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Direct Response Marketing

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

1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

Eden: The product configuration of a long-form offer and a short-form offer are different enough that price point is the ultimate determinate of success by length. The credit-worthiness situation has made installment billing higher risk, therefore forcing higher priced products to remain in the long-form arena. Traditionally, ancillary media have been most effective when integrated with a short-form campaign. Established long-form programs, such as Total Gym or Proactiv Solution, have benefited from the synergies a multimedia campaign offers.

Fays: At MTVN, we sell both short-form and long-form DRTV, and the effectiveness really depends on the product and strength of the creative. Short form is best supported by online, while long form is better supported by print and radio.

Garnett: It all depends on the message. Message must determine whether you use short-form or long-form as a medium.

Knight: It all depends on your targeted consumer. Historically, long form has done very well, as it enables the consumer with enough information about a certain product to make a well-informed buying decision. Short form, on the other hand, is more applicable to the new media platforms available today and highly digested by compulsive, on-the-go consumers.

Lee: It all depends on the marketing vertical. Some campaigns use short form to brand and push eyeballs to the Internet. Others use short form as a way to sell free trial offers. A product still has to be highly demonstrable and have a story to tell to use long form.

Medico: Depending on the call-to-action, price point, demonstrability and complexity of the offer, the use of short form versus long form will need to be evaluated. The drive to online and mobile is the impact of spot frequency over time and in all dayparts. This is done mostly with short form.

Orsmond: In the UK, it has been the substantial growth of sales generated by U.S.-style infomercials that has driven the highest DRTV sales during the past two-to-three years. In Europe, if a U.S. advertiser already has a successful infomercial, then doing a two-minute spot makes sense, as we are able to run these short-form ads across a greater number of cable and satellite channels and dayparts. This works very well to support sales on TV channels where long-form broadcasts are restricted to just three hours of home shopping per day. Having worked for many years with U.S. infomercial advertisers, it is our experience that they generally do not make use of print, radio or mobile to support their long-form advertising here.

Sarnow: Feasibility analysis is still the key to determining whether short-form or long-form DR is the best path for a marketer and their product introduction. Consumers can't be expected to purchase a product that costs $100 if the message is complex and the marketer tries to introduce the product in a two-minute spot. The question seems to mix up the idea of what medium supports the other. DRTV has always been the medium to support other outlets. When a short-form or long-form campaign is successful, you see a bump in just about every other sales outlet including radio, print, keyword, pay-per-click, etc.

Stacey: It really depends on what product or service you are selling. Both short form and long form can be and should be supported by other media. Some products require both short form and long form, but generally only certain products have enough of a story and a high enough price point that they require and can carry a 30-minute show.

What are the strongest vertical markets in the current DR industry?

Eden: Service-oriented programs, lead-generation on consumer products and credit card offers.

Lee: Personal care and health — both fitness and supplements.

Medico: Drive to site for the online dating industry, fitness and retail support.

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