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Direct Response Marketing

Putting Online Response Off the Chart

1 Oct, 2009 By: Doug McPherson Response

Mixing Media

Another area where marketers are making headway is integrating online and offline campaigns.

Johnny Mathis, CEO of Livemercial, an online direct marketing and sales company in Valparaiso, Ind., says marketers should view online campaigns as another channel to reach consumers and support DRTV, radio and print.?"The online message needs to reflect what the consumer has already heard or seen through other media," he says.

He believes online campaigns should present a shorter version of the infomercial to strengthen customer familiarity and trust. And Mathis will sometimes use offline media as a soft sell to drive to the Web and make the close online. He adds, "This works especially well with radio and print, where time and space is sometimes very limited."

As for TV, Garnett is particularly bullish. "TV has strength to reach new consumers much better than the Web," and uses Web-based companies such as Orbitz and Limbo41414 as examples. "They use TV to drive consumption of their Web services ... because they know the Web alone ... can't grow a business past a certain point," he contends. "TV tells people a product exists, then online ads, search engine optimization and other online tools make interested people find the Web-based business and remind them of the TV messages they've seen."

Dick Wechsler, president and CEO of Lockard & Wechsler Direct, a DR and media buying company in Irvington, N.Y., agrees DRTV is powerful and says it drives 30 to 70 percent of viewers to the Web. "That offers tremendous efficiency to the DRTV marketplace because a certain percentage wouldn't respond if phone was the only way to respond," Wechsler adds. "You also have no telemarketing costs — it's about adding customers and a lower cost to acquire them."

But Garnett adds that TV does have a weakness. "It can't provide the product detail consumers love from Web sites," he says. "So when you're able to generate interest ... with TV, the Web is where people get their questions answered. And, if you're distributing via the Web, then they can purchase the product or service right there."

Nevertheless, Garnett says a TV impression has a higher value than a Web ad. Why? "Because a Web ad is easy to ignore, and viewers often do. But a TV ad is the only thing on the screen when it airs. Consumers can still choose to ignore the ad, but it takes conscious effort," Garnett says.

To improve online ads, Garnett says give them the same elements as the TV ads. "But know Web ads are like billboards — they have to grab attention in seconds, or it'll be ignored. So the creative elements from TV for the Web ad need to be simple and strong," he contends.

Incidentally, Atomic Direct did a focus group with consumers who had bought from TV. Group members said TV:

  • Introduced them to products they wouldn't find in their day-to-day shopping and Web activities
  • Offered clear, compelling demonstration of products that are non-existent in stores and which, for many products, aren't compelling on the Web

And so, as they always do, consumers get the last word on this topic.

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About the Author: Doug McPherson

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