Direct Response Television Marketing FAQs

How is DRTV being used by companies today?

Direct Response Television (DRTV) is bigger than the motion picture business. It is such a huge industry because it is a form of advertising that is totally measurable and delivers an ROI on the investment made.

As the name implies, direct response (DR) commercials are all about eliciting a "response" from the consumer. DRTV commercials are designed to motivate consumers to action and move them closer to making a buying decision. Typically, this means a commercial that is more detailed and benefit-focused than a brand spot - a brand commercial generates an impression; DRTV generates a response.

Companies are using DRTV to generate different types of responses:

  • selling directly off the TV via a 1-800 number,
  • having people call for information,
  • driving consumers to a website and finally,
  • increasing sales at retail.
  • All DRTV commercials motivate consumers to act.

Does DRTV compete or undermine my brand work?

There are DRTV for products and services that have no interest in creating or promoting a brand - they are products that have a limited lifespan and the goal is to sell as many as possible in the shortest period of time. These shows are the more traditional hard sell commercials.

However, there are just as many DR commercials that are branded (we call this "brand-based DRTV") and it is the fastest growing segment in the business. These shows work within the brand standards/brand character but they are constructed as DRTV spots - i.e. commercials that motivate consumers to act.

Many Fortune 500 companies (Disney, ING, Dell, General Motors, Apple, etc.), who care passionately about their brand, do brand-based DRTV. It does not undermine their other work, in fact quite the opposite, they use DRTV because it not only delivers measurable results but it also builds their brand.

How long is a DRTV commercial?

DRTV commercials are almost always 60 seconds, 120 seconds or 30 minutes (the 30 minute shows are called infomercials).

30-second DRTV commercials are rarely produced because they simply don't work as well - i.e. they don't generate a sufficient ROI. Lengths other than these are not an option because media suppliers do not sell in other increments (i.e. you can't buy 4 minutes, 6 minutes or 15 minutes of media time).

How is DRTV purchased?

DRTV is different than a brand buy, focusing less on GRP's and much more about the cost per minute. This is because we are trying to get an effective ROI off the TV (low cost per call, cost per lead) versus creating an 'impression.' DRTV can be bought in a number of ways:

  1. Remnant Time: most popular, which is unsold inventory and can be purchased at a lower cost. Blended Buy: a mixture of remnant time and prime time.
  2. Per-Inquiry Basis: stations are compensated based on the number of responses (calls) driven by the DRTV spot - these are not that common.
  3. DRTV commercials can play on almost any station, any time of day - it depends on your objectives and your budget.

Tags: Direct Marketing, Advertising, Best Practices