In this oversaturated direct-to-consumer market, it is imperative that companies invest in the right partners to ensure brand growth. Between intense competition and the need to control costs, it’s easy for DTC brands to believe that advertising on TV is beyond their budgets. But increasingly, marketers are discovering TV offers DTC brands expert, customized strategies that are cost-efficient, mindful of ROI—and perfectly in tune with the unique qualities that made these brands stand out in the first place.
Ad Age Studio 30 spoke with Jason Baron, senior vice president of direct marketing for WarnerMedia Ad Sales, who elaborated on the company’s advertising opportunities for DTC brands across multiple platforms and brands including CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Adult Swim and Cartoon Network. Baron also touched on the myriad of potential opportunities for more in-depth data and analytics from ongoing collaboration with sister company Xandr.
What are some of the biggest challenges you find with getting DTC brands to embrace TV advertising?
The three steps we use to help direct-to-consumer brands grow their business are discovery and customer acquisition, research and conversions, and awareness, loyalty and perception. No matter what stage they’re in or where they want to advertise, these brands are always looking for performance and driving sales.
Every brand can touch all three or just one. Discovery and acquisition are a part of everything.
Historically, the biggest barrier to entry for a lot of DTC brands has been the higher prices of advertising on TV. We have solutions across the board at WarnerMedia, but some of these brands think national cable might be out of their price range so then they try and go for the cheaper, more efficient CPM, but they’re not getting the quality of the content or the audience. Where DTC brands are going to win is when they’re investing in brands that have quality and premium content, which we can offer. The easy, cheap route is not the long game.
Another challenge—especially on the linear side—is you need time to understand if your brand has been successful. Brands can’t necessarily judge results unless the campaign is running for at least four to six weeks.
What sets WarnerMedia apart from other companies when it comes to direct-to-consumer brands?
Many DTC brands are evolving out of search and social, only now getting into linear television. With WarnerMedia’s assets, we’re bringing a unique approach. We’re not proposing massive multiplatform deals from the get-go. We want to understand where the clients are coming from and where they want to go—whether it’s dipping toes into linear TV, testing an OLV or VOD campaign or executing sponsorships and on-site activations. WarnerMedia is a one-stop shop with a consultative approach, actively listening and understanding where DTC brands are in their journey.
On top of that, we’ve been successfully collaborating with sister company Xandr. We’re excited about all the consumer insights that Xandr can offer to enhance existing advertising offerings.
We’re also leaning into our data, analytics and relevant ad capabilities. We created a product called ResponseNOW, working with a third-party vendor on targeting search lift. While linear TV doesn’t offer attribution, we’ve found that for DTC brands, advertising on TV is an excellent way to reach consumers and drive sales.