Why TV Can be a Secret Weapon in Driving Sales and Lifting Brand Awareness

Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO

Original Link: 60 Second Marketer

Date Published: March 21, 2017

Jessica-Hawthorne-CastroMarketers are tasked with simple-sounding goals. For example, they need to increase sales while also improving the brand’s image. Faced with media fragmentation, it’s difficult to achieve many marketing goals that appeal to constantly shifting demographics. Marketers often resort to a trial-and-error approach of using various channels and types of content to try to find an optimal mix.

An overlooked advertising channel that still produces results is TV. It continues to be a medium that can sell products directly to targeted consumers while lifting the perceptions about the overall brand.

It’s relevant even in light of the fragmentation, and marketers should include strategic TV placements as part of their overall campaign.

For the context of this topic, “brand lift” is a positive increase in how audiences view a company and how often they think about it – a measure of “stickiness.”

The need for this lift is important for many brands, especially housewares makers and other companies that produce broad lines of interconnected products. Marketers at these firms need assurances that campaigns are not only boosting sales of “Product XYZ” but also giving the audiences positive feelings about the brand itself and its other products.

As marketers expand their focus and metrics behind increasing sales for just one product, they can better gauge the true ROI and impacts of a campaign. And armed with this information they can then dynamically adjust future campaign creatives and placements in order to better increase brand lift metrics.

Measuring the Brand Lift

How an audience thinks about a company, and how often those thoughts occur are the critical components of brand sentiment. Generating a “brand lift” means increasing the positivity and frequency of audience thoughts.

Marketers that are promoting specific products must also provide content and experiences that boost the brand as a whole. This is especially important for brands such as housewares makers that offer a wide range of products and present brand attributes of reliability, quality, or reasonable pricing.

Creating a brand lift is important, but measuring it can be a challenge.

Big players such as Nielsen are taking note of the need for metrics, as the company recently launched its Digital Brand Effect that measures “brand lift by placement metrics.” The metric offers detailed reporting that correlates ad placements and site performance.

According to Aleck Schleider, author of Getting Back to Basics: Why Brand Lift Measurement Will Never Go Out of Fashion “In today’s market, getting a consumer to buy something is not easy, but in most cases it will always start with raising awareness for a product, which — eventually through frequency and messaging — drives intent.”

The quote sums up the need for advertising through channels that can achieve both the branding and sales-oriented goals.

Engaging with TV Campaigns

Measuring brand lift entails gauging audience sentiment and intentions. How likely are they to recommend the product to friends? Are they satisfied with their interactions with the brand? It’s tricky to measure this engagement and then relate it to increases in sales.

TV is an ideal channel that marketers can use to measurably improve overall branding scores while also driving sales of specific products. Television allows for creative branding opportunities and targeted content, and campaigns with the strongest creative will be able to influence sales across the company’s product line.

George Leon, senior vice president of media and account management at Los Angeles-based Hawthorne Direct describes the benefits of well executed creative, saying “In essence, consumers are responding to a creative for a single product being tagged to specific retailers. But, they are engaging with a marketer across all products at all tagged retailers.”

His point means brands must include messaging and content that talks about their broader brand and measure the impact that campaigns focused on “Product X” can have on all of the other products in the catalog.

TV campaigns should remain in marketer’s toolkits for 2017 and the coming years, even with all of the available digital video outlets and the rise of mobile. Targeted TV ads presented with the right media mix and frequency provide marketers with a rare one-two punch of both raising product and brand awareness.

About the Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro is the CEO of Hawthorne, an award-winning technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for over 30-years. 

But Wait — There’s More: The Evolution of Direct Response Commerce

Author: John Francis, Director of Digital Strategy

Original Publication: 60 Second Marketer

For many veteran marketers and brand managers, the shift to data-centric digital marketing has required significant adjustments. It’s not just the automated tools and information streaming in from multiple sources that challenge them; it’s the increasing levels of personalization and micro-targeting that require a group more accustomed to “spray and pray” broad-based appeals to rethink overarching strategies.

But one group of marketers and brand advocates were data-driven before it became a thing: direct response (DR) marketers.

Accountability is all the rage today — clients expect campaigns to deliver solid metrics. But that wasn’t always the case in the traditional advertising world. It was in the DR environment, which is why DR has a lot to teach today’s marketing professionals.

Direct Response TV’s Trailblazers

Direct response TV (DRTV) advertising is a precursor to the data-driven, digital media campaigns of today. In simple terms, DR is marketing that is designed to elicit an immediate response from the consumer and leave a clear trail between the advertising campaign and the sale.

Infomercials are the most recognizable form — long-form TV ads that urge viewers to call a number or visit a website to order a product.

The accountability inherent in the DRTV model is the most obvious link to the new digital models, which can attribute sales to campaigns with precision. But many other marketing techniques pioneered by DRTV are also in evidence. For example, infomercials famously feature actors demonstrating directly how the featured product can add value to the consumer’s life, which personalizes the appeal.

Echoes of DRTV influence are also evident in the way modern digital campaigns move consumers through the sales funnel, removing distractions and providing resources to maximize sales in a linear way.

In a DRTV spot, marketers famously sweeten the deal with “but wait, there’s more!” — throwing in a second widget at no additional charge, offering free shipping, etc., without deviating from the sales funnel.

Direct Response for the Digital Age

Now that accountable advertising has gone mainstream thanks to the proliferation of big data and digital platforms, it’s possible to trace the trails blazed by DRTV pioneers to modern digital advertising practices. DRTV is still going strong, of course. But now direct consumer appeals are taking place on a variety of platforms, including online and mobile, retaining many of the elements that made DRTV a success.

For example, digital DR frequently includes video elements to build value perception. Marketing engagement guru Neil Patel notes that a short, to-the-point video included on a microsite associated with a campaign can improve conversions by an astonishing 86%.

Like their DRTV infomercial forebears, video delivered via digital channels can highlight value, create an emotional connection and serve as a resource for prospects who need more information before converting into buyers.

DR in the digital age enables ever greater personalization, targeting potential customers across platforms and continuously optimizing outreach. Today’s technology allows micro-targeting DRTV pioneers could only dream of, collecting information as customers interact on different device types (e.g., online vs. mobile, iOS vs. Android, etc.) and using responsive design to optimize interactions across screen sizes.

Custom campaign microsites and vanity URLs now augment TV platforms, keeping customers moving through the sales funnel with tailored offers and producing a continuous data loop to optimize results.

Next Generation Direct Response

DR continues to revolutionize the way businesses reach out to customers to sell products and services. Modern personalization tactics enable companies to emulate the traditional pitch process even more closely, communicating benefits on a granular level and providing resources to support sales. In that way, today’s interactions echo the type of personalized service typical of in-store customer interactions, where experienced service personnel could size customers up by sight and anticipate their needs.

With a linear shopping cart process that keeps customers moving through the sales funnel and digital strategies that put a brand’s products front and center without distractions — much as a supermarket endcap display prevents customers from considering other brands’ products — accountable digital campaigns are bringing personalization to the next level.

Adaptable content that is created for each specific consumer is on the horizon, and it will represent the ultimate in shopper personalization for the next generation. “But wait — there’s more” applies to the evolution of direct response commerce as well as the product pitch.

John Francis is the Director of Digital Strategy at Hawthorne Direct, a company that combines persuasive brand messaging with proprietary analytic systems to create and deliver highly accountable and hugely successful integrated advertising campaigns.

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