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 direct marketing in which the marketer contacts the potential customer directly.

In direct marketing (such as telemarketing), there is no intermediary broadcast media involved (which is why it is called direct). 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 is direct, and this differentiates it from direct marketing in which the communications from the marketer to the customer is direct.

Like direct marketing, direct response 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.

Characterized By

Direct response advertising is characterized by four primary elements:
* 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. Companies such as Script to Screen, Hawthorne Direct, Guthy Renker and International Shopping Network specialize in infomercials. Infomercials are also know 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. Noted infomercial personalities include Cher, George Foreman (with the George Foreman Grill), fitness guru Jack Lalanne, inventor / salesman Ron Popeil, Billy Mays, and Tony Robbins.

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.

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.

Mail order describes a form of direct response 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.

While certain media, as mentioned above, are commonly used in direct response campaigns, in fact, direct response is media neutral, provided the campaign comprises the four main elements of direct response, it classifies as such. Furthermore, direct response is organization neutral, which is to say that it is practiced by organizations of all types and sizes, regardless of industry.

Principles

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.

There are many other best practices and techniques used to achieve results including but not limited to the use of urgency, clear and compelling copy, and graphics and design which reinforce the message.

See also

* Direct marketing
** Direct mail
** Direct marketing associations

External links

* [http://www.retailing.org Electronic Retailing Association] Trade association for tv, radio and online retailers


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