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Direct Response Marketing

Media Zone: Tying the Knot

1 Sep, 2011 By: Timothy R. Hawthorne Response

Five ways to effectively connect your online and offline campaign components.

Today’s consumers want a cohesive shopping experience. They want to know that the products, colors, sizes and prices they see on television match those that are being sold on the Web, on the shelves of their favorite retail stores and in the print magazine ads that they read while sitting in the doctor’s office. They also want to know that when they visit a company’s Facebook or Twitter page, or view an online video product demonstration, that they’re learning more about the product than they saw on television.

Making this happen isn’t always easy. Strapped for both time and money, today’s consumers are a discerning bunch that can quickly pick up on discrepancies between online and offline advertising campaigns. The marketer that can’t meet these basic demands will not only miss out on sales, but will also wind up fielding a lot of loud digital complaints from unhappy customers.

With some elbow grease and an integrated campaign strategy, marketers can seamlessly connect their online and offline campaign components in a way that creates a cohesive shopping experience. Here are five ways you can start doing this today:

  1. Begin When You’re in the Starting Blocks: Plan your online and offline campaign integration strategy during the initial pow-wows with your marketing and production team. Don’t wait until the infomercial hits the air to decide to throw together a website, create a social networking presence or roll out a print campaign. Consider these additional awareness and revenue streams — and how they will work together — early in the game.
  2. Don’t Think in a Vacuum: No matter how small or inconsequential the advertising mechanism may be, you’ll want to make sure it works in tandem with the rest of your efforts. Even a simple 140-character Tweet should be crafted in a way that blends with the rest of your advertising campaign.
  3. Leverage Your DRTV Media Across All Channels: Profitability is the name of the game for most product marketers, yet many still ignore the need to create integrated campaigns as a way to boost their long/short-form DRTV profitability. With very few blockbuster infomercials standing on their own anymore, marketers must maximize their exposure through integration or risk getting buried by high media costs.
  4. Create a Uniform Look and Feel: For integrated campaigns to work, they must be uniform across all channels. Use the same spokesperson, theme colors and messages in your infomercial, print ads, website, social networking, online video and all other mediums. Be sure to test these elements as a whole (not independently) to ensure that the same message is being delivered to consumers.
  5. Put the Web at the Top of Your Agenda: Twenty-five percent to 70 percent of a DRTV campaign’s additional sales can be generated online. The Web has become a key component in making DRTV work and is a great additional revenue source for marketers who want to leverage their media and production investments. By creating a Web presence that reflects your other online and offline marketing efforts, you can develop a lucrative, virtual storefront that requires little or no telemarketing support. Who can argue with that?

Tying together your online and offline campaigns means you’ll not only be tapping into the high percentage of consumers who go online to check out a product after seeing it on TV, but you’ll be inviting those individuals to shop across all of the channels — from Web to retail to print. By doing so, you’ll give your company a definitive edge over firms that take a shotgun approach to marketing, and who hope for the best instead of planning ahead. ■

Author of more than 200 published articles, Timothy R. Hawthorne is founder, chairman and executive creative director of Hawthorne Direct, a full-service DRTV and new media agency founded in 1986. A 35-year television producer/writer/director with more than 800 DRTV campaigns to his credit, Hawthorne is a cum laude Harvard graduate.

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