Among the many marketing acronyms, one, in particular, seems to have capitalized attention in recent times. To the usual B for Business and C for Consumer has been added a letter D that stands for Direct. The acronym D2C direct-to-consumer means that the marketing strategy provides the promotion and sale of products and/or services directly to the final customer, skipping the steps that go through more intermediaries.
Lately many people, when talking about D2C marketing, tend to consider it something new. However, more than a novelty it's a return to the scene, most likely dictated by the effects that the pandemic has had and will continue to have on our habits of choice and purchase, especially online. We'll talk about that in a moment. Before we go ahead, we want to tell you a story. Did you know that one of the first practical applications of direct marketing to the consumer was documented in the editorial field, in Italy, back in 1498? In the 15th century in Venice, the publisher Aldo Pio Manuzio, known above all for the famous Edizioni Albine, created the first catalog (a classic example of D2C marketing) for the direct sale of his books to readers. At the time, it was a real stroke of genius thanks to which Aldo Pio Manuzio is still considered one of the greatest publishers of all time, as well as one of the first publishers in the modern sense throughout Europe.
But let’s return to the recent prominence of D2C marketing. The pandemic has accelerated some processes that are already in place in the publishing landscape. We’re experiencing firsthand the changes that the entire sector has seen over the years and we are trying to metabolize the extraordinary events of the recent months. Much of these changes have affected the way readers discover, choose, and enjoy books. There are good chances that in 2021 these changes will become more tangible, being driven by the increasing awareness we've just mentioned, by the advance of new technologies, and the rediscovered concept of sustainability, which is leading many consumers to choose alternative methods of purchase and consumption of content - often outside the beaten path of the big online retailers, like Amazon for example.
The growing search for a direct relationship with the brand combined with the constant increase in the consumption of digital content can translate for publishers and authors into new and interesting opportunities. An example? Implementing strategies and channels of direct marketing to the consumer not only diminishes the intermediation of retailers but it reduces investments in advertising as well. Of course, D2C channels should be considered as complementary distribution channels rather than alternative ones. Therefore, it's not a matter of entering into conflict with traditional and digital retail partners but of giving oneself a new possibility to intercept readers, offering them the option to choose where and how to buy the titles of our catalogs. Limiting brokerage is just one of the benefits that a direct marketing strategy can have on our publishing business. What other benefits can publishers and authors get?
Building relationships with readers
Often, publishers and authors are far from the people who affect their profits the most: readers! Direct-to-consumer marketing can fill this gap by helping to establish direct contact with our consumers. The main channels to start building these fruitful relationships are websites, social media platforms and email, to name a few. The latter channel in particular, can prove to be the real trump card. A personal email box is an intimate place, away from the noise and frenzy of many social platforms. Those who read our emails have the pleasant feeling of being able to access something exclusive and usually, the subscriptions and the constant use of newsletters are synonymous with respect and appreciation towards those who write. Thanks to emails, publishers and authors can free themselves from the inconstant algorithms of the giants of the web, reach a certain audience and - hear, hear - know their names, addresses, preferences, and habits.
Data, data, and more data
Building direct relationships with readers gives us the invaluable opportunity to have access to a potentially infinite reservoir of data. Email addresses, demographics, purchasing habits, and usage habits provide us with information that allows us to know who our customers are in order to apply commercial and communication strategies aimed at meeting their needs and desires. The ability to listen to readers can make a difference if you have a clear understanding of how to use the data that we have access to.
Work on brand recognizability
Exploiting the full potential of the D2C approach can have an additional and pleasant side effect: it will maximize your brand awareness or the recognizability of your editorial brand. Integrating direct mailing strategies, using coupons or personalized gadgets, if well supported by a constant and as humane as possible relationship with our readers, will help publishers and authors to be remembered by consumers. A pampered reader has many more chances to become a faithful reader, aware of the existence and values of our brand!
Greater chance of earning, greater control over sales
The space on the shelves (including online ones) is getting smaller and smaller every day, which is leading both publishers and authors towards a constant search for new ways to reach readers. Today, having access to as many distribution channels as possible is essential and among them, there should always be a proprietary channel for direct sales of which you have full control and from which you can obtain maximum yield in terms of earnings.
We've been listening to you!
Many of our authors and publishers have long known the benefits of being able to connect directly with their audience, without any intermediary, to better understand and evaluate who their readers are. We’ve been listening to your needs and after a lot of work and thanks to your feedback, we’ve created a new service, StreetLib Direct, which could be very useful in improving and simplifying your direct marketing strategies to the consumer. StreetLib Direct will soon be available from the user dashboard!