Can DRTV Work for You?
A few years ago at the catalog conference, I got to listen to that year’s keynoter, Richard Thalheimer from The Sharper Image, discuss how he started out. Like so many other entrepreneurs in our industry, he started with one product advertised in a magazine. From there, he built his business.
I loved listening to his classic fairy-tale beginning. He started out with a great product that was unusual in nature and not readily available anywhere else.
Fast forward a few years and The Sharper Image team developed the Ionic Breeze air purifier. The Sharper Image managers found they had a winning product on their hands. So they decided to test it on TV and it became a winner, taking The Sharper Image to new sales levels, driving both sales and new customer acquisitions. The Ionic Breeze air purifier became a must-have product.
But eventually, as with all things, a hit product runs its natural course. And despite many brand extensions, The Sharper Image team couldn’t find another new product — and revenue-driver — to match its success. The Ionic Breeze proved to be the company’s triumph and its downfall.
Direct response TV (DRTV) can be the most powerful direct marketing channel any business can use. I’ve watched and worked for a number of companies where DRTV has made them a category leader overnight.
But there’s a dark side to DRTV, which I’ve seen many times over. Incredible success, then, when a company can’t back it up with something new and fresh to sustain growth, it becomes a company’s downfall. Despite the fact that The Sharper Image has hundreds of products, it succumbed to its own success. In essence, the now near-bankrupt company became a one-hit wonder.
DRTV can make you a lot of money, but it can also bury you if you fail to follow through on initial success. You’ve been warned!
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.