8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (2023)


Updated on October 17, 2022 by OptiMonk

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing is not a new trend in the marketing world. It’s actually older than you might think, and with the right techniques and strategies, it can be quite profitable.

While other forms of marketing engagements such as C2C, B2C, and B2B employ a form of intermediary and bridge, DTC marketing gives a brand avenues to sell directly to the consumer and develop a direct relationship with them.

In 2021, the DTC market was expected to reach about $20 billion in sales worldwide, with more traditional retailers aiming to start using DTC strategies. These numbers show that this form of marketing is incredibly valuable and here to stay.

In this article, we’ll highlight the main ingredients behind the recent successes of DTC brands and share some examples who’ve utilized these strategies.

Success in the DTC marketing space is defined by strategy. So it’s possible to adjust your company’s strategy and increase profitability simply by studying this guide.

Shortcuts ✂️

  • What is direct-to-consumer marketing?
  • What sets DTC apart from other forms of marketing?
  • 8 DTC marketing strategies
  • 4 exemplary DTC brands and their strategies

What is direct-to-consumer marketing?

Direct-to-consumer marketing is a business-to-client relationship devoid of third-party involvement. It involves brands directly relating with consumers beginning at the awareness stage and all the way through to sales and retention.

Traditional brands that don’t have a DTC marketing strategy usually use middlemen at these stages and focus on production and management. Although this approach has its advantages, it leaves the brands in the dark regarding their consumers and highly dependent on the middlemen.

A DTC marketing strategy can help brands collect more accurate consumer data: things like conversion rates, the effectiveness of advertising efforts, and customer retention, which can all help build brand awareness.

Although this method depends largely on how well a brand can handle sales and marketing, its success rate and ROI are high compared to the risks involved.

To stay on the winning end of the food chain, it’s important to study great direct-to-consumer brands and learn from their DTC approach and strategies.

(Video) Master DTC Marketing | Learn Organic vs. Paid Acquisition | with Nik Sharma, CEO Sharma Brands

What sets DTC apart from other forms of marketing?

In the past, traditional brands did lots of offline marketing and attracted a pool of local consumers with whom they maintained direct relationships.

They used traditional distribution channels to build brand loyalty and instill a sense of trust, safety, and assurance for these consumers.

In doing so, they were able to attract new customers by word of mouth. Other marketing tactics were born to support this, but this traditional form appeals to primal human fears.

Brands discovered that many consumers were afraid of getting bad products and wary about trying new products from sources they didn’t trust.

DTC eradicates the need for middlemen and focuses on marketing directly to the consumer. It operates at a slow buildup compared to B2C, but has much better consumer retention.

8 DTC marketing strategies

Now, let’s take a look at some specific DTC marketing strategies used by consumer brands.

1. Polish your brand identity

One of the best ways to create a great impression with your customers is to craft a likable, relatable brand identity. Ensure your brand image is consistent across all brand materials, from pitch deck templates to your website, packaging, and even your newsletters. Aim for a simple, memorable design.

Consider how Haus stands out with unique packaging and brand messaging that’s consistent across all platforms.

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (1)

2. Influencer marketing

This is a form of social media marketing that works very well for DTC brands.

Rather than involve a middleman, many brands employ the services of an influencer or celebrity to publicize them.

The most important part of influencer marketing is to find an influencer that your target audience trusts, and who shares your brand values. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to choose a fitness model as an influencer for a cake brand!

A good example of effective influencer marketing is Smiledirectclub, who uses health influencers to endorse its products.

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (2)

3. Email marketing

Email is still our go-to when it comes to digital communications with corporate brands.

DTC marketing requires the ability to write compelling newsletters and personalized emails, which will help you build a relationship with your consumers and constantly reinforce your core brand messaging.

Using data gathered from user-generated content, you should be able to create emails that address the pain points of segments in your audience. To make your emails even more personalized, use software that automates these segmented messages and includes the customer’s name to create a sense of intimacy.

Check out this welcome email from Paula’s Choice, which provides customers with all the tools they need to get started on the website. The entire email is a clickable link that takes customers directly to the product page, so they can start shopping immediately.

