Learn more about DRTV below.
(You can submit your own questions at the bottom)

  • What is DRTV?

    Direct Response Television or DRTV is a televised advertisement for a product or service that prompts a specific action by the consumer (dial a phone number, visit a website, etc.) with the ultimate goal of generating sales.

    This time-tested format was originally used to market goods and services directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the consumer, bypassing retail. While many marketers continue to use the format with this same goal today, DRTV is often utilized as a broader marketing tool to help support retail sales, drive leads and/or raise brand awareness.

    Over the years, the entrepreneur-driven DRTV landscape has evolved to include major brands such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Cuisinart, Dremel and Gibson.

  • What is an infomercial?

    An infomercial is one type of DRTV advertising designed to drive a particular response from the viewer such as purchasing a product online, over the phone or at a retail store. Traditionally, the term infomercial refers to a Long Form or extended length television commercial that lasts almost 30 minutes. This longer format often works best for products or services that require detailed explanation, multiple demonstrations, before & after documentation, expert support and/or additional time to fully present the value proposition for higher price points.

    By comparison, Short Form spots are abbreviated DRTV commercials that may only last 1 or 2 minutes. Because these are condensed advertising messages, the featured product or service needs to be easily understood by television viewers in a brief amount of time.

    A DRTV marketer may choose to utilize Long Form, Short Form or a combination of both formats depending on the goals and success of their specific campaign. For example, Metamorphosis by Tracy Anderson launched as a Long Form DRTV campaign and later added Short Form, home shopping (QVC) and retail to the overall marketing strategy.

  • What does M2 do?

    We provide full-service support to each of our Direct to Consumer clients based on their specific needs. In many cases, this includes campaign strategy, competitive research, offer development, financial modeling, vendor evaluation, website development, campaign management, results analysis and ROI optimization.

    M2 offers a seasoned team of experts to guide marketers through the often complicated world of DRTV. We also believe in developing a customized approach for each client since every campaign is unique and the direct to consumer landscape is constantly evolving.

  • Does a DRTV campaign need both a call center and a website?

    Ideally, yes. While many campaigns now generate most of their sales online, others still perform very well at a call center (this may include products appealing to older demographics or that feature more complex product offerings) so both options should be offered to customers if possible.

    Trained phone agents can be very successful in converting higher price points, upsells (add on products that will increase the average order value) and continuity programs. Call center sales are also fully trackable as each television station is typically assigned a unique phone number while web attribution models for online sales are less definitive.

    That said, a DRTV website is a definite must in today’s digital world as it offers convenience to consumers looking to learn more information or to place an order in a pressure free environment. Websites should be fully optimized for all devices (smart phones, tablets) and frequently test site variables (copy, colors, layout) to maximize performance.

  • Who should use DRTV as an advertising medium?

    Direct Response Television can benefit marketers with any of the following goals:

    • Introduce a new brand and/or product
    • Differentiate product/brand from competition
    • Educate consumers about a new or complex technology, product or service
    • Increase brand awareness
    • Acquire more customers
    • Generate direct sales
    • Drive retail sales
    • Lift existing sales across multiple channels
    • Optimize advertising ROI
    • Drive website traffic
    • Generate more leads

  • What are the benefits of a DRTV campaign?

    Television remains the most effective advertising medium in driving key performance metrics such as sales and lead generation. DRTV marketers not only benefit from the impact of reaching a wide audience, but also from using one of the most highly accountable forms of advertising available today.

    The ability to track every sale back to a specific TV station, time of day, on-air creative messaging and product offer provides a comforting level of transparency that enables credible ROI analysis and ongoing campaign optimization.

  • How does DRTV benefit big brands?

    Well-established corporate brands may have scoffed at the world of infomercials initially but, as the DRTV industry has evolved over the years, it has proven to be a marketing tool that should not be ignored. Large firms may not need to increase brand awareness that same way an entrepreneur does but they can definitely benefit from other aspects of DRTV marketing.

    For example, launching a new product using traditional advertising methods is very risky and expensive. Many big firms, however, now enjoy taking advantage of the discounted direct response media rates as well as the ability to test multiple variables (such as price point and messaging) on a small scale before ever committing to a widespread rollout at retail. DRTV audiences are an excellent testing ground that allows a major brand to analyze real time results and optimize performance before introducing its product on store shelves across the country.

