Direct response television vs direct response radio

Radio is similar to television - they both belong to the electronic media, they are popular with people and thus, reach many people on a weekly basis. Television perfectly suits direct response marketing needs due to both: the power of television and the accuracy of direct marketing, however, can radio boast of its potential to generate the consumer's reaction the way the TV does?

Direct response television (DRTV) is a media activity that encourages consumers to respond directly to an advertiser. This term is closely connected with the notion of infomercials - approximately half-an-hour television programs are devoted exclusively to the promotion of various goods and services. In such programs, the products are showed directly in use (which is an excellent idea to foster consumer's confidence) and, in addition, they are built on many other tricks, provoking an immediate reaction. Direct response television is claimed to be efficient due to both: the power of television and the accuracy of direct marketing. Therefore, the results of direct response television are immediate.

According to the recent estimates, DRTV accounts for one fourth of all commercials, showed on TV. What concerns the Direct Marketing Association, the experts expect an increase in DRTV. It is likely to grow at a rate of six point four percent annually through 2007.

Direct response television is the most effective media for marketing such products, as fitness equipment, house wares, beauty products, health products, coins and other collectibles. The DRTV process includes several stages, among which w can name product development, infomercial creation, media buying, infomercial running, taking orders, product demand fulfillment and customer support management.

Radio can also be effective for the direct response; however, there are a lot of prejudices that distract people from investing in radio media buying marketing. In particular, laymen believe that the radio potential is less than that of the TV, since the audiences are fragmented, products cannot be demonstrated and advertising does not pay out. Moreover, the TV can deliver much more numbers at a fraction of the media time cost per response. Still, the radio capabilities to generate responses are significant if they are used in a proper way.

A recent research on the effectiveness of direct response radio, conducted by The Academic Centre for Interactive Marketing, showed that the success of any direct response radio project depended on its clear-cut objective, evaluated target audience, financing, creation and, finally, media planning. This form of advertising is directed at "generating a measurable response at a measurable cost". On the whole, one fourth of all radio advertisements are direct response ones and they work primarily due to a quality radio spot, presented to a highly segmented interested audience within one of nearly twenty defined radio formats.

Certainly, the advertisers should not expect their phones to start ringing right away after the very first commercial ran and continue to ring forever. In general, it is almost impossible to see such an immediate and long lasting response from radio, since people listen to radio while driving their cars and they do not have an access to their phones or at least to a piece of paper and a pen to write down the number and call back later. You should also keep in mind that in the course of time, the chances that a would-be customer still remembers the message of the commercial, heard on radio, are diminishing. Consequently, the response levels grow with the time and pay off in the long run.

If you consider radio as a good advertising effort, you may also be using other media. Synergy with other media is beneficial to radio. For instance, it can be used to support TV commercials.

However, radio, as compared to TV, has qualities and features that are unique (the way radio is used, the way people get information from it), and with the right understanding of its potential, radio can be a worthwhile direct response resource.

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