DTC 109: 📦 Should DTC brands build media arms?
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Discord, Shopify, and more major brands experienced outages earlier this week.

Our only hope…

In this newsletter you’ll find: 👇

🎥 Should you be investing in a media arm?

🚀 TikTok: Finding high converting audiences.

👶 DTC neurosurgeon-made baby food – Cerebelly.

🎙 DTC podcast archive – Kristen LaFrance.

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss out. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


DTC + Media can clearly be a wildly successful combo.

👉 Red Bull is more known for its crazy-extreme YouTube videos than its energy drink…

👉 Gucci, Sephora, GE, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Slack, Johnson & Johnson, and many other brands now have a podcast…

👉 Lego even has their own big-screen movies!

In fact, more up-and-coming DTC brands are intentionally building media companies FIRST, and selling products second.

But many are still gun-shy when it comes to investing time and resources into the long-game of content.

So, we set out to discover how three brands have successfully built a media arm, and how it’s contributed to more growth for their DTC products.

🥄 Little Spoon: "Is This Normal"

This parent-founded brand started out selling fresh, organic, convenient baby food products.

But when they saw an opportunity to have a bigger impact in their customers’ lives by building an online parenting community, they went for it.

Little Spoon’s cofounder, president, and CMO Lisa Barnett told us the origin story of their expansion into media: 👇

"We realized there was a bigger issue and opportunity here for Little Spoon to help solve—our customers were turning to our Care Team to ask the raw, unfiltered questions they were too ashamed or uncomfortable to ask friends and family, fearing that what they were experiencing was abnormal or rare.

"As a company that’s all about supporting parents, I feel it is our responsibility to address it and normalize the multitude of experiences that most parents go through but don’t talk about."

Thus, the creation of their online community Is This Normal was born—a platform to help destigmatize parenting realities and to create a space where all the ‘Is this normal?!" could be answered by experts, peers, and even celebrity parents (hiiii Maren Morris 👋).

Little Spoon has found success with media by always serving their customers first, which has translated into massive organic growth:

"In today’s crowded media world, it’s incredibly hard to get attention, and old-school marketing mixes (which are heavily weighted in the Facebook/digital ads realm) are becoming increasingly unsustainable for brands.

At Little Spoon, our customers are our center of gravity, not just because this is core to our values, but because it also has given us a powerful 1:1 connection that unlocks unprecedented word of mouth for our business."

And Lisa’s advice for other DTC Brands thinking about media? 🤔

"... A "media" arm takes persistence, time and tremendous focus (which means avoiding temptations to take an easier/faster route to growth). What’s critical is believing that this strategy is right for your brand and forcing yourself to be ruthless in how you focus your attention.

"...Identify your primary goal and build the path to get there accordingly. And be prepared to thicken your skin, take on defiers and disarm the skeptics—like anything, you must believe in it fully to win."

’Nuff said. 🙏

👶 Lalo – "Dad Pod"

Non-toxic baby gear brand Lalo has also branched out into the media world with their (brilliantly named) podcast Dad Pod.

When we asked Lalo cofounder, president, and CMO Michael Wieder about the inspiration for the podcast, here’s what he told us: 👇

"We wanted to have an outlet to connect more deeply with our consumer.

The Dad Pod was born from everyday conversations that Greg and I would have about balancing entrepreneurship, career, and fatherhood. We thought there must be people in the Lalo fam that would want to hear from us and other amazing dads."

Many marketers shy away from things like content and media, because it can be difficult to measure ROI.

With their podcast, Lalo considers the usual data points, but takes a more brand-centric approach when it comes to "defining success":

"We looked at how many people listened and shared, but we also just had fun doing it. This was not a metrics based experiment.

We believe that the best brand touches happen through genuine human interactions sometimes with no ulterior motives."

