Avoiding DRTV Continuity Pitfalls
Direct response campaigns can help brands increase market penetration and provide a quick lift in sales. But you need to be aware of some of the risk factors that can pop up throughout the program’s lifecycle. Whether you’re a seasoned DRTV veteran or exploring your first campaign, this article will help guide you through the potential pitfalls surrounding direct response.
FTC – The Consumer’s Watchdog
The FTC is the nation’s oldest regulatory agency that shares responsibility with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. The two principal law enforcement missions of the commission are antitrust enforcement and consumer protection, which regulates national advertising, privacy matters, franchising, business opportunity rules, debt collection schemes among other issues.
The FTC has relationships with various agencies and entities – primary among these is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD). The FTC also has close ties with state attorneys general as they frequently conduct joint investigations.
Before choosing a fulfillment partner to help with order management, companies should first analyze their DRTV campaign and create a list of requirements the program will need from the provider. Some considerations include:
- Is the product made domestically or overseas?
- Can the provider handle a sudden surge in product orders?
- Is there a continuity component to the program, either in the initial offer or the upsell?
- How widely is the product distributed (regional, national, global)?
- Does the provider offer reverse logistics for returned orders?
- What is the anticipated volume of post-sale customer service calls?
- Will there be a website component to the campaign and it is being designed to directly reflect the TV offer?
- Does the provider offer small parcel shipping analysis to guarantee the best ship rate every time?
Multiple-payment programs allow products to be auto-shipped to the consumer each month with an automatic charge to the buyer’s credit card. Brands must make sure to follow some regulations enforced by the FTC. They include:
- Providing language to the consumer that offers a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of the agreement
- Requiring the consumer provide “expressed consent” to those terms and conditions.
- Contact center operators must explain the terms and gain verbal consent before credit card information is taken.
- Advertisements must indicate the number of shipments that will continue without action as well as a clear description of how consumers can cancel future shipments.
- Ceasing shipments and billing immediately after the consumer cancels.
- Running a DRTV program is much more than creating a great product. There are a lot of considerations beginning with the marketing of the product through the fulfillment and delivery. Be sure to partner with someone who can keep your product's brand integrity in check throughout the campaign's lifecycle.
- Bowen Smith, SVP, Sales & Marketing, PFC
The FTC’s Mail Order Rule applies to orders placed over the telephone as well as by mail. Brands must be able to deliver products in the time stated in their advertisements or, if no time is specified, within 30 days of receiving a completed order.
If a brand and its fulfillment provider cannot ship within the required timeframe, special rules apply including notifying the consumer of the delay.
Partner with a Professional
Even a well-planned DRTV campaign can suffer greatly if the fulfillment provider cannot deliver on the promises you made to your customers relative to delivery time and product integrity. Be sure to find a company with well-established fulfillment and demand planning strategies in place. Promotion Fulfillment Center understands the challenges of DRTV campaigns and has the technology, scalability and flexibility to handle your order surges. Our real-time, customized reporting will give you instant feedback on your campaign performance.
About Promotion Fulfillment Center
At PFC, our clients’ success is the number one priority. Since 1974, PFC has delivered outstanding results, with turnkey solutions in fulfillment, e-commerce, rebates, sweepstakes, coupons and contact center – all backed by leading technology. Companies who partner with PFC have historically saved 20 percent or more on their supply chain costs. PFC allows clients to focus on their big picture business goals, while it skillfully manages all the details. For more information call (800) 493-7063.
Sources: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLC, Response Magazine, Direct Response Academy