Performance and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing 2021 - Thomas Haire

marketing Jul 09, 2021
Mark Struczewski, Thomas Haire

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Thomas Haire is co-founder and chief content officer of the Performance-Driven Marketing Institute (PDMI), a not-for-profit trade association serving companies in performance and direct-to-consumer marketing. He's spent two decades serving the industry — from 2001 to 2018 as editor-in-chief of Response Magazine, and the past three years in his current role.

PDMI's website

UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT

Mark Struczewski
Thomas Haire, welcome to the show.

Thomas Haire
Thank you, Mark, really appreciate it. Good to be here.

Mark Struczewski
And I will share with the listener that this is history-making on the show because I just met Thomas two days ago, and now he's on the show. And that's never happened. I just happen to have a last-minute cancellation. Normally guests have to wait four months. So Thomas, maybe she played a lottery tonight. Yeah, right. It's my turn, right? Hey, look at someone's gotta win, right? After all that money.

Thomas Haire
Hey, what it's not zero in a million is one in a million, right?

Mark Struczewski
100%. So you're in direct response marketing. And I remember when I was fired from my corporate job back in July 2005, direct response mail was the thing. Facebook was a baby, Twitter was a baby, there was no Instagram or Tiktok, or Snapchat or any other platform that I'm aware of. And one of the ways I promoted my speaking business back then was I would go to other events. And I would say, hey, not my speaking event, my I would go promote my photography business, I would go to speak at organizations because I didn't really everyone was doing email marketing, and everyone's doing direct response. But now here we are, July 9, 2021. Now direct response apparently, is making a comeback, because, you know, your social media ads are overloaded, you know, everyone's doing email marketing. And it's an outlier when you do direct response marketing. So let's start at the beginning. Because I want to make sure we don't assume anyone, we don't want to assume people understand we're talking about. So what is direct response marketing?

Thomas Haire
It's right there in the name. Any kind of marketing or advertising campaign that is meant to elicit a direct response from a consumer, whether that's to buy the product, to generate a lead, you know, a lot of times you look at the reality or insurance or whatever, you're not going to sell an insurance policy directly over the TV or through a piece of direct mail, but they want to generate that lead and get you to call in or respond via an email or a visit to a website. So it's any kind of advertising that's meant to elicit that kind of immediate response from a consumer. As you said, it's really gone across the board. I mean, I think the oldest version of direct response is direct mail. Then you got radio came along in the 40s 30s 40s, a lot of direct response advertising back then television started with literally direct response campaigns read by hosts of variety shows and television if you haven't gone way back then. So you know, it's been across all media and digital has taken it to the nth power, you know, the kind of data, the kind of tracking capabilities, all that kind of stuff. But like you said, it's come full circle. A lot of companies that got their start now as a direct to consumer advertisers in the digital realm find that they reach a wall, in scaling up for their product or their service. And then they have to go back into traditional media, like radio, TV print, to get the scale that they're looking for, to really grow their business.

Mark Struczewski
It's amazing to me, when I look back, when Instagram first came out, there were no ads. Now there are ads, there are ads on Facebook, there are ads everywhere. And I'm one of these weird people that my wife and I, we don't have cable or satellite. And we only subscribe to Apple TV plus, which has no ads. And we record all our shows, our network shows. Could you live in Houston, we're really close to the antennas and we use TiVo. I don't watch commercials. So when someone says to me, Hey, have you heard about the new Batman movie or the new Superman movie or the New Avengers movie, I literally have to go to the iTunes Store and look at the trailers, because I don't like ads. And one of the reasons why there's a lot of popular podcasts and listened to, I don't like cuz I run every day for 30 to 45 minutes. I don't want to hear an ad. So now I'm back to listening to audiobooks because there are no ads and audiobooks. Probably going to come that way. At some point in the future. I'll stop listening to those as well. But I know that advertising is where it's at. Okay, if you don't advertise, whether you're commenting on social media, or doing direct mail, or radio, doesn't matter, no one's gonna know you exist. You cannot just build something and expect people will come.

