Insist on true DRTV

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It was a scene I had experienced much too frequently over the past 20 years. A potential client had scheduled a meeting to discuss moving his account from another agency. "We're just not getting the response we used to on television," he complained.

Since the client sold a subscription-based product, I asked, "What is your cost per acquisition?" He looked at me blankly. "I have no idea, but I do know that our CPCPGRP is going up."

Having spent a long time in this industry, I am familiar with the wide range of acronyms used to describe results - CPI, CPO, MER, and many more - but I had never heard of the long string of letters that sounded more a Soviet missile installation then advertising terminology. Although I worried that I might end up looking unprofessional, I confessed my ignorance.

"I don't know what that is."

"Hmmm." The client looked as if I had asked him what a Nielsen rating was. "It's Cost-Per-Call-Per-Gross-Rating-Point."

I realized I had met another victim of fake DRTV. Too often, clients want true direct response TV, but end up with hybrid approaches more akin to traditional "eyeball-measured media" than "response measured" advertising.

Clients opt for fake DRTV when they fear the stigma of "yell and sell" direct response. But they can enjoy the efficiencies, direct sales and accountability of DRTV without sacrificing hard-earned brand identity. Here is a checklist of what to look for if you are a client whose goal is real DRTV:

ò Does the agency's reel fit your needs? Great DRTV complements and enhances your brand, but also demonstrates salesmanship. It answers more questions than it poses, and has a clear call to action that motivates

ò Does the agency buy true DRTV? If it does, its buying methodology will be anchored in a database of previous response - not eyeballs and rate cards. True DRTV media agencies constantly fight to get their clients the most efficient cost per sale - not the lowest cost per viewer

ò Does it have the reporting systems? If its reports consist of spreadsheets showing CPCPGRP, it doesn't buy true DRTV. The language it should speak includes: CPI (cost-per-inquiry), conversion to sale, average order, and perhaps lifetime valuation. All these metrics should combine to give you an accurate daily report that tells you just how your campaign is doing

ò Does it have the references and experience to achieve your goal?

DRTV can be an incredible tool in a company's sales, advertising and marketing arsenal, but clients need to be careful to choose real resources over the fake DRTV practitioners

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