All the marketing world’s abuzz about direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands and nowhere was that more evident than at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas this past week (March 3-6), which was attended by more than 8,400 people. Legacy retailers in attendance were also keenly interested in how to boost their relevancy and keep up with the huge changes in consumer trends and behavior.

Veteran marketer Mark Toner was in attendance (he recently teamed up with Quigley-Simpson for a new venture called DrivR – the first direct-to-revenue agency for fast-moving, emerging brands that are disrupting brand leader positions) and offered five key takeaways from the conference that marketers (whether your brand is emerging or 100 years old) can use right now:

  1. Speed – Whether it’s adding personalized services at scale, building omnichannel connection points, (curb side pick-up, returns, delivery) or using data/technology to create a better brand experience – nothing beats speed. And for legacy brands it’s about evolving, using speed as a core differentiator.
  2. Diversity & Calibration – Select acquisition channels and digital platforms wisely; you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you weight too heavily on one channel and then hit inflationary pricing
  3. Authenticity – Take the advice of Lowe CEO Marvin R. Ellison: “Nobody can beat you at being you.” As a brand, be your authentic self in order to stand out. Blending in is not the answer. 
  4. The “Front Line” Experience – Your front-line staff is the cornerstone to your brand experience and contribute directly to your bottom line. Examples include the 4,000 personal stylists at Ulta and the tens of thousands at Lowe’s. 
  5. Origins – A growing and important trend is the concept of “traceability” – the ability to trace a product back its origins, whether it’s the sourcing flowers for a bouquet or local ingredients for meal kits, consumers are interested and want to know.

Any D2C brand that wants to scale should follow not only the content coming out of Shoptalk but their playbook as well – a conference with 3x growth, massive audience panels, provocative content – a highly differentiated brand experience. We at Quigley-Simpson and DrivR will certainly be keeping a close eye on Shoptalk in the years to come.

Chase Marriott

Chase United

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