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January 26, 2022

These growth marketing practices are out-of-date for DTCs

Farhana Rahman
Senior Content Manager

It’s 2022, and there are many growth marketing practices from the early 2000’s that need to be replaced with more effective alternatives. Especially for DTC brands.

I know, you might be thinking to yourself, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?” The quick answer is that it all boils down to time, money, resources, results, and scalability. I’d probably even throw relevance in there—I mean, I’d hope you would choose to invest in Google Ads over ads in bulky printed phone books (do they still make those?)

Traditional marketing tactics obviously can’t be dropped in two seconds, but it is important for your brand to have all the more modern bases covered. Though I must say, if you’re reading this post, I’m sure you already have most of my suggestions down pat, or in the pipeline. You understand the importance of being current with the times across all fronts. 

So without further ado, I present to you the growth marketing practices that you best consider retiring, along with recommendations on what to do instead!

Campaigns based on generalized data

One size no longer fits all, and acting on generalized data is ultimately a waste. No one likes being placed into a box. Personalization is the name of the game, and I’m talking about more than blast emails with your customer’s first name on it. 

Your team needs to capitalize on zero-party data, to be able to cater to consumer preferences down to the user-level, send out relevant communication, foresee future needs, and even target more customers that align with the persona of your most loyal base. You can use a variety of interactive experiences such as quizzes, questionnaires, and polls to leverage zero-party data from your customers. Moreover, you can collect this data quickly and at scale. Of course, this assumes that you were asking the right questions to begin with. Suitable questions would focus on how your service works and imply that you have the customer's interests in mind in that you want to provide an excellent and personalized experience.

One of our previous posts dives deeper into the types of questions you can ask, to obtain zero-party data. For reference, let me give you an idea of the recommend style of questions:

  • What is your favorite brand for XYZ? (This will give your brand a better understanding of the products customers are interested in using today, and can also provide greater insight into the price they are willing to pay, the quality they expect, and more.)
  • Which product from the following list do you prefer? (This can be a list of some of the products you currently offer, and will best indicate whether the customer is a heavy buyer, or more at a basic level.
  • Additional questions that dive into the unique personal preferences of each individual customer, which will help your brand help better fit the product/service to their needs.

Zero-party data benefits your company and your customers. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Only optimizing for upper funnel events

CAC optimization has fared well for brands over the years because it optimizes for upper funnel events, and hey, who doesn’t like quick wins?

But again, this approach needs to go. In fact, many DTC companies are already making the shift from CAC, to payback strategy. The payback period refers to how long it takes for a customer to “pay back” the amount of money that was spent to acquire them—but what about the rest of their relationship with the brand? This is where LTV comes in. Growth teams can optimize their campaigns based on LTV data, combined with the payback they want, and when they want it—all for more significant and sustainable results in the long term.


Duplicated campaigns without A/B testing

I guess we’re all guilty of duplicating and repeating campaigns that previously proved to be successful, but that approach doesn’t leave room for improvement or innovations.

With that in mind, you shouldn’t be afraid to regularly conduct A/B testing on your growth campaigns. Change up the creative elements and their layouts. Tweak the copy. Play around with different CTA’s. Target untapped audiences that demonstrate high LTV. Then you can compare the results with that of previous campaigns, as A/B testing can measure the performance of each strategy on a Cost Per Result basis or Cost per Conversion Lift basis.

Facebook Insights offers convenient options to conduct A/B testing. They offer several ways you can conduct such tests such as:

  • Through the Ads Manager toolbar
  • From the Experiments Tool
  • While creating a new ad campaign
  • Through duplicated campaigns/ad sets
  • Through a Common Scenarios prompt (referring to prompts that come to you from Facebook)

Check out this post if you would like some tips on how to get the most out of your A/B tests on Facebook.

Placing any and all new customers front and center

You obviously want everyone in the world to subscribe to your service, but at the end of the day, it really is more about quality than quantity. This is why you need to focus on loyalty-based marketing. It will help with a few important things, such as cohort retention, churn mitigation, add ons and upsells.

Loyalty-based marketing is what will ensure your brand is on the right track for exponential growth—regardless of those nerve-wracking changes the ad networks and operating systems.

love throwing our way. This approach becomes more effective if you use predictive models to determine which customer would have a better LTV over the other. You can then signal the users who are more inclined to make purchases over time. 

I’m sure your brand collectively gains major profit from add-ons and upselling customers before orders are finalized. Having a good LTV model set in place will help you better understand who your most valued users are, before you encourage them for impulse purchases.

Loyalty-based marketing can also help you win back churned customers. I mean, since you already have an open line of communication with them, you can use the LTV data to determine which personalized offer/deal should be presented to churned customers in order to win them back.

Engaging in one of many eCommerce no-no’s

Here are some obvious eCommerce no-no’s you should (obviously) avoid at all costs.

That’s not all though. When you use any approach for longer than you should, you would notice less impressions from your customers. But hey, it’s all about perspective, right? No need to look at it as collective losses—look at it as an opportunity to improve everything. And I mean everything. This means more than updating the checkout experience, and sprucing up content. You need to win hearts.

The end of the funnel is just as important as the beginning of the funnel. Send an email to first-time buyers, and like I mentioned earlier, circle back with those that have churned.

In addition to revamping your SEO, you should also test out ways to optimize your landing pages, to entice your customers to make a quick buying decision, as opposed to having to waste time navigating your platform. Two practical things you can do is to align all the CTAs on your page and to constantly test out images and copy. It’s important to note that product features/deals should be the same between your ad copy and landing pages.

Speaking of ad copy, don’t make the mistake of over-promoting offers to irrelevant segments. To ensure greater ROAS with greater paybacks, you can use predictive UA technology to identify your top 20 percent of customers, and target them accordingly with the appropriate promos for their loyalty. And target the rest with different kinds of promos that will help create a more emotional connection with your brand.

Relying on one ad network as the main source of acquisition efforts

As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Activity on one ad network is a good start, but you need to diversify. 

This is especially the case when you consider the barrage of changes and volatility growth leaders have seen through the course of 2021 alone. These included the IDFA changes in iOS 14.5, Facebook’s deprecation of the AMM program, the infamous Apple ruling, Apple’s privacy threshold, and more. We covered these changes in one of our previous posts, which also includes insights on how some top growth marketers navigated through it all to come out on top.

So if your ad campaigns are solely on Facebook, that’s great, but you may also want to consider Google, Snapchat, Tik Tok… all depending on where your targets are hanging out of course.

Brands that don’t have a healthy mix of acquisition channels get severely hurt by direct losses, and get a much smaller piece of the pie. As a marketing leader you should always be in search of and test new acquisition channels.

Not having a strong internal data operation

In the past growth teams were able to more/less get away with implementing basic growth marketing knowhow, and attained decent results. However, since the barrage of changes that I mentioned earlier came into effect, it became clear that companies need to invest in data infrastructure, in terms of team members, tech, tools, and more.

The usage of a predictive UA solution plays a major role in easing the burden on growth teams that are looking to optimize ad campaigns. It’s an added bonus if the solution is plug-and-play, as it will save your company time and resources from building solutions in-house. 

So in conclusion, many DTCs are still relying on age-old growth marketing practices, and worry about the declining sales. Others are concerned about declining sales following a spike during the course of the pandemic. The bottom line is that in order to be sustainably profitable, while also keeping your customers happy and attracting new ones that demonstrate high LTV—it is highly recommended you look into ways to take these suggestions to heart.

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