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DTC Leaders Series: Interview with Daphne Tideman

In this week’s DTC leaders interview, we’re chatting to growth coach Daphne Tideman. Having worked in and led growth teams on both the agency and brand sides, most recently for braincare brand Heights, Daphne brings a wide range of expertise to the complex problem of scaling businesses. She now coaches Founder and Heads of Growth at eco-friendly and wellness DTC start ups on how to grow and generate revenue faster. 

Hear what she had to say about Product Market Fit, when it’s the right time to hire a Head of Growth and more. 

Let us know your role and what you do day to day. 

I'm a start up coach coach and consultant for eco-friendly and wellness DTC startups. So day to day I'm working with multiple brands to help them solve their growth challenges.

It’s a tough year for eCommerce. Which area should DTC brands be focusing their time and efforts towards & why?

1) Product/Market Fit - Too many brands experienced short-term growth through going through huge investor budgets without getting the basics in place:

        a) Zooming in on the key problem they solve

         b) Having a strong value proposition

         c) A specific target audience they serve

2) From there building a strong retention strategy to add value to customer through every step of the journey. I truly believe that focusing on this will make other areas like acquisition naturally easier.

You specialize in startup growth - what piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve their growth rate?

Once you are confident you have Product/Market Fit take the time to work out what your growth model looks like: what drives growth for you? Then figure out what are the most important growth levers, i.e. what is holding growth back, and then run high-tempo testing around those areas.

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing right now in growth?

1) Every startup wanting a head of growth

2) Every brand wanting to offer a subscription

3) Every brand thinking they should be on TikTok

Which of these should DTC brands jump on, and which should they avoid?

Now none of these trends are always right or wrong but I would say:

1) Don’t be too quick to hire a Head of Growth too soon, if you don’t have strong Product/Market Fit and a high level idea of the channels that will lead to growth it is probably too soon.

2) Subscription is a separate business model, you need to think about the specific value it would offer and if that is a strong driver for your target audience (e.g. convenience)

3) TikTok is definitely growing as an organic and ad platform, with the target audience also expanding in terms of age categories, but that doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. You need to be able to do it properly (understand and react fast to trends) and create relevant content. I’ve also seen it function for many brands as more a brand awareness channel than an acquisition channel, so it also depends on why you are using it and whether it will serve that purpose.

If you could tell DTC brands to stop making one mistake, what would it be?

Stop jumping on every trend you see and get the basics right first, it will make growth easier and more focused.

Complete the sentence: DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2022 will ____.

Understand what drives true values for their customers and build a strong brand and experience around that.

Who are 3 people in the eCommerce ecosystem you look up to and recommend everyone should follow?

So these are not eCommerce specific, but I have learnt so much from them for the eCommerce space that they are well worth following (and less likely you’ve heard of them rather than me recommending the standard people): 

Eden Bidani - She is an incredible conversion copywriter who shares 1 minute copy tips on Linkedin that have a huge potential impact for your business.

Matt Lerner - Previously at Paypal, now he runs Startup Core Strengths and shares every week actionable ideas in his newsletter “steal this”.

Then for DTC specific I’d suggest checking out: 

Aazar Ali Shad - Whilst he specialises in Ads, he shares a ton of interesting insights around different channels, messaging and more. He also has a podcast called Growth Marketing Stories.

To hear more from Daphne, plus more detail on the growth coaching she offers, check out her website.

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