I recently came across an interesting social media strategy from a direct response TV advertiser (DRTV). It was for a self-storage company that is tracking Twitter posts to identify potentially qualified consumers.
By tracking tweets like "So excited to get out of Dallas!" they are able to identify the city within the text of the tweet and then match that up with the identified city on the user's profile. Accordingly, they can determine the length of any move.
The goal is to find consumers moving over 500 miles since these are the most valuable consumers to this company. If they identify a tweeter as being qualified, they can tweet back a discount on their moving services.
For this marketer, these social media interactions are being monetized; but I wonder if there isn't a greater opportunity utilizing an integrated approach that leverages all other media to greater response and ultimately greater ROI from all media.
While there are many DRTV marketers who still view media as a "siloed" venture, the advent of social media further is another example of the need for an integrated approach within this metric-focused set of marketers. DRTV marketers thrive on data, analytics, and constant media testing so online has been a natural fit for them, and now social media is finding its place in the mix. The challenge for the DRTV marketer is figuring out how to convert this discussion into sales and then utilizing other media to increase the volume of discussion.
As greater numbers of television audiences now sit in front of the TV with multiple devices at the same time, surfing the Internet and texting, consumers are carrying out their research and communicating online while they're watching your spot on TV. This creates an environment where media messages move quickly and integrated direct marketers must be prepared to accommodate further fragmentation to their traditional response channels.
In recent years, there have been some moves among DRTV agencies and clients to integrate both the offline and online media functions to varying degrees of success. This strategy makes particular sense when you consider the depth of message delivered in a 60-second, 120-second, or 30-minute infomercial. At its heart, DRTV is generally considered to be a complete selling message given the sheer volume of information delivered in a longer form. But DRTV also drives significant interest from consumers who then continue their research online.
And the trend over the last 10 years has been a rapid shift of orders and leads generated via the web rather than the traditional 800-number. This is especially true for higher consideration and higher priced products and services.
Where does social media play a role for direct response marketers? The very nature of social media creates a cross-channel consumer dialogue. This dialogue must be considered in the creation and development of the DRTV spot and in the measurement and analysis of your marketing mix, particularly in the case with higher consideration offers. But it can be difficult to find agencies with competencies in direct response for both online and offline media, further few who understand social media's place in the mix.
Direct response TV marketers must ask themselves: what types of discussions are my consumers currently having surrounding my product or service? What other messages can our TV and offline media utilize to generate further engagement? The answers to these questions should create a complete feedback loop that can inform creative decisions to drive better results.
Interactive media and social media in particular have reinforced the idea that even direct response marketers must think more like a branding advertiser and consider how consumers will interact with them across multiple channels: TV, online, email, social, mobile, radio, print, and PR.
What do you think? How does social media impact your company's view of integrated marketing?
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Gavin Ballas is vice president of business development for MDC Partner's Integrated Media Solutions, an integrated direct response media agency. He has nearly 15 years of experience building direct response campaigns throughout online and offline media channels.
March 19, 2014