Would You Bet Against the Power of TV?


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By:  Ronald C. Pruett, Jr. CEO, Mercury Media

We’ve been analyzing marketing measurement tools and developments for many years now, and there’s nothing more exciting than finding a blazing, controversial new trend. The past few years have certainly provided that kind of excitement as customers have sprinted toward digital, mobile and social media. But as much as I want to find something new to present to clients, there’s one thing that just won’t move. That something is TV.

Marketers need to accept the fact that TV has not gone anywhere and has simply grown into a bigger behemoth than ever before, despite the ubiquitous presence of digital touch points. Now TV is becoming more interactive and it is that interactivity that will make the most popular device in the house – the most popular electronic device since the light bulb, even – more entrenched. Interactive TV is where direct response will find its most important intersection.

Interactive TV is the link between the passive experience of watching TV and the active experience of online media. As online media becomes cluttered by the ever-increasing number of ads and number of content sources, I could argue that the real channel flippers are now online. TV viewers spend an eternity on a single channel compared to the amount of time spent on a website or video at any one time. And in my opinion, a lot of what’s happening in online video is a rehearsal for interactive TV. That’s where the biggest audience will be. That’s where the biggest sales and now most measurable results will be. The holy grail of online video is a mass audience that is ready to purchase at the desired moment. That’s what interactive TV is.

I think interactive TV’s approach will depend on the product. For health and beauty aids, for example, the key will be matching the right media and delivering the right creative to suit the demographic target. For travel, success will hinge on getting the right customer to click on a URL for more information. For medical supplies, the target consumer will need to be enticed to take purchase action immediately.

Right now, ITV is in the technology development phase. But it has reached the point where it is technologically viable and worth a test by many advertisers.  I would say that marketers who bet against ITV are betting against the power of TV. And that bet has never paid out.

Ronald C. Pruett, Jr. is Chief Executive Officer of Mercury Media.  Prior to joining Mercury Media, Pruett was the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Polymedica/Liberty Medical, the largest publicly traded diabetic supply company and one of the largest multichannel direct response marketers in the country. The company was sold to Medco Health Solutions.  Pruett has extensive experience in the creation, acquisition, and management of direct to consumer marketing companies in the US and abroad.

Contact him at rpruett@mercurymedia.com

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