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Knowing and Growing Your Customer Base: Strategies for Manufacturers Going Direct to Consumer

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As a manufacturer, you likely already understand the importance of customer relationships and building loyalty. As the business landscape shifts, and customers are looking for direct conversations with brands – it’s becoming increasingly necessary to expand your relationships and take your products directly to consumers. In doing so, you’ll be able to grow your customer base through these new channels and start to have direct conversations and dialogues with the end users of your products – which holds massive upside in ensuring customer lifetime value.

In this post, we’ll explore the key activities and strategies for knowing and growing your customer base when going direct to consumer.

Define and Validate Your Target Audience

It’s essential for any company going direct to consumer to properly define their target consumer audience.

  • Analyze Existing Customer Data: Take a look at your existing customer base and analyze the demographics of those that have already purchased from your business. What did they buy and why? What do they like about your product or service? Answering these questions can help you identify potential customers that could benefit from what you offer.
  • Conduct Market Research: Research the needs and buying habits of potential customers by looking into relevant market data. This should include studying competitors and identifying trends in consumer behavior.
  • Prioritize Target Segments: Evaluate and prioritize your target segments based on their size, growth potential, profitability, and alignment with your brand. Focus on segments that align most closely with your product offerings and brand identity.
  • Create Customer Personas: Based on the research and data analysis, create customer personas that represent your ideal D2C target customers. These personas should include details such as age, gender, income level, occupation, interests, lifestyle, and purchasing preferences. Develop multiple personas to cover different segments within your target market.

Develop a Direct-to-Consumer Strategy to Reach Your Target Customers

Having identified your personas and target segments, you now need to develop a direct-to-consumer strategy to reach them.

  • Craft a Unique Value Proposition: Leveraging the insights from your research, develop a value proposition and surrounding messaging strategy that resonates with your buyers. Speak to their challenges, goals, and aspirations, and how your products can help them be successful in their roles.
  • Create a Multi-Channel Marketing Approach: Reach your customers in new ways across multiple channels to ensure you stay in front of them. Channels can include email campaigns, digital advertising, search marketing, social media, or even traditional media. By having the right strategies in place and utilizing data from your customer insights, you can effectively market your products and services directly to consumers.
  • Minimize Channel Conflict: This is one area that can’t be overlooked. To be successful in a DTC strategy means being successful in managing the current relationships you have with your core customer base. Choosing products that don’t compete or entering new products into markets that won’t cause conflict is a great way to test the waters and navigate potential risks.

Analyze and Optimize Your D2C Strategies Moving Forward

To assess and refine your D2C strategies, you must know what to measure and how to determine success.

  • Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Look at data around website traffic, customer conversion rates, average order value, repeat purchase rate, and customer lifetime value to track the success of your D2C initiatives. Additionally, tracking customer feedback is another important step in understanding how customers view your product/services and what needs improvement.
  • Analyze Customer Data: Get a better idea of your target audience’s buying behavior patterns such as shopping frequency or average purchase amount by analyzing past data. This information can then be used to determine which incentives or promotions may be most effective at driving sales from certain customer segments. You should also monitor how customers engage with marketing messages on different channels so you can tailor messaging across platforms for maximum reach.
  • Measure the Return on Investment (ROI): Determining the return of your D2C strategies is crucial for determining which ones are the most efficient. Set clear objectives that each strategy or campaign must achieve prior to launching it, and then evaluate whether those goals were met afterwards in terms of sales growth or other metrics like brand awareness or loyalty program engagement rates.

By investing time into analyzing and optimizing your D2C strategies, you will not only increase sales but also build stronger relationships with your customers.

In Closing

Once a manufacturer decides to go direct to consumer, there’s many decisions and determinations needed to fulfil that strategy. Understanding your target market will help you determine your key messaging and where and how to reach your audience as part of a multi-channel strategy. Measuring the results of your various strategies will allow you to optimize and strengthen your marketing to increase the results you see from this approach.

Click here to learn more about our position on Direct to Consumer for Manufacturing, or to schedule a briefing with our team.

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Justin Racine

Justin Racine is a Director and Lead Strategist with Perficient, and he works with clients to build and achieve their business goals through commerce-enabled technologies. Justin has over 12 years of experience within the ecommerce space, working with companies such as Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and Olam International, and has spoken at over 20 global conferences on ecommerce and branding strategy. Additionally, Justin has been published twice for his thought leadership on branding and marketing in the Henry Stewart Journal of Brand Strategy, is a contributing writer for, and a frequent contributor for many leading industry publications.

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