Research Outline

Membership-based Marketing Shift Case Study


To find case studies of companies that benefited from making a shift from an intermediate (retail) approach to a more direct, community/membership-based appraoch. The research will explore why and how they did it and how they prospered or benefited from making the shift.

Early Findings

The initial round of research suggests that there is sufficient data to complete the research.

Proctor and Gamble

  • Proctor and Gamble (P&G) is an example of an established company that has long been focused on an intermediate marketing model but is now exploring a direct-to-consumer membership strategy.
  • P&G has seen some of its core businesses challenged by direct-to-consumer startup brands, and the company responded by founding a startup studio known as P&G Ventures focused on creating direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands.
  • P&G Ventures has created four DTC brands since it was founded in 2015. The brands include "natural insecticide Zevo, digital skin analyzer Opte, skin-care treatment Metaderm and menopause brand Pepper & Wits."
  • P&G's other strategy is to acquire successful DTC brands that have already built a successful community.
  • In 2017, P&G acquired Native, a natural deodorant DTC brand, for $100 million.
  • P&G also acquired Walker & Company, a DTC marketer of grooming and hair care products for consumers of color. Walker and Company uses a membership-based approach and is focused on building a strong community.
  • P&G was also very close to acquiring Billie, a subscription-based service for shaving and body-care products for women but had to call off the deal because federal antitrust regulators alleged the deal stifled competition.


  • In the first hour of research, we attempted to build a case study of how P&G is shifting to a more direct, membership-based approach. However, we were unable to finish building the case study within the first hour. In particular, we were unable to exhaust the thinking (the why) behind its two different approaches and results/success thus far.
  • Our initial research showed that while there is extensive data about companies making this shift, a detailed precompiled case study for each company is either unavailable or is locked behind a paywall.
  • To completely build the initial case study and build additional case studies, we recommend additional research. . Details on our recommended research paths have been provided in our proposals below. Please select one or more proposals from those provided.