Mistake #1: Choosing award-winning over results-getting. Creative people in some ad agencies can be more concerned about an ad’s concept or look than they are with whether it will actually sell a product or service. If an agency says they’ve won many awards, it doesn’t necessarily mean their drtv advertising is going to make you rich or successful. Be careful of designers, writers, or a whole creative team who try to sell you on media buying that doesn’t feel right to you. Follow your instincts. An ad can be cool or “artsy,” look beautiful or be hilarious, but if it doesn’t generate results, it’s of no benefit to you.

Mistake #2: Not focusing on the consumer’s needs. It should go without saying that a drtv ad must convince consumers that the product or service will meet their needs, but some media buyers still try to dictate what they feel their ads need to communicate. Often, because they are too close to the product or service, companies make the drtv ad “all about us” and not, as it should be, “all about our audience.”

If you feel too involved in the production of the ad, you can take the drtv ad to a focus group to learn whether the ad touches on consumers’ needs. Even when you know who might buy your product, you may not know how to get them to buy it. Outsiders’ opinions can be invaluable, especially those of experts who understand how to communicate more effectively with that consumer.

Mistake #3: Not developing a complete media buying campaign. One ad probably won’t thoroughly inform your prospects of all the benefits your product or service offers. A single ad may work for awhile but then stops being effective as the consumer stops paying attention. To counter this burn-out, you may need to develop a drtv campaign to communicate all key selling points and a complete message about your product’s benefits. Also, another ad or a series can help you capture certain people whose attention you weren’t able to get with a single ad. Usually a campaign consists of several ads over the course of the year to appeal to people through different creative strategies.

Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct

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