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Direct Response Marketing

Editor’s Note: In Less Than 2 Decades, DR Rises to the Top of the Marketing World

1 Sep, 2011 By: Thomas Haire Response


Thomas HaireNext month marks the first issue of Response’s 20th year in publication. Having been here for more than half of those issues (I thought turning 40 was a sign of aging?!), it’s been a pleasure to take an active role in the changes that have made direct response one of the most-relied upon marketing strategies in the new millennium.

At the beginning, Response TV Magazine focused exclusively on the booming infomercial market. This relatively new type of marketing was offering entrepreneurs the opportunity for incredible success, creating hit products on par with those coming from the R&D labs of major brands. At the time, those major branders turned up their noses at DR marketing as shtick — and possibly damaging to their brands should they give it a try.

When I joined the fray in 2001, this market atmosphere remained in effect. Still, some of the larger agencies in the business had enjoyed success persuading a few major brands to use DRTV to drive sales and leads while protecting brand. Soon, the idea of protecting brand would give way to the concept that not only could DR give you immediate sales (and true minute-to-minute measurability), but also it could actually grow your brand.

Today, the list of branders who’ve used direct response marketing is staggering — as is the list of traditional DR marketers who have used these methods to build brands out of what were considered “one-off” products.

In 2004, Response turned its focus to those branders in an effort to lead the DR business to new heights. The idea was to show not only the agencies and vendors in our space that these were possible clients for them — to get them to think bigger — but also to call out to that chunk of our readership leading marketing efforts for Fortune 500-style companies and let them know that, “Yes! Your competitors are in this space, and they are eating your lunch using DR!” Who could help them? How about the agencies and vendors with expertise in DR? Grow the business. That’s always been our mantra at Response, and it remains as we expanded to include Response Expo and the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) as part of our product group.

At the same time, we expanded our focus away from just DRTV and into new mediums. The measurement capability of old-school DRTV is essentially one of the first bases for the measurement used in Web marketing. As the Web matured, the measurement capabilities of today’s marketing in all media have their basis in the original concept of DRTV: measure your ROI as quickly and effectively as possible and make rapid-fire adjustments to your campaigns to drive even greater ROI.

As Akoo’s Billy Campbell says in this issue’s cover story, today every marketing communication “can be classified as direct response.” We’re thrilled to have been here and helped lead the march forward for DR during the past two decades! Here’s to the next 20, as well.


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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