What You Need to Know About DRTV Today
Today, $150 billion of consumer products in the U.S. are sold through DRTV, and between 20% and 40% of TV households buy from DRTV.
1. So, what is DRTV? And what's the difference between DRTV and regular TV?
Direct response television is a form of marketing used to generate responses from prospective consumers, as a direct result of the marketing campaign. DRTV is often broken down into three subcategories: lead generation, product direct sales, or service direct sales. The difference between DRTV and traditional TV is as simple as a URL or 1-800 number. Media that has been designated DR based on the presence of a URL or 1-800 number can be purchased at a discount, versus standard TV advertising (brand advertising), thus ensuring media efficiencies. On average, DR prices are 30-50% lower.
2. Who uses DRTV?
Chances are you've seen the old “yell-and-sell” infomercials, with pitchmen like Billy Mays, but those days have passed, and DRTV has taken on an entirely new tone. Today, it's used by more brands than you probably realize: Estee Lauder, American Express, L'Oreal, Bose, KitchenAid, Capital One, Hanes, Keurig, Vanity Fair, Dyson, Garnier, Fab, Travelocity, Playtex, ShoeDazzle, Maybelline, and many more.
3. Why DRTV?
Direct response television is a highly effective customer acquisition medium that offers broad exposure to build your brand while driving response and measurable sales. Tracking and measuring performance can be drilled down to the level of individual airings, allowing brands to cost effectively reach a segmented audience based on daypart, channel, location, or type of programming.
4. What should I know before considering DRTV?
Step one is getting to know your customers and their journey. It is mission critical to know where your customers spend, what they watch, and how they are influenced by various media: print, radio, TV, direct mail, out-of-home, mobile, and social. Use data-driven insight, research tools, and emerging technology to create a holistic view of your consumer. Recognize that the overarching goal of DRTV campaigns is to either push continuity programs or drive to retail—or a combination of the two. Not only are these the areas that hold the greatest potential for profit, they are crucial to developing a business model that remains effective at scale.
5. Give me a few hints! What are the keys to success?
One major key to success is creating a seamless customer experience between TV, online, and retail, by streamlining messaging, creative, and in-store signage. To do so, you must surround customers with relevant messaging to ensure a frictionless path to purchase. In addition, establish metrics and benchmarks that ensure a clear line of sight to success. Savvy marketers will consistently test their campaigns to not only mitigate risk but constantly optimize campaigns to drive the highest possible level of ROI, retail impact, and scalability.
Getting to Know Anonymous Consumers — What’s Your Strategy?
This is an exciting time, full of amazing opportunities for marketers.
Given all the change – consumer expectations, technologies, devices, the economy –
marketers face a monumental task in reaching and grabbing the attention of consumers. Does your brand have a strategy for getting to know, and connect with, consumers individually?
Identifying Consumers Along the Path to Purchase
Each consumer is on his or her own path to purchase. Only in understanding this path can a brand know the next right thing to say, and when and where to say it.
A specific challenge facing marketers is the notion of the “anonymous” consumer. Consumers, for the most part, research and shop anonymously and form an independent purchase decision before they step foot into a retail store or log onto a web site. While there is typically a mountain of data about consumers available from many sources, it can’t always be relied upon to be complete or compiled in one place or format.
Brand marketers today must be relentless about data collection. When a brand knows something about a current or potential customer, it can use that insight to influence the purchase when the consumer is in the market. The objective must be to pull together all available data to identify where a consumer is along the path to purchase, and then collect what is missing to form a complete picture.
The good news is that consumers will tell you who they are and what they want, as long as you give them a reason to do so. Here is some advice:
- Engaged consumers are more profitable and more loyal than others. Through “engineered engagement” with consumers — while respecting their preferences and asking permission — you can determine the right expression of your brand and product features that appeal to an individual consumer.
- Consumers prefer to receive personally relevant information. Conduct meaningful conversations on each consumer’s terms, and then tailor interactions to meet specific needs.