Now that’s how you build a brand consumers love. ❤️

👷 BRUNT Workwear – "Bucket Talk"

Another DTC brand crushing the podcast space is workwear company BRUNT. On their podcast Bucket Talk they share inspirational stories of real people thriving in the Trades and Construction space.

BRUNT’s founder and CEO Eric Girouard got real with us about what it takes to run a media arm: 👇

"Make sure it's truly your passion –running a media platform in addition to a brand is a 24x7x365 job.

If you don't absolutely love the category you are in or the customer you are serving, it will not be an enjoyable journey. I wake up every day and can't wait to work on both, and it's still incredibly hard to manage both."

For BRUNT, the hard work has paid off –and the benefits have been pleasantly unexpected:

"[We’ve experienced] inbound interest from very large brands that want to sponsor our media channel or somehow partner together. It has opened a lot of doors that would have been slammed in our face."

In today’s market, DTC brands that master the art of media can have huge long-term advantages over competitors in today’s market, including:

  • Increasing reach.
  • Fostering partnerships.
  • Lowering acquisition costs.
  • Building authentic brand loyalty and community.

Interested in hearing more from these founders?

We chatted with each of them earlier this year. Check ’em out!

🎧 Ep129: Little Spoon

🎧 Ep 124: Lalo

🎧 Ep 91: Brunt Workwear


The Shipstorm is coming. Are you ready? 😱

Let’s face it: For most of us, shipping delays and disruptions will be unavoidable this holiday season.

That’s why solidifying your communication strategy NOW is crucial to keeping customers happy this Cyber Weekend and beyond.

But these days, throwing up a banner on your website and calling it good won’t quite cut it.

The key to avoiding frustrated holiday shoppers is three-fold:

  1. Be transparent.
  2. Set expectations early.
  3. Communicate at every touchpoint.

So how does that actually look in practice? 🤔

Klaviyo is comin’ at ya with the best tips for communicating delays and updates to your customers, including real examples from other brands.

👉 Learn exactly how top DTC brands are getting out ahead of Shipageddon here.

What if you’re one of the lucky ones that won’t be affected by shipping delays? Communicate that loud and clear to customers, too! It’s a great reason to shop with you.


How to find high-converting audiences on TikTok

Starting broad within a conversion audience is a great place to begin, but you can find more efficient scale from targeting balanced or more narrow audiences for your campaigns.

Here how to find engaged audiences that you can target after just a week of testing:

Start with two "open" ad groups.

One targeting a "complete payment" objective and one targeting either a "View Content" or "Add To Cart" Objective.

Run your campaign for a few days until you have a comfortable amount of signals.

Now, find the "view data" tool beside the "edit" button when hovering over ad groups.

Select, "audiences," then find "Interest and Behavior."

Select either "clicks" or "conversions" As your metric.

Use those top interest and behavior audiences to start scaling out your campaigns and targeting these HOT sub audiences.

As either individual campaigns, or a stacker.

Thanks to the Pilothouse team for the tip!


Selling a business is on just about every DTC founder's bucket list...

But you don't need to cross off everything on your to-do list to make it happen!

There's no need to "dress up" your store or get battle-ready for painful negotiations. 🙅

💰 OpenStore will buy your Shopify store for six-figures, now.

It’s the most straightforward way to sell your business, and it only takes a few clicks:

  • Claim your offer in 2 steps.
  • Get an objective, data-powered price in 24 hours.
  • Transact in 1 or 2 weeks.

... All with no broker fees in sight.

Brand owners across every category are selling their businesses directly to OpenStore.

💸 Get your no-obligation offer from OpenStore today.


There’s no one we’d trust more to formulate food for babies’ growing brains than an already-practicing neurosurgeon.

Created with the goal of nourishing kids, meet Cerebelly. 👶🥑

Cerebelly’s baby food pouches are created with 16 key brain supporting nutrients, so you can feel confident in what you’re feeding your kids!

Convenient and recyclable, check ‘em out: 👇

For a mix of informative and aesthetic (and some pretty dang cute UGC) check out their ads here!


