Why Direct Response TV Marketing is Still Effective

Posted on October 16, 2019 by Christena Garduno

Topics: Video

Direct response TV (DRTV) marketing isn’t a new concept, and those who scoff at the idea of using direct response TV in their marketing are missing out on a great opportunity to get consumers more invested in their brands.

Part of the problem may be that marketers don’t realize exactly how DRTV can be applied to modern audiences. This is a shame, because modern technology enables DRTV to be potentially more effective than ever before.

If you are still on the fence, here’s everything that you need to know about how and why direct response TV should still be an important part of your marketing strategy.

Exactly what is DRTV?

If you aren’t sure exactly what DRTV is, you are likely not alone.

As its name suggests, DRTV is a long-form advertising format that features a call to action or other actionable content intended to get consumers to respond in a specific way at a specific time.

The call to action typically comes at the end of the direct response segment, though it may also appear at earlier points as well; the goal is to use the majority of the segment convincing the viewer why that action is the right one to take.

Evolution of Direct Response

While infomercials still exist, they aren’t as common or as high profile as they used to be.

Part of the reason for this is the increasing popularity of on-demand content; can simply pop over to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, CBS, Disney or any of dozens of other platforms for on-demand content.

The format has continued to evolve as a form of TV advertising, moving away from the obvious hard sale and taking a much more nuanced approach. Direct response advertising has also shed its stigma as being a low-budget format intended for startups and niche products, as many  Fortune 500 companies now use DRTV in their marketing campaigns.

From the standpoint of value, there is enormous value to be found in DRTV. It’s important to note that DRTV can often be purchased at 30-60% less than a traditional brand spot and can be run in all dayparts, including prime. These spots are also comparable in length to more traditional commercial spots, with formats that include two-minute, one-minute, :30 and :15. These days, DRTV is able to be successfully utilized by marketers as an extremely cost-effective means of both branding and generating a consumer response from the same spot. In addition, many marketers are using DRTV to cost-effectively drive retail sales.

Modern DRTV

Creative marketers are starting to use DRTV in new and more engaging ways.

Programmatic advertising and increased levels of interactivity in digital marketing has resulted in new DRTV strategies that are unrecognizable if you try to hold them to the infomercial standard. Modern direct response ads feature aspects such as having viewers visit a specific brand website to see the extended version of a short film that was previewed in an ad or giving viewers on connected TV sets a choice of ad clips to let them customize their experience by making a selection.

Some modern direct response ads still use a variation of the infomercial approach, though they focus more on providing actual information than exaggerating situations to keep an audience engaged. Others focus more on the brand as a whole than a specific product, utilizing the format’s strengths as a brand-building tool and allowing other aspects of the marketing campaign to focus on sales conversion.

Those differences in approach are part of the beauty of modern direct response marketing; the desired response can simply be a shift to another platform or another part of the sales funnel, allowing the DRTV element to act simply as an introduction to a much larger lead nurturing campaign.

Incorporating Direct Response strategies

Developing a direct response strategy as a part of your marketing plans doesn’t have to be difficult.

The first question that you should ask is exactly what it is that you want the viewer to do. While the end goal is to obviously make a purchase, more immediate actions for your DRTV strategy could include visiting a specific website, entering a contest or even following a page on social media. Regardless of the action, that response is the first step toward nurturing the lead into an eventual sale.

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