- The customer’s journey is longitudinal and not consistent. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the consumer changes. To successfully identify and engage with the consumer today, be willing and able to meet the consumer where they are, and in a relevant and engaging manner. An integrated multichannel program is a necessity to provide a cohesive experience. Consider the behaviors around each channel – from direct mail to social media – and build a plan that leverages multiple touch points and evokes action.
- Be prepared to modify the engagement process in real time, on the fly, to keep in step with the consumer.
The changing market is exciting and opening up a world of possibilities. But, one thing remains true: Engaging with consumers one-on-one helps marketers design and deliver a differentiating and impactful customer experience — and that is the strategy that will pay out for both consumer and brand.
Michele Fitzpatrick is senior vice president, strategy & insight for The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks, and a speaker at the DMCNY September 2012 luncheon. Reach her at Michele_Fitzpatrick@Harte-Hanks.com.
How to Survive in the New Age of Cold Calling
Consider how sales people have to operate their cold calls these days. Walk into a building and take the elevator to the floor of a prospect? That ended with 9/11. Now it’s a picture ID, just to get into the lobby. If there’s a security desk, you’re going to need a contact name at your target firm—or that’s as far as you’re going to get.
But there are solutions. One of the best things about the Internet age: You can find just about everything you need online. Before your calls, you can easily find company addresses and phone numbers. And if you’re really lucky, you may find a list of company personnel, sometimes with their email addresses.
Armed with a name, I stand a chance. Here’s how I proceed: First, I put together a sales kit with product samples and my company information. In the lobby, I have the guard call up, so I can get upstairs to see my targets. Invariably, the call goes to voice mail. At that point, the guard may let me up to the company’s reception desk. There, I can talk to the receptionist and leave behind my materials, to be delivered to the prospect.
On the off chance that the prospect does pick up, I ask for the phone, and get the quizzical “Do we have an appointment?” I say “No, but if you have 5 minutes I’d like to tell you how I can help you.” The answer is usually “No,” but now the prospect knows I’m a real person, and I get to leave my information for them.
The next day I make a follow-up call to set up an appointment. Again, we have the problem of them picking up the phone. That’s where polite persistence is a must. Also, I find that calling at odd times can work to get a hold of them.
If I can’t get upstairs to see them, my next step is the old, reliable, mail system. I drop the sales kit in the mail, wait 3 or 4 days, and call again for an appointment. By then, they are likely to know who I am, and maybe they’ll see me.
If I get the prospect on the phone, often it turns out not to be the right person, and the process starts all over again.
I have learned that I can’t be too pushy. That’s a turn-off. After my first voice mail message, I keep trying to call, to get them live on the phone. But I won’t leave another message until 2 weeks have gone by. At the end of my voice mail message, I always say “If you have a problem, I’m here to help you.” It’s surprising, but when people get desperate they do call me.
Prospecting, or cold calling, rarely provides instant gratification. It is a long process that requires patience and persistence. So be prepared.
Unhappy About Your Campaign Results? Take a Look at Your Marketing Department’s Goals
No matter how well you execute your marketing campaigns—sharp copy, fresh products, appealing promotions—your own marketing department’s organization, goals and metrics will have a surprising influence on your long term success. Are you organized so that everyone gets the “big picture” that will lead to success? Do the performance metrics you use to evaluate key staff truly reflect the organization’s long-term goals? What, in fact, is the big picture for your organization, and what are those long-term goals?
For some marketers, the answers are easy. In the high-growth years, you may be simply looking to acquire as many customers as fast as possible. In which case, you are marketing at virtually maximum frequency at any opportunity.
But most of us face limited marketing resources, and we manage a large customer file that needs careful segmentation and contact frequency strategies. We know that we need to acquire not just any customer, but one that will be profitable.
So, where does your organization come in? Let’s take customer acquisition. Most of us operate with a negative cost per acquisition. That means we have to rely on future sales to justify the prospecting program. But if your customer-acquisition group operates in a silo or is measured based simply on how many customers they bring onto the file each year, it doesn’t take long for even a gifted marketer to start acquiring the low-hanging fruit—the one-and-dones, the promotion grabbers with no likely subsequent purchasing.
