By: Margaret Firalio
Recently, there have been some questions floating around our Media Department:
“Can you get me tickets to the Hawks game?”
“Did I really do that at the Cable Days party?”
“What does the fox say?”
But there is one question in particular I’d like to address:
“What will the Media Buyer of the future look like?”
Now I don’t have a crystal ball or anything, but when you’ve been placing media for a company like Eicoff—a leader in DRTV for over fifty years—you get a good sense of how things are trending.
We all know Broadcast and Digital are converging. It’s a road we’re traveling on and it has all the wild twists and turns of a Miley Cyrus twerk—and just about the same staying power. Channels that are here today could be gone tomorrow, and new ones are popping up every day. It’s the job of the Media Buyer to stay on top of them all, so a Future Media Buyer will need to be quick.
It’s also a road being navigated by many different vehicles. Will content viewers be cruising along on their computer or their digital television? What about their tablet or smart phone? Tomorrow, people might be operating something we haven’t even heard about yet like solar video-pants. Therefore it goes without saying, a Future Media Buyer will need to be versatile.
And lastly, this road we’re now driving on is still paved and maintained by people—real people with real thoughts and feelings and real things to say over dinner or drinks. One of the most important roles of a Media Buyer is to have a relationship with vendors. I don’t see this changing anytime soon. So with that being said, a Future Media Buyer will benefit by having a winning personality.
Wait a minute. Quick, versatile, personable. That sounds a lot like… us!
When a new cable network gets on the air, Eicoff tests it immediately.
Historically, our Media Group was among the first to embrace 800#s, cable television and satellite.
And do we have personality? Care to see these Cable Days pics again?
Margaret Firalio is SVP/Associate Media Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.
By: Bill McCabe
I recently came across an article that was expounding on the ever-changing media landscape, and how technology is turning the marketing world upside down.
While there may be some truth to that, I couldn’t help but smile to myself regarding one of the great Alvin Eicoff stories I witnessed over the years.
I was fortunate to spend a great deal of time with Al in my early years in the business. Those that knew Al understood that he was a man well ahead of his time. And like many great pioneers, people knew that Al could be a bit eccentric and, sometimes, forgetful.
Several years ago I accompanied Al to a speech he was giving on the future of advertising. It was a panel discussion and Al was one of three speakers. All of the speakers did a great job, and now it was time to open it up to the crowd for questions.
Many great questions were being asked, but I could tell Al was starting to lose interest. Finally, someone stood up and asked, “So, Mr. Eicoff, when do you think the technology revolution is going to change your business?”
I turned to notice that Alvin had not heard a word the gentleman had said, and, in fact, was engrossed in a doodle he was working on. After several awkward moments, Alvin looked up to notice people were waiting with bated breath to hear his answer -- to a question he didn’t hear.
“Tuesday,” he answered.
Al looked back down and went back to his drawing.
That moment, while hilarious, has always stayed with me for two reasons:
Marketing changes have always come as an evolution, not a revolution – it is not going to happen on a “Tuesday."
The rapidly changing technology is bringing fascinating opportunities for all involved – but we cannot become mesmerized by the shiny new object. The message is as important, if not more so, than how the message is delivered.
I can only imagine what Alvin would have done today with the tools now available. There’s no doubt he would have embraced it all. But I also know that he would have never taken his eye off the message – without it, the rest is meaningless.
By: Jim Madsen
Earlier this year, Twitter launched Amplify. This clever little program enables TV networks to extend their live broadcasts onto Twitter, with targeted, real-time, in-Tweet video clips from the shows people are watching. And just like TV, these clips include 3-7 seconds of pre-roll advertising.
Twitter’s Amplify program is gaining traction with advertisers. In recent weeks, Twitter has announced major network partnerships–like CBS, Viacom and BBC Global News.
For brands looking to create Awareness, running a few seconds of pre-roll is a smart idea, especially for mobile customers. A recent eMarketer article entitled, Video Advertising Beyond the Top of the Funnel, stated, “when marketers determine their goals for digital video advertising, top-of-the-funnel awareness is almost always their main focus.” In fact, Awareness topped the list for 94.6% of respondents.