    Apple, Discover Card, Nissan, Nikon and the U.S. Navy have become some of the biggest, most recognizable brands that use short and long-form DRTV campaigns to sell products and services, increase customer loyalty, build subscription bases and generate leads.

  • How do other sales channels view DRTV products?

    They love them! Products advertised successfully on television are highly appealing to other sales channels such as retail and home shopping networks because it means they have already begun growing brand awareness and can demonstrate proven consumer appeal. They view DRTV as a reliable testing ground for projecting success within their own channel so their relationship with the brand is considered less risky.

    In addition, the media from an ongoing DRTV campaign drives not only direct sales, but also sales across all other marketing channels so a brand’s entire marketing platform benefits.

  • Who buys DRTV products?

    The wide variety of today’s successful DRTV products and services demonstrates the mass appeal of television advertising to consumers. Products ranging from beauty to fitness to housewares and more can thrive in a direct to consumer marketing campaign. To learn more about the types of people who buy infomercial products, M2 co-sponsored an independent study that identified the following key characteristics:

    • Infomercial purchasers tend to skew younger than those who don’t purchase from infomercials.
    • They enjoy shopping from home (an increasing trend for all consumers).
    • They tend to exercise, enjoy movies and follow sports.
    • They embrace digital technology, usually using a mobile device as they watch TV.
    • They watch more than 12 hours of TV a week.

  • What types of products find the most success in DRTV?

    Direct to consumer marketing provides a great opportunity for any brands with new or innovative products that want to educate viewers about their unique features and benefits. Being a visual medium, the best DRTV campaigns include compelling demonstrations, before & after images and/or testimonials to make the greatest impact on the viewer.

    While a wide variety of products have found success in DRTV, the most consistently popular categories are Housewares, Beauty and Health/Fitness. Other strong categories include Financial/Business Opportunities, Diet/Weight Loss, Self Help/Education and Home & Garden.

  • How is a DRTV campaign tested?

    Once the on-air creative is produced and the transactional infrastructure is in place (call center, website, fulfillment, merchant account, media, etc.), a DRTV campaign is ready to run a media test. The goal of the test is to gauge the viability of the infomercial or spot using a limited media budget. The media selected should be proven performers, considered strong indicators of success in that specific category, and include a wide mix of days, times, and stations (local broadcast, national cable) to gather the most data points. A media test may run for 1 to 2 weeks per offer/price point.

    Once the test period is completed, the results are evaluated to identify strengths and weaknesses in the campaign. Changes may then be recommended to the price point, product configuration (including any free gifts), Call the Action or CTA or other areas as deemed necessary.

    Most DRTV campaigns do require some revisions and additional testing prior to embarking on a full rollout.

  • How do you measure the success of a DRTV campaign?

    DRTV marketers measure success differently based on the specific goals for each campaign. For example, KPI’s such as MER (Media Efficiency Ratio) and CPO (Cost Per Order) may be tracked closely on a traditional direct response campaign that is designed to create an independent profit center. However, a drive to retail initiative would likely measure success based on the resulting lift in retail sales.

    Alternatively, DRTV campaigns that feature a continuity or auto-shipment program typically measure success based on the lifetime value of a customer rather than focusing on the initial sale alone. This type of customer acquisition approach is common for consumable goods in categories such as fitness, beauty and food/nutrition. Omaha Steaks is just one example of a brand that looks well beyond the initial sale metrics to cultivate a loyal customer base that will continue to generate revenue in the future.

    Other marketers incorporate DRTV into their overall marketing strategy in order to drive sales across multiple channels. Tria Beauty, for example, already sold their at-home hair removal laser at QVC and prestige retailers before adding their DRTV campaign into the mix as a way to effectively expand brand awareness and increase sales across every channel.

  • What is MER?

    Media Efficiency Ratio (MER): The number that provides a snapshot of the success level of a media buy. The ratio is derived by dividing total sales (resulting from a particular telecast) by the media cost.

    For example, if you buy a half-hour for $1,000 and generate $3,000 in sales, the MER is 3.0. Sales/Media cost = MER.



Got another question for us? Ask us right here.