The Quiet Revolution in Teleshopping
I just returned from Wiesbaden, Germany, where I gave a presentation at the 4th German Teleshopping Conference.
The topic was teleshopping in Central and Eastern Europe, the revolution that is taking place in teleshopping and multi-channel integration. Really one of my favorites.
Here are the key points ...
With the media evolution that is taking place, our view and expectations of teleshopping must change as well.
Without doubt, TV is still the strongest mass advertising channel, and in many cases, especially in Direct Response Television [DRTV], also the least expensive one when it comes to generating direct sales.
However, while our direct response TV advertising still needs to sell directly at a profitable Cost-per-Order [CPO], its key power can no longer be found primarily in direct sales, but rather in being the key demand driver and the key "lead generation" channel, while the sale may happen somewhere entirely else.
Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important to fully integrate our teleshopping activities with internet marketing, direct mail, retail sales, wholesale sales, print, mobile and of course telemarketing.
These channels not only capture the demand generated by direct response TV advertising, but also enable you to
(a) increase your customer conversion through complex follow-up activities,
(b) increase purchase frequency and
(c) grow your reach through various viral components.
Furthermore, integrating additional channels into your mix delivers new audiences, extends the life-cycle of your products and enables you to sell products with a longer purchase cycle.
If however you do not have these channels in place and fully optimized to capture the demand and convert it into sales, you are not only losing money, but are instead driving money towards your competitors.
Essentially, direct response TV advertising is still at the center of the marketing mix, but needs to be integrated with a full spectrum of other channels that enable it to fully achieve its sales potential.
Brand and direct usuall don't seem to go together hand in hand. The brand creative people don't have much love for the DM crowd, and the same goes in the other direction as well.
But, brand is crucial for direct marketing.
(a) Positive brand perception and recognition drive conversions up.
(b) Brand increases customer loyalty and satisfaction.
(c) Brand extends the product life-cycle, enabling you to spend less in the long-term to sustain or grow your sales.
The good part is that direct response TV advertising builds the brand ... as long as you are willing to suffer through higher CPOs at the beginning and then watch them decrease gradually through ever-increasing sales through all of your channels.
It goes without saying of course that the advertising creative folk should remember that adding direct response elements to brand advertising will always increase sales:) But that's a story for a different time ...
Anyway, brand is becoming a key issue for direct marketers.
The problem is, and most of the creative folks won't admit this either, that brands are no longer created through visual impressions, but rather through experienced impressions.
And building brands today goes in both directions. The marketer might start with the brand building, but the consumers are the ones that are going to actually build the brand online and through word of mouth ... good or bad. Essentially, branding is becoming alot more Public Relations than anyone would like to admit ... except of course the PR people, who've known this all along.
The simple solution?
Well, there are no longer any simple solutions. The right solution is to fully integrate brand, direct and PR.
3. Test Everything
This one is easy. Test everything, then go back and test everything again. And again.
There are literally hundreds of elements for you to test. But here's a quick one for US DRTV marketers --> stop relying only on your product-focused mini sites but rather consider testing "the good old webstore" model, with dozens or hundreds or thousands of products ... with smart merchandising of course.
Doing so will drive your short-term sales conversion rates down, but it will drive your long-term sales conversion rates and profitability up. Remember, even with DRTV the game is no longer about making the first sale, but about making a series of consequtive sales to the same consumer. Even if he doesn't buy the exposed DRTV product ...
4. Go Viral
The internet provides unprecedented viral marketing opportunities, especially for direct response TV marketers. And smart viral campaigns will enable you to generate leads for less than 10 Dollar Cents per lead ...
5. Social Media Is Here
... and it's not going anywhere.
For direct response TV marketers, social media is both an opportunity and a threat.
(a) Everyone has a voice ... and they’re not affraid to use it online. Got a faulty product or long delivery times? They'll find you, expose you, talk about you and demolish your brand.
(b) Price comparison is easy and quick. Consequently, your pricing strategies have never been more important.
(c) Dozens of competitors are just an “online search away", and often Google loves them better than you ... even for your own product keywords.
(d) Watch the likes of eBay and other online auctions --> it's never been easier for a small-time entrepreneur to compete with the big advertiser, actually piggy-backing on his ad spend.
Capture the product long tail by both expanding your product mix and repackaging your product combinations to cater to different target audiences.
Nothing new, right?
But how many are actually doing it?