Perhaps the biggest improvement in prospecting over the last decade has been the ability to leverage the wealth of data contained in prospecting databases to predict the potential demand of a given prospect, and target those names within a list or database that are more likely to provide sufficient return on your marketing investment.
Unfortunately, every customer file is eventually infiltrated with lower-value customers. That’s why so many of your customers lie dormant. It’s not your marketing efforts. It’s not your products. It’s their needs. They simply may not require more of your product or service.
Now consider your retention versus reactivation efforts. You’ve probably invested in external data enhancement to understand your customers better. You have some sense of which are your best customers and most likely to reorder in large amounts. But when it comes to reactivation, do you treat those customers really differently? Once the customer has aged to a certain point, do you reduce the number and frequency of contact?
If you broke down the wall between retention and reactivation roles within your department, you would notice that some of those inactive customers are actually better suited to increased investment and the normal retention sequence.
Even more challenging is looking at which active customers aren’t worthy of the normal retention sequence. Does your marketing organization facilitate slotting some of those active customers into the less expensive reactivation sequence? Too many of us throw good money after a bad acquisition, like mailing expensive full-offer catalogs eighteen times a year to a customer who is inherently unlikely to order frequently or in substantial quantities.
The next time you look at how your marketing department is organized, and what metrics are used to measure their behavior, consider your long-term goals around customer acquisition, retention, reactivation and profitabilty. Aligning your organization with your goals and metrics is the ticket to improved campaign success.
Blair D. Barondes is vice president of database marketing at MeritDirect, with a 25-year history of innovation in B2B marketing, including MeritDirect's MeritBase, the MeritMatch multi-channel matchback, and Mercury Response-Analysis toolkits. Reach him at email@example.com.
Direct Mail – Still Relevant After All These Years
As any direct marketer knows – despite some opinions to the contrary – direct mail is as relevant as ever in a direct marketing campaign. It is a vitally important medium in reaching customers, and should still be considered the engine of any integrated direct marketing effort.
There is a lot to be said these days for the tactile experience. Not only can customers retain the message, they have the opportunity to revisit it. The key is to stand out from the clutter with a dynamic piece.
So how can marketers get the most out of their direct mail campaign and trust that their investment in this marketing channel is worthwhile? Here are some considerations:
1. What is the size, complexity, time frame and budget for your direct mail program? Once you determine the specifics of a marketing program, an important factor is the relationship you have with your production partner. Here are some questions to ask to ensure you have the best possible partner:
· Does your supplier have direct mail expertise, along with a range of capabilities, products and services that are appropriate for your program?
· Can the supplier meet deadlines and provide on-time delivery, on budget?
· Is your production partner readily accessible, and good at problem solving?
· Can this partner provide ideas about reducing costs or improving design?
2. Can you assume the data is correct? Instead of selling to everyone, direct marketers focus on segments or target markets that represent reachable prospects. The integrity of the lists and data is critical. So considerable time needs to be spent reviewing, analyzing and segmenting the data through its life cycle.
3. Does your production partner have the platform to provide the level of personalization and innovation your program needs? We all know how difficult it is to stay on top of rapid changes in technology. But your supplier must demonstrate continual investment in the latest technology, to meet your requirements and challenges, and to offer the best personalization options, as well as innovative solutions.
4. How can you optimize speed to market and save costs at the same time? First, include all the necessary elements and instructions from the get-go, including the job basics and the data processing information, along with letter set-up, sign-off and letter shop information. Second, postage and transportation costs are the largest part of any direct mail budget, so find out whether your supplier has an on-site post office and commingling capabilities.
14 Call-To-Action Tips to Boost Response
Think about the Call to Action (CTs) as an advertisement for your offer. CTAs are an effective tool to drive traffic to your landing page and increase conversion rates. Creating persuasive, powerful calls to action isn't easy, but here are some tips and practices that you can test.
1. Use value-laden and actionable copy such as “Download Now,” “Get Your Free Trial” or “Speak to an Expert.” Your copy objective is to get to the point and create trust, urgency and value.
