|Home > Direct Response Articles > Key points you should know about direct response television|
Direct response television advertising has undergone some dramatic changes since its inception.
First of all, production quality is much higher than it used to be, with a lot more creativity and proper direct marketing techniques being applied to each commercial.
Secondly, marketers have found that they get consistently better response from well-done but relatively simple commercials. These focus on the product and one or two people—keeping the sales message clear and uncomplicated—not distracted by too many graphics.
Furthermore, direct response TV is being used for a wider range of products. In the past, this medium was dominated by such products as record albums, magazines and Ginsu knives.
But today’s product mix includes financial and investment services, freeze driers, auto accessories, expensive study courses, advanced security systems and products traditionally confined to mail-order marketing. Now we see almost every conceivable type of product being marketed through direct response television. The possibilities are both endless and exciting.
With the greater demand for TV time has come corresponding increase in costs. Today, a good direct response commercial will cost anywhere from $12,000 to $80,000 or more—depending on length and how technical the product is.
Direct response television offers a good testing opportunity
As with a direct mail campaign, TV commercials can be tested. A common test run for a direct response commercial is an “A/B flip-flop.” Commercial #2 is run for 1 week on Station A while Commercial #1 is run at the same time on Station B. The following week they are flip-flopped, with Commercial #1 running on Station A and #2 on Station B. Then the results are compared.
The best time to run direct response commercials is during the first and third quarters of the year. Rates are lowest during January, February and March. July, August and September rates are also low. This is prime time for marketers to run tests.
Make sure response information is onscreen long enough
Your Toll-Free phone number should appear for at least 15 seconds for a 60-second spot, or 20–25 seconds for a 120-second spot. The use of phone visuals or showing an operator can be highly effective. Also, each digit of the number should be read and repeated in a voice-over. Viewers need to be told they can use credit cards, and you should show an actual picture of these cards.
It is also critical that you let your audience know operators will be readily available. That means using a service that operates 24 hours a day. Emphasize to your viewers that they can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and encourage them to keep trying if the line is busy.
Using a reputable, well-equipped telephone bureau is a necessity. One marketer used the wrong type of telephone response service and paid the price: phone equipment revealed 100,000 callers received a busy signal and only 8,000 calls were completed.
Determining your television budget
How do you determine what your budget should be? The first step is to separate the creative from production, because the creative cost is a lump-sum fee.
The production cost depends on the following elements:
The second step in determining your budget is the image you want the commercial to project about your company and your product. Obviously, the production values for a product or service appealing to upper-income businessmen are completely different from those required to sell a slicer-dicer kitchen tool.
How long should your commercial be?
Commercial length often depends on how well known your product is. Some well-known marketers have had tremendous success with 60-second commercials. However, the norm for selling new products is still 120 seconds.
Infomercials with program formats, lasting 30 minutes, are also working well. Two-minute spots are becoming harder to get, so it’s worth testing 60-second spots.
If you’re just doing lead generation; however, 30-second spots can be effective.
Here are several more key aspects of a direct response TV commercial to remember:
We’re in the middle of a new generation of direct response TV commercials. Marketers who utilize the proven techniques outlined herein are sure to enjoy far more success than their competitors who don’t.
For more information and a FREE, no-obligation critique of