Direct Response Television – A Checklist for Getting Started

 Guestbloggerheader (3) 
RYHeadshot2 (3) Direct Response Television is one of those phenomenons that are an unavoidable part of modern life for anyone who watches television.  Yet, few of us know much about the nuts and bolts of actually preparing and running one not to mention whether it is something that makes sense for our products.  That is why I asked Robert Yusim, one of the leading experts on direct response in the toy category, to write a blog about it.

Rob began his career working directly with Raymond Kives one of the founders of K-Tel and Quality Dino Entertainment. In 2006 Rob crossed over into the toy category and started Product Counsel, Spin Master Ltd's DRTV division, with the launches of Rocket Fishing Rod, Moon Sand, Storm Launcher and Reflex Heli. Over the past 5 years Rob has launched or licensed over 100 toy product campaigns in the US, Canada and UK. In 2010 Rob launched Product Counsel to provide complete turnkey DRTV services to clients in the toy industry.  

In my recent articles, I highlighted the benefits and advantages that DRTV provides toy marketers and that DRTV products should possess certain attributes/criteria to increase their potential for success. Now that you have decided that you want to take advantage of what DRTV has to offer and you think your company has the right product, it’s time to review the checklist of what your company needs to do to launch a product. 

  1. Strategic Direction – There are numerous variables to consider for how to mesh DRTV into your product’s overall strategy. A couple of considerations include timing of DRTV in concert with other channels of distribution; and whether to dip your toe in the water by testing media first for response or opting for the Go For it strategy by immediately rolling out.
  2. Creating the Offer– To create the offer we need to review all available skus and fashion an offer, with bonuses and upsells. To ensure appropriate margins the offer (TV offer & Upsells) should be placed into a financial model to determine DRTV Results metrics like CPO & MER (to be explained in an upcoming article) as well as inventory requirements based on varying levels of media spend and anticipated levels of response.
  3. Creative – DRTV Creative is very different from traditional creative, both in approach & format. Will your commercial need 2 minutes of content to demonstrate the product’s features, benefits & offer or can it be explained in 60 seconds or even 30 seconds?
  4. Backend Setup – DRTV requires a special integrated backend to ensure that the campaign functions to optimize potential results. Elements of the DRTV backend include:
    1. Fulfillment
    2. Telemarketing
    3. Customer Service
    4. Merchant Account
    5. DRTV Web
    6. Online Marketing
    7. Social Media Marketing

     5.    RTV Media – Is completely separate from traditional media. DRTV media is sold & purchased on the basis of availability, with much shorter lead times. DRTV media also has a different pricing structure & requires specific reporting collected from a number of sources to analyze results.

    6.    International – If your company is marketing beyond the USA, you may want to consider running DRTV in markets like Canada & the UK. Companies running campaigns themselves in those markets have been very successful. In addition, there are potential distributors for DRTV & retail channels in over 100 countries worldwide

DRTV is very complicated with many moving parts. By referring to the above checklist, your company will be considering the many pieces that have to come together for a campaign to be successful.

In the coming weeks, I will introduce a number of topics in the DRTV channel relating to the toy industry. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly by phone – 204 977 6102 or by email to:

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