Direct Response Television | Untangled

In an attempt to cut through the tangled web of direct response television,
we break down the seven main building blocks of every direct response campaign below.

Commercial Production
Choosing the production company to create your commercial is by far your most important decision. One thing we learned many years ago is “People do not buy the product; they ‘buy’ the presentation.” Take the Ginsu Kinfe - the most successful campaign of all time. It was a simple knife, but was backed by a magnificent commercial.

Media Agency
This is the organization that places your commercial on various stations and networks. There are many agencies from which to choose. If possible, you should choose an agency that has experience in the type of product you are marketing. It could be argued that there is some benefit in choosing an agency in your geographic location, but this shouldn’t be the driving force behind your choice.

Dubbing House
A dubbing house takes the “master” commercial from the company that produced your commercial and adds more detailed information on different cuts of the commercials to be distributed to your media outlets. Toll free numbers, web addresses, etc. are all added in by the dubbing house.

Credit Card Processor
It goes without saying that you need a way for the consumer to pay for their order. There are several companies that can assist you in setting up accounts for different credit card companies, ensuring that you can accept a wide range of payments.

It can take some time to be approved by a credit card processor, so don’t delay in making a choice on which processor to sign on.

Telemarketer
This can be a difficult decision to make as there are a myriad of options to choose from - live agent, IVR (Interactive Voice Response), home agent, brick and mortar, off shore, and more. In general, we strongly suggest that for the original test, a live agent service be utilized. Although considerably more expensive than IVR, with a live agent service, one can listen to the calls and determine what needs to be adjusted to increase conversion rates. No matter how much planning goes into a campaign, adjustments are always needed!

The type of telemarketer chosen can be changed throughout the campaign if needed and advised.

Fulfillment
A fulfillment company takes your orders and ships them to the consumer. Fulfillment is something that, if possible, you can consider doing yourself during the test to save on cost. As your campaign grows, however, you should seriously consider a professional fulfillment center that caters to the direct response industry.

The fulfillment center also typically handles customer service from consumers who have questions regarding their order. In most cases, the question is regarding delivery of the item and the fulfillment center is the only one who can address that issue.

Web Provider
Without the web there is virtually no chance to succeed with television direct response. Conversion rates on the phone have dropped significantly over the years and now rarely exceed 50%. In addition, call times have expanded dramatically, where a typical order often averages over 10 minutes, and non-orders can be just as lengthy, leading to higher costs per sale.

The IVR solution is much less expensive, however, conversion rates are even lower as many consumers do not like or cannot handle an IVR call.

There are several web companies who specialize in setting up web campaigns for television direct response offers. Most charge relatively low setup fees and then bill per order.

Web sales are far more cost effective than telemarketing, however, not everyone goes to the web to order so it is imperative to have coverage on both fronts. For most campaigns, the web accounts for 40-60% of the orders.