Electronic Retailer - April 2011 - (Page 32)

ASK THE EXPERT BY TIMOTHY R. HAWTHORNE 5 Short Form Trends to Watch in 2011 The big advertisers are back and buying up time (up more than 8 percent in Q4, 2010) that just a year ago was free and open for marketers in search of short form avails. With the overall economy on the upswing, this phenomenon is expected to continue well into 2011, making this year an especially interesting one for short form advertisers. In fact, any time the entire country goes through a major economic shift (hopefully for the better this time around), advertising is impacted. Here are five short form trends to watch as the year progresses: 1. Lower Clearances Will Create Challenges: Clearances were significantly lower in December compared to a year earlier, and the downward motion could continue into 2011. Networks like Discovery (and, more specifically, television shows like Planet Green) are leading the charge, and making it difficult for DRTV marketers to achieve their clearance goals. We don’t expect much relief from this trend anytime soon, which means marketers, producers and media buyers will have to sharpen their pencils and negotiate hard to ensure that their short form campaigns are financially viable. 2. Brands Will Continue Their Push: Sony made a big push into short form DRTV during the last quarter of 2010, and we expect other brands to follow in its footsteps. That momentum is anticipated to continue this year as more brand advertisers add educational, accountable commercials to their marketing lineups. Proctor and Gamble, Black and Decker and other advertisers experienced in DRTV in the past are increasingly enthusiastic about the medium and using it to garner attention for expanding product lines. Intent on making their marketing messages accountable, these brand advertisers are using a mix of long form, short form and online campaigns to achieve their goals. 3. New Networks Will Proliferate: Oprah’s network, The HUB, Independent Film Channel (new and improved: now with advertising) RetroTV, MeTV (Memorable Entertainment TV) – many of these new television networks are focused on short form versus long form, 32 and are opening up new opportunities for companies looking to flex their muscles in the DRTV space. While a more fragmented media marketplace creates its own set of challenges for companies looking to target mass audience demographics, more available airtime equates to more opportunity to buy media. For example, marketers can use the new networks to “test out” their short form campaigns before investing in more costly infomercial time, or simply stick with the former. With an increased number of networks to choose from, advertisers can quickly determine whether they have a good match (or not), and then tweak their media campaigns accordingly. 4. Short Form + Web = Success: This year, the lines between DRTV and the web will become even more blurred as companies seek maximum benefits from their media dollars. By leveraging the web, short form marketers are extending the lives of their shows and catering to an increasingly savvy consumer who wants to “go online” to learn more about everything – from healthcare products to housewares to exercise equipment. This trend will gather steam in 2011 as marketers use websites, social networking sites, online videos and other tools to achieve their campaign goals with minimal, additional investments. 5. Accountability Will Prevail: If there’s one attribute that DRTV has maintained since inception, it’s accountability. No other television format allows companies to track media expenditures from the first consumer contact to the final sale, and beyond (through continuity programs, upsells, and so forth). This will remain short form’s strongest selling point in 2011, despite the challenges that the networks and other entities might throw at us. Educating consumers in a luxuriously long time frame, and then easily tracking the subsequent telephone and web activity, is the Holy Grail for any advertiser. DRTV stands – and will continue its reign – as the only medium that can deliver these benefits in a concise package. Tim Hawthorne is founder, chairman and executive creative director of Hawthorne Direct. electronicRETAILER | April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - April 2011

Electronic Retailer - April 2011
Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
ERA Government Affairs Fly-In Preview
The Electronic HomeShopping Preview
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Ask the Expert
Cover Story: Staying Ahead of the Curve
Guest Viewpoint
Why is it Tougher to Make DRTV Pay?
Payment Processing
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Rick Petry

Electronic Retailer - April 2011