Why it matters

Direct-to-consumer brands are frequently building new marketing models that do not rely on legacy systems and strategies that permeate the wider industry. These innovative operators may provide a clue as to the future of the marketing industry as a whole.


  • In-housing capabilities can help brands maximize the impact of the first-party data at their disposal, which is critical in online industries.
  • Small, agile, multi-disciplinary teams might enable brands to move at a higher speed than in the past, especially if these teams are given true decision-making authority.
  • Marketers must ensure they are using the same language and, often, the same metrics as are preferred in the C-suite, beginning with the chief financial officer.

Direct-to-consumer retailer Wayfair cracked the Fortune 500 in 2019 – checking in at number 446 – driven in large part by a reported $1-billion investment in marketing.