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Direct Response Marketing

In Production: Engage Them … Then Offer The Deal They Can’t Refuse

1 Feb, 2013 By: Ken & Barbara Kerry, Script To Screen Response

Media platforms are increasing. Competition for media is tightening. Consumer leisure time is narrowing. Welcome to the future.

Ever since we began producing infomercial programming — well over two decades ago — we have been meticulous in applying the classic “DRTV Rule,” which says that every second must go into selling. Now, as a result of the many niche media channels vying for consumers’ attention, there is a mandatory new “DRTV Rule”: Don’t lose sight of the tenets that make DRTV successful — immediately grab ahold of consumer attention, maintain it throughout the program, and motivate them to make the call or head to the website.

Call it engage marketing.

Because of all the competing forces for attention, marketers have to engage consumers in order to sell to them. That means DR programming has to be compelling and entertaining, thought provoking and inspiring — far more than ever before.

The message has to underscore relevancy quicker than ever before; the product’s emotional impact needs to be felt greater than ever before; the consumer needs to be brought into the messaging faster than ever before. And, equally important, the campaign messaging and creative needs to work effectively across all media channels.

Several of the biggest ratings successes in network prime time television today are series that have a convergence dynamic — a companion interactive online destination or series of mobile apps. Direct response can also apply convergence to immerse as well engage consumers in the product and its core messaging.

Engaging consumers is achieved through compelling content and multiple media channels. Today’s DRTV campaigns need to deliver messaging that offers immediacy, relevancy and an emotional connection; testimonials that speak to today’s targeted consumers, delivered in a thoughtful and contemporary manner; and demonstrations that showcase the product and engender trust.

Today’s DRTV campaigns also must have the flexibility to perform in a synergistic manner across all traditional and digital media, where television can lead consumers to the Internet, and mobile can lead consumers to television.

Still, DRTV marketers must remain vigilant not to allow the many challenges resulting from an ever-changing media landscape to force them to lose sight of what is most important. Today’s advanced production tools afford a broad array of creative opportunities that were elusive in the past due to cost, but have become viable due to technology. However, that can also be a trap to the inexperienced DRTV producer. Technology is not a substitute for salesmanship.

The art of selling has always included strong communication and powerful messaging, and throughout the recent evolutions in media platforms and production technology, the tried-and-true approach to selling has not diminished in importance.

Today’s message must travel well beyond price advantages and satisfaction guarantees. Consumers need to experience the product, understand it fully and forge a personal relationship with it. An effective combination of consumer-focused content and playability across multiple media channels will contribute to the sell.

The digital evolution is changing communications and also affording new opportunities for direct marketers prepared to embrace the increasingly niched media landscape, as well as for infomercial programs that offer a more engaging, personalized “sell.” Engaging consumers includes taking them through the process of understanding what is being offered, how the product is innovative, how it will change lives — and then creating a powerful value that makes the product an irresistible buy.

These elements are most effectively created when the infomercial producer helps consumers envision themselves already using the product. Put the product in their hands. Help them not only to understand what the product is, but also to experience it. The consumer becomes part of the “sell” and an integral part of the infomercial program. ■

About the Author: Ken & Barbara Kerry

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