TV Advertising Blog

How Direct Response Marketing Works DR 101 - Part II

December 12, 2016
3 minute read

The answer to the question: “What is direct response marketing?” was explained in the first part of the Direct Response Marketing 101 article series. It’s been defined. You know what it is and also, what it isn’t. Now, it’s time to discuss how direct response marketing works.

In order to have a successful direct response marketing campaign, three things must be present: valuable information, an enticing offer, and a positive response.

What are you selling and how will your audience benefit? What does your audience get from buying from you? And, did your intended audience, in fact, do what you asked of them?

Inform the Audience

Let’s start at the information phase. Before you plan the time slot, medium, or scalability of your campaign, you first must start with the messaging. With a radio or TV ad, you have limited time to deliver your message in a convincing way. In many cases, it’s 30 seconds or less.


In that brief time, your audience should know if your product or service solves a problem for them--whether they knew they had one or not. Your messaging must resonate. Unlike brand marketing, which leaves room for more abstract messaging or visuals with campaigns that can be built upon over a period of time, you lose precious airtime by alluding to the information. Brand marketing spurs feeling, whereas Direct Response delivers on doing. With direct response marketing, you get to the heart of the story. And you get there fast.

Sell Them On the Offer

Next, convey what value proposition you have to offer that will prompt someone to contact your company. Is it free shipping? A money-back guarantee? A limited-time discount offer? With direct response marketing, it’s important to create a certain sense of urgency to buy sooner rather than later.

The longer someone waits to buy, the easier it is for the person to forget about your product, research a competitor, or lose interest altogether.  


You’ll want to give them a simple, actionable request to take action, as served through a powerful call-to-action. And don’t be afraid to tie an offer or reward details to the CTA. To use a digital example, Netflix banks on a button that reads: Join Free for a Month. And they aren’t afraid to drop in ‘cancel anytime’ immediately above it. Evernote, an organizational app, keeps it simple, yet powerful. The words “Remember Everything” precede the Sign Up and reinforce the value.

Just be sure to stay away from long website URLs or complicated phone numbers. Repeat the contact information and emphasize how easy it is to buy the solution you're selling. For example, in the DRTV ad for, it provides more than one benefit for what’s being sold:

  • You get paid cash. Fast.
  • It’s simple.
  • They’ll buy back your broken iPhone.
  • They pay the shipping.

By the end of the spot, it makes the viewer want to scrounge up their old phones and cash them in - even if the thought hadn’t previously crossed their mind. Why? Because they made it sound so easy!

Reel Them In

Once you’ve perfected your messaging and crafted your offer, track the results. Are people going to the website or calling in by phone? What device are they using to connect the most? What time(s) of day is there the most influx of traffic? By closely reviewing this data, you can optimize your campaigns to run them more efficiently and effectively.

Once you’ve hit the ideal blend of messaging, offer, and execution, then you can scale and watch your ROI increase and the leads start pouring in.

The Bottom Line

So, let’s review. You succinctly describe your product or service, while incorporating its top value propositions. Next, you create an exclusive or can’t be beat offer. Then you monitor results and make necessary future adjustments to drive improvements in future performance. That’s the bare bones of how direct response marketing works.

Add in decades of direct marketing expertise, the advantage of long standing media relationships, and the experience of working across industries and verticals in a seamless way and you’ve increased the likelihood of producing a direct marketing campaign that not only works, but accelerates success for businesses.

Chuck Hengel

By Chuck Hengel

Founder & CEO

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