experiential in the best way possible, using integrated advertising, marketing, and media.
Mirchandani: New technology: the internet, mobile, social
media, home shopping, online shopping, and other new
ways of interacting are the biggest advancements to direct
response in my lifetime. Amazon, Facebook, and social media
now allow you to buy advertising right from your desktop and
sell throughout the world with unlimited potential. It’s faster,
easier, and less expensive for consumers to buy. As technology evolves, the direct response industry only prospers.
Mitchell: Direct response will always be the best way to
reach the most consumers with demonstrations or information about products
or services that might otherwise go unnoticed. Our industry’s greatest assets are
its brand marketers, its on-air talent, and
everyone who works behind the scenes to
make direct response products successful
from inception to sales.
Netzley: Our effectiveness is in being
able to cost-effectively drive relationships
between our clients and the individuals they are desirous of having a direct
relationship with, and doing so in a fully
transparent and accountable way.
Szot: Direct response connects — really connects — on a practical as well as
emotional level with the consumer. Social
media is great — but it’s still a website.
With DRTV, you get someone who feels
passionately about the product, someone
familiar, someone you can trust. Viewers
watch them and think, “Wow, I really
believe this person, and her/his story resonates with me.” I always say, if you can
get someone to cry on camera, that’s your
Wechsler: Measurement, efficiency, and flexibility are the
greatest assets. There isn’t a brand in the world that wouldn’t
benefit from the way we go to market. Speed, efficiency, and
accelerated growth pretty much sum it up.
What do you believe to be the most important
issue in the direct response industry today
Altman: The DR industry has a gigantic cloud over its head
by the name of Amazon. Amazon has changed the way consumers purchase, reduced traditional delivery times, lowered
prices, and changed the mentality of the standard DR shopper. Customers now go to Amazon, if not as their initial point
of purchase, then certainly to comparison shop before placing
their order from the direct response-generated media.
Lee: Embracing disruption to provide clear use of data to
make decisions that identify a clear path and that drive sales
by utilizing channel specific strategies for conversion and
Mirchandani: Staying ahead of technology is paramount
because it provides specific, measurable data almost instan-
taneously. It gives us the information we need to respond
in the most effective ways to consumer behavior, which is
always changing and evolving. Viewing habits are radically
different now, and people are not watching television the
way they used to. Everyone has their phone with them at all
times — consumers have become very demanding and very
demand-specific. Embracing the latest
technologies has allowed us to success-
fully anticipate and fulfill the many and
new expectations of customers who do
not buy the same ways they used to.
Mitchell: During the past 29 years, I
have seen people’s reaction to television
infomercials change from doubt and
distrust to belief and acceptance that the
product will really work. This is why it’s
important to continue to keep standards
high and demand truth in all product
demonstrations we present. I can hold
my head high and know that my pitch
and my photo on a product package fits
into the valuable standards of today’s
“As Seen On TV” products.
Netzley: Ensuring accurate attribution
of consumer responses back to the source
that drove those responses as more and
more offline and online acquisition
channels are developed.
Szot: The direct response industry
needs to focus on staying relevant in
this changing economy/marketplace. Of
course, social media is important and has its rightful place in
any e-commerce, but how do you know it’s reaching the right
audience without DR to drive your traffic? You Tube, viral
messages, etc., are important, but for my money, there is no
more powerful medium on earth than television. DR has to
keep up with the times — and the demands — of its audi-
Wechsler: Managing change is and has always been the
most important issue facing the direct response industry.
Our biggest challenge is to stick to what we know works,
not to be quixotic and charge windmills simply because
they’re out there. There’s always going to be change in the
way we communicate and the channels through which we
communicate. We need to constantly remind ourselves that
measurement, efficiency, and urgency have and will always
drive direct marketing. We can’t be distracted by the shiny