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Direct Response Marketing

Response Magazine's 13th Annual State of the Industry Report

1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

Orsmond: We've noticed an increase in the number of TV ads for adult dating using "text" as their primary call-to-action. Plus there has been a substantial increase in the number of financial services DRTV ads carrying a mobile text message. This is most evident with debt consolidation DRTV advertisers who are using "text" to speed up response from consumers who're desperate for help to sort out their personal financial problems. Apart from those two sectors, most DRTV advertisers have not embraced mobile/wireless response options.

Sarnow: I have not seen growth for the DR industry. With the merging of online, Google, GPS and mobile technology, growth for local merchants will increase rapidly. The DRTV industry is still searching for mobile tactics that are successful.

Stacey: Mobile marketing is not yet there from a DR point of view, but it's coming. It is still early for any widespread and significant DR application, but we are monitoring the growth in the technology and the results from some of the marketers who are experimenting with mobile marketing.

Is DR reacting quickly enough to the expansion of DVR technology and what it could possibly mean to the advertising industry? How can this industry best adjust to this ongoing technological boom?

Eden: Again, this technology in its infancy as a marketing vehicle. Ongoing testing of TiVo in 2008 has yielded some opportunities, but marketers need to target their creative and offers to effectively reach the diverse demographics of the TiVo viewer. This will require marketers to create different messages to better position their products. DRTV marketers are not used to this type of approach, and it will be a bit slower for them to effectively crack the market.

Hawthorne: No, we are not. Our industry needs to be in high-level discussions with all the major MSOs selling through the importance of "telescoping" and long-form and persuading them to be realistic in their pricing for VOD ads, which at this point is outrageous and blind to the importance of testing.

Knight: Direct response is reacting to the expansion of DVR, and given the interactive nature of our particular area in advertising, DVR technology is a great fit. As technology further expands the interactivity of DVR services into more homes throughout the country (and world, for that matter), we will be better prepared to help advertisers navigate the process of identifying opportunities for their products and in doing so, generate revenues.

Lee: Again, I believe that we are in the infancy stage here and not fully comprehending the impact that DVR can have on a marketing campaign — especially brand DR.

Medico: I don't know what the industry can do to circumvent the DVR technology other than make people want to look and listen to their commercials. Creative, offer and call-to-action all need to be as compelling as possible.

Savage: We can fret about what DVR technology may be doing to traditional viewership, but it's a fact of life. I think TiVo is forward thinking and has done a good job at reaching out to the DR community to discuss possible opportunities for agencies and their clients to reach consumers. It's the responsibility of agencies and marketers to be open and creative in figuring out how we work with DVR technology to sell more products.

Stacey: I don't know whether or not the DR industry is reacting quickly enough. It's more a question of how to react. When you are making typewriters and someone shows you a personal computer — that's a problem. The TV business is changing, with channel proliferation, competing media, splintered audiences, regulations, rates, changing viewing habits, and many other issues in addition to the increasing use of DVRs. Smart marketers are adjusting to this but now looking at TV as only one part of the marketing mix and diversifying their messages.

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