Direct-Response Ads Get Direct Results

As a veteran NBA broadcaster, I’ve had a front-row seat to action both on and off the court for over 30 years. I have seen countless fledgling or struggling teams build successful franchises by turning to experienced players for their talent, determination and ability to get immediate results.

Similarly, while attending to my other passion, television advertising sales, I’ve seen a number of marketers thrive in the face of adversity by looking to media with a time-tested capacity to deliver consistent and immediate return on investment.

Over the past couple of decades, the broadcasting landscape has grown to over 500 cable networks. This has made it harder for advertisers to aggregate fragmented audiences and has given them reason to believe that their media dollars may not be working as hard as they used to. With looming concerns like these, it’s no wonder that this year’s upfront discussions focused on such issues as DVR playback (“Live + 3”), commercial versus program ratings, and viewer engagement.

Combine these factors, and now more than ever, we have an environment that demands that advertisers know precisely how their advertising dollars are affecting sales.

Direct-response TV (DRTV) offers executives reliable options that they can turn to for prompt and accurate feedback. DRTV gives advertisers immediate, cost-effective measurement from their customers and yields a specific gauge of how well their advertising dollars are being spent.

It looks like marketers are taking notice. According to recent TNS data, the overall advertising market was down 0.3% in the first quarter. However, two sectors enjoyed substantial growth: Internet advertising, up 16.7%, and direct response, up 11.3%. (Those direct-response results are great news for television, especially cable, which in the four quarter of 2006 snagged over $525 million, a full 60% of all DRTV dollars for that period.)

Although they are different media, direct-response and Internet advertising both generate immediate customer response and provide advertisers with a direct measure of how well their ads are working. Considering the pressures for immediate return on investment (ROI) that advertisers face, it’s no coincidence Web and direct TV advertising are experiencing such solid results.