Consequently, brands are placing Customer Acquisition and Lead Generation much further down their list of online video marketing objectives. This leads the author to counter, “Digital video ads can be for more than just Awareness.”
True, but here’s the thing, moving down the list from Awareness to Customer Acquisition and Lead Generation isn’t as simple as shifting priorities. It requires shifting tactics. Let’s face it, there’s only so much you can do with 3-7 seconds of pre-roll.
It’s about integration. By creating longer spots (and by that I mean over 30 seconds, which wouldn’t be a fit for Twitter, but it would be in plenty of other media outlets like YouTube or news sites), and fueling them with a clear call to action (via text, website, phone, etc.) advertisers can leverage and complement their Twitter pre-roll Awareness efforts to generate leads and land customers.
Being able to test and track the direct response to a particular spot is another advantage. Video metrics is part of the future of advertising and where ROI advertisers are headed.
Creating Awareness is an essential brand strategy, and executing it through Twitter is an excellent tactic. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Think bigger. By adding focus to Customer Acquisition and Lead Generation via longer length spots, online videos can make a serious impact your bottom line.
by Tara Anbudaiyan
Eicoff clients are showing growth in more areas than just DRTV. Vivint, the leader in home automation services, was ranked #2 in the country for job growth in Inc's 2013 Hire Power awards. Vivint created 1,943 jobs over the last 18 months. Bravo!
By: Ken Houdek
Randall Rothenberg, writing in last month’s Adweek, stated “The definition of advertising has never been more unclear.”
But what does Mr. Rothenberg think about Direct Response Television (DRTV)?
Today’s advertising landscape is all over the place, literally. Broadcast, cable and streaming. Tablets, smartphones and smart watches. Contact lenses can’t be far behind.
But the objectives remain the same. Target the consumer, build brand awareness, and increase sales.
DRTV is one of the best ways to do that. Surprisingly, many clients don’t recognize how important a part of the marketing mix it can be.
I’m shocked when I read articles stating clients need to build their brand before they can turn to DRTV, or that consumers won’t respond to a spot until they see it at least 3 to 5 times.
We’ve launched many traditional DRTV campaigns with companies and products the American consumer basically had little or no awareness of.
The spots began airing, and calls and web hits started coming in immediately – minutes after the spot aired the first time on that station. One viewing and sales increased. One viewing and the consumer engaged with the brand. Direct Response in name, and in reality.
This is what happens when DRTV is executed properly. Compelling, longer format creative that informs, demonstrates and encourages response. Intuitive and efficient media buys that zero in on the target audience. Websites that engage and deliver.
I think the definition of advertising has never been more clear. DRTV belongs in the picture.
Ken Houdek is a SVP/Associate Media Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.
by: Tara Anbudaiyan
Eicoff kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by raising $800 for the American Cancer Society through Lee Denim Day on Friday, October 4th. In exchange for a donation, Eicoffians wore their favorite jeans in support of the cause. Since its inception in 1996, Lee Denim Day has raised more than $89 million in this effort.
We are proud to be a part of the fight against breast cancer. While Denim Day is over, there's still time to donate. If you would like to join us, please make a donation at http://www.denimday.com/a-eicoff-co.
By Maura Foley
My favorite self-descriptor, “couch potato,” may soon be antiquated. Media consumption is now as likely to occur in bed, my home office, back porch, or on the train as it is my cozy Ikea sofa. What does this mean for DRTV if my peers cut the cord on TV?
Marketers are a-twitter (pardon the pun) about my generation’s varied and evolving taste in media engagement. So much so Nielsen, the marketing research behemoth of record, has given me a new generational label: “Generation C.” Yet another moniker has caught on among cultural critics: “Generation Me.” If we’re not Instagramming selfies and our latest brunch entree, we’re tweeting during our favorite TV shows.
