The Direct to Consumer Playbook Book Summary - The Direct to Consumer Playbook Book explained in key points
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The Direct to Consumer Playbook summary

Mike Stevens

The Stories and Strategies of the Brands that Wrote the DTC Rules

4.1 (56 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The Direct to Consumer Playbook by Mike Stevens is a guide for business owners on how to build and grow a successful brand by selling products directly to consumers through digital channels. The book offers actionable advice, case studies, and insights into the future of e-commerce.

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    The Direct to Consumer Playbook
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    Key idea 1 of 4

    Staying patient and starting small are two good things to consider when founding a DTC brand.

    Meet Jane, the founder of Sugru. She knows better than most that waiting is the name of the DTC game. Her product is an award-winning flexible, silicone glue that sets overnight. Jane herself refers to it as “space-aged rubber,” and its uses are potentially infinite. To name a few, you can repair fraying cables, seal holes in leaky appliances, or even make your shoes more comfortable.

    But after coming up with the idea, it took Jane six whole years to bring the product to market. Initially, she’d created what is now known as Sugru to use in her university master’s project. Soon after, she realized the potential it had to help others. An investor also realized this potential after coming across her university project in a British Airways magazine. 

    With funding in hand, the next six years involved making sure the product was perfect. Along the way, she sought out support from leading silicone experts. She assembled a small team to assist her. These long years comprised an important lesson that other entrepreneurs often forget – before your product hits the market, it needs to be able to do what it’s designed to do. No matter how good your initial idea is, a half-baked product isn’t going to go anywhere. So once you have a product in mind, strap in, be patient, and get ready to play the long game.

    That’s precisely what Jane did. And after six years, she was ready to launch Sugru into the world. Her initial sales plan? To license the production and distribution of Sugru to larger companies. After working so hard on her product, you can imagine how upset she was when everyone she approached turned her down. Sugru was simply too innovative, and the companies couldn’t see it fitting into their product lines.

    But Jane wasn’t deterred. If she wasn’t allowed to start big, then the only option was to go small. This is where the humility of effective entrepreneurship comes in. For a lot of founders, years of development should be followed by launching a brand with gusto, with the goal to scale up as quickly as possible. 

    Big launches lead to big costs, however. And with big costs comes high risk – and a higher price of failure. One way to avoid this is by adopting the small mindset. By keeping your startup costs low, you lower your risk of failure. And without a high price of failure hanging over your head, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility to try new things. 

    This is precisely what Jane decided to do. The year was 2009, and the new e-commerce economy was exploding. So she decided to do it alone. With her remaining investment money, her team transformed their development lab into a Sugru factory. They produced a thousand units, filmed a product explainer video, and designed a simple website. Within six hours of the site launching, all one thousand units were sold.

    With wind in their sales (pun intended), Jane’s team moved on to phase two – generating PR buzz by sending out free samples to the press. Sure, most were ignored – but those that landed hit big. The Telegraph published a 10/10 review, and from there the positive PR didn’t stop. In 2010, Time magazine listed Sugru in their top 50 inventions of the year. 

    Jane’s story illustrates the importance of a slow and steady approach to developing your DTC product. “Good things come to those who wait” is a common saying to most. But when it comes to DTC founders, it can strike a nerve. This is because starting an e-commerce business is often a waiting game of trial and error – of defeat and perseverance.

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    What is The Direct to Consumer Playbook about?

    The Direct to Consumer Playbook (2022) takes a look at how some of the world’s top e-commerce brands got to where they are today. Through a series of inspiring interviews with DTC founders, you’ll discover stories of both failure and success – and be much better placed to build your own DTC company.

    The Direct to Consumer Playbook Review

    The Direct to Consumer Playbook (2021) is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the world of direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical strategies and insights for building and growing DTC brands, giving readers actionable steps to implement in their own businesses.
    • The book analyzes successful case studies from well-known DTC companies, providing real-life examples that demonstrate how these brands have succeeded in the modern marketplace.
    • It explores the evolving landscape of online consumer behavior and how DTC companies have capitalized on changing trends, keeping readers engaged and informed about the latest industry developments.

    Who should read The Direct to Consumer Playbook?

    • Entrepreneurs looking for tips on how to build their own DTC business
    • Founders in need of inspiration on how to move forward
    • Anyone interested in how DTC brands sell their products

    About the Author

    Mike Stevens is a British entrepreneur and author. He worked in leadership positions at Innocent Drinks before going on to found his own brand, Peppersmith. 

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    The Direct to Consumer Playbook FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Direct to Consumer Playbook?

    The main message of The Direct to Consumer Playbook is to provide a step-by-step guide on how to build a successful DTC brand.

    How long does it take to read The Direct to Consumer Playbook?

    The reading time for The Direct to Consumer Playbook varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Direct to Consumer Playbook a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Direct to Consumer Playbook is worth reading as it offers practical insights and strategies for building a successful direct-to-consumer brand.

    Who is the author of The Direct to Consumer Playbook?

    The author of The Direct to Consumer Playbook is Mike Stevens.

    What to read after The Direct to Consumer Playbook?

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