DRTV advertisers need e-mail for response & acquisition

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DRTV advertisers need e-mail for response & acquisition
DRTV advertisers need e-mail for response & acquisition

Historically, there have been major shifts in marketing that opportunistic companies and entrepreneurs have taken advantage of to scale their business and gain competitive advantages. Direct response television (DRTV) is a perfect example of a burgeoning channel that was embraced by a select few to become the chief source of revenue and the lifeline of their business. 


Back in the early '80s, Madison Avenue shunned the idea of running DRTV commercials because they thought it would negatively impact their brand equity, and ultimately, they did not want to be associated with most of the new-fangled “slicer dicer” products and offers that were filling the late night air waves.  However, the real reason behind their hesitation was that these Fortune 1,000 advertisers did not have internal or external partners with expertise in the channel; they could not embrace something they did not understand or that was not proven.  At the time there was very little technology in place to help manage and measure campaign performance and they did not think the reward would be worth the effort and risk.  They would soon realize they were wrong.

Companies like Johnson & Johnson took advantage, essentially cutting their costs per thousand in half and doubling their reach. Eventually new DRTV agencies emerged, such as Wunderman, and many of those agencies got acquired by traditional agencies in the late '90s and after.

Today, direct response products like ShamWow, OxiClean, and the most famous blanket in America, Snuggie, are competing for the same television space with giant moguls like AT&T and HSBC. It is no wonder DRTV has grown to be a $300 billion business during the last 20 years. 


A similar shift is now occurring, and this time it's the e-mail advertising channel that's facing the same challenges and opportunities the DRTV channel experienced over the past two decades. The difference is that the e-mail advertising channel has now matured to the point that many DRTV advertisers, Fortune 1,000 brands and some agencies are taking full advantage and beating their competitors to the punch.


There are no longer any doubts about the ability of DRTV campaigns to generate sales. But you may be surprised to learn that e-mail advertising has already proven to be the most effective online channel for DRTV advertisers and is now the most popular form of direct response marketing.  


By leveraging e-mail, DRTV advertisers can deepen customer relationships, build loyalty and extend lifetime value through brand re-enforcement and relevance.  It's no wonder 65% of direct marketers will increase their investment in the e-mail channel this year, according to Shop.org.


E-mail is an accretive source for new customers, offering the potential for 25% to 50% incremental reach at a fraction of the cost of DRTV.  While television air time requires an up-front investment, email is relatively inexpensive and can be set up on a performance model where advertisers only pay for leads or customers, so there is no wasted media spend.  Well established compliance and privacy tools are in place to protect consumers and brand equity. 


What's more, e-mail has proven it's more than a direct response medium. It can provide the continuity and relationship development that keeps brands top of mind. Just ask eHarmony. The dating and relationship giant ran a series of DRTV spots in conjunction with an e-mail campaign and increased brand favorability and brand awareness.  A Dynamic Logic study showed that nearly one out of every three eHarmony members claimed that they first encountered the brand via an e-mail media experience. 

Just like early adopters of DRTV, the brands that completely embrace e-mail will have an advantage over those that are still hesitant to adopt the channel.  Using e-mail to communicate to your audience now will go along way in helping you establish meaningful, long-term relationships with consumers, and ultimately build the sort of brand loyalty that produces dramatic results for years to come.  Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to turn on e-mail.


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