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Direct Response Marketing

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

1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

Hawthorne: After six-to-eight years of DRTV consumers becoming accustomed to very aggressive, low-cost "trial offers," multi-pay offers continue to disappear, as buyers expect to get great deals whenever they view DRTV.

Knight: The consumer has always changed and will continue to change. Today, consumers and their viewing (and shopping) habits are changing faster than ever before. As a result of new media, the consumer now possesses a shorter attention span, coupled with a more compulsive nature, creating an on-demand world. DR's many capabilities are perfect to satisfy this type of audience.

Lee: The consumer is more and more educated and fickle — they want simple, quick and easy. They don't believe anything and will constantly use the Internet for validation and credibility.

Medico: Over the past few years, the DR consumer is becoming far more selective and the ratio of offers that work versus the ones that don't is increasing. In addition, the consumer is aware that many products eventually work their way to retail, and this has suppressed response to a greater degree.

Orsmond: While the U.K. is not yet experiencing a full recession, the "credit crunch" is definitely hurting retail sales. The upside for the DRTV advertiser however is that television channels are struggling to attract the larger brand advertisers and many are already reducing their airtime rates. This means that savvy DRTV advertisers are now paying less for 60- and 120-second spots than four years ago and, if they have the budgets, will be able to greater increase their opportunities to sell. Combine this with other related media, such as newspapers, magazines and online, and DR advertisers that are able to afford integrated campaigns are likely to make the most gains. In the early 21st century, the U.K. Internet bubble burst and bore the brunt of the recession back then. This time, Web businesses seem more secure, and DR advertisers should do much better with their Internet business sales. In the U.K., more than 34 million are now online (up by more than 70 percent since 2001). More secure payment methods have also helped convince consumers to spend more money on the Web and, hopefully, more DR marketers will be able to take advantage of this accountable media.

Sarnow: I think we are still living in a "Baby Boomer" economy. The purchasers of products on TV are still largely an older audience. On the other side, with more corporate marketers like Kodak — selling printers — a wider group of first time infomercial and short-form DRTV consumers is in evidence. The more diverse the products being offered via infomercials, the more diverse and larger audiences will be. It is quite possible that "at-home shopping" will become even more popular in the near future with the price of gasoline impacting consumer behavior and the Internet offering greater product information, as well as a larger variety of products and competition than ever before.

Savage: The consumer continues to take more control of his or her education on the products and services our industry's marketers are selling. This means that marketers and agencies like ours are investing in providing online and digital solutions that give consumers increased ability to learn and share opinions about products and services. This consumer "democratization" is a good thing, bringing opportunities and challenges for marketers that desire to communicate more with their customers.

Stacey: The consumer is the same, but they are certainly more sophisticated in their buying processes and more comfortable with DRTV and Internet shopping.

How has technology changed the way your company does business in the past 12 months? How will it in the next 12 months?

Bruckheim: Certainly, technology is rapidly changing the way most every company does business. It gives any company the resources and breadth of scope to accomplish so much more. For Latino Media Services, our B-to-C Web site has become the meeting point used by global suppliers and our clients to exchange product information and resources. Technology has enabled us to exponentially facilitate the delivery of product information from the product suppliers to the local distributors, thus increasing speed-to-market, sales and profitability.

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