Our industry no longer serves the start-up. The entrepreneur. The dreamer. The big thinker. And it’s our own fault. Why? Partly because some crazy new ideas are crowding out the tried and true. And some crazy people are still in this business who should have been banned long ago.
If I never had to talk about social media again, I’d be a happy direct marketing leader. If felons would stay out of this business … if media companies would stop selling smoke and mirrors … if false promises and platitudes were for back office conversations, not mainstream direct response campaign dialogues …
If only … If only the scrappy entrepreneur still had a chance to make it big in the Direct Response industry, when we all know they don’t, unless we re-invent what we do for them – fast.
If only I were not so skeptical of the industry I’ve been in for 25 years. But boy, do people contact our firm with their heads filled with crazy stuff propagated by a large number of firms in this industry.
On a practical level, if only there was a unified viewpoint on Direct Response TV success, with standards and practices that leaders in this industry must provide to truly help guide the entrepreneur to success.
We bought a defibrillator awhile back, and a few key people in our office are trained to use it the same way. I suspect from the training we received, most offices operate theirs in the same manner. So what does the heart have to do with DRTV? I get too many calls each week from people who are trying to break into this industry, with their heads filled with outrageous advice. The advice is all over the map, and self-serving to the advisor at that. Imagine if using the defibrillator were that confusing? Yes, hopefully it’s never needed inside our office walls. But you know your direct marketing campaign is going to need it. Many times.
So how do you jump start the heart of a Direct Response TV campaign? Talk to a media company, and it’s the deal, stupid. A production house. And it’s go big or go home. Web, it’s the analytics. Call centers, your agents. Payment gateways, it’s processing. You can get media funding at 200% annual interest rates, if you beg long enough. Source from China, but give an arm and a leg for initial inventory.
Everyone wants a piece of the start-up, and will promise the moon to get it. But then they deliver moon rocks. And you won’t find your way through the night with those. Advisor by advisor, the Direct Response entrepreneur has been getting sickening guidance. Along the way, their ability to achieve dreams died. And nobody is talking about it.
The language is now about 1 to 1 ratios. But that is nowhere close to covering your costs. Talk has turned to brand building. Lift to web. Drive to retail. You won’t hear talk about making a profit on TV any longer. So who’s got the funding to make the loss leader approach work? Not the entrepreneur. Big companies do. Run by MBAs and financial dudes. Deep pockets and deep voices to go with them. But, that’s no fun at all. No heart or soul. No passion required to work at those places.
Profits out of the gate are what the entrepreneur needs to survive. 2 to 1 MERs. 3 to 1 MERs. More. They still happen within our walls. Often.
Success, not excuses. Guidance and vision, not false promises and generalities. Skin in the game? We give it. The entrepreneur needs it. And working with crazy, passionate founders is what it’s all about, for me.
Profit-centric Direct Response TV campaigns … want some? We have some. Many actually. But don’t bring an industry bias. We are working on Direct Response TV 2.0, and it’s nowhere close to the model of the last 25 years for me. And no, social media is not the driver of success. Profits are. That funds the dreams of entrepreneurs.