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (3)

(Video) D2C Marketing Strategy | 7 Best Direct to Consumer Marketing Tips for D2C Model

Paula’s Choice also provides plenty of information, helping customers navigate their website easily.

A perfectly-worded message sent at the right time works like magic!

4. Use traditional marketing

While you might think that everyone does everything online these days, there are some customers that feel suffocated by the barrage of online ads. This is where traditional marketing comes in.

In fact, brands like Quip are still using TV ads to reach their audiences.

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (4)

Don’t underestimate the power of traditional marketing, and remember that using billboards, postcards, fliers, radio jingles, and television ads can create a strong offline presence to complement your online branding efforts.

5. Be socially aware

DTC brands such as Youth to the People and Outers generate jaw-dropping revenue by being socially aware.

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (5)

You could base your business on a humanitarian cause, or aim to create a community for global change. Either way, you’re sure to make a good profit.

Today, plenty of people want to have a positive impact without spending too much time, money, or effort— if you can cash in on helping them do this, you’ll be set for success.

6. Stay focused on the consumer

Today’s customers don’t want one-size-fits-all solutions. They want products and services that feel like they were made for them. Product personalization responds to a core consumer desire, and it’s how brands like Casper and Warby Parker thrive.

Start by taking the time to understand your customers’ problems and how your products can help solve those problems. Remember that while you might think in terms of a “customer pool,” that pool is actually filled with individuals— and you want each one to feel like you’re talking to them directly.

In this example, Casper instills trust by offering a generous 100-night test run on their mattresses, showing potential customers that they understand how much sleeping patterns can differ.

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (6)

7. Stay consistent

Consumers love consistency. It strengthens your brand identity and makes you recognizable at a glance.

For most DTC brands that grow by word-of-mouth marketing, inconsistency in messaging or product quality can spell disaster. When brands become inconsistent in style, design, approach, or service, customers don’t know what to expect. They don’t feel that they can trust you, so they’ll simply move on to another brand.

8. Gather data

Want to increase conversion rates and customer retention? Looking to make your digital marketing structure more efficient? Don’t neglect the importance of collecting relevant data and analyzing it carefully.

Data analysis is key for any DTC brand that wants to grow.

Some of the data you’ll want to analyze: churn rate, lifetime value, conversion rate, average order value, product margin, net promoter score, and net revenue retention. This data will keep you grounded and growing.

(Video) CompTIA A+ Part 2 Chapter 16

4 exemplary DTC brands and their strategies

You’ve probably heard stories of DTC brands that seemingly came out of nowhere and are now dominating their space. The truth is that these success stories were based on strong strategic choices.

The likes of Everlane, Glossier, Chubbier, and Dollar Shave Club have blossomed over the years, each with a unique and well-implemented strategy. Here are some of today’s best DTC brands and the strategies they’ve used:

1. Warby Parker

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (7)

Warby Parker is known as the king of custom services. Using user-generated answers, they can present prospective consumers with an array of eyeglasses suitable for their face shape, personality, and style. This eliminates the need to go through other sources, since customers feel they can find exactly what they’re looking for at Warby Parker. And best of all, they can do it right from the comfort of their own home.

Notably, Warby Parker has recently shifted its focus to brick-and-mortar stores over digital ads in order to attract new customers.

This DTC brand also appeals to their customers’ desire to be part of the solution by donating a free pair of glasses whenever a purchase is made: an initiative that about 74% of consumers believe in strongly. The “buy a pair, give a pair” strategy is brilliant for DTC marketing, as many different audiences respond positively to this kind of social activism.

2. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is one of the most popular DTC brands, and they changed the game simply through good storytelling and highlighting positive word-of-mouth.

They cut out the middleman and made their products and services cost effective, which challenged bigger FMCG brands.

Social media marketing and strong offline marketing tactics helped Dollar Shave Club show their consumers that there was a better option when it came to shaving.

3. Casper

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (8)

Using social media as a tool (especially Facebook and Instagram), Casper utilized high-quality user-generated content and in-home testing to sell their mattresses in a way that appeals to today’s consumers.

This DTC brand validated its strategy using its strong social media presence, and went on to make millions from it.

