Direct-response marketing

Direct-response marketing

Direct-response marketing is a form of marketing designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and quantifiable. The delivery of the response is direct between the viewer and the advertiser, that is, the customer responds to the marketer directly. This is in contrast to brand advertising.

In direct marketing (such as telemarketing), there is no intermediary broadcast media involved. In direct-response marketing, marketers use broadcast media to get customers to contact them directly. It is direct-response marketing because the communications from the customer to the marketer are direct, this differentiates it from simple direct marketing in which the communications from the marketer to the customer are direct, but do not allow for instant feedback.

Like direct marketing, direct-response marketing seeks to elicit action. It is inherently accountable since results can be tracked and measured. Furthermore, direct-response campaigns perform best if the underlying strategies and tactics are highly competitive.

Contents

Characteristics

Direct-response advertising is characterized by four primary elements:[citation needed]

  • An offer
  • Sufficient information for the consumer to make a decision whether to act
  • An explicit "call to action"
  • Means of response (typically multiple options such as a toll free number, web page, and email)

Media

One common form of direct-response marketing today is the infomercial. Due to affordable TV air time slots (e.g. late night), the infomercial had the potential to be successful for a comparatively modest up-front investment. Companies such as Euro RSCG Edge, GreyTV, Icon Media Direct, Script to Screen, Hawthorne Direct, Common Sense Direct, American Telecast Products, Waldorf Crawford, Guthy-Renker, R2C Group-aka Respond2 Cmedia, and International Shopping Network specialize in infomercials. Infomercials and the production companies are honored every year at the ERA Annual Awards at the ERA D2C Convention[1]

Infomercials are also known as direct-response TV commercials. Short-form direct-response commercials have time lengths ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Long form infomercials are 30 minutes long. Infomercials try to achieve a direct response via television presentations. Viewers respond via telephone or Internet, credit card in hand.[citation needed]

Noted infomercial personalities include Anthony Robbins, Cher, Chuck Norris, George Foreman (with the George Foreman Grill), fitness guru Jack Lalanne, inventor/salesman Ron Popeil, Anthony Sullivan, Billy Mays, Jim Ballas and Vince Offer.[citation needed]

An offshoot of the infomercial is the home shopping industry. In this medium, a home shopping host will showcase a product directly to the viewer, and encourage them to purchase the item. Noted pioneers in this industry include the first home shopping host, Bob Circosta; Bud Paxson and Roy Speer, founders of the first home shopping channel HSN; and Joseph Segel who founded America's most successful home shopping channel QVC.[citation needed]

Other media, such as magazines, newspapers, radio, and e-mail can be used to elicit the response, but they tend to achieve lower response rates than television.[citation needed]

Mail order describes a form of direct-response marketing in which customers respond by mailing a completed order form to the marketer. Mail order is slow and response rates are low. It has been eclipsed by toll-free telephone numbers and the Internet.[citation needed]

While certain types of media, as mentioned above, have been commonly used in direct-response campaigns, direct-response marketing, as such, is media-neutral, provided the campaign includes the four main elements of direct response. Furthermore, direct-response marketing is organization-neutral, which is to say that it is practiced by organizations of many types and sizes, regardless of industry.[citation needed]

Principles & Techniques

Direct-response ads like infomercials can be contrasted with normal television commercials because traditional commercials normally do not solicit a direct immediate response from the viewer, but instead try to brand their product in the market place.

Improving the appeal and uniqueness of an offer is a first step for improving response. An offer must be targeted such that its appeal is relevant to the wants or needs of the audience, so the choice of media or list carries similar importance as the perceived value of the offer. In case of an unsuccessful DRTV campaign, it is easy to adjust parameters such as price point or sales pitches to improve sales. It is assumed that only one in every ten infomercial actually makes money for the DRTV company.

There are many other best practices and techniques used to achieve results such as the use of urgency, clear and compelling copy, graphics and design which aim to reinforce the message. Lately, the viral potential of funny, hilarious or upbeat infomercials uploaded to YouTube for example has proven to be an important contributor to infomercial success. Apt individuals re-dubbing or ridiculing known infomercial hosts amplify the reach of this alternative (deliberate or involuntary) marketing channel and help to spread the word of the product, service or brand.

See also

References


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