There has never been a better time to start a new company or be a challenger brand, because there is no longer anything standing between you and your potential customers. Small brands can now go direct-to-consumer via social platforms, and then amplify these awareness campaigns via targeted TV buys that harness the power of OTT and digital video.
This seismic shift means that small brands can now compete with big, established brands… and win.
Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club disrupted the razor market by competing with Schick and Gillette, and left them scrambling to catch up. We are now at a point where larger, established brands are emulating DTC strategies and executing them holistically across all screens, in a variety of ways, including scatter purchases on linear TV.
Punch Above Your Weight
Challenger brands do not have the kind of money to buy Walmart Point Of Sale or tons of ads during sports events, but they can reach their customers on linear TV by creating a custom audience segment for scatter buys and then taking their video across all screens to close the loop. Big companies can — and should — do the same on digital by finding high engagement and creating a conflicting play that will make viewers want to follow them back to linear TV.
This kind of direct communication will also let brands bypass the traditional tent pole TV events like the Oscars and the Super Bowl that seem like the next logical step after their initial success.
Once Dollar Shave Club got big enough to buy TV time, they bought really cheap time on Sports Center and ESPN 1, 2 and 3, because they knew that they could they reach their customers there, at the most efficient price, and that it would drive more traffic back to their website.
Invest in Information
If a brand invests in ad tech since day one they will have another advantage that many of the biggest competitors don’t have; they will be learning and getting their own information about their customers. When DTC brands come to VideoAmp we model their customers, using attributes on how they are engaging with their ads, then help them buy the most direct, effective TV. Brands that don’t have a DTC relationship can’t do this, so they buy segments like Nielsen Adult, which are at best, a wide net in an even wider pool. A DTC data set can help companies find gold in unexpected places, like on the History Channel at 3pm.
Facilitate Direct Connections
What should we be thinking about to help facilitate a more direct connection from brands to consumers? We need to ensure that data agents are working with their platforms to eliminate duplication and secure identities. We need to deliver a seamless experience across TV and mobile devices, and we need to cooperate with each other in order to create a high scale match rate. Brands need to find new marketing cycles and innovative ways to use data, and new ways to reach consumers, like through OTT, but using measures like frequency capping so they aren’t bombarding consumers and annoying them instead.
The most important thing to keep in mind moving forward is that when brands evolve from an indirect to direct-to-consumer marketing model, we become the new facilitators of success for all businesses, including our own.
The ALM is My Direct Connection
I look forward to starting each year at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. It gives me a great perspective on how the year closed, and what the new year will bring. This year in the IAB Tech Lab and our smaller group discussions we talked about important subjects like the new VAST protocol and blockchain, with the people who are going to influence and build them. At the ALM we have the rare opportunity to focus on our peers and partners. The conversations are meaningful, and they significantly influence my ability to move the ball forward for the year ahead.