5 best practices for the DTC <> Retail relationship

Exploring how brand building & sales activations impact DTC & Retail

Let's start by digging into the two types of marketing: brand building and activation.

Brand building is all about connecting with people on an emotional level to create buying behaviour and loyalty. Activities like authentic partnerships, content, community management, PR, and events can be considered brand building.

Activation is considered as short-term marketing designed to get consumers to act right away (your conversion optimized Facebook Ads). These activations result in upfront sales, whereas the brand building will support long-term growth.

It’s smart practice to engage in both brand building and sales activation. The activations will result in upfront sales, whereas the brand building will support longer-term growth. Here's a chart by Binet and Field to illustrate the impact when they work together:

How much should you spend on brand building vs activation?

It's different for each industry and size of business. Generally it's a 60/40 split for maximum effectiveness. But it's super rare to find DTC brands that focus on brand, most wait until conversion ads plateau.

Having that retail presence accelerates the need for investing in brand building. Because how else are you going to stand out?

Our list of the 5 top ways to help your retail presence standout.

Experiential Marketing: This allows you to design human connections and will have your audience remembering your brand because of how they experienced it, not because they purchased it.

Pop-ups: These are a great way to create experiences for your audience in a community that has strong demographic overlap with your audience. You can partner with local restaurants, events, and communities to display and sample your product.

Coupon Campaigns: Use digital ads to drive in-store sales, while receiving valuable data about your customers ... while using hold-out locations to help measure performance lift. One of the top platforms for offline coupon campaigns is @IbottaApp.

Store Locator: Drive in-store traffic with a store locator embedded on a landing page. Use messaging to onboard potential customers to the brand and educate them on key benefits and value props. We particularly like Stockist which is easy to set up with no coding needed.

QR Codes: They're back and are an easy way to drive people to your site. Look for OOH opportunities on transit, billboards, stickers, posters, print, etc. Focus on areas where your customers are and sit back as they discover you out in the wild. Don't forget UTMs!

Audio Campaigns: The cost to advertise with streaming audio is low and with the right channel or podcast you've got a very targeted, attentive audience. Use @decibelads to create your audio ad and launch your campaign in less than 5 minutes.

AR Lenses: Instead of focusing on traffic, use QR codes, logos, images to activate AR lenses that create immersive experiences. Bring images to life, create a portal, let customers see products up close. Use them in a scavenger hunt. Or a hashtag giveaway.

There's dozens of other things you can do to boost retail sales, the trick is to find ways to give your customers an experience to remember. What have you seen work out in the wild?


© Kulin Co 2022