Archive for creative

Authenticity Reigns in Production

Authenticity Reigns in Production

One crucial marketing lesson learned during the pandemic was that flashy, glitzy, big-budget production did not necessarily win over the consumer. Another lesson learned was the power of video in all direct-to-consumer, DRTV, and social media outreach.

Authenticity in video communication is a critical factor in earning the customer’s trust and making conversions and sales.

Research has shown that what consumers value above all else are authenticity, transparency, and humanity. This is good news for marketers, especially in the DRTV and direct-to-consumer worlds, as tactics they’ve used for years, including testimonials, are scoring big digital ads. Additionally, it can be kinder to budgets as well. User-generated content, or even content that appears to be user-generated, can also reap huge rewards.

Authenticity will capture peoples’ attention and keep it. People want to watch videos that feel genuine, where it doesn’t feel like a company is immediately trying to sell you something.

The quality of the product and the message behind the ad are most important to consumers, rather than the latest equipment or massive sets. They value integrity and look for shared values between brands and the companies behind them. Avalanche has actually created top-performing ads on multiple platforms this year shot on an iPhone.

According to HubSpot Research, consumers prefer lower quality, “authentic” video over high-quality video that seems artificial and inauthentic.

So the next time you are gearing up for ads, think about content over fluff, authenticity over slickness, and humanity above all.

Boomers: Overlooked by Advertising for Too Long

Boomers: Overlooked by Advertising for Too Long

With the advertising world gravitating to more and more digital plays, many marketers put their focus on Millennials and Gen Z to take center stage as the most valuable consumer groups, but they could not be more wrong.

Although apps like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram have pushed spend for advertising targeting younger age groups, undervaluing Boomers and their potential spending power is a huge mistake.

According to new research from the Federal Reserve, people aged 55+ control 70% of all personal wealth in the US. This often makes them the underdogs of potential target audiences, as they can get overlooked by advertisers wanting to age down their brands in hopes of staying trendy. Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that 56% of new cars are being purchased by older adults, 55% for personal care products, 65% for healthcare, and 68% for home maintenance.

So why are advertiser dollars to Boomers so misappropriated? And how can advertisers leverage their preferences and insights to engage this demographic?

Folks aged 55 plus are also quite digitally savvy. In fact, research has shown that Boomers spend just as much time online as Gen Z. They are also spending more and more of their money online, making them a valuable focus for digital advertisers. In fact, during the pandemic, consumers aged 65 and over became the fastest group of online shoppers, citing data from the NPD Group’s checkout tracking. These consumers spent an average of $1,615 online from January to October 2020, rising by 49% in that year alone. Today, 90% of Boomers shop online, versus 89% in-store, outnumbering Gen Z by almost 20%.

Not only does this very appealing age group purchase online, but they also watch TV, and they actually read. Thus, DRTV offers, print, and direct mail are also very viable advertising vehicles to capture the discretionary spending of this important demographic.

Advertisers have neglected Boomers for far too long. With their collective wealth and vastly underestimated online presence, marketers should allocate appropriate spending to address and engage this hugely valuable consumer segment in all available media outlets.

DTC Marketers: Don’t Ignore TikTok ROI

DTC Marketers: Don’t Ignore TikTok ROI

Hand holding iphone with TikTok opened

Tiktok has been named the fastest-growing social media platform of all time, by Forbes. And no, it’s not just for teens. The app has over 1 billion users of all ages across the globe, making it the most explosive social media app to use and advertise on. 

In fact, according to Backlinko, 31.3 % of TikTok users are over 40.

(Source: Backlinko.com)

Tiktok works using a personalized algorithm, which updates as you view, like, and save content. The app learns your preferences and feeds them directly into your “For You” or home page.

Like Instagram and Facebook, paid content is placed within your feed based on its relevance to you and how the advertisers refine their audience.

TikTok trends can be followed, allowing the potential for advertisers to connect with this massive potential audience in a way that feels authentic to users. Smart use of creative as well as hashtags allow for targeting both behavioral and geographic.

The difference between paid and organic content can be difficult to determine, which is especially great for advertisers. And with less competition than Facebook, clicks can cost up to a third of what they are on other platforms.

This makes TikTok an excellent vehicle for DTC advertisers. Because of Tiktok’s massive reach, ads utilizing lead generation for high ticket items or services allows clients marketing those products or services huge ROI. 

Avalanche CEO Ava Seavey says, “The huge return on TikTok advertising for our clients (one is seeing a 30 to 1 return) are stats I have not seen since 1980’s infomercials. It is the most exciting platform for DTC ROI I’ve seen.”

