By Barbara Kerry

There are many benefits to implementing an integrated direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing campaign across the full spectrum of marketing channels. The top benefit is the ability to track, measure, and analyze exactly how your marketing dollars are spent and how they perform.

This is why DTC marketing is also referred to as performance marketing. It allows you to optimize your marketing budget in ways traditional advertising does not. Television remains at the top of the list of marketing channels with the largest measurable impact on sales. Many brands are surprised at how television affects sales across their entire multichannel platform, and those who abandon television for less costly channels often return when they see their sales slip.

However, DTC marketing, especially television, uses very different methodologies than traditional advertising. In this, the first of a two-part series, we look at five of 10 potential pitfalls brands entering this space must avoid.

1. Lacking baseline data in existing channels.

To track the impact of a DTC television campaign, you must first know exactly how your current channels are performing before you launch. Know your sales in each existing channel over the course of a year. When the TV campaign begins, you will be able to track not only sales directly attributed to your commercial, but also the impact your television campaign is having on all of your other channels. Do not underestimate this! TV can impact sales in every channel of distribution.

2. Using a corporate website rather than a dedicated microsite.

Large corporate or brand websites contain a lot of information about a company, often including many different goods and services. While a necessary part of a company’s profile, a generalized website of this kind is not an effective sales vehicle. Consumers often have to search for the product they saw on television; when found, it may be at a different price. A corporate site is not nimble and may reflect offers elsewhere in the sales funnel. Additionally, they are not designed to lead a consumer to a purchase. A microsite, on the other hand, is a very strategic sales tool. In addition to containing information specific to the TV offer, it uses best DTC practices to lead customers to a sale — and even beyond: to upsells. An experienced TV agency will be sure every detail of a microsite is scientifically designed, from where you put the order button to the color of that button. Many consumers forget the URL they saw on TV and search the company name; therefore, we even recommend placing a bug on the corporate site — “Click here for TV offer” — that funnels consumers to your transactional microsite.

3. Various internal departments not giving credit to TV lift.

In many large companies, internal departments are held accountable for sales in a specific channel. Obviously, they want to own and take credit for any sales appearing in their funnel. However, a television campaign will improve sales across all marketing channels. A consumer sees the TV commercial but purchases at retail, via social, or on Amazon where they may be a Prime member. In order to truly understand the impact of your DTC TV campaign, you must bring your departments together to measure the impact it has across the entire enterprise.

4. Buying media to a budget rather than buying to optimize.

A key benefit of DTC marketing is the ability to measure the results on a per-channel basis. The goal is to optimize each dollar spent by analyzing where your marketing is performing best. In traditional advertising, because there is no direct accountability for dollars spent vs. dollars earned, many brands have large, must-spend marketing budgets and find it difficult to adjust to the slower, accountability-based spending of performance marketing. Work with your agency to create a spending strategy that meets your overall corporate goals and helps you utilize the optimization benefits a DTC campaign provides.

5. Not tracking other promotional campaigns that may skew TV results. 

Often a company employs different marketing strategies across different marketing channels, then they don’t measure the impact those strategies have on other channels. For instance, you may launch your television campaign during Amazon Prime Days, where your product is offered at a significant discount. Obviously, this will impact your television numbers. You must be aware of special promotions, price cuts, etc., in your various channels and track their impact on sales in other channels.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in Results’ December issue.

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