Response Magazine's Ninth Annual State of the Industry Report1 Sep, 2004 By: Response Contributor Response
Members of the magazine's Editorial Board weigh in on self-regulation, the effects of the Web, and the continuing battle for good media time.
Altman: Before the ERA can reach out to another association that will supposedly benefit the majority of the members, the ERA must find a better way to benefit all its own members. After having a booth at the DMA show in Orlando last year and seeing the poor reception and turnout in New York this spring, I believe the ERA should just concentrate on making its own organization stronger and more hospitable to the smaller companies who continue to pay dues and support all the related activities.
“Consumers are flooded with more and more commercial messages all of the time, and clutter will continue to drive consumers to find ways to avoid and tune out our messages. ”— Ron Perlstein, Infoworx
5. The Interactive Television Alliance (ITA) recently announced a deal with the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) to bring interactive TV to the forefront of that industry event. Should ERA and DMA consider combining forces with each other or another association for an event to promote the DR industry?
Perlstein: Yes! A resounding yes. We need to work together to bring more companies into direct marketing in general, and electronic retailing in particular.
Stacey: I have been hearing about interactive TV for more than 10 years now and I still don't think we're there yet. Certainly ERA is involved in monitoring this and other technological developments affecting our industry, but it is still early days for interactive TV. I think the ERA has done a good job in promoting the DRTV industry at NATPE and to other industries, such as the International Housewares Association, the agency community, the pharmaceutical industry and others. However, there is much more work to be done in this area and this should include the ERA forming alliances where necessary to achieve their objectives.
“Just because there hasn’t been a show like Tae Bo or “Stop the Insanity” that has managed to become a media sensation doesn’t mean there aren’t major hits in our business right now.” — David Savage, ATC Agency Services
Medico: I think they should consider combining forces only if ERA can have a significant presence. The fear I have is that DRTV, in all its forms, might be relegated to a minor role at a direct marketing trade show. We can be overshadowed by the larger segments of the industry, such as direct mail, that have had long-standing relationships with the show's organizers and might view our presence as a threat.
Hawthorne: Great idea! But what organization? ERA has tried working with NATPE in the past taking a "DRTV World" block of space at a NATPE convention — once. Even the DRTV space at the DMA convention was a questionable success last year. The 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and ANA's (Association of National Advertisers) get-togethers might be a thought, but we'd very likely be relegated to the "slum" part of exhibit space once again. Maybe the AFL-CIO might have us?
6. How is the industry's consumer changing?
Joyce Cusack, CPO Direct: The direct response industry is being led by online marketing. However, the explosive growth of Spam marketing will eventually lead to the same type of legislation that limited outbound telemarketing. Outbound telemarketing legislation has caused direct-to-consumer marketers to identify new ways to promote products. TV is becoming a more utilized medium to distribute information and product trial.
“We will soon have the ability to give an almost precise profit-and-loss by individual order that will allow the marketer to identify which media buys or outbound programs are working and which should be dropped. ”— Larry Moulton, Moulton Logistics Management
Weisbarth: The consumer is getting too much information from too many marketing channels. It's tougher to communicate to the consumer. They are very distracted and their attention span is getting shorter.
Hawthorne: Consumers are more willing to buy via the Internet. For our industry to grow and thrive, we need the numbers of consumers who trust buying direct via TV to grow by 15 to 20 percent per year. Currently, this growth rate is nil.
Altman: The average consumer has become more educated and outspoken on what they buy, how they are treated, when the merchandise arrives and most of all, about how they are being put into clubs or continuity programs they had not knowingly joined.
The increase of online buying has brought an entire new generation of consumers into the market, and they have proven to be well educated, aware of the laws and knowledgeable in using their credit and debit cards.