Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 39

BY SCOT T RICHARDS

Yes, There Are Shortcuts to Success
CHANNEL CROSSING: TELESERVICES
Whoever said, “There are no shortcuts to success” wasn’t living in the modern age of information overload. As Dr. Robert Cialdini has cited in his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, in an era when data points overwhelm us daily, such shortcuts help save time and money. Hence, if Warren Buffet or Oprah say it’s good, it must be. When a product gets four or more stars by a critical mass on Amazon.com, we gain confidence. And if Costco is selling an item on an end cap, we’re compelled to take advantage of it because we’re reassured that the price is right and it might not be there tomorrow. In direct marketing, shortcuts play a profound role in helping consumers understand and consider a pitch based upon a series of conventions and expectations. Such shortcuts are vital to the marketer’s arsenal because they help prospective buyers quickly recognize what it is they are watching and enable them to decide whether a given offer is relevant or not. Here are some of the most common shortcuts direct marketers can leverage to break through media clutter: • Problem/Solution In the Form of a Question/ Answer: You’ve heard it dozens of times – a spot that begins by asking, “Are you tired of … ?” quickly followed by the solution to the problem announced with a declaratory, “You need the … !” As hackneyed as this practice may seem, its economy of expression is unbeatable. In seven seconds or less, a marketer can establish both the problem its product solves and its unique selling proposition. With Nielsen reporting that 40 percent of TV viewers are now “watching” at the same time they are being distracted by a smartphone or tablet, this is aural shorthand for arresting attention. • The Infomercials Three-Act Structure and CTA: Most paid programs are structured into three “pods” or acts. Consequently, consumers know that if they come across a show while channel surfing that it is only a matter of minutes before there will be a “commercial” break. In infomercials, that commercial is the call-to-action where an offer build and price is often revealed. • Taglines: Memorable taglines such as, “Set it and forget it,” and “Knock out the fat!” while kitschy, serve an important purpose: They help make products and their pitchmen memorable and distinctive. In fact, the latter tagline, for the George Foreman Grill – which has sold 100 million units – was accompanied by a second tagline, “So good, I put my name on it!” which leads us to the next shortcut… • Celebrity Endorsements: The best use of a celebrity endorsement lends credence to the product and its claims of superiority. When a celebrity at the height of his or her star and earning power such as Katy Perry endorses a product such as Proactiv, it’s easy for a viewer to connect the dots between the idea that they don’t necessarily need the money, so if she’s backing the product, it must be good. • Catch Phrases: As overwrought as they may seem, the use of catchphrases, such as “But wait, there’s more!” and “But we’re still not finished!” serve a critical purpose. They keep viewers hanging on to see exactly what the breadth and scope of an offer build is going to be, adorned with a bit of good humor. • Vanity and Memorable Toll-Free Numbers and URLs: While vanity numbers have fallen out of favor with direct marketers because response cannot be finitely tracked to specific media, they should be reconsidered. Here’s why: With the majority of direct response sales now occurring online, results cannot be necessarily tracked with precision anyway, so why not use a number that is highly memorable? It may just increase sales because with an indelible telephone number, your audience will be less tempted to go online where your competition can siphon them off. Likewise, URLs that are as close to the product name as possible such as snuggie.com versus buyasnuggienow. com create shortcuts for consumers that are easy for them to recall and act on. The danger with relying on this shorthand too much is that while such conventions create simple standards for consumers to take in information, following a rote formula does not necessarily assure success. A product’s innovation and the creative execution of an advertisement in the form of language, demonstrations, testimonials and other variables will help a marketer avoid the pure banality of cliché and stand out from the pack. Why, I guarantee it! Scott Richards is CEO of Dial800, specialists in marketing optimization. Dial800’s tool suite includes RapidRecall, the industry’s largest bank of numerically memorable 800 numbers as well as state-of-the-art call routing and tracking. He can be reached at 1-800-DIAL-800 or at scott.richards@Dial800.com. 39

May 2012 | electronicRETAILER



Electronic Retailer - May 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - May 2012

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
From the Executive’s Desk
Cover Story Leading a Fitness Revolution
ERA’s in Your Corner on the Key Issues
10 Secrets to Slashing Production Costs
Guest Viewpoint
Teleservices
Creative
Legal
Fulfillment
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 3
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 4
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 5
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 6
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 10
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 11
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 12
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - eMarketer Research
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 15
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - IMS Retail Rankings
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 17
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 19
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - From the Executive’s Desk
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 21
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Cover Story Leading a Fitness Revolution
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 23
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 24
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 25
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 26
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 27
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - ERA’s in Your Corner on the Key Issues
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 29
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 30
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 31
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 10 Secrets to Slashing Production Costs
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 33
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 34
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 36
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 37
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 38
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Teleservices
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Creative
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Legal
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Fulfillment
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 43
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Member Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 45
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Advertiser Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - 49
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - May 2012 - cover4
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