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.
7. With technology seemingly growing every minute, how has your company changed the way it's done business in recent years?
Digby Orsmond, ARM Direct Ltd.: To keep ahead of our competitors, we decided two years ago to invest considerable funds to develop what is now considered to be the United Kingdom's most advanced and user-friendly DRTV tracking and analysis software, Armada Media Solutions. The rewards for our DRTV clients have been considerable as Armada allows them remote access to their data (password protected) from wherever they are in their travels. This allows instant checking on a wide range of data especially for their individual DRTV campaigns — everything from daily response per channel, per telephone number to airtime and budget reconciliation per product creative. The software is simple to navigate and all the reports are pre-designed, so it is easy to compare and understand day-to-day activity.
“I would press broadcasters to take more responsibility for substantiating claims before they accept direct advertising. ”— Rick Petry, Euro RSCG 4D DRTV
Perlstein: We're sending out Quicktime movies to our clients to cut production time, recording all of the inbound calls and posting them to an FTP site and driving all of the offers to the Internet as well as toll-free numbers.
Moulton: Marketers are getting many things faster, better and for less. Outsourcers are outsourcing more than ever. Employees can telecommute from home. What call centers aren't digitizing, they're sending to agents' homes or overseas. Agents calling from India can get the local baseball scores or weather to mention to an unhappy customer to appear local! Foreign computer programmers are taking projects at a fraction of the cost of the dot.com era. Practically all products we ship are coming from Asia (and more commonly China).
Hawthorne: Technology impacts hawthorne direct inc. on three fronts: commercial production, communications and media buying. HDTV cameras and faster and hotter non-linear edit systems make the production process more creative and fun every year. Broadband makes sending and viewing short-form spots doable in just minutes from anywhere in the world. Since our company has staff in nearly a dozen offices around the U.S., we'll soon be installing Web cameras for meetings and presentations. Our proprietary media tracking and analysis system becomes even more sophisticated with each software update, allowing our buyers to even predict how many orders a particular DRTV commercial will generate in a specific time slot.
8. How will the influx of traditional marketers into this space, which seems to grow every year, affect the industry — most notably via media availability and pricing?
Rick Petry, Euro RSCG 4D DRTV: It will continue to blur the lines between direct and branded advertising to the point where they will be indistinguishable.
Perlstein: Look, this industry has traction, continues to gain momentum and high media prices make it more and more difficult to find winners. Savvy marketers need to be more creative with their offers, upsells and backend sales efforts.
Medico: The recognition of DRTV by the general advertising community has been a mixed blessing in that it has allowed agencies like ours to work on accounts we would normally not have access to. On the other hand, these accounts do not measure success on traditional DRTV benchmarks so they can afford to pay more for media. This, in turn, forces DR advertisers to try and identify other, less-costly media options.
Orsmond: Traditional marketers have been reluctant to enter the DRTV product sector. The U.K.'s buoyant financial services sector is the biggest user of DRTV-style spots, and this has been extremely good for my company as we have many years of success using short-form DRTV to sell loans and insurance. Several multi-national drug companies have recently approached us to explore ways of getting their products on U.K. channels (especially weight loss, as U.K. consumers are now officially the "heaviest" in all of Europe — overtaking the Germans in 2003), but again the very strict Broadcast Advertising Clearance Center (BACC) rules tend to get in the way.