Can You Guess the Leading Direct Response Advertising Tag Line?

If you have not listed your phone number with the do not call registry, I can almost guarantee that you get at least one call per week, usually during the dinner hour, telling you about some once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you simply cannot afford to miss. There will probably be a recorded message asking you to press one on your telephone keypad to speak to a sales associate and arrange shipment of some new product or service. It will normally end with the leading direct response advertising tag line, “Don’t miss this opportunity!”

This is one kind of direct response advertising. There are many more approaches to direct response advertising, including a postage-paid response card or a coupon to cut out of a newspaper or magazine and mail in. You are also likely to be familiar with television and radio advertising that ends with a request to you to call a toll free number to place your order. With the growth and expansion of the Internet, you might also be asked to click on an image or a link to learn more or place an order.

The request that you respond in some way is the hallmark of direct response advertising. By definition, direct response advertising refers to a method of advertising or promoting a product or service in which you, the prospective customer, are asked to respond directly to the advertiser. Here is an example of the difference between direct advertising and direct response advertising.

You receive a letter in the mail that announces the publication of a definitive new book on a popular subject. After describing the book, providing a brief author or editor biography, and adding a few endorsements of the book from people you are likely to respect, the letter concludes, “available September 1 from your favorite online or local bookseller.” This is not direct response advertising.

You also receive a letter in the mail announcing the upcoming release of a new film directed by Mike Nichols and boasting an amazing all-star cast. The brochure shows images of a few scenes from the film, provides a complete listing of the cast and concludes, call this 800 number to reserve you advance copy on DVD or Blue-Ray or visit this web site to view the extended trailer and place your order. This is direct response advertising.

The second example includes all four of the basic elements of direct response advertising:

1. There is an offer (advance copy of the film).

2. Enough information about the product to enable you to make a decision about whether you want to take any action.

3. An explicit call to take specific action (often for a limited time).

4. Multiple ways to take the requested action.

Direct response advertising is very popular with people in sales and marketing because it is very easy to track, analyze, quantify and fine-tune the advertising. The marketer will know exactly how many people made a purchase. If the marketer has the ability to send slightly different promotional pieces to parts of the audience, it is also possible to determine which messages or formats were most effective.