Leading direct-to-consumer brands in 2022 invest in advertising at the beginning and end of the buyer’s journey.
While ecommerce and consumer brand marketers often start advertising with Meta and Google Ads — the staples of digital performance advertising — these same businesses can grow to use an array of mediums to engage shoppers in different buyer journeys.
The term “360-degree marketing” describes promotional campaigns that aim to reach shoppers at nearly all points of contact. And it appears that some top DTC brands are advertising this way, placing similar or unified promotions in several advertising channels at once.
Consider Lovevery. Founded in 2015, the company sells quality toy kits based on brain science and the Montessori educational philosophy.
The brand had more than 100,000 subscribers in 2020. By October 2021, it had received more than $126 million in venture capital funding. So it is clearly a growing company.
From May 2021 through mid-May 2022, Lovevery ran online video and streaming ads on more than 280 sites and services. Below is an example ad Lovevery used on at least 26 websites while sharing similar messages in other advertising and marketing channels.
Lovevery also placed ads on Meta properties and Google, ran digital display ads, promoted products with native advertising, and sponsored popular podcasts.
Similarly, Hims & Hers Health, Inc. has a 360-degree approach to advertising. The American telehealth company sells health care products, including prescription medications, online.
Between May 2021 and April 2022, the company invested in cable television, online video, streaming video, display advertising, mobile-specific placements, podcast promotions, paid social, and pay-per-click search advertising.
Here is an example of a display ad by Hims & Hers Health that appeared on the Oxygen website in February 2022.
Many DTC and consumer brands expand from search and paid social advertising to include contextually targeted placements.
Based on a tried and true concept, contextual targeting places your ad next to relevant content. Here are some examples.
Outdoor furniture brand Outer invests in newsletter placements. For example, the company recently appeared in Sahil Bloom’s The Curiosity Chronicle newsletter.
Sahil Bloom is an investment guru and the managing partner of SRB Ventures. His newsletter focuses on personal productivity and lifestyle, an ideal context for Outer’s likely customers.
Hence Outer’s placement in The Curiosity Chronicle shows that contextual advertising can include placing ads next to seemingly unrelated content, too.
ButcherBox is a meat delivery subscription service that sends subscribers grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, and similar cuts.
In the 12 months leading up to May 2022, ButcherBox had placed sponsorships with at least 18 podcasts ranging from influencers such as Ben Greenfield to the CBS Sports Network’s Fantasy Football Today podcast.
These placements make sense contextually. A lifestyle and fitness influencer like Ben Greenfield, for example, could emphasize the grass-fed and organic aspects of ButcherBox’s meat.
At least some of the contextual placements take the form of influencer endorsements.
Below is a quote from a host-read spot that ran on Greenfield’s fitness podcast for October 28, 2021. It featured a free turkey offer from ButcherBox and focused on the quality of the company’s products.
“Hey, we’re coming up on Thanksgiving,” Greenfield read, “And for all of you people in America, guess what, I am going to give you a ten-to-16-pound turkey. Well, I’m not. My sponsor for today’s show is.
“ButcherBox. They’re offering new members a 10-to-16-pound turkey — and this is like a good, clean, guilt-free, high-quality, humanely-raised turkey — that you can trust. It is chuck-full of wonderful nutrients and not chuck-full of toxins,” Greenfield continued.
“ButcherBox has 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef; free-range, organic chicken; heritage-breed pork; wild-caught seafood, but for the purposes of our discussion — amazing turkeys.”
When Greenfield read this ad to an audience of listeners who trust him personally, he was almost certainly making a strong impression and effectively endorsing the product.
When DTC brands are not using newsletter or podcast ads that look or sound like endorsements, they probably use video, including streaming formats and old-fashioned television.
Athletic Greens, perhaps the hottest nutritional supplement on the market in 2022, is just one example. The company has run ads extensively on cable television, streaming services, and online video.
All of the DTC advertising examples above have been what one might describe as positive. Contextual targeting, endorsements, and video ads are trends that other DTC companies and retailers might want to emulate.
There is, however, one observation which at least some companies should avoid. Data from advertising intelligence platform Media Radar shows that several DTC brands cut advertising investments ahead of America’s looming recession. This might not be a good idea for all businesses.
History tells us that many businesses that invest in advertising and marketing during a recession typically emerge in better shape than their competitors when the economy rebounds.
One of the most commonly cited reports on this topic is 2005’s “Turning adversity into advantage: Does proactive marketing during a recession pay off?”
“Recessions can severely affect the performance of firms and even their very survival. However, all firms are not equally affected by a recession. Some firms view recessions as opportunities to strengthen their businesses, invest aggressively, and establish their advantage over their weaker competitors,” reads the report’s abstract.