Channel Crossing: Retail’s Road Less Traveled: Sales for Every Season

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By: Maria Eden, Senior Vice President, Director of Short Form, Mercury Media Philadelphia 

“Are we there yet?”

If this sounds familiar to you, you’re probably a parent of small children, a marketer for retail clients, or both.

When it comes to marketing, we’ve found that retailers are often single-mindedly focused on their final destination – the Q4 holiday season.  After all, more than $1 billion was spent during 10 shopping days this season, led by Cyber Monday, which ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive year at $1.25 billion.

But even as visions of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Tuesday dance in retailers’ heads, it’s our job as marketers to keep them focused on their journey toward success year-round.

At Mercury, we’ve found that our retail clients perform best when they base their media strategy on a full calendar of sales, marketing and effective media. Only then can they maintain good customer data, consistent sales and mind share.

It’s no secret that marketers use DRTV to generate immediate product sales.  But the medium is also amazingly adept at driving traffic to retail stores, catalogs and the Internet.  Below are three of our most well-tread tips for your road to retail success:

Drive Traffic Using Coupons:

With more than 3.5 billion coupons redeemed in 2011 for Consumer Packaged Goods alone, it’s no secret that U.S. consumers love a great deal.  Just as sites like Groupon have dominated by offering daily deals, DRTV can help traditional retailers grow their sales, brand recognition and customer base year-round through couponing.

Recently, we teamed up with a national retailer that was looking for a mass market medium through which to cost effectively distribute coupons and spur sales in-store during the back-to-school season.  We created a four-week test that focused efforts on stations and time periods that delivered historically strong response for the target demographic.

We worked with the retailer on their creative to ensure strong response, while also keeping in line with their high quality brand.  We did so by combining images from the retailer’s brand campaign with a strong call to action urging the viewer to “act now” to get a coupon.  The client initially wanted to provide a text-only response for viewers. However, we knew that the response mechanism would be critical to the success of the campaign. Drawing from past retail experience, we recommended that the client create a unique URL to include in the TV creative.

The effort was a huge success, beating their sales goals by over 50%. In addition, of all the revenue generated from the campaign 40% came from customers new to the brand – building their customer re-marketing data base.


Let DRTV Drive your Branding Campaign:

DRTV can also be a tremendous tool for traditional brand advertisers looking to quickly establish a new product as the category leader. DRTV has the unique ability to deliver “eyeballs” cost effectively while also spurring sales, and this is exactly what a leading CPG firm asked Mercury to do for  one of its newest brands.

We launched the product in 20 U.S. markets – 10 markets employed the firm’s traditional brand advertising strategy and the other 10 aired DRTV rotations and a hybrid “brand response” advertising schedule.  Both the brand and DRTV commercials used the same tone and talent however, the last :30 seconds of the DRTV commercial included a CTA and offer for a free coupon booklet and recipe book.  Over the course of the campaign, call centers captured consumer data for mailing purposes, alongside additional demographic and behavioral data, for use in future campaigns.

The ten markets airing the DRTV “brand response” advertisements outperformed the other ten markets by 100%, and incorporating DRTV advertising reduced the overall media budget by 40%. Coupon redemption in DRTV markets also exceeded control markets by 40%.

Destination Retail:

While the primary goal of most DRTV campaigns is to entice customers to “order now,” retailers can also effectively use the medium to drive customers into retail locations.  Empirical data tells us sales at retail, driven by a good DRTV campaign, can be three to 10 times that of direct sales on TV. Logistically, a direct response retail strategy can be designed to spur sales both online and offline.

One of our clients recently called on our team to increase D2C and retail sales over the holiday shopping season.  The catch – they wanted to use only their existing advertising mediums.  In order to achieve their target MER, we created a :60, :120, and 5 minute media plan and continuously optimized it to improve conversion, adding additional upsells and a “shopping cart” to their landing page to facilitate online sales.  The result was a 51% uptick in D2C sales and a 40% increase in sales at retail.

Like any road trip, the ride to retail success can be a long one, but opportunity waits at every bend.  Showing your client the benefits of a focused, year-long DRTV advertising effort will allow them to sit back and enjoy the ride once the holiday season finally arrives!

Prior to joining Mercury Media, Maria Eden was the co-founder and President of Direct Response Media, Inc. (DRMi), a full-service media agency based in Wayne, Pennsylvania. With more than 30 years of successful direct response media management experience, Maria has expertise in all aspects of media including television, newspaper, magazine, radio and inbound telemarketing. She also has extensive experience on the client side. As Media Director for National Liberty Marketing (now AEGON), a leader in direct response advertising, Maria developed an in-house television media buying service and grew billings to $22 million over four years – a pioneering and extremely successful effort in the direct marketing industry. Maria has also held positions as Media Director for Byrnes and Takiff, working with major clients such as Union Fidelity. While in this position, Maria worked to establish and grow Union Fidelity’s veteran’s insurance and medical supplement products. Previously, she was East Coast Account Representative for NICE Corporation (now Convergys).

Maria earned a Master’s degree from Syracuse University and is a member of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailers Association (ERA), and former Director of the Response Magazine Advisory Board and a member of the DMA Broadcast Council.

Contact Maria Eden at


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