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#104 DRTV Checklist
From:
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia , PA
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 
#104 Blog Post - Tuesday, August 11, 2020


Posted by Denny Hatch

Direct Response TV: Denny's 12-Point Checklist

Five years ago, we downsized to a two-bedroom apartment in a Philadelphia center city high-rise with a postage-stamp balcony. It's our only residence.

Obviously I have zero need for a marvelous new, incredibly sturdy, ultra-lite 50' garden hose.

However, I was dazzled by a magnificent two-minute textbook correct TV spot for the BionicFlexPro hose.

Quite simply, I loved it!

My memory was jogged back to our gardening days when I did fierce combat with heavy rubber hoses that behaved just a badly as those shown in this great TV spot.

If BionicFlexPro were available in our burbs life 30 years ago, I would have ordered it in a heartbeat.

On TV or in Digital Marketing, the Product Comes Roaring Alive!
Direct Mail, Space (off-the-page) advertising and telephone Marketing are static media. You cannot see the object of sale in action. Rather we have to rely on headlines, text, still photos, graphs, drawings or a disembodied voice on the other end of the phone to make a sale. 
 
Only TV and digital marketing can deliver walloping visual impact.

For example, the BionicFlexPro versus clunky old rubber garden hoses is brilliantly contrasted at the outset: problem, Problem, PROBLEM... SALVATION! Aggravating scenes are followed by the wonders and delights of the easy-to-use, lightweight non-kinking BionicFlexPro!

My Weekly Phone Call from Readers
As editor and publisher of WHO'S MAILING WHAT! and Target Marketing magazine, I would routinely get one or two calls a week from readers with this question: "I have a great idea for a product to sell by direct mail or maybe on TV. How do I get started?"

"What else do you have to sell?" was my immediate reply.

"Huh? What do you mean? I don't have anything else to sell."

"Then stay away from direct marketing."

"But why? Don't you want to hear about my product idea?"

"When you rent outside lists or buy TV air time to sell a product, you are spending money to acquire customers as well as selling something. If you want to make money in this business, you must have additional products or services to sell to those customers you have bought and paid dearly for. It costs six- to seven times more to acquire a new customer than sell to an existing one. In short, you need a business."

"But don't you want to hear about my product?"

"My advice to you is to look into testing small space ads. Or retail, or QVC or Amazon or catalogs.

NOTE: To see how Lillian Vernon and John Peterman launched multi-million-dollar businesses with a single product, check out my Blog Post #3:
http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2018/04/3-secrets-of-ad-placement-go-where-your.html

 Denny's 11-Point Checklist
 
1. Is Direct Response TV a Good Medium to Test?
In the case of the BionicFlexPro hose, TV is a natural. TV reaches 95.9% of the 115.9 million housing units in the U.S. One out of three raise food and a watering mechanism is needed. Most have at least a few flower beds to water.
"It may seem obvious, but number one is your product selection. Your product should solve an immediate problem. It should appeal to the greatest number of people possible. It should be easily demonstrable." —Steve Dworman
Does your product (1) solve an immediate problem? (2) It is easily demonstrable? (3) Does it appeal to huge swath of consumers (or businesses?)  Or are you looking for a niche market?
 
2. Steal Smart!
• At a Direct Mail Writers Guild luncheon in 1982, the speaker was Dorothy Kerr, circulation director of U.S. News & World Report. "If you want to be successful in direct mail," Kerr said, "watch your mail. see who's mailing what. Track those mailings that come in over and over again... then steal smart!"
• Type the following into Google or Bing:
                "tv direct response advertising samples"
• See what others are doing—big corporations down to individual consultants and entrepreneurs. See what direct response agencies are touting as their best work. (They won't show you any losers!) Download those efforts that excite you and save them to a private archive of samples.
• Likewise, if you see a direct response commercial on TV that you like, type the name of the company or product into Google or Bing. You will be directed to the website and the latest TV commercial which you can download and study.
• Peggy and I launched the newsletter and archive service, WHO'S MAILING WHAT! after three years of collecting, analyzing and cataloging direct mail samples.
Before you commit to direct response TV, become an expert by creating a private archive of TV direct response commercials and infomercials.
 
3. Examples of what to Look for.
• Is the sales story totally voice-over (à la BionicFelxPro)? Or are on-camera pitchmen used such as Billy May or Ron Popeil?
• Are testimonials delivered by happy customers included?
Especially pay close attention to how the ordering process is handled.
 
4. Brainstorm!
• "What is the most dramatic, startling, convincing way to demonstrate your product or service? Your TV spot needs to accomplish two distinct and sometimes contradictory objectives: First to sell your product; second to be spellbinding, entertaining and capture attention of people who are channel surfing." 
—Steve Dworman
• "Your job is to sell, not entertain." —Jack Maxson
Do you have a world-class specialist or agency in Direct Response TV commercials to conceptualize and produce your TV spot?
 
