DRTV Lessons from Successful Brand Launches

As seen on DRTV

By George Leon, Chief Strategy Officer – Hawthorne

Original Publication: New Media and Marketing 

Date of Publication: January 23, 2019

When it comes to capitalizing on direct response television (DRTV) advertising, some of the best advice comes from privately held startups valued at over $1 billion. That’s because they’ve seemingly mastered the use of TV advertising that directly engages consumers, from launch to growth.

Successful brands like Experian, Dollar Shave Club and Peloton have used DRTV precisely because it is particularly effective for launching and building brands. They appreciate the fact that you can directly engage with consumers by displaying toll-free numbers and/or website URLs and asking them to take specific actions. They also like that DRTV works across all potential consumer touchpoints, is highly measurable, and makes good use of data. And DRTV seamlessly integrates with their entire portfolios of advertising and media channels, including digital, offline, mail, email, radio, print, etc., yet can still be can be customized, targeted and segmented across all those channels.

Brand Strategy

In a recentwebinarhosted by the Data & Marketing Association on the basics of DRTV and its expanding role in brand marketing, I had the privilege of talking with champion unicorn marketer, Nick Fairbairn, who is Chief Marketing, Growth & Revenue Officer for Go. Previously, Fairbairn was Senior VP of Marketing at Le Tote and VP of Brand Marketing at Dollar Shave Club.

In our discussion about DRTV, we covered everything from messaging to the importance of metrics. I recommend you listen to the full webinar, but I’ve pulled out what I think are the top takeaways:

As seen on DRTV

1. Take a portfolio approach
It’s gotten harder and harder for brands to earn market share from traditional TV approaches. Because the more common approaches are losing steam, brands need new ways to capture customers’ attention, and DRTV delivers. But don’t forget you can’t shift to a new medium and forget the rest. You have to build and maintain a portfolio.

DRTV is anchored around accountability performance and measurement, and provides for greater customer targeting and segmentation across all channels. That’s why it is becoming a bigger part of brands’ omnichannel campaigns. But it isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only part.

I asked Fairbairn for his advice regarding the portfolio approach, and he stressed that dependencies on one channel, such as social media, can spell trouble. “What happens when the algorithms no longer work? Or what happens when the creative stops working? In some of these digital channels you have one second to tell a story. In television, you can tell a little bit more of a story. And you can drive response at the same time.”

2. Know your audience
DRTV’s strong data component is driving its growth. Data helps you identify and target the customer, right-size your message for the customer and also pick and choose the right channels and right devices. That’s critical, because the customer journey has expanded.

The good news is DRTV is rooted in strong data, and that data can be used to sharpen your knowledge about current and potential customers and determine the best channel or channels work best for which audience and which marketing campaign. It’s no longer one customer one channel, now it’s one customer multiple channels and multiple devices.

Fine Tune Your Message

3. Fine-tune your message
Once you know your customer – and again, take full advantage of data to best understand their preferences – it’s time to think about your message. The data can help inform not only the message, but its optimal length and form (short or long) and the right cadence of ads. And how customers consume messaging? You’ll need to consider everything from television to the internet and all the way down to radio and print.

With DRTV, you can take a message and customize for the audience and the channel. That’s important, because the customer journey has expanded. They have choices and are driving their own experiences, and DRTV can help you craft the right message, the right frequency and right channel.

4. Get creative with your creative
Stop the customer before he or she gets up from the couch and walks away. And if you’ve fine-tuned your message (see #3) it’s easier come up with a show-stopping opener. Keep things simple, straightforward and succinct, too.

One question many brands ask is whether to uses a spokesperson. Sometimes, it makes sense. But using spokespeople can be costly and sometimes overtake your message or your brand. Don’t forget the power of testimonials, transformation tales, and imagery.

Fairbairn had some powerful advice about blending visual messaging with audio in DRTV ads, and I couldn’t agree more.

“It’s not just about audio,” Fairbairn said. “People always say to me, ‘You already said it in the spot, so why show it on screen? But there is something about queuing the two pieces together to increase the retention of the message.”

Finally, never end your DRTV advertisement on a weak note. Carefully consider your call to action and brand placement on the screen.

Many common brands have their roots in responsive TV integrated with digital executions. Their strategies and tactics provide great learnings and will provide a great roadmap for the next, great brand launch.

Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target new customers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize customer lifetime value and drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations. Contact us to learn more about our expertise by  Contacting Hawthorne.

