Meera Clark, Principal at Redpoint Ventures, is wholeheartedly investing in content — for Redpoint, for portfolio companies, and for herself.
For context, Redpoint is a venture capital fund with a multi-decade track record of backing great entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of company formation. The fund’s investments range from Snowflake and Stripe to Twilio and Whatnot.
We sat down with Meera for a two-part deep dive. In part one, we dove into:
- How changes to the paid marketing landscape have affected all companies
- Why organic growth through trusted channels is defining DTC 3.0
- The shifting nature of B2B paid marketing
“The best buffers against change are trust and credibility – all the marketing and campaigning in the world won’t matter if someone just dismisses it on principle.”
Why Paid Marketing is Getting Harder for Startups
For any and all startups — whether you’re B2B, B2C, or any industry, really — the paid marketing landscape has changed dramatically with regards to:
- Privacy changes — Apple’s iOS 14.5 rollout infamously shifted paid media overnight
- Investments — VCs have far less interest in companies relying solely on third-party data
As Meera explains, everyone seems to be theorizing about the new post-COVID “normal,” in terms of what the future looks like for consumer brands.
In addition to the world reopening, one stark reality many are facing is the fact that the traditional strategies of the consumer and DTC paid social playbook no longer work.
This is the case for a number of reasons, and she’s seeing these issues exacerbated.
How Privacy Updates Killed Affordable CACs
This is a double-sided killer for brands — brought to them by two channel giants:
- Apple — The iOS 14.5 updates that launched last summer have led to a very abrupt and equally damaging uptick in CACs.
- Google — Google's third-party cookie moves mean companies are realizing paid social alone is not a reliable and scalable playbook moving forward.
Still, one year later, the costs and returns on paid media have yet to stabilize. And with this, most teams lack confidence surrounding their ability to navigate ad spend over time.
“Privacy updates have dramatically changed the economics of how companies and brands can tackle marketing in the most cost-effective way(s).”
Entering DTC 3.0: An Era for Trusted Channels & Organic Growth
Meera affirms that we're entering the new generation of DTC 3.0.
- DTC 1.0 relied on billboards and TV ads
- DTC 2.0, naturally, relied on digital and paid marketing
- Now, DTC 3.0 leans into new trusted channels and organic growth
The emerging channels driving serious returns are more rudimentary than one might expect.
She highlights employers, health plans, school systems, and other specific, trusted networks across our lives as more reliable sources of product or platform discovery.
Accordingly, when it comes to building trust within these new channels, organic efforts are critical for driving more considered purchases with less overt advertisements.
“It’s more about building trust and credibility vs. asking someone to purchase. Companies now, more than ever, are investing in content and connection to drive revenue.”