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What Is Direct Response Television?

Direct response television urges viewers to call in right away to take advantage of a deal.
Direct response television calls on viewers to respond to an ad sales pitch, for instance by calling a toll-free number to get a special price on a product.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Direct response television is television advertising that requires viewers to respond to the ad to take advantage of a special sales price, coupon, or other benefit. Viewers may call or text a phone number or can visit a website. Advertisers qualify for special rates on such advertising and typically work with a direct response television marketing firm on ad development and placement. Such firms are experts in this kind of advertising and can design an appropriate and effective campaign.

Advertisements can vary in length. Short-form advertisements run for under two minutes, while long-form spots are over two minutes in length. Even longer ads of 30 minutes or more are known as infomercials. The length of an ad usually depends on the type of product. A company may want a longer spot to educate consumers or draw them in to the presentation, while a short-form ad might be more appropriate for a quick sales pitch.

One way companies can use direct response television is in direct marketing of products and services. These may only be available through the television. Viewers who want these products and services need to contact the company through the information in the advertisement. Companies may add a sense of urgency by suggesting that promotional rates will expire and viewers need to act now to get the best price. Goods are also commonly marketed as limited edition or few in number to encourage buyers to buy immediately.

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Other direct response advertising may solicit a response from viewers who want a coupon or informational pamphlet. Rather than placing an order, the prospective customer contacts the company to get more information or a special discount. The initial contact provides an opportunity to collect customer information the company can use in future marketing campaigns. Ideally, the consumer will make a purchase after getting the information. Companies can use promotions of this nature on television to supplement ad campaigns elsewhere, like print and billboard ads.

Specialists in direct response television can design an appropriate ad for the demographic, test it, and place it on the most appropriate television networks. Ad spots can vary in cost. For prime-time television, the number of slots may be limited and very expensive. On sales networks where viewers tune in to access advertisements and promotions, the cost may be a lower bulk rate. Companies have to consider the most appropriate venue for their ads when they decide where they want to place a direct response television advertisement.

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gravois
Post 3

How effective is direct response television really? I know that there have been incredible success stories but I have to assume that there have also been disastrous stories of failure. On the average how well does direct marketing do compared to other forms of TV marketing?

backdraft
Post 2

I love how in the infomercials they always tell you to call now to receive a special offer and the special offer is always double or triple of the thing you were going to buy. How can anyone see this and not expect that they are buying a total piece of junk. If you can just cut the price in half or thirds you know the original product must be pretty cheap.

And they always saw call now as if the deal is actually going to run out. My suspicion is that you could call them at any time of day and offer to buy 10 for the price of one and they would jump at the offer.

whiteplane
Post 1

I have to admit to being a total sucker for infomercials. I have a whole closet in my house that is filled with various junk I have bought off of TV in the middle of the night. There are probably at least a half a dozen little chopping devices in there, none of which could make salsas as easily as they made it seem on TV.

Sure it has been kind of a waste of money but oh well. I actually have a few things that I've bought and really like so I always hold out hope that there are some gems out there.

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