Brand Response Marketing and E-Commerce: Why TV Reigns Supreme

It's no secret that offline media can be a great driving force of online engagement and conversions. TV has continuously proved its strength in the midst of what appeared to be a revolutionary wave of advertising, brought upon by the digital age. Now, advertisers are maximizing this medium's potential to drive sales and raise awareness of their product through what we call Brand Response Marketing.

The union of direct response marketing and brand advertising creates Brand Response Marketing. This strategic process paves the way for an advertiser to spread the word about their product, build their brand's story and generate a response from the audience, all the while driving web traffic and sales to their website.

E-commerce and dot-com companies differ from a traditional DRTV client in that they are not necessarily advertising one specific product and are frantically trying to push for immediate purchases. Instead, they have been flocking to TV for several years now as a way to establish a bigger media presence that translates into a better overall brand presence both online and off.

This four-part series will explore the rising participation of e-commerce and dot-com companies in the direct response industry, beginning with an overview on the relationship between an online company's brand and voice, and its offline advertising efforts.

TV Has What It Takes

There is no shortage of studies and data regarding this, with a lot of evidence year after year proving that the TV market is alive and well, and that TV has a particularly unique reach and sell power. Canada contains 42 TV markets and 13.9 million TV households and the average Canadian spends 26.6 hours a week watching television, which is an indicator of the promising market that dot-com companies are tapping into. This is also not to mention TV's continuous domination of ad spend, which is expected to stay on the rise.

TV allows for easy reinforcement of your brand's story and message. By having people consume that message often, over and over, they would be more likely to remember your own brand the next time they're shopping for that type of product. This is especially true for businesses with distinct slogans, like Trivago's iconic "Hotel? Trivago" phrase, an undeniably huge part of the brand's identity and recall factor that everyone associates with the website.

The mass reach brought by TV, as well as higher retention rates (versus a tweet, or Facebook or Instagram ad) plays into the allure behind this medium for many e-commerce businesses and is one of the many reasons their take-up of TV airtime is on the rise.

The technology is definitely present too for TV, and brand awareness and overall response to an ad can well be tracked by KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) like reach and frequency, website hits, sales, and return on ad spend. It's safe to say that TV is equipped with the necessary tools to accurately reflect data regarding your brand response campaign.

Another Screen In The Picture

Perhaps one of the most important reasons that drive online companies to TV is the rising phenomenon of the "second screen". According to a study by eMarketer, 70% of US adults have another digital device nearby or in-use while they are watching TV; a 5.1% increase from last year.

Indeed, this is a blessing and a curse as it adds even more distraction to the user, creating a bigger challenge for advertisers to grasp their attention. However, it does only leave the advertiser with the job to create a compelling ad and strategize an effective media buy–the rest is done for them; the user will have their second screen on standby to instantly visit a site and browse for a few minutes while deciding on a purchase, sign-up or other action important to the advertiser. Plenty of e-commerce businesses have seen this collaboration between the two mediums as an opportunity and reaped its benefits after launching their brand response campaigns.

What Is Your Story?

For dot-com and e-commerce businesses that are here to stay, it's vital they position themselves in the market as a brand with a story, mission and purpose. Investing in TV airtime is a beneficial tactic for a long-term strategy focused on brand awareness and recall. Many e-commerce companies create ads that give away some of the company's personality, through a fun skit or short story of some sort. This works better on TV than it does online because TV is a better-suited medium for storytelling. Think about it, we practically watch stories on TV, so the medium itself is a perfect carrier for such ads.

Ad recall and awareness is also more likely to occur through TV since watchers are in a more relaxed state than they would be while conducting an online search. This makes them more likely to engage with the advertisements and follow through to pay the website a visit while taking a break from watching a program, or...other ads.

While we will not be exploring brand response creative in this article, it should be noted that these ads certainly do have a call to action and aren't merely story-based ads. However, the CTA is usually much less aggressive than that of an infomercial DRTV spot that more-so targets the sale than anything else.

The Process

Kingstar has a roster of dot-com clients we've helped reach their goals and increase their ROI through TV in the past, like The Honest Company, Trivago, Skip The Dishes, and more. Companies that are new to TV are advised to launch their TV campaign with a 30-second spot instead of 15-seconds or any longer spot lengths. Thirty seconds is an ideal length to introduce your brand and business to the market and attract interest.

Developing a media buying strategy begins with rich market and audience analysis. It's important to identify a target market and understand your client persona as that helps us greatly with crafting the ideal strategy dedicated to putting your brand on the map. Our expert media buying team utilizes their skills and Kingstar Media's historic data dealing with brand response campaigns and online businesses in order to craft the most ideal strategy.

Once the campaign has been running for a period of time and the brand has been established, the campaign is optimized accordingly. Now that there is a sense of brand awareness among the public–measured through reach and frequency, website visits, searches, and more–it's time to shorten those spots. A 15 second spot will complement your already-existing presence nicely, and just highlight the parts of the ad that speak to the more important aspects of your business that you want to share. You can now air spots targeting specific products, a sale or promotion, as a way to keep the audience hooked and drive a web purchase. Advertisers may also wish to increase their budgets a little as the campaign goes along, especially if it's doing particularly well in terms of sales, to maintain that level of success and potentially broaden the campaign's reach.

As more businesses begin to carry their work online, we will certainly see a rise in dot-com and e-commerce companies using TV to drive web engagement and supplement their online presence. Stay tuned for the next part of this series where we explore the science behind DRTV's power to influence and drive action.

Got questions about using brand response marketing for e-commerce businesses? Get in touch!