 5. Buying Airtime.
• Do nor place your own ads.
• Hire a top media buyer who works with direct response TV advertisers. You will cash in on many years experience of someone who knows what was advertised at what prices, what offers worked and what bombed. More important, media buyers know how to buy advertising airtime at discounted prices. As Iris Shokoff of Iris Shokoff Associates once said to me, "I've never bought an ad at full rate in my life."
Are you working with a seasoned media buying consultant and/or agency?
  
6. How much can you afford to pay for an order?
• All successful direct marketing is driven by math.
• The arithmetic hinges on how much you spend for your product and the markup.
• In direct marketing, DRTV wizard Steve Dworman says you need a 5/1 markup. (Selling price is 5x the cost.) Guru and teacher Dan Kennedy says you need a seven- or eight-to-one markup. I'm comfortable with 9/1 markup. 
Do you know precisely what it costs to produce your product or service ready to ship in various quantities?
 
 7.  The Offer.
• Hard-wired into your DNA should be Ed Mayer's formula for a successful direct marketing effort: 40% Lists, 40% Offer, 20% Everything else.
• This is true for all media—Direct Mail, Telemarketing, publications chosen for print ads.
•If you use TV, your list is the broadcast area you are buying. That's your list—your 40%. Suddenly the offer becomes 80% of the formula.
Remember Ed Mayer's Formula: 40% Lists, 40% Offer, 20% Everything else.
 
 8. A Sampling of Offers.
Low, low price. Big discount for ordering now. Buy one, get one free. Piling on additional goodies and premiums. ("Wait! There's More!"). 90-day money-back-in-full guarantee. Free Shipping. All of the above.
From your private archive of Direct Response TV efforts, make a list of the various offers. Steal smart (adopt) those that appear most frequently.
 
9. The Order Mechanism.
• Is it easy to order and obvious how to order? Is the process user-friendly and absolutely clear. Are there multiple opportunities to order any time during the presentation?
 • For example, in the BionicFlexPro spot, the URL appears at the bottom of the screen at 00:15 (fifteen seconds after the start) and runs continuously by itself for one minute until 01:15. At that point, the big 800-number is posted and the two elements run together for the final 45 seconds.
• One sobering statistic: the average abandonment percentage of all digital shopping carts is roughly 70%. In other words, for every 100 prospects that start to order, 70 say "The hell with it."
Have you studied the ordering mechanisms—and the instructions—of myriad other Direct Response TV spots or full-dress infomercials?
 
10. Your 800-number Inbound Service.
• "Usually, 80% of the calls are received within an hour of when the commercial runs. The telemarketing operator follows a script pre-approved by the client." —Andrew Cohen
• Your inbound service should have your advertising schedule in hand well in advance of the big one-hour spikes in calls when the TV ads run.
• All incoming calls should be answered no later than the second ring.
• Engage a backup 800-inbound service to handle the overflow. Often these are in-home workers with a dedicated phone. When it rings, these reps drop everything to pick up the receiver (or click on their smartphone) by the second ring. These temps must also be fully trained in your product's features and benefits.
Is your inbound call system ready to rock-'n'-roll and not lose orders during spikes?
 
11. Shipping and Delivery.
• We've all been spoiled by the same day/next day delivery by Amazon and other big players. We love instant gratification!
• You absolutely, positively do not want returned merchandise from an unhappy customer.
• Get the product on its way to the customer that same day or no later than the second day.
• The longer it takes for the product to arrive, the less memory the customer will have of ever ordering it at all and the greater the chance it will be returned.
"The sale begins when the customer says yes." —Bill Christensen
"When the product arrives it ideally should be better than what the customer expected." —Marilyn Black 
• Always include a welcome letter.
"Always say thank you. It's the polite thing to do." —Roger Craver
• The person writing the welcome letter should be the writer of the original offer/script who knows the benefits and features cold and whose words the customer originally responded to.
• DO NOT assign some clerk in the shipping department to include the all-purpose, impersonal drivel that is sent to any customer that bought any product over the past 10 years.
• "When the product arrives, make sure it is accompanied by instructions so clear that an idiot can understand them." —Don Jackson
Remember, you are not selling a single product. Your are welcoming a new member of your extended family whom you hope to delight for many years to come and who will yield terrific lifetime value.
 
12. Use outsiders—not in-house colleagues familiar with you and your business.
• Before you commit to the final fulfillment package, make up 5 dummies that include the actual product and all the accompanying literature and other goodies. Give these fulfillment packages to 5 strangers to test. If all five get the product up and running with as little fuss as possible, go with the package. Say thank you by gifting your secret testers with a fulfillment package containing product and goodies.
Line up a private panel of secret testers who are looking to find fault with your work.

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Word count: 1813


You Are Invited to Meet Denny Hatch: http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2020/03/87-geezer-fast-yoga.html
At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

CONTACT 

Denny Hatch
The St. James
200 West Washington Square, #3007
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-644-9526 (Rings on my desk) 
dennyhatch@yahoo.com

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