Thomas Haire
That's true. And you know a couple of things about what you said there. One, you're becoming less and less of an outlier. We ran a story on our newsletter this week about the expectation that cord cutters, and which people who have gotten rid of their cable and Cord Nevers, which is the younger generation who never had cable or going to outnumber cable subscribers by the end of this year in America. And so that is a huge thing. And that's why when you look at all these different streaming opportunities beyond just Apple TV and Apple TV plus and to the Netflix's and the Disney plus, as all these ones that have come along, the question about add supportive versus non add support is a big deal. Now, we also had a story in our newsletter that people are trending towards more ad-supported in their streaming options, because there's a value proposition there, they can get a discount on their, on their subscription, if they take the ads. And people are used to ads, for the most part, you know, the average consumer has grasped and gotten so used to ads, and so many of them actually rely on ads to get the information that you're talking about. So, you know, if I could, I would say this, if I could, I would do everything I could to get rid of ads on Facebook, this, that and the other and all my media, but it's my job to know what those are. So I can't, I actually am probably more open to advertising and marketing and, and collection of my data than I would be if I wasn't in this position. I understand why people don't want to have that happen. And then when want to avoid ads. Yes, a court like you know, there's only one way to get your word out there. And whether you start on social media, or whether you're a big corporate with that a brand new product that you can start on television with a big campaign. That's the other way to do it now. streaming and connected TV advertising connected TVs, slightly different streaming connected TV is your Roku is you know, you basically have the TV itself that is connected to the internet. Connected TV advertising is the biggest growth area and advertising right now, by a long, long way. And that's going to continue for the foreseeable future, especially as we see those cord never in cord-cutter cord numbers continue to rise.

Mark Struczewski
Well, I love streaming services, because, for me, I pay $4.99 a month for Apple TV +, and the reason why I chose Apple TV + because it's all-original programming there. They don't license anywhere. If you want to watch the award-winning shows, you have to go to Apple TV plus, but I don't like the commercials. And I like the fact that I can watch it whenever I want. I'm 56 years young. And I remember back in the day you remember record albums, you look like you remember, record albums is one good song on the record, he bought a whole album or the 45. Now, artists are forced to create better content because you can go to Apple Music or Spotify or Pandora and just listen to the song you want, which I think forces better quality. But I want something else I'm doing with my podcast and I got this idea for Brendon Burchard, it's probably not the first one I did it is I have I think 20-second mid-rolls and every podcast episode. And that's not long, too long. You can't fast-forward it. So it just it comes in the middle. It just is it's basically "follow me on Instagram or Facebook or become a Mark Struczewski inside of our website". I think and I'd like to know your thoughts on this, I think shorter ads, like on YouTube, you turn on YouTube, once you pay for YouTube, was it up to premium without the ads? It's only 15 seconds. I think if you keep it 15 to 20 seconds or less. I think people will tolerate the ads. But some of these ad reads I've seen on podcasts or heard on podcast. They're like three, four minutes long. And I'm like, I'm not listening to that. What are your thoughts? You think advertisers should think about shorter ads to be more effective?

