Direct-to-Customer Commerce


Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

Prime Time Direct Response Ads

Here’s one of the headlines in today’s Washington Post Newspaper:

New Prime-Time Ads Act Now

The article relates the plight of local TV stations where their rates for prime time advertising have dropped, in some cases as much as 75%, and there are still a lot of availability.

As the article points out, this is translating into a dramatic increase in direct response television advertising, because the spots are available and cheap.  So, DRTV merchants can afford the spots and can make money with them.

We need to watch to see if how long this trend lasts.  Certainly, it should last until the economy recovers enough for traditional advertisers to reclaim their budgets.  But it could also have the same type of impact that the internet had on print advertising.

The internet taught mainline advertisers that there was a way to measure their print advertising directly, rather than just thru “gross rating points” or “gross impressions.”  This may do the same for television  advertising — we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, we may see a boom in DRTV advertising while the economy remains in the doldrums.

What fascinating times we live in!!


Filed under: Direct Commerce, News, , , ,

Proving the Obvious

Now, I don’t want you to take this post the wrong way.  I do believe in research.  And even when we know something to be “generally” true, research and provide important granular information.

Yesterday in the electronic version of Direct, there is an article with the headline:

Poor Returns Service May Affect Future Shopping: Study 

You can click the headline to read the entire story.  And it’s good information.

What gets me is the headline!  Poor returns service may affect future shopping?

Of course, it does.  This headline shows some of the disconnect between marketing and operations.  Most customers care as much about service as they do about price and quality of the product.  And this is especially true in all direct marketing channels.

If your customers don’t trust that you will treat them right after you buy, they are less likely to buy from you.  If they’ve never bought from you before, their first purchase is a kind of test to find out if you’re trustworthy.  That explains why a customer’s second purchase from you is so important — it proves you’ve earned their trust.

Filling an order correctly, promptly, and treating a customer well if they’re not happy with the product is equally important to earning and keeping a customer.  And customer retention is the key to success.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Opinion, , ,

One Problem with Email Marketing

One of the economic realities of paper-based direct marketing is that the cost of production and postage provide an incentive for the marketer/merchant to optimize certain aspects of the marketing effort, such as:

  • duplicate address elimination
  • householding multiple names at the same address
  • analysis to eliminate unlikely responders or select likely responders
Unfortunately, the cost of email marketing is so low — and it gets to almost nothing when the the volume of messages gets very large — that the cost of the processing to clean lists or optimize responsiveness costs more than just including all the dupes and poor responder names.
I don’t really have a solution to propose for this, since economics are what they are.
But I do believe that, in the long run, failure to minimize unnecessary emails will lead to continuing issues to marketers — just as it did for paper-based direct marketing.
Any ideas?

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Opinion,


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