Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - (Page 21)
FROM THE EXECUTIVE’S DESK
BY K ATIE WILLIAMS
The Ultimate Detox Program for Infomercial Marketers
I’ve been in love with infomercials for almost 30 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love short-form and home shopping, too. But, for me, infomercials have the edge. Infomercials can tell a more in-depth story for a wider range of products. With compelling demonstrations, man-on-the-street interviews and pull-theheartstrings testimonials, they can make the viewer laugh and maybe even cry. They allow you to dig indepth into your product’s features and benefits, build your overall brand and generate substantial sales in a short time frame. Infomercials are the most powerful marketing tools I’ve worked with. But I’m not feeling the love as much these days. For the last few years, short-form is stealing the thunder from infomercials. It used to be easier to get an infomercial to work than short-form. But not now – for every new infomercial home run, it seems like there are 20 short-form winners. Industry reports consistently rank short-form performance higher than long-form performance. It’s getting harder and harder to hit peak media performance on the front end with infomercials. There are, of course, numerous reasons for the shift, including the lackluster economy, proliferation of media channels online and offline, skeptical consumers and splintered audiences. But I think the primary reason is that infomercial media is significantly overpriced. It’s bad enough that we pay too much for our media, but, worse, we did it to ourselves. Infomercial marketers messed up the supply-demand ratio by creating a false sense of demand for infomercial media. Most infomercial marketers use multiple media agencies to buy their media. Some marketers use as many as 10 agencies for the same infomercial. We do this because we have a big appetite for good media, and we want to get as much of the top-performing media on a station as we can. We can’t get as much as we’d like from just one agency. So we turn to additional agencies in an attempt to get that top-performing media. Maybe we pick up four airings a month on this great station from Agency A, two airings from Agency B, one airing from Agency C, and so on.
The result is that multiple agencies are bidding on the same media, for the same client, for the same infomercial, amplifying the demand for the media and driving rates up. The agencies and TV channels are complicit in this mess because most of them agree to non-exclusive clients. In contrast, short-form marketers usually have an exclusive agency relationship, using one agency to buy the media for each campaign. Thus, media rates reflect real demand, not a falsely exaggerated demand. It’s time for infomercial marketers to go into a media detox program. It’s not easy to change the habit after years of addiction to multiple agencies and chaotic media churn. I know because I’ve been trying to get my own team to stick with exclusive agencies for the last seven years, and I frequently have been thwarted when my VP feels we need “just one more agency” to hit our lofty goals. Still I think it’s worth a try – let’s stop being greedy and stick with one agency per campaign for 13 weeks. If even half of the marketers do this for the third quarter, we’ll have happier agencies and less chaos all around. And, most importantly, I bet we’ll have healthy, robust, profitable media results. Maybe they’ll even be as good as the short-form results! Katie Williams is the CEO of Williams Digital Direct and president of direct marketing at Ideal Living in Los Angeles.
It’s bad enough that we pay too much for our media, but, worse, we did it to ourselves.
July 2012 | electronicRETAILER
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - July 2012
Calendar of Events
Your Association Your Bottom Line
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney's Top Categories
From the Executive's Desk
Cover Story: Could You Sell Like Amazon?
Counterfeiting: Why We Should Care and What We Can Do
All Media Are Not Created Equal
Electronic Retailer - July 2012