Here are some helpful tips to consider before utilizing TikTok to advertise:

Don’t only make ads. Make TikToks – This is crucial. If you’re going to make the leap into TikTok, you must be ready to produce content that feels native to the platform. Don’t just use existing content from Facebook and Instagram Stories. Slideshows, static images, and slick content are automatically detected as advertising and decrease viewer interest.

Song/sound selection – The use of songs and sounds matters more on TikTok than on any other platform. Another great benefit as opposed to Facebook/Instagram where most users view with the sound off. TikTok users watch with sound.

(Source: Backlinko.com)

Regarding influencer culture on the app, TikTok has an engagement rate of 5.30% on accounts with over 100,000 followers, compared to 1.10% for Instagram and 0.30% for Twitter. It has quickly become one of the main avenues for influencers and micro-influencers to recommend products through testimonial-style videos, Amazon Marketplace affiliate link programs, as well as trendy, creative, or niche videos of any kind.

(Source: Backlinko.com)

The app’s fast-paced nature keeps its users engaged for relatively long periods. With an average session length of 10.85 minutes, it has become the most engaging social media app out today. (Source: Backlinko.com)

For DTC marketers who may be experiencing declining ROI on Facebook, TV, radio, Amazon or other avenues, TikTok can bring you immediate sales and leads and if you get out there before your competition does, you will have even better results.

Buy Now, Pay Later Levels Playing Field

What BNPL is, and how it affects DRTV and DTC

BNPL Buy now pay later online shopping concept.Hands holding mobile phone

The explosion of e-commerce has not only changed the way we buy but how we pay. When the pandemic hit and millions of users flooded to online retailers, several already-existing businesses and ideas were thrown into full gear as they gained popularity. Buy Now, Pay Later, or BNPL, is an installment loan utilized by many online retailers today. With Klarna, Afterpay, Affirm, or simply retailers offering their own plan, BNPL allows consumers to make a purchase and receive it immediately while paying for it over time through a series of installments.

Some plans can come with interest and late fees, but some charge neither. Pricing and plan information varies from company to company.

Allowing a consumer to pay over time can dramatically alter the consumer landscape for marketers. It will give those with poor credit or lack of credit card funds an opportunity to purchase impulse products advertised to them. It also gives marketers a chance to close more sales at minimal risk.

Data shows that consumers buy more when they can pay over time. BNPL gives companies a much wider reach and the ability to expand their target audiences further.

BNPL Buy Now, Pay Later Written on Green Key of Metallic Keyboard. Finger pressing key.

A recent survey found that 1 in 5 U.S. consumers used a BNPL service in the 12 months ended Aug. 20, 2021, and only 1 in 6 of them regretted doing so. 

While this is a boon for marketers with higher price point items, full disclosure of terms is mandatory. In December 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced an inquiry into BNPL, expressing concern about “debt accumulation, lack of regulation, and data harvesting.” The regulator is concerned that borrowers are accumulating too much debt and that consumers’ personal data could be misused.

Last month, the agency demanded information from a handful of the industry’s most prominent players, including Klarna and Afterpay. 

This inquiry notwithstanding, the BNPL option has opened up an excellent opportunity for higher price point items and allows credit-challenged consumers to have an equal playing field for products that otherwise may have been out of reach.

Is Social Media the New Infomercial?

Beauty blogger demonstrating how to make up and review products on live broadcast use smartphone, life of an influencer

“Coming out of brand advertising, I was mesmerized by achieving instant sales when I started doing infomercials over 20 years ago. Now with some of the new social platforms, I am even more excited by the metrics, measurements, and immediacy in creating leads and sales. And that is why I believe that these digital platforms are transforming to become the new infomercial, especially for Gen Z and Millennials, which has been a tougher market to reach on traditional TV.” Ava Seavey, Avalanche

When it comes to creating compelling ads that inspire immediate consumer response, sometimes tried and true methods reveal themselves, amongst new trends and technologies, to be the real champions in selling. As plethoras of new platforms, products, brands, and trends pave the way for changes in the effectiveness of digital ad types, new research has shown that aspects of the traditional infomercial are working their way into social media ads, and they’re working!

With apps like TikTok and Instagram that feature predominantly visual content, consumers are turning to spokesperson videos, product demos, influencer content-creation, unboxing, and social proof videos to inform their buying decisions. Out of the top seven social media advertising formats, these six are all classified as Infomercial formats. What does this tell us?

Consumers want information. Recent studies show that the #1 thing consumers want from online advertising is product info, across all age groups. Many buyers prefer the demonstrative aspect to infomercial-style ads, feeling more comfortable trusting them because they provide adequate information and thus purchase motivation. 

