In Part One of DRTV FAQs, we presented ten fundamental questions about Direct Response Television, and the answers you need to know when considering DRTV as part of your advertising and marketing strategy. With that foundation laid, let’s take a look at ten more “advanced” questions that will arise as you further investigate the exciting potential of DRTV.
1. Where and when will my infomercial air?
DRTV media is available at any time of the day, including Primetime, and can be purchased on a national cable, local broadcast or even a programmatic level. With long-form DRTV, you know precisely when the program is airing, while short-form DRTV allows you to buy windows of time for your airing. This allows you to know exactly how your show performed at 8AM on Channel 24 in Pensacola, Florida, versus the response rate on that same channel at 11PM for example. Our media buying team will analyze every airing of your initial test and ongoing buys, and develop a rollout plan that aligns with the demographics, regionality, “day parts” (the optimal times of day for your show), and of course the offer that proved itself most compelling in the testing phase. From the day your show rolls out, optimizing your media spend while continuously testing new markets and reacting to fluctuations in results becomes a perpetual process.
2. What is my “risk” capital for a DRTV campaign?
To properly produce, distribute, and test an infomercial, (not including your cost-of-goods or product manufacturing) your risk capital will include the costs of:
- Show production- from initial conceptualization to production and post-production.
- Dedicated website construction- assuming you don’t have an in-house team to build
and maintain this transactional site, this will be an up-front cost.
- A limited media test- until you test, you have no real idea of what kind of results your show will produce.
The cost for this test is therefore risk capital.
The specific risk capital for a campaign varies based on many factors, including program length and category. The beauty category for example is more expensive to penetrate than others. We would ask that you contact us to get more specific feedback about the potential risk capital for your campaign.
3. How much money will I need for media?
To properly test your show, figure $15,000 to $25,000 per offer or price point to generate a statistically significant sample. Depending on performance, you may want to take the show off the air, make a few changes (commonly, a different price point, premium, or overall offer) and test again before you proceed with a rollout. Once your show is in rollout and achieving your targeted metrics, obviously you’d want to spend as much as you possibly can without adversely impacting your results.
4. How will I know which stations, regions and day parts will deliver the most reliable test results during the testing phase?
DRTV media buying teams will work with you to develop a testing plan. The plan will be based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
- The type of product or service you’re offering.
- Your demographic and psychographic target markets
(i.e.; married women over 40, men and women 20-35, retirees on fixed incomes, etc.)
- Track records of other shows with similar target markets.
- Current popularity of certain entertainment TV shows.
- Geographic considerations.
- Major weather and news events.
When done correctly, media is not a variable because your DRTV campaign is going into proven time slots and channels for other similar products or services. Your test phase then provides a clear blueprint of the MER (Media Efficiency Ratio; your cost of media versus the revenue generated) you can expect when you roll the campaign out.
5. Do I need a celebrity to be successful?
In a word, no. A celebrity spokesperson is no guarantee of success, and many, many successful shows have been and will continue to be created without one. As a rule, a celebrity will cost you a lot of money in an up-front fee, probably some participation money (“back-end” money, typically a percentage of sales, a periodic renewal fee, etc.), and increase your production budget with requirements such as a personal Director of Photography, additional make-up artists, an upgraded trailer, and so on. All that said, the right match of celebrity to product can significantly improve the chances of success. Would Total Gym have been the mega-hit it became without Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley? Proactiv, without its all-star line-up of celebs over the years? There’s no telling for sure, but the results are pretty convincing.
6. How many sales come by phone and how many by web?
As you’d expect, the ratio of web response to phone response has steadily climbed over the past decade. Today, the majority of your viewers watch TV with a connected device close at hand, and if interested they hit your website to do a little research on their own. They’re also more likely than ever to place their order online—which means, your upsell path needs to be in place on your website as well (see #8). In fact, a rising trend on short-form DRTV is to emphasize a URL for viewer response; some don’t offer a phone-in option at all. Obviously, a web response is much less expensive to service; on the other hand, some products or services or lead generation creative do better at a call center. All this said, our data shows that for product related campaigns, we expect to see 70% of the sales transacted on the website and 30% at the call center. Each campaign will vary, but this is where we begin when creating financial models for a client.
7. Do I need a special website dedicated to responses from the show, or can I just use my company site?
You absolutely, positively need to have a dedicated website landing page that looks similar to your television treatment and makes it easy for the consumer to take advantage of the television offer. Sending respondents to your company website is risky because it potentially allows the consumer to get distracted instead of ordering. Your DRTV site needs to be an optimized sales funnel and be optimized for mobile access. Don’t overlook this; those viewers watching your show with their smartphone in hand won’t give you a second chance if they can’t easily and quickly move through your site.
8. Do I need upsells?
There was a time in the early days of DRTV that a show could run profitably purely on the sales generated by the featured product. By and large, those days are gone. The profitability of your campaign will most likely depend on a strategic upsell protocol, which could include a “premium version” of your product; ancillary or accessory items; rush shipping; and so on. One of the most desirable upsell paths is a subscription to an auto-ship program, (the strategy that built the Proactiv empire).
9. Do I actually need a phone center to take calls and a fulfillment center to ship product?
Unless you’re the proud owner of a 24/7 phone center or automated warehouse and shipping facility, you’ll need to outsource both of these services. The performance of these functions—answering great quantities of calls immediately, effectively closing the sale and upselling, followed by prompt, accurate (and cost-effective!) shipping—will have as much or more impact on the success of your campaign as the infomercial that started the ball rolling. Note: If your business is able to handle calls during the day, but not 24/7, it’s possible to “rollover” to a phone center during your off hours.
10. What happens if the results from an infomercial start to decline?
Every infomercial–like any form of advertising—has a lifespan. At some point even the most successful show will show signs of fatigue, usually from viewer saturation or even simply because it looks a little “stale.” Experienced DRTV marketers plan for this, and schedule the show for “refreshment” on at least an annual basis or when they reach a certain amount of media spent for that specific creative. That refreshment may be anything from a restructured offer to new testimonials to a new product demo or any combination, up to and including a completely new show.