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The Most Important Decision in Direct Response

I’ve been creating commercials for nearly twenty years now, and producing infomercials for over a decade.  We are pitched many products each week, which we try to evaluate as quickly as possible.  At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves “Do we think this will work?”

It’s a tough question.  Direct response is one of the most complex and interesting mediums around.  You make an instant impression.  You get instant results.  Campaigns generally either work, or they don’t.  When you ask yourself “Do I think this will work?” there is a lot riding on the answer.

The reality?  No one knows with certainty until we test.  Oh, you’ll hear people say “It’ll never sell!” or perhaps they’ll say “It’s a sure thing!”  In both cases, they’re wrong.  Unless they have shot the campaign, purchased the media, and tested it, they simply do not know with 100% certainty.

So what do we rely on?  Experience.  Industry knowledge.  Awareness of the marketplace.  Research.  And, oh, a bit of intuition.  You have to rely on data, but you’re foolish to ignore your gut.

At the end of the day, we have to decide if we think it will work.  If we do, we dive in and do as much benchmarking, industry research and competitive analysis as possible.  We jump back into our data, and our gut, with more facts… and, if we still feel strongly, we’re jumping in with both feet.  After all, if we think this will work, and we think we’re the right team to make it work, we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we’re right.


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