DMN’s 2017 Women to Watch

Author: DMN

Title of piece: DMN’s 2017 Women to Watch

Original Publication: DM News

Date Published: April 26, 2017

Keep your eye on these 20 rising stars.

When it comes to their careers, the 2017 Women to Watch have been riding a rocket ship. They’ve produced data-driven results, exemplified leadership, and implemented effective strategies. We can’t wait to see what these new CMOs and rising stars do next. Don’t forget these names — we know that you’ll be hearing more about these 20 extraordinary women for years to come.


Meredith Binder

Meredith Binder

MD of global marketing at S&P Global Market Intelligence, defines persona-driven marketing strategies to build internal and external brand equity and generate sales pipeline. She’s a results-driven pro with deep experience in B2B financial services.

Anita Brearton

Founder and CEO of CabinetM, is an experienced startup executive who is skilled at addressing the strategic operational and marketing challenges early stage businesses face. In 2014, she and Sheryl Schultz founded the technology discovery and management platform.

Marni Dacy

Senior marketing specialist for global marketing at Nasdaq, creates, manages, and executes growth-focused campaigns for issuers, wealth-management professionals, and financial service intermediaries. She also leads digital marketing and content campaigns.

Christine Dehil

SVP, MD, and head of Americas marketing for AllianceBernstein, drives the marketing strategy for the institutional and intermediary channels, collaborating closely with sales leaders, business development teams, and marcomms teams.

Erica DePalma

VP of digital marketing for Media Horizons, has more than a decade of customer acquisition and retention experience, and her skills span across B2B and B2C. Before her current role, she was VP of digital at Novus.

Dalton Dorné

VP of marketing for Merkle, oversees the company’s lead-generation program to drive growth. She’s significantly increased its number of qualified sales leads and created award-winning campaigns, such as the Digital Bowl. Previously, she served as CMO of RKG.

Sara Dulski

director of product marketing and commercialization for Electrolux Major Appliances, North America, manages everything from product ideation to commercialization for B2B and B2C segments, including traditional direct marketing, e-commerce, and call center sales.

Meagen Eisenberg

CMO of MongoDB and founding adviser of tech media brand Women 2.0, previously served as VP of demand generation and customer marketing at DocuSign. She has spent more than 20 years working in high-tech.

Anda Gansca

CEO and cofounder of Knotch, launched three nonprofit initiatives that encourage critical thinking and social activism in young people before she founded her company. She also advises startups and serves as mentor to Stanford incubator StartX.

Sarah Gosler

SVP and head of marketing for Wedbush Securities, has more than 13 years of experience and expertise in brand management, strategic marketing, and management consulting. She also serves as CMO of Wedbush affiliate Lime Brokerage.

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro

CEO of advertising agency Hawthorne, is committed to quality and innovation across agency disciplines. She fosters long-standing client relationships with Fortune 500 brands to develop measurable campaigns that ignite consumer response.

Sarah Lukas

Director of digital for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., oversees global website development and operations. In her role, she also serves as general manager for RitzCarlton.com, a cornerstone of the brand’s global digital strategy, and leads its product strategy.

Karen O’Brien

VP of global social media for Western Union, leads the team responsible for driving the company’s global social media strategy and social brand channels, including global and regional social initiatives.

Marleine Pacilio

Senior director of digital at Revlon, oversees global digital marketing efforts for Revlon portfolio brands. She previously drove digital growth at OPI and has worked at Warner Bros., The Walt Disney Company, and Nintendo of America.

Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan

Founder and CEO of Drawbridge, led her company to build a solution that addresses cross-device identity and has been one of Business Insider’s Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising five years straight.

Sara Spivey

CMO of Bazaarvoice, leads global marketing, including demand generation, solutions marketing, brand strategy, and communications. She has more than 30 years of marketing, strategy, and leadership experience and previously served as CEO of InReach and CMO of Convio.

Sipra Thakur

Founder and CEO of recently launched digital marketing consulting practice One Thousand Suns, has more than 14 years of experience, largely focused on digital marketing. She previously lead the digital marketing department at Imax.

Jill Wilson

President of Simple Machines Marketing, is responsible for overseeing strategic initiatives, business development, and account management. She previously served as a senior account executive for Switchfast Technologies and is a passionate, results-oriented leader.

Monica Wood

VP of global consumer and member insights for Herbalife, builds the insights function from the ground up, creating best-in-class practices globally, and all business analytics and insights work conducted within the company.

Brittney Zoeller

Director of marketing for Benchmark International, has launched rebranding and new website efforts at the company, developed marketing automations, and implemented a multichannel strategy that increased onsite and search traffic.