4. Gymshark

8 DTC Marketing Strategies and Examples to Inspire Your Own (9)

Gymshark may have launched almost a decade ago, but its influencer marketing and social media capitalization strategies have never gone out of style.

With over 3.6 million followers on TikTok alone, it’s clear that they’re getting it right with their DTC social media advertising strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about Gymshark’s marketing strategy, check out this video:

Wrapping up

Although some of these DTC brands have been around for quite some time, their solid strategies and creativity helped them survive through the years and serve as inspiration to budding DTC brands like Bombas, Organifi, Elvie, Stitch Fix, Nonda, Hyphen Sleep, and many others.

The DTC business model is relatively straightforward, easy to mimic, and profitable.

DTC brands thrive on concepts, creativity, aggressive personalization, and a sense of trust for building brand loyalty. By cutting out the middlemen and implementing a strong DTC marketing plan, you could be the next big DTC brand!

(Video) Guide to building a successful direct to consumer (DTC) strategy | The Ecom Edge | E9

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Andrej Fedek

Andrej Fedek is the creator and the one-person owner of the InterCool Studio. As an experienced marketer, he is driven by turning leads into customers. His goals always include White Hat SEO. Besides being a boss, he is a real team player with a great sense of equality.


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What are the 8 marketing strategies? ›

A marketing strategy is a long-term plan for achieving a company's goals by understanding the needs of customers and creating a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage. It encompasses everything from determining who your customers are to deciding what channels you use to reach those customers.

What is a DTC strategy? ›

Direct to consumer (DTC) marketing is designed for brands that skip traditional distribution channels and sell directly to their customers. In the past, many brands had to rely on retailers in particular to help them sell and distribute their product to the vast majority of consumers.

What types of marketing communications are most suitable for DTC brands and why? ›

Direct-to-consumer companies have to entice leads to buy directly from them, so they need to take a more proactive approach to outreach. For example, DTC brands typically have a strong presence on social media as well as other marketing channels such as email, SMS, and push notifications.

What are the 7 designing marketing strategies? ›

Here's our list of 7 essential steps for creating an effective marketing strategy:
  • Use SWOT analysis. ...
  • Identify business objectives. ...
  • Get to know your prospective customers. ...
  • Understand the company's value proposition. ...
  • Study the market and the competition. ...
  • Develop a marketing budget.
28 Aug 2019

What are the 8 Ps of marketing Explain with your own words? ›

The 8 Ps of marketing is product, price, place, promotion, people, positioning, processes, and performance. The goal is to get them working together for your marketing mix. If you can you'll have a much better chance to attract and convert your potential customers.

What is DTC example? ›

Direct-to-consumer brands sell directly to customers online, bypassing the “middlemen” of wholesalers and retailers. This allows them to control the user experience, collect first-party shopper data and increase margins. DTC brand examples include Allbirds, Casper and Warby Parker.

How does DTC strategy satisfy customers? ›

By cutting out the middleman, DTC businesses can target, market, sell, and distribute directly to their customers, resulting in a better relationship with them. They can also offer valuable perks such as product variety and lower prices.

What are the types of DTC? ›

There are eight:
  • 0 – Fuel and air metering and auxiliary emission controls.
  • 1 – Fuel and air metering.
  • 2 – Fuel and air metering – injector circuit.
  • 3 – Ignition systems or misfires.
  • 4 – Auxiliary emission controls.
  • 5 – Vehicle speed control, idle control systems, and auxiliary inputs.
  • 6 – Computer and output circuit.
27 Nov 2019

How do you build a successful DTC brand? ›

4 Steps To Get Started With DTC
  1. Create High-Quality Product Detail Pages (PDPs) Great PDPs help give your customers a better sense of what they're buying — and why they should buy from your brand instead of your competition. ...
  2. Develop an In-Depth Marketing Plan. ...
  3. Assess Channel Alignment Regularly. ...
  4. Measure, Measure, Measure.
5 May 2022

What are the 5 brand strategies? ›

Five Different Types of Branding Strategies
  • Company Name Branding. Well-known brands leverage the popularity of their own company names to improve brand recognition. ...
  • Individual Branding. ...
  • Attitude Branding. ...
  • Brand Extension Branding. ...
  • Private-Label Branding.
6 Aug 2018

What are the 4 brand strategies? ›

Here are four common brand growth strategies for businesses looking to extend their services or product offerings. The four brand strategies are line extension, brand extension, new brand strategy, and flanker/fight brand strategy.

