We recently brought direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketers together at the first-ever Growth Guerilla Collective (GGC) community meetup in San Francisco, where members brainstormed ways to fuel brand awareness in 2020. The room was jam-packed with ambitious marketers eager to meet one another, learn about each other’s experiences, and grow personally and professionally. 

SF-based industry leaders Shann Alipour, Director of Marketing at Oliso, and Neha Mittal, Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at Cora, kicked off a group discussion by sharing their experiences driving awareness of, and engagement with, their company’s’ brands. These are my three key takeaways from the lively discussion:

D2C Marketers Want to Meet Their Peers

If you’ve ever hosted an event — whether it be a professional industry meetup, a birthday party, or a baby shower — you might be familiar with that dry-throat feeling you get during the hour or so before it starts. No matter how many people have RSVP’d, “Yes,” the dreaded, “What if nobody actually shows up?” thought creeps into your head.

To our surprise (and complete delight!) GGC members started popping into the venue 15 minutes early. Then, as the room began to fill with ambitious D2C marketers, it also started to get loud with conversation.

“Birds of a feather flock together.” -Mid-16th Century Proverb 

Pre-event anxieties aside, it’s no surprise that marketers crave opportunities to connect with others who do what they do. Growing awareness of, and engagement with, a brand that’s up against larger forces is really tough. D2C marketers are typically on very small teams and wear a lot of hats, and having support from a network of others who do what they do has an enormous positive impact on one’s ability to be successful.

Effective Brand Awareness on a Budget Is Top of Mind

D2C brands usually don’t have a comparable marketing budget to the larger incumbent brands they’re up against. Cutting to the front requires grit and a bit (or a lot) of creativity. 

Cora, a leader in organic feminine care products, demonstrated a great example of this at the meetup. Their team ran a bathroom takeover and turned the bare-boned bathroom into an Instagrammable space where attendees could interact with their brand and try products out. 

This offline guerilla marketing campaign sparked conversation around cost-effective ways to drive brand awareness on a budget. Expect to see digitally native D2C brands running offline marketing campaigns in 2020 in cost-effective ways that allow customers to interact with their brands and products directly.

Customer-Centricity Is the Key to D2C Marketing Success

Savvy marketers know that having a customer-centric marketing strategy is the key to successful and sustainable growth. After all, you’re marketing products that help your customers, make them happy, and fulfill their needs. 

That’s why Shann’s #1 tip to successfully build and grow a D2C brand is to prioritize personal relationships. People crave having meaningful relationships with the brands they personally identify with and love, and this holds true for consumers and influencers alike. 

In 2020 we can expect to see influencer marketing, customer retention, and community marketing at the top of the industry’s priority list because when D2C brands are profoundly and authentically connecting with their audiences, they cut to the front and beat the big dogs.   

Gear Up for Growth in 2020 by Joining the GGC

Designed for D2C marketers to grow their professional network, discuss industry challenges, and share experiences growing ambitious brands, the Growth Guerilla Collective (GGC) is here, and this meetup in San Francisco was just the start.

Next year, we’ll be heading to 15+ cities world-wide and bringing D2C marketers together 40+ times and Growth Guerilla Meetups. And it doesn’t stop there! Community members can connect online too in the #growthguerilla Slack group. 

If you’re interested in learning more about GGC community meetups or joining the #growthguerilla Slack group, please reach out to community@adroll.com.

Stephanie Abe
Author

Steph is the Community Marketing Manager at AdRoll. A relationship-builder, she’s behind the Growth Guerilla Collective (GGC); the community for D2C marketers. Before AdRoll, Steph ran Customer Marketing at a B2B SaaS company in San Francisco. She is passionate about customer-centric marketing.