DRTV changes channels

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A multichannel approach provides a clearer picture of DRTV's potential
A multichannel approach provides a clearer picture of DRTV's potential

For instance, while companies are increasingly likely to include a URL in a DRTV spot, consumers might type a company name, product name, or other type of descriptive term into their search engine instead of remembering a Web address the way they might recall an easy-to-remember phone number. This could mean trouble for marketers with strong DRTV creative, but without a solid SEM strategy.

“There are lots of infomercials and short-form DRTV spots airing where there is no search presence,” says Irv Brechner, EVP of corporate communications at Acquirgy. “If someone sees an ad for Schticky Lint Roller and they aren't doing any paid search, but their competitor Sticky Buddy is, that consumer will buy from the competitor.”

One of Mercury's clients is the wheelchair and electric scooter manufacturer Hoveround, which has been using long-form DRTV programs for about 17 of its 20 years in business. Even though its customers skew older—generally 65 or above—the company has moved quickly over the past five years to incorporate new technologies into its marketing campaigns, urging viewers to learn more about their products and place orders for them online at hoveround.com.

“We've really started to keep TV more as a foundation of our marketing mix, but it doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting it used to,” says Jeff Hilton, VP of marketing for Hoveround.

DRTV is the heart of
Zestra's touchy campaign

As much as the marketing landscape changes, many of the DRTV aspects that made it attractive to marketers for decades remain unchanged.

Click to read full case study.

While television also remains the centerpiece of the Home Shopping Network's (HSN) marketing mix, the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week direct marketing network has also been moving quickly to integrate a variety of online channels into its offerings, realizing that is where shoppers are heading.

“We provide unique, compelling content across platforms to drive engagement and constantly promote back and forth between TV, online, and mobile,” says Kurt Kostur, SVP of marketing at HSN. “[We use] tune-in alerts via mobile, when-to-watch signup online, host mentions, and promos driving to online from TV.”

In March HSN LIVE—a concert series that markets new albums—featured Lionel Richie directing fans prior to the broadcast to go to the network's Facebook page for a live preshow with songs from his new album Tuskegee. The page had an exclusive behind-the-scenes special and provided the opportunity to order the album.

The concert itself was broadcast on HSN, directing viewers throughout to call or order he album through HSN.com. When the show wrapped, viewers were directed to catch an encore and live chat with Richie through the HSN Facebook page. Richie sold 20,000 copies of his new album in an hour and each of those buyers had the option of signing up to receive information about similar offers in the future.

Changing content of DRTV

As the marketing landscape gets more crowded, even some brands not traditionally interested in DRTV have become attracted to its ability to broadcast their story in a more sustained way than would be possible through other channels. Acquirgy's Brechner points to brands like Keurig and Western Union, which have made recent moves into DRTV, and believes that more will be jumping into the area.

“DRTV is a superior medium to tell the story, demonstrate a product, and provide testimonials, because of the length of the commercial, whether one or two minutes or 28.5-minute infomercials,” says Brechner, who adds that even though digital channels have made tracking DRTV more challenging, it still remains one of the best options for marketers under pressure to prove ROI. “That's one of the things we've really been working on: ways to create successful infomercials with high production values and good branding, but still enough direct response to generate sales.”

He gives the example of a long-form DRTV campaign Acquirgy recently rolled out for Hoover, built around the concept of a house in which every room was dirty and various company products helped restore it to cleanliness. While it used the memorable demonstrations familiar to infomercial viewers, it also added branding elements such as going through four decades of Hoover products.

“The extreme demos and Hoover's Dirty House drove home our unique selling proposition, and the compelling consumer offer drove both online and retail sales—exactly what we planned,” says Brian Kirkendall, VP of marketing for Hoover.

In this way, DRTV is an increasingly attractive option even for marketers trying to reach younger audiences who are more likely to be using the latest-and-greatest smartphones and tablets.

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