It will be interesting for advertisers everywhere to see in what other ways traditional advertising bleeds its way into the new digital age, and sometimes, as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Importance of Omni Channel Marketing for DRTV products

Importance of Omni Channel Marketing for DRTV products

The pandemic and its economic impact have entirely changed the way businesses is done. With many consumers and working professionals working remotely and spending so much time online, it’s clear how important digital channels are becoming and how critical it is for marketers to reach consumers where the eyeballs are.

For DRTV, Direct-Response, Infomercial, and Direct-to-Consumer Marketers, this change proves just as meaningful. It is vital to be mindful of what happens within each platform and utilize as many channels as possible. By using omnichannel marketing and tracking ads, you can successfully create high-converting campaigns, and all can work with the halo effect of reinforcing ads seen on other platforms.

DRTV can bring you excellent results when used as part of an omnichannel strategy and can be among the highest converting platform.  

Creating Ads on Google or Bing that build on your DRTV ads can yield great results and help conversion rates. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok can yield extremely high results as well, especially when geo targeted. Both lead generation and product specific ads can work well on these platforms.  

When considering DRTV, be sure to maximize your results by having all digital tactics in place.

The Amazon Effect

The Amazon Effect

Direct-to-consumer, social media, and DRTV marketers and brands have had their share of challenges driving consumers to purchase, either through a web site or phone number. But with the events of the pandemic, consumers changed their online shopping habits and helped push a massive shift occurring over the past decade. The insight into how the retail experience is different today in 2021 can be expressed in one word: Amazon.

Various studies have demonstrated very strong consumer trust in Amazon. According to a FeedAdvisor study, 89% of consumers are more likely to buy products from Amazon than other e-commerce sites. 78% say that they trust big corporations such as Amazon or Walmart.com over other online retailers.

Customers often look to Amazon first when it comes to quickly purchasing name brand products, as well as unknown brands. They are putting less and less trust into smaller DTC websites and brands, which is why it is critical to also sell on Amazon in today’s world.

Amazon has undergone various investigations into fake products and says it blocked over 10 billion counterfeit listings in 2020. Despite this, Amazon continues to soar in subscriber numbers, with over 150 billion Prime members, and takes its place as #1 in the U.S. e-commerce market with net sales of $386 billion in 2020, followed by Walmart.com.

But direct response, infomercial, social media, digital, and DRTV marketers should not despair, as all media purchases can also drive supplemental Amazon sales in addition to sales on their brand sites and at the call centers. Thus, attribution of Amazon sales should be included when analyzing and reporting on revenue from media spend.

How to Advertise Sustainability

How to Advertise Sustainability

It is becoming increasingly common for companies to have sustainable elements within either their products or services. Sustainability is something that people are considering more and more critical, so it benefits a company to explain and share how they are saving energy, recycling materials, and engaging in green marketing in general. Green marketing refers to advertising products or practices that promote sustainability.

Sustainability is fundamental to younger people looking to make a change by giving money to companies with their interests in mind. Companies need to share this information in a format that will resonate with young people, such as social media.

There are some key elements to creatively advertise how your company or product promotes sustainability to the public.

First, it is always important to understand the audience. According to a Fast Company survey from 2019, 40% of millennials have picked one job over another because of the companies’ dedication to sustainability. Millennials value companies that value sustainability. Once you understand your audience and how to use green marketing, you can begin to explore effective ways to reach them.

In cases where a company is trying to target a younger audience, social media ads specifically should be used more than something like direct response television (DRTV) ads just because of the levels of engagement of each age group. If a company has created an infomercial or something similar, they can post clips of it to social media for more direct advertising to younger audiences.

Second, the explanation should be clear and specific with background information about how the research was gathered. Companies should be environmentally savvy and able to explain precisely how their products or practices go about achieving what they say they are. Nestle did this exceptionally well in this area when they announced a press release in early 2020 that explained how they would begin using recycled plastic for their packaging. Their thorough description of this process gained a lot of attention, and they received about ninety-thousand direct responses to this announcement, according to ListenFirstMedia.com.

Third, it is helpful for companies to explain their plans for achieving a more sustainable way of working in the future so that audiences can understand its goals even if they haven’t quite reached them yet. Conveying this type of information over social media is effective because it serves as direct-to-consumer advertising where people feel directly addressed and, therefore, more engaged with what the company is saying.

How Do You Advertise to a Divided Country?

How Do You Advertise to a Divided Country?

As advertisers and marketers in DRTV and E-Commerce, we are in the business of speaking directly to people who may not think like us. We make efforts to understand their wants and needs as we pursue direct to consumer advertising.  

