direct to consumer brands

By Alexis Hochleutner

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) surveyed 330 direct to consumer (DTC) brand professionals on their marketing planning and buying behaviors. As a supporting sponsor of the study, we hoped to validate what PebblePost has learned in the four years developing Programmatic Direct Mail®: Savvy direct to consumer brands are moving beyond traditional digital media advertising (social, display, search) and investing more of their marketing dollars toward offline marketing channels like digital to direct mail.

What is most compelling for us at PebblePost is that direct to consumer brands are acknowledging digital to direct mail as a channel, and direct to consumer brands who have yet to try digital to direct mail are including the channel as part of their consideration set.

What’s Old is New Again

Direct to consumer brands are digital-first, but that doesn’t mean digital-only. While 59% of budgets remain in the digital world, two-thirds of which are concentrated in Facebook and Google-owned properties, 41% of budgets are allocated to traditional offline media channels. The most popular offline media channel for Direct Brands is direct mail.

One explanation, directly from the study, lies in the fact that the top objective for DTC brands’ paid media advertising is customer satisfaction. Offline marketing, especially direct mail, is a more respectful, less disruptive consumer experience. It also helps extend brand recognition beyond the digital world into something more tangible. This move to offline is exacerbated by rising customer acquisition costs, as marketers compete for online attention and conversions.

Respectful “Personalization” is the Future for Savvy Direct to Consumer Brands

While direct mail alone drives customers with high Lifetime Value (LTV), adding personalization through intent and interest data powers digital to direct mail to drive even higher LTV.

“Direct Brands are programmatic by design.” - IAB Study

Direct to consumer brands are programmatic by design, so data-driven decisioning is a key competitive advantage against legacy brands. User intent and interest for a product or service has helped them deliver relevant messaging in the digital world.

And once they have found their prospective customers online, finding effective ways to reach them offline — particularly in the home, where most purchase decisions are made — is the next logical step. 

PebblePost’s Programmatic Direct Mail® is one of the few platforms that can bring online intelligence to the offline world. And we make it automated and scalable, leading with a best-in-class, end-to-end product solution.

Programmatic Direct Mail was designed with relevance and respect in mind, delivering marketing that is as good for consumers as it is for brands.

Multi-Touch Attribution is Challenging in an Omnichannel World

At Google and Facebook, who command 80% of digital marketing budgets1, multi-touch attribution remains the key to understanding the one-to-one connections between brands and consumers. To do this, a true one-to-one connection must be made across devices.

While facing significant challenges with online verification and identity, Google and Facebook have worked within the confines of the digital world to create a cross-device graph that helps to identify the one-to-one relationship between brands and consumers across digital channels. Digital, of course, remains a vital part of the strategy at DTC brands.

But for direct to consumer brands operating in an omnichannel world, there are so many different touch-points across digital and physical. It is impossible to connect cross-device identity to physical world identity and find an attribution model and window that works across both. This is apparent in the study, as marketers surveyed mostly use last-click attribution — there is no equivalent in offline marketing.

PebblePost solves this by connecting conversions (purchases, donations, sign-ups, or another fundamental business objective a brand sets) with mail sends no matter where the conversion happened. 

This helps our direct to consumer brand partners attribute clear value (ROAS or CPA) against other channels and measure incremental lift to attribute PDM® specific contribution to the bottom line.

Only Programmatic Direct Mail® combines real-time interest and intent data with the power of at-home physical media to drive conversions everywhere. At PebblePost, we are enthusiastic about helping direct to consumer brands bridge digital and physical, and the IAB study highlights direct to consumer brands are ready for this new frontier.

View the study to learn more about DTC marketer trends.

1 e-marketer 2019

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