DRTV Marketers Need the Internet

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How many times have you heard people in the DRTV business say the Internet is not really a part of their business now, nor is it in their plans?


These people say consumers love the immediate gratification of picking up the phone and calling and, therefore, they will not use the Internet to order. They point out the fears that some consumers have over the thought of having their credit information compromised online.


While this may be true for some consumers, marketers who refuse to accept the Internet are today's equivalent of the old catalogers who first refused to accept the telephone. Back then, they said the telephone would never replace mail because people just wouldn't pay for things over the telephone. They pointed out the fears that some consumers had over the thought of having their credit information compromised.


The Internet is just a fad. Fads by their very nature come and go - CB radios, trash compactors and the Pocket Fisherman (with all due respect to Ron Popeil). Then there are shifts in technology - electricity, trains, cars, phones, radios, TV and computers.


The Internet falls into the latter.


What the Internet is not. For years, I have listened to the Internet geniuses and their prophesies about the Internet being the ultimate advertising and marketing medium that would soon replace television. Nonsense!


If the Internet is such a great way to advertise, then why is television and radio being pounded with ad dollars from all of the dot-coms? Additionally, according to the recent numbers, the time that average American families spend watching television has not dropped at all.


Here is my own experience with this growing opportunity. We produced an infomercial for a large sunroom manufacturer. The clients' prime demographic target is adults that are over age 55. Essentially, sunrooms are a retirement investment. Even though we were told not to worry about a Web site because of the targets' age, we did one anyway.


The results? The call volume from the infomercial was a success by itself. However, by featuring the company Web site along with the phone number in the infomercial, we were able track five Web-site user sessions to every one incoming phone call.


In addition to this, for every 10 people that visited the site, 1 made an appointment for an in-home survey, which was the offer in the info. In other words, featuring a Web address increased the response to the show by 50 percent with a target demo that everyone believed was not online.


Ethnic populations are no different. As an example, we created a short form DR spot for a traditional African-American food item. The spot featured Lawanda Page, who is best known for her role as Aunt Ester on "Sanford and Son." In the spot, we displayed a phone number and Web site for just three seconds. This was the way for viewers to get information on the retailer nearest them.


Not only did we get a tremendous response to the toll-free number, but we also received a considerable amount of e-mail from individuals who identified themselves as African-Americans. These people wrote to LaWanda not only as fans, but also to show their appreciation for the spot and the Web site, which also featured recipes and helpful information.


What makes a site work? Sometimes you just can't sell a person on your product in the time you have in a television spot. By allowing viewers to visit your Web site, you have an additional opportunity to spend time with them, build value and complete the transaction. But be careful: Internet users tend to seek information. If your site is all sales pitch and has no helpful information, many Web users will turn you off.


The bottom line. The Internet is an opportunity for you to leverage every dollar you spend on DRTV into additional sales. With media costs constantly rising it would be irresponsible for any DR marketer not to take advantage of this additional form of communication with prospects. But then again, maybe you don't need it. That is assuming that you think your competition is still waiting for everybody to mail in their orders.
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