2. Use a CTA only to offer something of real value to your visitor. CTAs should not be used for branding.
3. Adding the specific offer in the CTA makes it stronger. For example: “Subscribe Now and Save 80%,” which is better than just “Subscribe Now.”
4. Place CTAs above the fold and along the visitor’s eye path.
5. Use bold, contrasting colors in your CTAs so they don’t blend into the content.
6. Make your CTA one of the bigger, more prominent objects on a page.
7. Design the CTA to resemble a button, by adding bevels, shadows, and hover effects.
8. Make your CTA stand out by surrounding it with plenty of white space.
9. Link your CTAs to a dedicated landing page, not your home page.
10. Too many CTAs will distract your visitors. A CTA is meant to direct visitors to a specific course of action, so limit yourself to a primary CTA and possibly a secondary CTA only.
11. Experiment with and test your CTAs to know what design, copy and placement works best.
12. Add keyword-rich ALT tags so your CTA adds search value to the page.
13. Mobile optimize your CTAs so any device can see them.
14. Personalization is a good way to improve your CTA’s effectiveness. Create different CTAs for different personas.
Turn Your “Follower” Relationships into Business and Profit
Branding and dialogue are excellent first steps – but they don’t pay the rent.
To me, customer acquisition is getting somebody to buy from you for the very first time. Customer retention is getting a person who was bought from you at least one time to buy from you again.
Branding is getting your product or service to be a part of the decision set when members of your targeted market segment want to purchase the product or service you sell.
Today, with an emphasis placed on gaining social media "followers," or being "liked," or in some other way engaging with your online suspects, prospects and customers, we need to understand that these efforts cost money and must be measured in terms of revenue and renewability.
Consider the amount of thought and effort put into understanding how you can improve your results from a direct mail campaign by just one or two tenths of a percent. You test offers, formats, headlines, and so many others variables in a structured fashion where you can measure and attribute results to tested variables. Consider how you test different mailing lists, and segments of lists to maximize your results.
It is important to put the same effort and pay attention to the same details when engaging with your followers and other "fan-based" constituents.
Closed mouths don’t get fed
Many businesses today are handling their "followers" with kid gloves. They seem to be hesitant to use time-tested techniques to commercialize relationships.
It is important to recognize that your "followers" chose to initiate a relationship with your business. So you can consider them real prospects, and many of them may already be your customers. You have the opportunity to grow your relationship with them.
Ask for the order
A good place to begin is by segmenting your "followers." First, find your customers by matching transactional data. For everyone you can’t identify, ask them how they perceive of their relationship. You can do this directly with a poll, or a survey, or using more subtle tactics.
Some marketers will express concern about alienating people in the delicate world of social media. To me, the reality is people will either want to solidify their relationship with you or they won’t. History dictates some of these people will never buy from you. The ones who truly have an interest in your company, products and services will respond to your efforts. This will empower you with knowledge you can use.
Now you should be on familiar ground. Now that your “followers” are organized by segment, develop strategies for each segment and work your magic.
Cultivating your “followers” has significant advantages
Your cost to develop new customers from these prospects will be lower than a traditional acquisition effort since the names are essentially free, and there is already some basic bonding between you and them, which bodes well for anticipated response rates.
For retention, or getting your “following” current customers to buy again, social media represents another touch point where you can make an offer, with the added advantage of enhance customer insight from your interactive dialogue. This makes me wonder: Should we create a new model called XRFM, where a person’s “expressed interest” might prove more predictive than RFM alone?
Once you recognize the value of commercializing relationships with your “followers;” once you realize that a good number of them will be responsive to your efforts; and once you accept the fact that many “followers” are going to never become customers; then you will be able to test the value of marketing to the “follower” segments and calculate whether your branding efforts to attract and engage “followers” are significant to your business.
Myron Gould is a Professor of Marketing and Management at New York University, and consults on business planning and strategy development. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @nyuprof or @bplanwritercom.
Thinking Outside the Box with Content Marketing
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool direct marketer, so this is going to sound like heresy. I propose to champion an indirect method of marketing and selling, namely content marketing. You’re probably thinking, “What, no call to action?” or “Where’s the ROI for indirect marketing?”
