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The missing link - basic common sense in direct-to-consumer marketing

Rachel O'Connor

16 Feb 2024

In launching the new business, the heartland of our offer remains the increasingly potent combo of award-winning brand comms & PR with digital marketing to drive traffic.

There is so much noise around as the economy continues to present challenges, and so if you are a business owner, a marketeer or a retail lead, we understand it’s hard to be confident over where to invest your hard-earned marketing budget, what to look for in partners and who is hustling beyond their capability.  So how do you sort the wheat from the chaff and how do you ensure your investments are giving you a viable return?

Here are a few areas we would recommend you look at and perhaps a few questions to ask of the right people.

No 1 - Build Your Own Community (ies)

As the landscape around influencers, media channels and the charge of Meta and Google continues, what can you do to control and improve your opportunity and conversion?

Owning and optimising the value of your own community is the top priority for any retail brand. Each engaged person is a drop of marketing gold and represents an opportunity to build a beautiful relationship with your brand. Like all relationships though, each needs a bit of love, care and focused investment to realise the value of their potential.

No 2 - Get to know your customers and the role you play in their lives

One size never fits all and understanding the profile of your community on each social platform and on your database is critical to engaging with these important people in the appropriate way. Data led insight into what makes them tick, who else they follow, how much they spend with you and what they want from your brand is the holy grail.

A regular dipstick survey can give you basic data that can be matched, profiled, and mapped to find opportunities for your sales and marketing teams to either embrace, emphasise, enhance or remove from your content planning.

No 3 - Test, Learn and Measure

Nothing these days is a straight line to a sale.  For all the planning, insight, and theorising, it is important to remind yourself that plans remain assumptions until they are implemented, and the results come into view.

Questions ahead of any activity to ask yourself or your team:

  • What are our business objectives?

  • Will our activity / Plan deliver against those objectives?

  • Will it reach our audience, deliver the right message, land the offer, and does it include a working call to action

  • How will we measure its impact?

Only by measuring can you learn whether your plan and assumptions have worked. Whatever you learn – even from failures - you can improve and recycle into your next activity planning.

No 4 - Reporting for Retail is critical not a nice to do

We encourage all our clients to provide weekly reports – quick and dirty - that become a clear gauge for all activity. We want to know Sales value, Top Sellers, Top referring Traffic, Impact of traffic (what did it does on the site, on social feeds) etc etc. And we want this information on a timely basis.

No 5 - Make sure any call to action is effective and will work

From a website to a social media call out or a link to purchase a product... these basic actions are often unchecked or assumed to be in place already. Often they are not properly in place and/or they don’t work!  Checking and optimising these elements is critical.

We can all deliver great content, ideas, promotions, and media exposure, but if this is not then linked to a business result, a like, a follow, a sign up, or a sale, it is a wasted investment.

No 6 – Do not be blinded by science

There is so much innovation in all areas of digital marketing that it is very easy to become overwhelmed and confused by what is right for your business and brand. Truth be known, always your own experience of your business/ brand will be better that any advisor, agency, or consultant. No one will ever know your business, at least initially, as well as you do. So try not to pressurised into acting based on your lack of knowledge, fear or desperation. Work with people who you know are invested in your brand, engaged, experienced and whom you feel you can trust.

Question proposals and ask for clear, plain English answers to the following questions:

  • What will this do for me/ my business?

  • How will I measure its success?

  • How will this meet my objectives?

  • Does this fit with my brand?

  • Will my audience like it?


No 7 – Consistency

Consistency across key activities in content planning and business narrative is essential. Most customers need to see a message or brand between 3-6 times before they will engage and act.

Content planning, blogging and newsletter marketing, along with message delivery around a brand and product is the life blood and pulse most businesses survive on when it comes to comms. Yet it is often a haphazard area and impacted by limited access of time and resource.

Focus, rigor and resilience will win through.  Once you have a solid base level of understanding about your audience, your offer and your brand’s role in your customers lives, you can get your routine comms really humming. Then you can begin to build engagement and overlay with creative campaigns or collaborations that will surprise and delight your communities, and importantly, drive growth.


If you need an experienced, straight talking and common sense head to talk to – please give me a shout. Always happy to share experience, chat through challenges and provide pragmatic solutions.

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