The New Alternative
Jill Eastman Vidal, the company’s director of third-party marketing, notes that 1-800-Flowers brands test what’s affordable and low-risk. But the company is open to testing any new idea that has a realistically positive ROI.
Georgina Johnson, marketing director for Joules Ltd., a Leicestershire, England-based apparel cataloger/retailer, says that as a fast-growing entrepreneurial business, Joules seeks out new testing opportunities. Joules uses affiliate programs, PR, newspaper inserts, magazine ads and package inserts. As a small to medium-sized business, Joules remains nimble and flexible, testing new initiatives on short notice as long as the ROI is promising.
Having set your testing budget, determine which media to try. Your overall budget impacts decisions. DRTV can be hugely successful, but it’s the most expensive. Print requires significant investment, as well; radio and inserts less so.
Direct Sales or Lead Generation?
Beyond determining your budget, decide whether you want a direct sales approach or lead generation. Direct sales requires that you have appropriate “hero” products that can stand alone to capture interest and sales. Without a hero product, you’ll need a lead-generation approach.
Radio and print ads can function well as drivers of catalog requests or Web visits. Other mediums, such as newspaper FSIs and affiliate marketing, usually require a hero product to be effective.
Deciding if you’ll have a hero product will help determine your format within that medium. For example, DRTV infomercials demand a hero product to retain interest during a full 30 minutes; however, one- or two-minute DRTV spots can be effective for both direct sales and catalog requests.
Evaluate Acquired Customers
One question on the minds of catalogers is, “How do customers acquired through alternative media compare to those acquired through direct mail?” The answer goes back to lead generation vs. direct sales. For lead generation/catalog request offers, newly acquired customers have similar lifetime values as other two-step buyers. For direct sales, it depends greatly on the specific media. Long-form infomercials and package inserts with the right creative/offer can generate customers as valuable as those acquired via direct mail; other media less so.