But let’s take a close look at content marketing. To an email marketer, content marketing actually makes a lot of sense. In fact, compelling and engaging content and content-based offers are methods that are very effective in convincing your audience to act.
So, what is content marketing?
Content marketing is the technique of creating, curating and distributing relevant and valuable information to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and well-understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
If I haven’t grabbed you yet, notice that the definition is all about targeted marketing to drive profitable actions. That’s not so far afield of direct marketing!
I’ll address content creation in a moment, but let me first explain content curation. This aspect of content marketing allows a company to cull ideas available from a myriad of sources, decide on the most important resources, and package the information with the company’s point of view in mind. As an example, if I wanted to position my company as an expert in direct marketing, I’d research credible sources, select authoritative information and then put my own spin on why direct marketing is valuable. I would also be careful to credit my sources.
Why should you care about content marketing?
Content marketing allows you to reach your target audiences in new and different ways, among them:
• Content marketing helps you attract additional audiences, by building trust and credibility. Lots of people don’t want to be hit over the head with a heavy hammer these days. Traditional marketing communications may not work with this kind of prospect.
• You’ll drive more traffic to your website. Search engines are increasingly tweaking their algorithms to give sites credit for credible content.
• Content marketing addresses your sales funnel in engaging ways, by providing the right message to the right people at the right time.
How to become an effective content marketer
Every company has content. You probably have as blog posts, videos, presentations, photos, webinars, marketing collateral, press releases, industry articles and white papers already in hand.
Here are the top ten content marketing vehicles. I’ll bet you are already using at least half of these already. Consider testing even more.
1. Social media—a great way to get your content shared and to get your audience engaged.
2. E-newsletters—a perfect vehicle to build and deepen relationships with those who want to hear from you.
3. Articles on your website. Well-written articles let you address issues, trends and topics of interest to targeted audiences.
4. Press releases and clips. Today, your audience of influencers is no longer just journalists. You need to be cultivating anyone online who accesses search engines, RSS feeds or social media for information on a topic of interest.
5. Blog posts. A blog offers an easy way to present short chunks of frequently refreshed web content.
6. Videos. Video is hot! Possibly the most powerful vehicle for engaging customers and prospects.
7. Print magazines and catalogs. Direct marketers have been in the business of providing content for years.
8. Infographics—which present complex information quickly and clearly. A perfect opportunity for content curation.
9. White papers. Used primarily by B-to-B marketers, white papers deliver thought leadership on a topic of interest. They can also present research, provide product usage tips, or highlight a particular product or service.
10. Webinars, webcasts and podcasts—which give marketers the opportunity to capture attention and present products and services. When archived, their influence grows with time.
I am going to assume you do have content already available in your company. Now it’s time to re-purpose or re-package your content for a minimum of three marketing channels. Content marketing is about leveraging information so that your audience may find you on social media, on your site, from search engines or via links from external sites. So take up the challenge. This stuff is really direct marketing!
Drive Business Results With LinkedIn
In today’s rapidly evolving world we must adapt, or risk falling by the wayside. Online connections will never replace real-world contact, but you can leverage your relationships online to drive tangible results in the real world. LinkedIn, with over 200 million users worldwide, can be used to make sales contacts, find decision makers, land a new gig or reach out to the next valuable employee. To get the most value from LinkedIn, here are three key points to consider.
1) Are you an anonymous user?
Don’t be! LinkedIn is a tool for professionals. When you’re looking at a profile, make sure that person can see that you viewed their profile. Whether you are in sales and looking at a key decision-maker, or you just applied for a job and are checking out the HR manager, this is a great way to draw attention to yourself, but in a professional way. Your reconnaissance could potentially turn into a conversation that may drive the result you are looking for.
- Click “Settings” from the drop-down menu under your name in the upper right hand side of any screen.
- Click “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
- Select the top option.
- Voila! No more anonymous user.
2) What have you done, and what are your skills?
