March 2007 - Media Matters

The DRTV Multichannel Effect

By Gene Silverman

According to Universal McCann’s Insider’s Report, national advertising budgets are projected to jump almost 6 percent in 2007 to nearly $200 billion, with the Internet leading the way with a 15-percent increase in advertising revenues. This growth is forecast for all major categories, except spot TV, which is seen as staying flat as compared to last year. I find this aspect of the report surprising, because it has been the experience of all direct response television (DRTV) advertisers that it is, in fact, TV that drives all the other channels of advertising to their peak levels of performance.

Toward the end of last year, I read several articles in direct marketing publications that discussed multichannel marketing as one of the top trends of 2006. For many direct marketers, online advertising, search, home shopping, radio, e-mail and even social networking media like blogs and websites such as YouTube were, for the first time, seen to be synergistic in their ability to impact one another and enhance one another’s effectiveness.

While reading these stories, I felt like screaming, “But wait. There’s more!” National advertisers need to be educated about the ultimate driving force for multichannel marketing enhancement. No, don’t think Enzyte. Think DRTV.

With short- or long-form TV commercials, savvy marketers can take the precious time required to educate consumers about the features and benefits of their product, demonstrate it and explain the product in greater depth than in just about any other form of advertising. With DRTV, you can show before and after transformations, have raving fans regale viewers with testimonials about the product’s effectiveness and even make comparisons to the competition to build more value in the mind of the customer. You also can sell product directly to consumers or drive the viewer to a website for a still more detailed product tutorial.

In the spirit of full disclosure, while we have learned that DRTV will create measurable improvement in other sales channels, dramatic impact can be experienced only if the media exposure is sufficient. Therefore, DRTV commercials must run at certain minimum media thresholds in order to be most effective in driving web, retail, home shopping and other sales from integrated channels.

The formula we have determined is that a DRTV campaign must have at least $250,000 per month in media exposure for short form and a minimum of $400,000 per month in media exposure for an infomercial to significantly impact other sales channels.

But the most important takeaway here is that the effect of DRTV on multichannel marketing is easily measurable and can be a highly effective technique for enhancing the performance of any integrated advertising program.

Gene Silverman is vice president of marketing services and account management at hawthorne direct inc. He may be reached at (641) 472-3800, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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