Archive for March, 2011

Better, Faster, Cheaper

March 31, 2011


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By: Jennifer Sullivan, VP, Group Account Director, Mercury Media Boston

Imagine this. Your business is thriving. Revenue is up, the pipeline is full, and customer satisfaction is the highest it has ever been. Your media plan is solid; you’re gathering great data and are maintaining one of the highest conversion percentages in the company’s history. One day you get an email. Your biggest retailer in your biggest market is instituting a new policy. No longer will that account stock product in your category to provide service and selection to the current and potential customer base. The account is whittling down to one product for your category and it will be based on the lowest price.

It’s not some kind of business Twilight Zone. Versions of it have happened over the years with many Big Box retailers, but recently a severe situation is playing out between Medicare and the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) businesses like power chairs, diabetes supplies, oxygen delivery, catheters, etc.,  which relies heavily on direct response TV. Here’s the very short version: A process called “Competitive Bidding” was implemented on January 1, 2011 by Medicare in nine DMAs (Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh & Riverside) in an effort for the government to control costs and cut down on fraud. The second round of bids is expected to take place within the next year or so, potentially expanding the program in upwards of 70 cities.

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DRTV Look at Pros vs. Joes

March 15, 2011


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By:  Chrissy Ferrier, Creative Director, Mercury Media Boston

“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” The phrase was so overused a few years ago that the practice of using actors for testimonials in Direct Response ads  was viewed negatively;  however, it’s time to reconsider. Professional actors can be a positive factor in the ROI of a Direct Response TV campaign (DRTV). It’s not to say that “real customers” won’t provide the response rates and returns necessary for some products. But let’s look at the reality of the “pros vs. Joes” in DRTV.

First, professional actors are an essential part of the efficient budget choices a company makes when they budget for and then shoot creative for an effective DRTV campaign.  With real customers, you never know what you are going to get in terms of performance.  Real people are nervous when the camera is on and unless you have an exceptional director, the client runs the risk of coming up short with content, and in this case the testimonial is the content. Are you ready to risk that for the possibility that just maybe, a real customer will come up with a more authentic, grassroots tone?
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