Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 18

ASK THE EXPERT

BY TIMOTHY HAWTHORNE

10 Short-Form Tips for First-Time DRTV Users

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Congrats! After years of watching short-form DRTV commercials pull in direct sales dollars, boost revenues across multiple channels and speak to customers in a way that traditional spots can’t touch, you’ve made the right decision to add a few to your advertising portfolio. By making this move, you’ll be increasing the accountability of your advertising dollars, tapping into more efficient and affordable media avails and significantly expanding your window of demonstration time. But before you run out and hire a short-form producer and media buyer, there are a few things you’ll want to know. You see, DRTV – although new to you – has been around for decades. Those who came before you have both succeeded and failed, leaving behind track records that you can use to hone your own short-form approach within a shorter timeframe. My own firm was one of those pioneers and along the way we’ve developed a laundry list of “best practices” for first-time users of short-form DRTV. Here are our 10 best tips for success. 1. Pick a producer who has “been there, done that.” You don’t want your short-form investment to yield an amateurish result that ignores key DRTV principles. You want a professional who can get the job done right the first time and has a verifiable track record with successful commercials within your market niche. 2. Select products that are appropriate for short-form. If you seek immediate direct sales, DRTV doesn’t work for every product, but it does work extremely well for those priced in the $19.95-$39.95 range, that are less complex than infomercial products (and therefore require less story-telling and demos), and that require targeted media placement. If you’re doing lead gen or retail driving, many more product categories open up to you. 3. Aim for products with mass appeal. Television has the unique ability to reach a mass audience. Take advantage! 4. Keep it simple. Short-form DRTV commercials are generally 60, 90, or 120 seconds long, sometimes even 30, which means the product must be easily understood within these timeframes. The best short-form shows maintain a balance between simplicity and using the expanded timeframe offered by the medium. 5. Focus on product benefits. Whether it’s a spot for OxiClean or Capital One’s credit card, DRTV is all about “explaining the why.” Benefits and features, motivating an immediate response. Don’t bother getting fancy; tell people plain and simple why they need your product.

6. Make the product the king. This adage will never die in the DRTV world. The product or service must be the ultimate ruler in a DRTV commercial, so don’t waste time focusing on elements that don’t support this assertion. 7. Leverage any existing long-form commercials. If you’ve already been using infomercials, look at the footage that’s already been captured first, before starting from scratch with your short-form campaign. Many infomercial users cut short-form commercials out of their infomercials and then use the former to run simultaneous, short-form campaigns. 8. Brush up on the media-buying process. DRTV media buying is still a specialty and little known in traditional media buying circles. Similar to much online media, shortform DRTV spots are run on a “remnant” basis (i.e., when and where the station chooses), and achieve on average a 50 percent clearance (the percentage of spots that run versus what you requested) depending on your negotiated price. Infomercial time slots, on the other hand, are set and secure for at least each upcoming quarter and clear 95 percent of the time. 9. Use your seconds wisely. Consumers purchase products to affect change in their lives – to move from a “before” state to an improved “after” state. The more your product can visually demonstrate this change, and/or use compelling real-people testimonials to support it, the greater your opportunity for profits. 10. Think beyond the commercial for higher profits. Upsells and back-end marketing can generate 30 percent to 50 percent of your campaign revenues. The more related products you have available for upsell/backend campaigns, the wider your advantage in the DRTV marketplace. Done right, short-form DRTV is an extremely effective way to leverage existing advertising investments while also generating sales via TV, web, retail and through other channels. It has proven its worth across many different product categories, and through the boom times and the recessions. Using the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be able to tap into short-form’s benefits and leverage the medium to your company’s advantage. Timothy Hawthorne is founder and CEO of Hawthorne Direct, a full-service brand response agency based in LA, Salt Lake City and Iowa. He can be reached at (641) 472-3800 or via email at tim.hawthorne@hawthornedirect.com.

electronicRETAILER | October 2012



Electronic Retailer - October 2012

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

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Ask the Expert
From the Executive’s Desk
It’s All About the Numbers
Media Attribution Goes Mobile
Marketing to Teens: Not All Fun and Games
Guest Viewpoint
Guest Viewpoint
DRTV
Teleservices
Fulfillment
Member Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 3
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 4
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 5
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 6
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 9
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 11
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 13
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - IMS Retail Rankings
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 15
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 17
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Ask the Expert
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - From the Executive’s Desk
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - It’s All About the Numbers
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 21
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 22
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 23
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Media Attribution Goes Mobile
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 25
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 26
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 27
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Marketing to Teens: Not All Fun and Games
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 29
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 30
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 32
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 34
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 35
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 36
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - DRTV
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Teleservices
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Fulfillment
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Member Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 41
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 42
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 45
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover4
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