Whether you looking to expand your business, or on a job search, your profile needs to be as up to date and robust as possible. Make sure that you’ve fully listed your work history. There are no space constraints in your profile, so “more is more.” List every position you have had, plus any technical skills. This does not mean you should do a “keyword dump,” whereby you cram words in unnaturally. But do make sure that everything you can do is listed, so you can be found by people doing keyword searches. The moment you are going to need LinkedIn is not the time to be making your updates, so get going now.
- Endorsements are a great way to get noticed. When you’ve listed your skills, people will be able to endorse you. - This makes you more credible.
- If you want to drive traffic to your profile, giving endorsements to others can be a great way of motivating people to look at you.
- Don’t over endorse people, as it can come across as less credible, even spammy.
3) Have you connected?
Think of the benefits of a robust LinkedIn network. When you have mutual connections, you can see more information about people you are not connected with directly. Regularly sharing content on LinkedIn gives increased engagement and recognition. One of the best tools to build your network is the “Import Contacts” feature. By clicking on “Contacts” and then “Add Connections,” you will be prompted to input your email data. While I don’t suggest you blindly send out a request to connect with everyone who has ever emailed you, this can be a great way to find those diamonds in the rough.
- When extending an invitation to connect, take a minute to write a personalized message, instead of using the pre-canned message provided by LinkedIn.
- Adding a few details, like how you met or why you are connecting, will increase the chance of a response.
Brian Murray, director of talent with Likeable Media, invites you to connect with him via twitter.com/BTMurr and LinkedIn.com/in/btmurr.
9 Rules for Writing Video Sales Letters
The “next big thing” in online video is video sales letters.
Here’s how it works. Prospects are sent a short email inviting them to view an onlinr video on a subject of interest. The email copy teases the subject to generate interest and maximize click-through rates.
When the prospect click on the link, a video begins. The sales message is delivered both via audio and visually.
The video often contains a PowerPoint showing paragraphs of the audio copy as it is being narrated. Another option is the “talking head” – a video of the narrator speaking, and sometimes drawing notes or charts on a white board.
Another appealing option is to include cartoons that are drawn as you watch, illustrating the sales points. To see a short sample of a cartoon-style video I am using to sell a new ebook, visit this URL: www.addvideo2yoursite.com
Video clips can be short, but for direct-response marketing, video sales letters typically run 15 to 25 minutes; the script is around 3,000 to 3,500 words.
A key difference between video sales letters and static (landing pages or print) sales letters is this: A prospect may read a conventional text sales letters several times, and can go back to reread portions if desired. And they often do. But the prospect will only watch a video sales letter once.
That in mind, here are some guidelines for writing effective video sales letters:
1— The way to begin is to grab audience attention with a statement that breaks them out of their normal pattern, says my colleague David Jenyes. Surprise them. Shake them up..
2— Tell an engaging story that sweeps the listener along with it. Superstar marketer Michael Masterson calls this the “velvet slide.”
3— Keep it simple. The “information density” – the number of facts per page – should be about 20% less than a text-based promotion.
4— Use short sentences and especially short words. I don’t use any word longer than 9 letters.
5— Use short paragraphs – a couple of sentences is typical. This makes the text on the video easier to read.
6— If you want to dramatize or prove a copy claim or fact, you can insert a chart or graph into the video presentation. Even if the prospect only has a few seconds to view it, charts and graphs give the impression that your point is well backed up.
7— You can concisely state the problem your product solves in the lead of the video sales letter, but be sure to explain the solution within the first minute or two. If you wait too long to get to the solution, you risk having the prospect click away in boredom.
8— Don’t use more than two numbers in a sentence. If you do, round off at least one of them.
9— The tone of the copy should be positive and enthusiastic because the prospect heas a voice reading the text. But it should also sound authoritative.
When I talk about video sales letters, invariably I hear the objection, “They’re too long! I always click away. Who would sit there for 20 minutes and watch?”
Answer: Plenty of people. How do I know? Testing shows repeatedly that video sales letters usually generate higher conversion rates than static landing pages.
If you still object to video sales letters because you just don’t like them, I quote this advice from ace copywriter Peter Beutel: “Don’t let personal preference get in the way.”