Commentary

Friction Over Price: Mapping the DTC Path to Purchase

Hubble Contacts used to advertise on the New York subway, remember? "Everybody wants to see their brands on the subway," said Jesse Horwitz, Co-CEO/Founder, Hubble Contacts, "but the rates are insane." Direct-to-consumer brands like his suffer for not having digital distribution points just as tradition brands suffer from not having a conversion channel, he added. 
DTC brands need to decide what their businesses can support and not become a "lifetime contribution to pay off for those channels. I push back on 'you can have a very nice business that can be a premium there.' It's silly to acquire a customer for more than they're worth to you."

Moderator Amy Lanzi, EVP, Commerce Lead, North America, Publicis Media, wondered about best-of-class partnerships for DTC brands, something Horwitz said Hubble has been very active in. "In theory, there should be tons to do here," he said. "There's no efficient way to route that traffic. There's enough data that it's exciting but it's an incredibly disorganized space. There's a ton of work to do in cleaning it up." 

Suzanne Darmory, President of hi, our name is, noted that legacy brands have to stay in the same playing field and play offense as opposed to defense. [Former client] Petco created a test kitchen for dogs, she said, "a good way to understand how legacy can be more of a distributor."
Choosing partners, she said, is the hardest and most difficult thing to do in our business but it also the most important.

Darmory, who started in digital in 1996, creating IKEA's website, said that back then they used the available technology to "do things just to be cool. Now, it's just the understanding the information we have, data, testing. It's so insanely powerful to what we do. The future is coming so quickly." 

She is just trying to "get ahead, find the magic formula and the next big thing."

About digital voice, Horwitz rather scoffed, saying he is skeptical. "The younger you go [demographically], the more they text. They don't want to talk to machines if they don't want to talk to each other. But games is exciting and interesting. Facebook was cool when I was in high school, Instagram was cool. Fortnight is cool right now. That's the one that feels the most real to me."

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