Don’t Touch That Dial!
In many ways, direct response television (DRTV) and cataloging are at opposite ends of the direct marketing spectrum. DRTV promotions — be they infomercials, spot commercials or home shopping — focus on selling to an unknown prospect or customer. Meanwhile, with only a few exceptions, catalogers target their promotions to specific prospects, customer lists or audiences. Yet both have to deal with all the challenges of today’s direct response marketing.
For example, they must present products in compelling ways that make the sale, despite ever-increasing competition from other direct marketers, retailers and e-merchants. Also, they must address customers’ privacy and data security concerns, and deal with today’s multichannel shoppers.
Examining the areas of difference, however, can provide opportunities to learn from one another — even if as a cataloger you never delve into DRTV.
Unique and Compelling Offers
The area where DRTV marketers excel — and which often is weak for catalogers — is developing unique and compelling offers. Because DRTV is so focused on that first sale, DRTV marketers work hard to maximize response from the call to action. To accomplish this, they use appealing offers such as installment payment options, free gifts with purchase and bonuses for orders submitted by a set deadline.
Indeed, DRTV marketers spend a lot of time ensuring that the offer is as compelling and irresistible as possible. Mark Olson of Direct 2 TV, an infomercial scripting and production firm, says the satisfaction guarantee is a critical component of DRTV offers. Such a guarantee encompasses the product’s performance as well as the customer’s general satisfaction — in essence the customer’s assessment that he or she received the value that was anticipated.
Catalog offers, on the other hand, tend to be restricted only to free shipping, a discount percentage off or a few clearance item pages. Few catalogers seem to spend much energy and effort identifying offers that truly resonate with their audiences, for example, a premium-with-purchase offer that would be truly compelling.