by Evan Fript, founder, Paul Evans
To most effectively market toward a millennial man, a smart brand owner knows they have to first put themselves in his shoes. Evan Fript, founder of men’s shoe brand Paul Evans, takes that advice literally. As the millennial founder of a brand marketed toward his own peers, he fully understands his clientele — and has a few pointers for other direct-to-consumer brands hoping to better reach their target audience.
Spread your influence
For some direct-to-consumer startups, getting the word out about your product can seem like a vicious cycle. To make money, you must gain customers; to gain customers, you must spend on marketing; to spend on marketing, you must make money — and the loop hopelessly repeats. If a fledgling brand is low on capital for advertising, Fript recommends opting for influencer marketing as a low-cost, high-return option.
A successful promotion from an influencer can result in exposing your brand to new potential markets and customers. And some influencer deals can even include the creation of original creative content, assets which can in turn be reused by the brand for future campaigns.
Don’t underestimate digital placements
Organic search can be a powerful tool when it comes to bringing customers to your site. Seek out digital placements on high-quality websites that your target audience is likely to visit, which can in turn boost your organic search presence. Taking the time to network and foster real personal connections with key publishers as well can pay off in big ways. “Never underestimate the power of good food and drink to build strong relationships,” Fript advises.
Get offline and personal
While digital tactics can result in new customers, Fript feels it’s important not to forget about the world offline. He connected with his own customers through a West Village guide shop and was able to learn more about their shopping habits, firsthand.
However, connecting with customers offline extends past real-life facetime. Fript also placed poster advertisements on telephone booths and subways for maximum reach, hoping to grab the attention of his target market during their morning commute, and sent out eye-catching direct mail postcards.
But while these print campaigns can appear successful, the lack of hard data and analytics to reinforce any results can pose a challenge. “I’ve had to rely on anecdotal evidence to support out-of-home media buying,” says Fript. “But I’m confident that the campaigns reached a large audience — including our millennial man.”
Find what works best for you
For his shoe brand, Fript found success by combining all of the above tactics, but admits that there’s still a lot left to try. “This year, I’m testing out Facebook ads to see if I can find audiences that convert,” says Fript. What works best for one brand might not work best for another, so it’s important to experiment until you find which strategies result in success.