Earlier this year we had Kristen LaFrance, former head of resilient retail at Shopify and now director of community at Repeat, on the show.

It’s a masterclass episode on community building.

The Takeaways:

📦 Relationships > Sales

Brands make the same mistake over and over. New brands treat their customers as metrics, viewing them as sales vehicles rather than people to have relationships with.

This shoots community building in the foot.

Sales follow relationships. People don’t just buy an individual product, they buy the brand as a whole.

Use leggings as an example. There’s no ‘legging’ community that gets together and talks about leggings. But there are people who value things like yoga and wellness and are looking for ways to integrate that desire into their lives.

If you can offer people something that makes them feel closer to these objectives, both in the form of a brand-wide philosophy and the community that builds around it, the product will sell.

📦 Core blocks of community

Step 1: Know your best-fitting customers

Find out who is interacting with you the most, commenting lots, and buying tons of products. These are the people you are connecting with the most, and they will form your original avatar. They’re your golden eggs.

Step 2: Find out who they really are

Get on the phone! Find out as much as you can about these people’s lives. Find out about their day-to-day goings-on.

Focus on what problems they’re facing and anything your brand might be able to jump in and help with. Find out what value means to them.

Consider keyword-transcribing these calls to find out what recurring themes pop up when a customer thinks about your brand.

Step 3: Find out where they hang out online

The last thing you want to do is try to force behavior that doesn’t exist!

Understand which social media platforms your golden eggs are already using and meet them there. If you don’t know, just ask them! Because this is where you’re going to build your community…


People think that this just means written posts, SEO, blogs, web pieces, etc… but it’s so much more!

Content is every interaction your brand has.

Every comment, post, and reply. It's the conversations you're having with them, so think about every detail.

Every community will want something a little different. It’s up to you to ask them and make it happen.

Listen to the entire episode here!


So far hundreds of DTC readers have taken advantage of our Reverse Black Friday Sale to buy Scale School: Facebook and Instagram Ads, the course we made in partnership with Pilothouse.

The feedback is starting to come in from purchasers testing out the Scale School system:

Elliot Roazen, Head of Growth at the Uncovery, Unilever

"...this course kicks so much ass."

Dave Huffman, CMO of Mictrobe Formulas

"I bought this for my team, and we’ve already run a "Pilot Test" from Module 3 to find some new winning ad assets we can scale. It’s early days, but we’re getting lots of positive signals. Looking forward to building this into our workflow.

Afif Ghannoum, CEO of Biohm Health

"I love this, We’ve already started implementing a number of tactics that we’re scaling across a few campaigns, and (not shockingly) we’re already getting ROI back from the course.

Reverse Black Friday means that the price goes up next week, so grab it while you can still save 25%!

Buy Scale School Today and Save $500!


🏦 Upgrade your business banking to Mercury. With no account opening fees, wire transfer fees, or minimum balance requirements, it's banking built for eCommerce.*

🤑 Settle bags $60M to simplify bill payments for e-commerce.

🖥 OpenStore raises $75M to acquire more Shopify sellers, reaches $750M valuation in eight months.

🏬 Online wholesale marketplace Faire secures $400M in series G round.

🧵 Twitter acquires Threader, an app that compiles and shares threads.

👻 Mattress maker Casper to be taken private by PE firm Durational Capital Management.


🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

👟 Vessi’s CEO Tony Yu’s Q4 Lead Generation Brilliance (40K+ New Leads In 24 Hours With THIS Contest Strategy).

🤵‍♂️ 3X to 10X ROAS and Managing Your Customer Lifecycle with Suit Shop'sKristen Jones.

🧲 Wildstorming the Beauty Space – Glamnetic's Head of Growth Margaret Fortner Returns!

♻️ Learn how Fussy Deodorant Lowers Blended CaC with Cofounder Matt Kennedy.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Kelsey Hess, Rebecca Knight.

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