📦 What’s In The Box?!
May 21, 2023
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In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Using product boxes as social proof

📦 The benefits of combining influencer and affiliate marketing with Aspire

📦 How to apply a performance-focused creative strategy to TV advertising with Tatari

📦 The DTC impacts of Porter’s five competitive forces

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Using product boxes as social proof

Your next marketing strategy: 📦

There’s a knock on your door, and you emerge from the depths of your living room couch. When you open the door, the sun burns a little bit.

Laying at your feet is that beautiful blender you ordered two weeks ago. The sight of that box is euphoric...

It holds so much power, so much potential…

Imagine an ad strategy that takes advantage of that very feeling

💭 Why do we love boxes?

Richard Thaler, an American economist, discovered the endowment effect, which describes how consumers value objects before they actually have them vs. after they own them.

The endowment effect means that when a customer buys a product, they often value the idea of owning that product more than the product itself.

So when a product arrives in a box, it reaches its highest peak of value before the reality of actually owning it inevitably let you down.

That time between making a purchase and receiving the product can be painful… but worth the excitement when that sweet parcel finally shows up at the customer's door, and the customer identifies that gratification of ownership with the box itself.

📦 What is box content?

Box content uses raw images of stacked boxes or parcels on your factory floor in your paid social ads.

This content works because of the endowment effect and because it’s another form of social proof that shows that lots of people order the product… I mean, just look at all those boxes!

🤑 How box content impacts the funnel

👆 ToFu

Keep in mind that people log onto social platforms for entertainment and dopamine, not with the initial intention to look at ads or purchase a product.

Adding box content to your media strategy on social platforms causes disruption and sparks curiosity that’ll stop users from scrolling past and get them to read the ad copy.

👉 MoFu

Converting users that have already been exposed to your product or service is key.

Box content gathers those sitting in the middle of the funnel and is great for overcoming these two obstacles:

🤗 Trust. Some people might be skeptical of the product. While a product picture on a box isn't exactly hard proof, it adds a layer of 'realism.'

🗣 Social proof. Seeing other people with the product combats many objections a customer may have. It also builds trust and creates an element of FOMO.

👇 BoFu

The best way to utilize box content at the bottom of the funnel is by creating a sense of urgency for the potential consumer.

Those that might take longer to purchase a product could be tempted by creating a narrative of scarcity with ad text.

“These products are shipping fast, better hurry!” OR "our final few boxes left!"

🏗 How to make box content?

Box content is arguably the easiest and cheapest content to obtain!

Here’s how you can make it: 👇

  • Take your own box photos in varying environments (not just the warehouse)
  • Incentivize customers to take a photo of their product upon delivery with a discount code for their next purchase!

Don’t overthink it. You won't know what appeals to a customer before testing it, so try not to make assumptions.

A solid example of box content is taking a photo of a lamp in its box in an office space. Naturally, prospective customers will tie those two things together.

Alternatively, you could take a photo of the same box in a bathroom or in a car, where it doesn't make much sense, disrupting the customer's expectations of an ad they'd see on a social platform.

Box content is a social campaign that offers an opportunity for DTC brands to shake things up and ignite curiosity, and excitement on a social feed that is cluttered with ads that can seem uniform and monotonous.

Looking for more out-of-the-box insights? Be sure to check out our friends at Pilothouse!


Low operational cost and high ROI: a love story

In a performance marketing initiative, low operational costs and high ROI are star-crossed lovers...

Aspire wants to teach you why affiliate marketing is a perfect matchmaker ❤️

Join the experts from Aspire's strategy team on April 14, 2 pm ET | 11 am PT for a deep dive and live Q&A session on:

  • The benefits of combining influencer and affiliate marketing
  • How to tactically get started
  • Industry success stories, benchmarks and best practices

Unable to join live but still want the recording?

Make sure to register anyways and receive it straight into your inbox.

👉 Register here.


In 1979, Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter described five competitive forces that impact brand and strategy.

While much has changed in the past 43 years, Porter's concept still applies to modern DTC brands. Competition is not about how big a brand becomes but its profitability.

Here are the five forces that can impact profitability and shape a DTC brand's business strategy.

👊 Existing rivals

Hello Captain Obvious, the first competitive force a DTC brand faces comes from existing rivals. If you’re JBW and sell diamond watches, your direct competitors will include every other diamond watch merchant.

Even in the case of direct rivals, competition is not simply a fistfight for sales and customers. Understanding the brand's existing rivals can help identify openings in the marketplace.

JBW's 200-diamond Jet Setter watch sells for $695 and could be an entry-level option compared to Piaget's Polo Skeleton watch, which costs more than matching Tesla Ys for you and a close friend.

JBW could position itself as a high-quality, high-value option relative to Paiget.

Understand existing rivals and identify how your DTC brand is different.

👥 Customers

A DTC brand's customers are also a competitive force. Often customers are very happy to get more and pay less. You think they are loyal right up until they stop buying.

This competitive force is strongest in niche markets with relatively few customers or what Porter called "powerful buyers."

For example, Not a Wheelchair sells off-road rigs to help wheelchair users get outside.

The market for their $5,000-plus products is relatively small, and they could potentially face competitive forces from customers who want a discount or want extra value like low or no interest financing.

A DTC brand in this type of market needs to understand how offering a customer concession will impact its competitiveness and profitability. What would happen, for example, if a new mobility firm started to offer zero-percent financing?

🔥 To get the inside scoop Porter’s additional competitive forces - suppliers, new entrants, and alternatives click here.


Lively A/B tests TV creative to drive lower-funnel performance

😣  Frustrated with rising acquisition costs on social and digital channels?

DTC brands are turning to TV to reach a broader audience at a more affordable CPM.

Now, marketers can optimize their TV campaigns in real-time and keep the same direct-response mindset that they’re used to on digital.

Learn how Lively—a DTC women’s apparel brand—applied a performance-focused creative strategy to TV advertising; identifying the optimum length and creative elements necessary to drive lower-funnel performance and leveraging top-performing creatives to scale spend.

The results were stellar, as Lively exceeded their CPV goal within the first week of airing and saw digital performance improve thanks to TV’s halo effect.

“We use TV as a full-funnel marketing channel – great CPMs and great rates to reach a broad audience and drive visits and conversions to our site.”

- Carly London, Head of Growth.

🎥 Watch the full case study.


😨 Struggling to execute your best and boldest ideas? This coached 20-minute weekly ritual helps marketers focus on high leverage work. *

🧣 Farfetch, an online luxury fashion marketplace, invests $200 million into Neiman Marcus group, a department store company. This Investment will be used to re-platform Bergdorf Goodman's website and mobile application.

📺 Netflix has purchased Boss Fight Entertainment, a Texas-based game developer. This acquisition is Netflix's third acquisition of a gaming company.

👾 Niantic, the company that created Pokemon Go, has acquired the development platform 8th Wall in hopes of aiding developers' visions for AR on an enhanced developer platform.  



🍭 100 Million TikTok Views Slapping the Marshmallow with TheMarshmallow.co's Joel Twyman.

👀 If You Shelve It, Will They Come? With Fractional CMO Bryan Holladay.

🏋️‍♂️ Why Personalization Might be the Biggest Opportunity in DTC with Eric Ji Sun Wu, Cofounder of Gainful.

💄The Fast Road to 8 Figures with Jones Road Beauty's Cody Plofker.

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

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight and Jordan Gillis. Edited by Claire Beveridge and Eric Dyck.

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