Wait! Read that last part again. Many marketers bemoan the imminent destruction of TV, fearful of the oncoming digital apocalypse being brought on by Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. True, many Millennials have unplugged the cable box entirely. Yet, Nielsen’s Generation C constitutes 23% of television viewership, a disproportionate volume considering population size! Most users who partake in digital video do so in addition to, not in place of, traditional TV.
Furthermore, Millennials are the most likely cohort to clutch their smartphone or tap away at a laptop while watching TV. Nielsen recently demonstrated that these behaviors, labeled multi-screen viewing, may produce increasingly loyal viewers, than “traditional” TV viewers. Broadcasts with high volumes of tweets during their premieres can pull in more viewership. And programming has caught on: Fans of The Bachelorette can watch fellow viewer’s tweets flicker across the bottom of the screen just below the TV romance.
One last difference between traditional TV viewing and digital highlights a particular advantage of DRTV. Digital viewers are more likely to binge watch entire seasons of shows at once. Sounds an awful lot like “nontent,” a DRTV staple, to me. When I can pause my fourth episode of Toddlers & Tiaras in a row, why not pick up the phone to respond to a well-targeted DRTV ad?
I posit that the coming shift in TV behavior demonstrates not our impending doom as marketers, but increased opportunity for consumer engagement, particularly with DRTV. The concepts that make DRTV a high-ROI marketing avenue for marketers on traditional TV are only set to expand with increased digital viewership.
Maura Foley is an Analyst at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.
By: Rob Schmidt
DRTV and sports have more in common than you think. For example, you’ve undoubtedly heard coaches or TV sports analysts refer to a player’s “intangibles”. The veteran third baseman who’s a true “character guy”. The hockey defenseman with a great “sense for the game”. Their contributions are invaluable, but they don’t always show up in the score sheet.
DRTV works the same way. Just as focusing solely on home runs or goals can be a misleading metric for evaluating a player, looking only at sourced cost per sale could cause a marketer to cut a program that may otherwise drive success for the brand.
To put this idea into perspective, let’s talk about the objectives of a fictitious company: Acme Home Service. While the marketing head needs to keep an eye on their brand profile, what keeps Acme in the black are the leads and sales coming in the door.
Acme is in a competitive category, and needs to answer to shareholders each quarter. A majority of their marketing budget goes towards brand TV and sponsorships. Acme’s CMO, Willie Widget, takes comfort in knowing that consumers and shareholders alike see their TV commercials during prime time shows or sporting events. But in his effort to test new channels and get new prospects to request information on services and pricing, he decides to give DRTV a try.
Mr. Widget has the agency edit his existing 60-second spot to include a strong call to action. Everyone feels great about the test, and Mr. Widget looks forward to sharing the results with his board.
Unfortunately, leads and sales to the dedicated 800-number and landing page were lower than many hoped, delivering a sourced cost-per sale at twice the allowable. What appeared to be a slam-dunk turned into a swing and a miss. But Mr. Widget is a smart man and knew that this DRTV program would do more than drive sourced sales.
On the surface, the ROI tied to the DRTV program appeared to be just below break-even, but he knew that consumers respond in different ways. A mass medium like DRTV would impact many of these response channels – phone calls, branded and non-branded search, visits to the main web site, even walk-ins to the local office.
Fortunately for Acme Home Services, Mr. Widget and his marketing team were savvy enough to look at the intangibles and designed this controlled test to measure overall lift of the DRTV campaign. When they combined directly attributed sales with lift across all response channels, Mr. Widget discovered that DRTV was a very efficient sales driver.
Team captain Jonathan Toews recently led the Chicago Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup in four years. Some say he suffered a slump in the playoffs with several scoreless games, but his greatest contributions weren’t seen in the box score. His leadership, work ethic, and smart play lifted the team, driving them to achieve their ultimate goal. DRTV can do the same for you.
By: Gary Lande
“I’ll tell you what brilliance in advertising is,” Roger Sterling said in one episode of Mad Men, “99 cents.”
Just mention Direct Response television (DRTV) and inevitably “Order now, just three easy payments of $19.99!” comes to mind.
