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Direct Response Marketing

DR AddsSpark to Consumer Electronics

1 Dec, 2009 By: Doug McPherson Response

KTG created three 30-minute programs for three Kodak products: the ESP 7 all-in-one printer, the EasyShare printer and the EasyShare camera. TV personalities Caroline Rhea, Richard Karn and Kirsten Gum hosted the shows.

“With the Kodak shows, it was important to achieve just the right balance of humor, product demonstrations and audience participation,” Kaplan says.

Kaplan says the Kodak shows, which aired nationally, delivered “strong numbers” for Kodak and “far surpassed” sales expectations. “Kodak received so many printer orders after the initial airing of the EasyShare printer show with Caroline Rhea that it actually sold out its inventory in less than a month,” she contends (for more on this campaign, see Response, May 2008).

Fattening Slim Margins
Regardless of the success stories, problems still exist for DR in marketing consumer electronics. Slim margins are tough, especially for hardware, unless that hardware is high-end, such as TVs and DVD players. “When you look at these items from a direct sale viewpoint, it’s one of the biggest problems for DR,” O’Leary says. Another difficulty is that some consumer electronics marketers tend to overestimate just how much consumers really understand how their product or service works. The communications company Vonage is a good example. “Vonage thought everyone knew what it did,” O’Leary says. But for one campaign the company learned the hard way and had to re-pitch with a clearer message.

He also contends DR works really well if you can place the message “in a light of what consumers understand and add a strong value statement.” And thorough testing for offers is popping up more.

David Echegoyen, account director at the ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, says letting consumers try products is key. “Marketers are getting good at letting shoppers experience their products,” he contends. “Most consumer electronics retailers now have, and encourage, a hands-on approach versus the behind-the-glass-counter approach of old.”

Demonstrating Value
Insiders say another lesson they’re learning is that value is carrying more weight — specifically, demonstrable value to reassure consumers they’re making the right choice and that the product has the longevity that’s commensurate with the size of the purchase.

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research at the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, Va., believes 2009 taught marketers that consumers are still interested in value. “Marketers are trying to show that value … many consumers have become more frugal and are asking themselves is a product is really worth their money,” DuBravac says.

O’Leary adds that software is “a value-benefit issue.”

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