What are the 8 parts of a marketing plan? ›

Start with a solid marketing plan with these 8 components:
  • Market Research. First, you need to understand the environment that you are selling in by using tools like a SWOT Analysis. ...
  • Target Audience. ...
  • Market Strategies. ...
  • Goals & Objectives. ...
  • Media & Tactics. ...
  • Budget and Action Plan. ...
  • Metrics. ...
  • Content Plan & Schedule.
30 Jan 2017

What are the 7ps of marketing with example? ›

Initially 4, these elements were Product, Price, Place and Promotion, which were later expanded by including People, Packaging and Process. These are now considered to be the “7 P's” mix elements.

Who invented 8 P's of marketing? ›

Who invented the 8 Ps of marketing? The 4 Ps definition is a set of business principles devised by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960. In 1967, Philip Kotler defined the marketing mix as a set of controllable variables.

Why are the 7 Ps of marketing Important explain your answer? ›

The seven Ps are important because they can help you plan and lead discussions about a business' marketing practices, whether the company sells products, services or both. If you're marketing a service or product, you can consider the seven Ps to help you sell it effectively.

What are the 7 Ps of service marketing briefly describe each and give concrete examples applying each to a particular company? ›

Since inception, marketing mix has four Ps such as -Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. When, it is applied to services, the distinct qualities of services need additional 3 components; hence they are called 7 Ps service marketing. They are Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Processes and Physical evidence.

What are the 7 common methods of marketing communication? ›

Marketing Theories – The Communications Mix
  • Advertising (TV, radio, press, PPC) Advertising covers all avenues where a business pays for their message to be broadcast. ...
  • Direct marketing & digital marketing (email, social media, gamification, etc) ...
  • Public relations (PR) ...
  • Personal selling. ...
  • Sales promotion.

What are the 12 steps of marketing? ›

12 Step Marketing Plans
  • Purpose. ...
  • Describe Product or Service and Market. ...
  • Identify the Competition. ...
  • Setting the Price. ...
  • The Advertising and Promotion Mix. ...
  • Develop a Budget. ...
  • Location. ...
  • Estimate Your Sales.

Is Nike a DTC brand? ›

Nike is a trailblazer in the DTC space, driving up its revenues and market share by quickly adopting the trend. Competitors like Adidas and Under Armour have announced shifts toward DTC, too—but to some degree, they are still playing catch-up.

Is Uber a DTC brand? ›

A DTC brand is any company that sells their products to consumers, rather than going through a distribution channel or retail store. With that definition, DTC can take on many different forms. Sometimes, it's a digital native and service-oriented company like Uber.

Is Amazon a DTC? ›

As a DTC brand, you have more flexibility to try different platforms and techniques to grow your business. By tracking performance, you'll quickly discover whether Amazon is a good fit for your brand.

Why is DTC so important? ›

Direct to consumer is exactly what it is, selling directly to end customers. The strategy behind this approach is that it bypasses wholesalers and retailers, thus cutting out unnecessary costs associated with having intermediaries between manufacturers and the consumer.

How can I grow my DTC business? ›

The first pillar to grow your DTC business is to Increase Conversions. While there's a myriad of strategies to drive up your customer conversion rate, among the most effective tactics is the optimization of your website by customization and curation and by improving the findability of your products.

What are the benefits of DTC? ›

Direct-to-consumer provides distinct advantages

Control and brand clarity: DTC allows the manufacturer to control the entire branding experience, including product, packaging, and messaging – without the competition for shelf space.

What is the most common DTC? ›

Top 12 DTCs
  • P0420/P0430 – Catalyst system low efficiency.
  • P0171/P0174 – Fuel trim system lean bank 1/2.
  • P0300 (all) – Engine misfire detected (random and cylinder specific)
  • P0440/P0455/P0442 – Evaporative emission (EVAP) system – Generic/leak detected/small leak detected.
  • P0128 – Coolant thermostat.
7 Sept 2021

How many DTC are there? ›

With 3,910 buses, DTC is currently operating with 71 per cent of its ideal fleet size.