What is it about the “99” that stirs people to action?
It’s called psychological pricing and it works. C’mon, wouldn’t you rather pay $19.99 than $20.00? It just feels better.
Hypotheses abound. Consumers tend to perceive “odd prices” as being significantly lower than they actually are, and round down. Another thought is fractional prices suggest goods are marked at the lowest possible price.
And Dave Gold was one of the first to use it.
In the 60’s, he and his wife owned a liquor store where they sold wine at various prices. Noticing the 99-cent wine sold much better, they priced all their wine at 99 cents. The 79 and 89 cents sold better at 99 cents, as well as, of course, the $1.49. (Dave and his wife went on to start a 99 Cent Only store in 1982 that grew to almost three hundred locations by the mid 90’s.)
Other explanations date psychological pricing back to Rowland H. Macy. In an 1880 newspaper advertised 100 pieces of “reliable black silk” for 99 cents. Then there’s this: the cash register. Invented in 1879 by a Dayton bar owner, he thwarted pilfering clerks by charging a penny less than the full dollar amount. The cashiers were forced to open the register to give change, and put the dollar in the register, not their pockets.
So 99-cent pricing certainly is one way to motivate. Case in point. My wife and I were furniture shopping and she spotted this couch she liked, and said, “It’s only a thousand dollars.” I looked at the price tag and sure enough, it read “$1,099.00.”
But DRTV is a little more than that. Actually, it’s a lot more than that. It goes well beyond to educate, inform and persuade.
DRTV offers clear information about the product. It makes sure the consumer knows what it is, how it works and what they’re getting.
DRTV connects with the consumer. It couches the product or service in terms of providing a valuable benefit.
DRTV creates urgency. It invites consumers to call now, click now, find out more, get something free.
DRTV has the unique ability to drive inquiry and response, while at the same time building and strengthening brand.
Bottom line, it takes more than teasing consumers with 99-cent pricing. Done right, DRTV can truly make an impact and get results. Now that’s brilliance in advertising.
Gary Lande is a VP, Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.
By: Jim Madsen
When it comes to closing the deal, DRTV has an unseen advantage – the Human Interaction, or "HI" Factor.
For decades, 1-800-numbers were the universal signature of direct response television. Then the Internet changed everything. Every week televisions are becoming smarter, more social, and the direct response landscape is evolving to use interactive ads, landing pages, text-to-respond, and more. These new and evolving direct response channels beg the question, "Is the 800-number relevant anymore?" As a web-savvy consumer, your knee-jerk answer may be "No." Understandably. Why call someone when you can shop online and pay via PayPal or credit card? Dialing a 1-800 number seems so antiquated.
Not so fast. As a direct response agency, we've learned something interesting from our clients: as online shopping is becoming more personalized, it's still not personal. Certain products and services require more than bullet points and a "Buy Now" button to complete a sale. What's missing from online shopping is the human interaction, DRTV's "HI" Factor – a real person to talk to, with a real voice, and a real name. That's exactly what a 1-800 number can give you.
DRTV's "HI" Factor gives customers more than actual conversation – it gives them one-on-one guidance. For example, many of our clients use DRTV to increase enrollments and memberships. These require detailed forms to be filled out, correctly and completely. But in reality, some customers get sidetracked and never finish the online forms, or they may not click "Submit" at the end. By having a real person guide and assist them over the phone, more enrollment forms are completed and more customers are enrolled.
Websites are catching on to the "HI" Factor. Have you shopped on a website and immediately had a pop-up window ask, "Want to chat?" This is because dot-coms know the second they can start chatting with you, you'll be less likely to leave their website and shop elsewhere. Now they can answer your questions, tell you more about their product, and most importantly, create a paying customer far more quickly.
Once upon a time, calling a 1-800 number was the universal call-to-action for DRTV. As new response channels enter the game, there’s still nothing that compares to the personal attention the 1-800 number provides. And that's what gives DRTV's "HI" Factor the unseen advantage.
Jim Madsen is a Copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.
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