DRTV’s House of Fulfillment
You’ve done the legwork, you’ve unleashed your DRTV campaign, and it’s hit a soaring home run with all those well-targeted viewers. So how will you convert that bonanza of popularity into a healthy ROI? Somehow, some way, you’ll need a direct connection to your loving audience. A two-way street flowing with cash and sales. For DRTV marketers, the most common customer connection is the fulfillment house.
As the name implies, fulfillment (or order fulfillment) is a process that starts with a customer inquiry and ends with the safe and sound delivery of a product or service to said customer. As with everything else in this increasingly complex world, fulfillment processes had to acquire greater sophistication to keep up with progress. Thus, special techniques and services have been put in motion to manage the complexities.
Those services are provided by fulfillment houses.
Don’t think of a fulfillment house as your garden-variety call center. Their scope of services encompasses virtually every possible nuance of customer interaction. Fulfillment specialists handle all customer and order information, complaints, transaction tracking, returns, exchanges, and shipping. Everything.
Given this range of responsibilities, a fulfillment house plays a crucial role in the success of any DRTV campaign. The infomercial or commercial spot got the ball rolling; the fulfillment house must push it through the goal. Clearly, marketers must choose a fulfillment house with the requisite skills. If that ball misses the goal, your DRTV campaign likely will find its way into the loser’s circle. And guess who’ll get the blame? Probably not those hard-working folks at the fulfillment house. Yes, the fulfillment house is one serious link in the DRTV chain.
Beware the Power of Price
Don’t assume all fulfillment houses are on a par with each other. They aren’t. As with products and services, their quality and expertise can vary… sometimes by a wide margin.
One of the biggest pitfalls facing DRTV marketers is the power of price. Often marketers will opt for the obvious bargain. But as with so many so called-bargains, compromised quality may be the other price you’ll pay.
And even if fulfillment quality is worthy of endless accolades, the bargain price might be hiding certain background costs… costs that suddenly surface when your first bill arrives.
‘Wait!’ you’ll exclaim, throwing your hands in the air. “You never said anything about charges for postal deliveries.” Take heed — if the initial price is hugging rock bottom, you could and probably will get many such billing surprises.
General Guide for Choosing a DRTV Fulfillment House
More often than not, account managers choose the fulfillment house based on this ‘fool-proof’ criteria: they’ve worked with the house before. Or they’ve ‘heard some good things about them.’ Unfortunately, such criteria indicate very little about the success potential of the matchup.
A far more productive route begins with this step: recognize that your DRTV project has very specific requirements tied to numerous variables. And those requirements likely will change from DRTV campaign to DRTV campaign. You absolutely must take stock of your own campaign. Only by understanding it top to bottom can you determine which fulfillment house offers the best fit.
Think in terms of developing a campaign profile. As with customer profiles, you’ll need to ask many key questions. For example, where is your product made? If manufactured or warehoused overseas, you probably don’t want a domestic fulfillment house. Long-distance separation invites delays and a flood of other fulfillment headaches.
But that’s just one of many possible logistical questions. Then there are the caller-focused questions such as: How many calls can you expect? What will customer inquiries likely be focused on? Shipments? Product usage? Order tracking? The chosen fulfillment house must have the expertise to cover these anticipated inquiries efficiently. Your DRTV campaign depends on it.
Would you like to learn more about choosing a fulfillment house for your DRTV campaign, or about any other DRTV topic? Reach out to IDR for additional information and answers to all your questions. You’ll discover why we’re Orange County’s premier producer of TV commercials, infomercials, and online videos for a wide range of businesses, organizations, and brands.