What are DTC products? ›

Direct-to-consumer brands, or DTC brands, are those that sell directly to the end customer rather than relying on middlemen like retailers and wholesalers.

What are the 7 steps to create a strong brand? ›

Building a new brand essentially boils down to seven steps:
  1. Research your target audience and your competitors.
  2. Pick your focus and personality.
  3. Choose your business name.
  4. Write your slogan.
  5. Choose the look of your brand (colors and font).
  6. Design your brand logo.
  7. Apply your branding across your business.
29 Oct 2022

What are the 10 steps to creating a brand? ›

A 10-Step Brand Development Strategy
  1. Consider your overall business strategy. ...
  2. Identify your target clients. ...
  3. Research your target client group. ...
  4. Develop your brand positioning. ...
  5. Develop your messaging strategy. ...
  6. Develop your name, logo and tagline. ...
  7. Develop your content marketing strategy. ...
  8. Develop your website.
21 Sept 2022

What are the 6 marketing strategies? ›

The building blocks of an effective marketing strategy include the 6 P's of marketing: product, price, place, promotion, people, and presentation. The effective integration of the 6 P's of marketing can serve as the foundation for an effective growth strategy.

What are the types of strategies? ›

What Are the Three Types of Strategy- And How You Can Apply Them!
  • Business strategy.
  • Operational strategy.
  • Transformational strategy.

What are the 4 main types of marketing? ›

Here is a quick rundown of the four types of marketing strategies:
  • Cause Marketing. Cause marketing, also known as cause-related marketing, links a company and its products and services to a social cause or issue.
  • Relationship Marketing. ...
  • Scarcity Marketing. ...
  • Undercover Marketing.
25 Jan 2010

What are the top 5 marketing strategies? ›

Here are five strategies that will boost business.
  • SEO. ...
  • Influencer marketing. ...
  • PR and affiliate marketing. ...
  • Email marketing. ...
  • Social media marketing.
18 May 2022

What are the 5 main marketing strategies? ›

The 5 P's of marketing are part of what is often referred to as a “marketing mix”. A marketing mix is the actions brands take to market their products and services by using a specific framework with the five biggest components of successful marketing: product, place, price, promotion, and people.

What is the 8 second rule in marketing? ›

With only eight seconds to capture a person's attention, retail and e-commerce brands need to recognize that consumers are scanning the information you deliver to them online or in-store. People will quickly and selectively choose to engage with content that is clear, emotional and direct.

What are the 4 main marketing strategies? ›

The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives.

What is an example of a marketing strategy? ›

Marketing strategies

For example, if your marketing plan is to promote a new product or service, you might have a strategy dedicated to how you're going to use email marketing to support these broader goals. Every marketing plan will most likely produce several marketing strategies as part of the broader plan.

What are 5 branding strategies give some examples? ›

7 Examples of Great Brand Strategy
  • Tesla—Brand Purpose.
  • Starbucks—Brand Vision.
  • Apple—Brand Values.
  • Amazon—Brand Positioning.
  • Harley—Brand Personality.
  • Tiffany—Brand Voice.
  • Nike—Brand Tagline.
28 Oct 2022

Which marketing strategy is most effective? ›

If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner. Content marketing encompasses blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, and more – basically, any type of content you can distribute online falls into this category.

What is the best way to use the 8 second rule? ›

Position your main point in the first few sentences (i.e. front-end load your information). If you are making an offer or have a call to action in the article, don't wait until the end to mention it. Find a way to reference it upfront and then circle back to it again at the end.

What is the 10 10 10 rule in marketing? ›

The 10-10-10 strategy

It's a simple philosophy that goes like this: When you are making any decision, whether in your personal or business life, consider how the course of action you want to take will make you feel ten minutes from now, ten months from now and, finally, ten years from now.

What are the 7 P's and the 8th of marketing mix? ›

These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.

What are types of strategies? ›

What Are the Three Types of Strategy- And How You Can Apply Them!
  • Business strategy.
  • Operational strategy.
  • Transformational strategy.


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