What is Direct Response Marketing? | Hawthorne Advertising

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What is Direct Response Marketing?

In short, Direct response marketing and advertising motivates consumers to ACT – and not just watch, read or view.

What is Direct Response Marketing? 

Direct Response marketing is an all-inclusive term that describes the technique and the proven process of eliciting a desired response from the target audience. The desired response is that the consumer takes the direct and immediate action that the marketer of advertiser is suggesting. 

The most common media format of Direct Response marketing is video, with prominent display of a custom URL, link, QR code or response channel that asks the consumer to take specific action leading to a “conversion”. The conversion is defined by the marketer based on the campaign goal and relevant KPIs, but it is usually the sale of a product, the acquisition of a new customer, the generation of a lead or the physical arrival of a consumer at a retail site or service center to purchase a product or service. 

In short, Direct response marketing and advertising motivates consumers to ACT – and not just watch, read or view. 

Direct Response marketing is the foundation on which the great majority of direct to consumer (DTC) companies model their business plansA simplified overview of using Direct Response marketing as a foundation for direct to consumer (DTC) model is: 

Step 1: Create a product 

Step 2: Define your target audiences and market directly to them 

Step 3: Clearly communicate product features and benefits and deliver a strong call to action 

Step 4: Offer discounts and incentives to accelerate the buyer journey 

Step 5: Drive the conversion 

Step 6: Measure everything 

Step 7: Optimize the campaign 

When executed correctly, Direct Response marketing and advertising can drive tremendous growth and works across channels, including programmatic, social, linear TV, Connected TV, podcasts, radio and even direct mail. Savvy direct to consumer marketers also know that expand their marketing channel footprint with a test and learn approach – a tried and true method of direct response marketing – is safe and effective way to move into new channels without wasting media dollars. 

Traditionally and historically, Direct Response marketing was often equated with Direct Response TV (DRTV). In turn, DRTV was often equated with informercials. During the heyday of infomericalssome were ridiculed for their bizarre products, while others practically minted money with the right formula and fit of product, audience, message, media and offer.  While the days of most longform infomericals are long gone, many of the best practices carved out by the pioneers in DRTV remain a staple of Direct Response and Direct to Consumer marketing. Some of the best practices  that remain today across the online and offline channels include: clearly communicating features and benefits of the product, demonstrating the actual use of the product, illustrating the “before” and “after” effects of the product, providing social validation in the form of testimonials and and delivering a strong call to action to elicit a customer response. Many of these hallmarks are alive and well in  today’s direct to consumer marketplace, alongside the ongoing emergence of Brand response advertising. [internal link to What is Brand Response advertising] 

As a pioneer in the methods and proven processes of Direct Response marketing, Hawthorne Advertising has over three decades of experience to document the types of products and categories that work well and are successful using Direct Response marketing. 

What is Direct Response marketing good for?

Generally, Direct Response marketing is a useful strategy when executing any of the following campaigns or initiatives 

  • Supporting Direct to Consumer (DTC) and ecommerce models 
  • Launching new products 
  • Testing new products 
  • Product line extensions 
  • Revitalizing or rebranding an existing product line 
  • Increasing product and brand awareness 
  • Maximizing media efficiency 
  • Differentiating the product in a crowded marketplace 
  • Educating consumers about complex products 
  • Driving retail sales 

What product categories are generally successful using Direct Response marketing? 

  • Fitness 
  • Weight Loss 
  • Beauty 
  • Skin Care 
  • Vitamins and Supplements 
  • SelfImprovement 
  • Pain Relief 
  • Sleep Aids and Mattresses 
  • Household Cleaners 
  • Home Appliances 
  • Hobbies, Crafts and Collectables 
  • Auto Care and Accessories 
  • Tools 
  • Business Opportunities 

What industry categories are generally successful using Direct Response marketing?

  • Consumer Packaged Goods  
  • Online Aggregators 
  • Pharmaceutical and Medical 
  • Beauty and Self Care 
  • Credit Cards 
  • Mortgages 
  • Financial 
  • Insurance 
  • Legal Services 
  • Travel and Leisure  
  • Non-Profit Fundraisers 
  • Education 
  • Automotive 

Calls to Action – the secret sauce of Direct Response marketing

If there’s one thing that sets any Direct Response marketing effort apart from the rest, it’s the call to action. Calls to action can (and should) vary greatly depending on a few key factorsWill you appeal to price or quality? Is there a special offer if they click through now or provide an email address on the site? Will you appeal to a rational or emotional trigger to drive the desired response 

Some brands like to use a harder sell in their offers that trigger a rational response around pricing, for example – you will save X number of dollars over this competitor’s product. Other brands may prefer a softer sell that may appeal to a more emotional trigger, for example – this product will improve your overall well-being. Because of this, calls to action need to be developed on a case-by-case basis and they should reflect the brand ideals while driving the intended action from the consumer. The best calls to action are concise, clear and consistent. It’s critical to run through the proven process of understanding what marketers are trying to elicit from their customers, how they want their brand to be perceived, and how they can develop, test and ultimately benefit from a strong call to action that gets consumers to act! 

Direct Response marketing – finding the right partner

In summary, Direct Response marketing and advertising can drive exponential growth and can be applied to any media channel that you’re already in or considering for the futureAs with any project, the key is to work with the right partner to help execute it correctly. Hawthorne has been doing it successfully for 35 years. 

If you’d like to know how we can apply our proven process and leverage nearly 35 years of Direct Response marketing expertise for your brand, please contact ussend us an email or call us and we’ll be happy to show you. 

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