‘Marketing on Facebook is like living in a state of constant paranoia’: Candid thoughts of DTC brands

At the Digiday Retail Forum, focused on direct-to-consumer brands, upstart companies discussed what growth looks like for them in a series of sessions and town halls. Here’s some of what was said, under Chatham House Rule.

Weaning yourself off Facebook
“I’m a self-funded brand founder, and Facebook and Instagram are a big part of our growth story. But I’m willing to try other things, it’s just hard to justify to anyone else why we’re doing, for example, creative out of home.”

“Our social costs are through the roof but what do we do. We are between a rock and a hard place.”

“The data piece is hard. Even with all the marketing stuff that’s going on, it’s hard because you don’t get a lot of information with Facebook. They control it. They won’t send it to you.”

“Facebook is a necessary evil. The reason it’s efficient is because they protect their data.”

“There is a lot of data out there. You have founders worried too much about data. Sometimes I want to just say, ‘go with your gut’.”

“Facebook is still the most effective marketing channel for brands, basically in history. But we had to get our spend on Facebook down. It was 80 percent, now it’s 40 percent. I feel good about it, but I’m still worried.”

“Marketing on Facebook is like living in a state of constant paranoia.”

Losing control
“In order for any partnerships to work with physical stores, you have to get to a customer data sharing option. You can’t do this without that.”

“We will never sell on Amazon. All we have is our control and you lose control with them.”

“The platforms are coming in and it’s the same thing as giving up control to wholesale.”

“We obsessively try to protect our ground. Even when you’re trying new platforms, part of it is being engaged with who you work with.”

Growing up
“The thing is DTC is really just something you start with. After a while, we had to get comfortable with letting this DTC label go and just do what mainstream brands do.”

“The issue is brand founders. Founders are the ones who approach this as if it’s some kind of holy thing. It’s OK. Just get over it. You won’t lose your entrepreneur card if you try something P&G is doing.”

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