Today, there’s a growing demand for brands to speak up on societal issues, whether sustainability, racism, or gender equality. But there’s caution on the political side due to the scale of possible negative repercussions. Leaning towards one way or another can make or break a company’s optics. Advertisers have a tough job of navigating the deeply divided political, social, and ideological landscape of the United States. Now more than ever, it’s a challenge to promote products and services to a diverse group of consumers in the TV and digital landscape.

One possible route to take is creating variations in advertising, thus speaking separately to each group. But this is not always the most pragmatic approach.  So what are advertisers supposed to do when faced with the tension between trying to align with various causes and navigating a divided –and often hostile– public?

The answer to this question remains unclear, but the best way brands can advocate for causes they stand behind without causing a divide amongst their audience is by sending a message of unity and positivity. Americans are so divided from of all the negative messaging they’re exposed to. If you use positive messaging in advertisements and seek ways to bring people together, regardless of their beliefs, the chance for unified messaging and positive customer response remains strong.

Eulogizing a Friend Who’s Time Had Come

Share Button

Eulogizing a Friend Who’s Time Had Come

The year was 1990. I was working in mainstream advertising. Shooting commercials for Madison Avenue shops that wound up on Super Bowls, Academy Awards, Olympics, and prime time. There was some prestige, but no accountability. And there was a strange new type of advertising brewing. Long commercials. They were tacky and cheesy, yet captivating. They invited people to call and order unique products they could not get anywhere else. They were called infomercials.  I snuck out, under cover I thought, to attend a conference at the Mirage in Las Vegas for a group called NIMA. It stood for National Infomercial Marketing Association. I snuck because I did not want my ad agency clients to know I was there. It would somehow tarnish my cool image. Yet, somehow, I wound up in People magazine. My cover was blown. I was now, whether I liked it or not, part of the infomercial business. There was a vitality and spark about the NIMA people that didn’t exist with the Madison Avenue crowd. I met all sorts of people and didn’t fully understand what they all did. But I collected hundreds of cards and networked. And gradually some of those people started to hire me to produce their infomercials. It was exciting and scary because they knew right away how many people were calling and ordering. The immediacy was incredibly exhilarating. I lived a double life for several years, shooting Madison Avenue spots while sneaking around with the infomercial crowed. I just could not pull myself away from them. It was like driving on the highway and seeing an accident, the blood, not wanting to look, but somehow not able to turn away. And I always looked forward to those NIMA conferences. I became a member. I went to all the conferences and met more and more amazing people. We networked on the show floor, in the hallways, in restaurants, in the airports, on the planes. In fact, I met one of my largest clients on a plane coming back from a conference. It was fantastic. I worked with famous actors and models, musicians, circus animals, athletes, Doctors, and tons of real people who testified through affidavit that the product they used changed their lives forever and ever. NIMA changed their name to ERA (Electronic Retailing Association) and added more conferences. Miami. Vegas. Washington. Europe. At one point, just after 9/11 in NYC, in a moment of reckoning, I abandoned Madison Avenue and went full throttle into the client direct business. ERA became my best friend. Most of my business came directly through ERA functions. I volunteered for committees, became part of a community, people started to know and trust me, and I started to forge life long friendships. Each year, the ERA dues went up and up. Membership started declining. The shows seemed more and more empty. People did business in suites, in other hotels, bars, many never even came to the host hotel.  It all crumbled. I began to feel my dues were more like a charity contribution. And if I really wanted to contribute to a charity, I would send to St. Jude, not ERA. So, with much guilt, I stopped paying dues in 2017. I saw no value proposition and was receiving nothing in return. And apparently I was not the only one. I watched my dear friend ERA die a slow and excruciating death, until its final breath on June 1st, 2018, the day I received an email that ERA was no more. That ERA could not continue operating “in the face of declining dues receipts, fewer sponsorships and an overall shortage of revenue coupled with burdensome expenses”.   With terminal illness, you know that death will come; yet when it does, it is still a shock. 28 years of friendship. Now death. So final. So sad. ERA failed to keep up with the times. Failed to serve all their members, just focusing on the top few big spenders. Failed to incorporate new technologies and new ways of selling into the equation. They lost their relevance, ran out of oxygen and died. So, as I mourn my good friend of 28 years, I reflect on the good memories, the friends and colleagues, the career that I would not have, had I not befriended ERA. But let’s keep alive the community and camaraderie that was forged through ERA. And let’s do this as an industry together. Perhaps this death, as many deaths do, will even bring us closer together as an industry. Good by, old friend. Eternal thanks.  I will miss you.
Share Button