Rumors of DRTV's demise exaggerated

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Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby

Q: What has changed in the DRTV sec­tor since you started in it?

A: TV is still the dominant mass medium of our time. However, because audiences have become so fragmented in the past two decades, you have to keep in mind that consumers are going to respond in different ways, be it by phone, online, mobile devices. It's still DRTV although you're calling it something else. When you look outside of the US, especially in Asia, mobile devices are a huge way to interact and market to a customer and we think that's coming in the US.

Q: Why isn't DRTV going away?

A: It's still the most effective and efficient way to advertise on TV. It's self-liquidating advertising. You get to build and enhance brand and own a relation­ship direct with the consumer, and you know in a week's time whether your dollars are being spent effectively.

Q: Will DVRs affect DRTV?

A: The three most important words in television are “people watch program­ming.” How do you make the content, whether it's a spot or a long form, com­pelling? What is interesting about it? You've got to be conscious that there are not only people that DVR television shows, but people also channel surf. I watch 500 channels. I surf them. I don't necessarily just go to my favorite chan­nels like a lot of people. I watch what's visually interesting and appealing.

Q: What are some misconceptions about DRTV?

A: DRTV in the US is shedding its old image of being somewhat tacky and in the land of “slice ‘em, dice ‘em.” Some of the biggest brands in the world are now using DRTV, and many of them are our clients. They're finding that it's an economically efficient way to acquire customers. So I think the perception is changing and you can see the truth in that statement comes from brands that are now using direct response. It's more efficient often times than their traditional advertising.

Q: What are some DRTV marketers doing wrong?

A: Often, those who have been in the DRTV space a long time have only sold their products one way. They want the customer to call them on an 800 number, or they throw up a Web site. But when viewers are fragmented across a larger spectrum of media and media rates continue to rise, it becomes less efficient. What you have to do is leverage the value of television to create greater sales. For every one customer who may purchase a product directly from a DRTV commercial, there are nine more affected by the product. It's called the halo effect. How do you [make] your product available to those other nine people who learned about you through DRTV? You need to get it into the channels of distribution where they're most comfortable. They may not like to call a toll free number. They may be more comfortable going to their local retailers. More than 90% of products in the US are still purchased at a retail location.

Q: What advice do you have for those just entering the DRTV world?

A: Whether it's a brand advertiser com­ing into the space for first time, or an entrepreneur with a compelling product: Understand the marketplace and how you're going to touch a customer. It's not simply about producing a com­mercial, running it and waiting for the phones to ring. Consumers will decide how and if they want to touch your brand. TV may be how they come to know you, but you have to leverage TV in many ways and use multiple distribution strategies to be effective.

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