How Effective Are CDs and DVDs When Used for Marketing?

A comprehensive study just completed for the International Recording Media Association analyzed the use of CDs and DVDs for marketing, providing instruction/information, communications and premiums.

The 44-page study, completed by Cambridge Associates Inc., is available for free at and reveals what type of applications and companies are using CDs and DVDs as a premium, marketing or communication tool. It also reveals the benefits these companies experienced when using these two mediums.

Here are highlights from the report:

How are CDs and DVDs being used?

Marketing. Promotions encompass the use of discs to advertise, motivate and promote potential buyers to order the products or services or seek further information (i.e., visit a dealer, call a toll-free number or visit a Web site). Potential buyers receive a CD or DVD, which describes a product, service, location (for a vacation, real estate and college campus), etc.

Discs are sent to consumers who respond to an ad or are sent unsolicited to targeted prospective buyers whose demographics or interests make them likely prospects.

Premiums. The use of discs to reward buyers for purchasing a product or service, or to motivate them to purchase (e.g., disc included in boxes of cereal to motivate purchasers to buy the $3 cereal, which has a video game or DVD movie worth three to five times the cost of the cereal).

Instructional/informational. Buyers of a product or service receive a disc explaining the item or service purchased.

Communication. Corporations, organizations and associations use CDs and DVDs to advise employees, members and investors of their performance, challenges and goals that directly affect them.

Several types of companies use these mediums:

· Internet service providers.

· Cereal manufacturers.

· Automotive manufacturers.

· Health/fitness promoters.

· Publishers.

· Organizations/associations.

· Events/concert promoters.

· Colleges/universities.

· Retailers.

· Travel/destination agencies.

· Music/cinema/entertainment promoters.

· Game publishers.

· Household product suppliers.

Why are companies using CDs and DVDs? The following is a list of top reasons given by people who used CDs or DVDs for marketing, the delivery of information, instruction, communications and premiums. Interviewers asked end-users what the advantages/benefits were to their organization from using multimedia discs for these applications.

· Greater response rates, which were 50 percent to 600 percent greater than traditional direct mail.

· Greater conversion rates. The overall success in persuading potential buyers to order the product/service after they had requested and received a disc promoting the product/service was on average 19 percent.

· Greater production and mailing efficiencies particularly in disc replication, which may cost as little as 40 cents a disc. The reduced weight of the discs compared with most print mailings resulted in meaningful savings on postage.

· More cost efficient than traditional mass media. Additionally, disc marketing is more targeted than mass reach media.

· Provide far greater information (full motion, sound and Internet links) than print catalogs, brochures or booklets. Complex and new products that require demonstration to convey all of their benefits are particularly well served by a multimedia presentation that printed materials cannot provide.

· Greater ability to collect and measure data with more accuracy and accountability, plus automatic database generation when executed in conjunction with Web sites.

· Greater perceived value by recipients (as high as $15). Consumers are likely to play a disc, which is often looked upon as special vs. a typical brochure or a catalog.

· Unique capability to drive traffic to a marketer’s Web site, potentially increasing the sender’s e-commerce. This also helps Web sites that are ad-supported rely on increased hits to support online advertising revenue.

· DVDs, and to a lesser extent CDs, provided the full effect of a TV commercial with lower costs than those associated with broadcast and cable television advertising.

· Discs produce a 40 percent to 60 percent increase in viewer’s memory after watching vs. print advertising.

· Discs break through the traditional mailbox or office in basket clutter of printed direct mail pieces.

· Discs have a relatively high “pass-along” rate, in which the initial recipient shares the disc with others.

· Discs, by their requirement of having to be played on a CD-ROM drive or DVD player, most often place the viewer in a position and time conducive to getting the attention and generating a response.

The IRMA report retails for $995, but as a special offer to the readers of DM News, Linking Solutions, which produced the CD for IRMA, is offering it for a limited time at no charge. If you would like a copy of the full report, go to

Barry Johnson is president of Linking Solutions, Minneapolis. His e-mail address is [email protected]

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