing mixes, for years. There are many different methods to figuring out attribution. One that's increasingly popular is "fractional attribution." And for so-called DTC brands, who are now diversifying their ad spend beyond Facebook and Google, they're more likely to allocate their marketing dollars based on a fractional attribution model instead of last-click or click-based attribution model.
Younger brands that built social responsibility into their businesses from the beginning are establishing new brand-purpose playbooks that demonstrate how a cause or mission can penetrate a company – in spite of its inherent capitalist nature – beyond a marketing campaign, demonstrating instead a dedication to social responsibility.
In January, Pinterest created a new sales team that was tasked with figuring out how they can get younger startups, particularly direct-to-consumer brands, to spend more money on the platform.
As bot-driven fraud eats into budgets, marketers are placing a heightened focus on identifying the characteristics that account for authentic audience humanity.
Exclusively for Modern Retail+ members: Hear from Connie Matisse, Co-founder and CMO and Alex Matisse, Co-founder and CEO at East Fork Ceramics, on how to maintain brand loyalty during a time of tumult.Subscribe