DRTV: The complete player

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By: Kristi Tropp, VP, Director of Client Services, Mercury Media Boston

As marketers, we all aspire to hit home runs. We want to be part of “that campaign” that delivers immediate sales, shatters revenue projections, and maybe even wins a few awards. In the DRTV business, we certainly want those campaigns, and we want them regularly. The reality, however, is that few agencies are fortunate to get even one of those on a direct to consumer basis. But we do- because we pride ourselves more on DRTV campaigns that achieve success based on smart planning, sound media buying, real time data and analytics, compelling creative, and, just as importantly, a very strict vetting process! In short, we’re in it for the long term, regardless of whether success is immediate or a bit more hard-earned.

“Hard-earned” and “long-term” are not the sexiest words in the DRTV lexicon, but it struck me in a recent round of client meetings that we need to change that perception. In this business, we’re very good at promising,  measuring and delivering immediacy. Campaign hits on day one, sales hit in week one, increase in week two, and a campaign is optimized for successful responses in week three…… and everyone’s happy. We should aspire to more.  Four concepts are still missing from overall DRTV planning and goals that should be top of mind for every DRTV launch:

1. Generating awareness. DRTV has long lost the “cheap” connotation. Many DR creatives are on par with any traditional branding campaign and because of that, DRTV is an excellent and highly efficient platform for delivering awareness. Yes, DRTV is built for “order now,” i.e. immediate ROI, but done well it also builds and reinforces a lasting impression of value and service over time . And the prices our clients pay for DRTV, which can be 30 to 70 percent off network rate cards, make it an extremely efficient way to generate awareness.

2. Driving retail sales. What to do with that awareness? Drive retail. We recently worked with a client that launched a high-end skin care product. It smashed all sales expectations very quickly through immediate Direct to Consumer orders. Then the bonus kicked in. Awareness generated by the campaign was so high that consumers brought their demand to retailers, lifting in-store sales by as much as 200% within a three weeks. Double-dipping from DRTV success is an efficient way to break retail.

3. Loyalty: Combine awareness, DR sales, and retail sales, and you have an excellent entry into straight customer retention success or even longer term loyalty programs to deliver maximum lifetime value (LTV). Because DRTV generates so much data from active customers, and from prospects that raise their hand enough to register for a URL or email campaign, the foundation for loyalty and retention programs is easily built and executed.

4. Branding: When you come back to your new landscape of awareness, retail success and loyalty, you’ve achieved a branding platform. The next DRTV campaign will be a qualified success, so more aggressive imaging, messaging and sales outreach is started at a higher level. Combine this with the guaranteed in-flight ratings delivery (a Mercury Media exclusive), network clearance, and media optimization that DRTV provides, and you start to look at DRTV as a longer-term branding effort. In fact, it can be the basis for that branding effort, not just a component thereof.

My four DRTV priorities are not to suggest that you shouldn’t keep aiming for the grandstand- DRTV is a home run hitter. But it also plays a lot of positions and finishes the game very well. DRTV is the complete player. We just need to start looking at it that way.

Kristi is Vice President, Director of Client Service of Mercury Media Boston. Kristi brings motivated and tenacious leadership to the Mercury team and her tireless work ethic, attention to detail and commitment to quality ensure that each client’s goals are thoroughly exceeded. Kristi offers over 12 years of client management, marketing and strategic business development experience to Mercury’s clients. She managed client services in traditional media and creative agencies including Gyro Worldwide, Arnold and Hill Holliday.

Contact her at ktropp@mercurymedia.com


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