Thomas Haire
So it's funny, I you know, YouTube at one point, and I would say this probably four or five years ago, was trying to get people to get down to six second ads. And there, you know, there is some value to that. But I think they found that those were just too short for a bevy of advertisers. You can really only get branders to buy into six second ads because he six seconds is enough to explain who you are. But if you're Coca Cola and just say Coca Cola for six seconds, you're good, right? You know, but so I think you're hitting the sweet spot there that between 15 and 30 is the best new ad link and that's true on television. Now we see a lot of 15 second ads on TV as well. But yes, I think I think the digital aspect is driving that whether you're talking about podcast or The YouTube of the world. I mean, I know Hulu as a streamer has a lot of 15 to 32nd inventory. You, you are definitely finding business. And again, of course a lot of this driven by social media, because Instagram started out with 15 seconds and ads correct. So it's really, at the end of the day, it's it's really about getting that message across in a much more quick fashion. I agree with you that you listen to podcasts. And you get these these things at the start of a pot. I was listening to one the other day. And it was like four minutes of average at the site, the head of it. And I'm just like, Guys, I mean, I can't do another one minute ad here at this point in time. I just want to hear the show. I tuned in for the show. Right. You know, so that's that that can make it really, really tough on a listener. The funny thing is, is that we go back to the first question, and I'll wrap up wrap up this point. But the first question you had about, you know, full circle is a lot of the direct and consumer advertisers who are starting online who start on Facebook, Instagram, tik tok, you name it, their first tread into what they consider traditional advertising is often podcast. And you can hear that when you listen to the podcast advertisers, it's the blue aprons. It's the it's these director consumer opportunities. It's those types of companies that really are making hay. And once they have success there, then they tread next up to TV. And it's like the stair step proposition. So, podcast on your on your end of the deal. podcast advertising is really hot for that group of people. What we're running into as listeners is that if you have a Uber successful podcast, say like, armchair expert with Dax Shepard, or, you know, whatever it might be, you get in, like, just bombarded with ads, three, four minutes at a time. And what was a 40 minute podcast is now 56 minutes. It's like a TV show. Think about an hour TV show. And our TV shows only 44 minutes of content. Yeah, well, now you get an hour hour podcast, they're only 40 minutes of content. So yeah, it's an interesting proposition.

Mark Struczewski
It's interesting. About a year ago, I heard Tim Ferriss say that, he's going to try and experiment. He's going to get rid of all the ads. He's just going to put them in this newsletter. He's gonna have an ad free show. And people actually rebelled. They said, we've looked forward to the ads, could we get exposed to a lot of products? Now for me now this is me. This is Mark Struczewski. Talking I don't like ads. I know the poro ads. But Joe Rogan can get away with 10 minutes ads and beginning to show he's one of the top podcasts in the world. But when I listen to Joe Rogan podcast I do from time to time, I know Skip, skip, skip, skip, skip twice here that that Siri intro, this the Joe Rogan podcast, I skip all that stuff. Because if I'm out on a 30 minute run, I don't want to listen to 10 minutes Add for the for the first 10 minutes. It's crazy, but he can get away with it. And you know, it's funny to talk about podcasting because I see so many people getting in the space of podcasting, not to serve the audience. They're getting into it for the money. And I'm like, if you're getting into podcasting, Facebook, Instagram, and you're serving, you're chasing the money first, I think you're going about it wrong. I think you need to serve people first. What do you think about that?

Thomas Haire
Yeah, I agree completely. You have to I mean, you have to bring value. It's any, like any content. Doesn't matter where it exists. podcast, traditional radio, TV, movie theaters, you have to bring value, the movie has to be good, the film has to be good. The host has to know what he's talking about in a podcast that was the host has to be engaging. The guests have to be good. You're not gonna sell any ads against the podcast, and no one listens to because the contents no good. Right. So yeah, I mean, I think you're right. I think there are that mean, I think that is a lot of that is driven by the big podcast companies. And they're like, Look, we can just plug especially lately, we can just plug like x celebrity in and say talk for an hour a week. Right? And it's going to be and we'll just sell ads against it, and it's gonna be awesome and whatever. But it's not. It's not you know, I will say, though, like to you to the point about, about what you made about Rogen, and people want to and what you said about Tim Ferriss, and then the people wanting the ads, there is very there are very few things of more value and this goes back to radio than then the host read and yes, you know, if people trust their host doesn't matter if it's Don Imus, Howard Stern, etc, etc, etc. People trust their hosts and it's a host read ad, there's nothing more valuable than that. So if a Rogan or a Ferris has these rabid listeners, and he says, XYZ product is the is the product, boom, boom, boom, you know, that's the thing. So that's That's, that's, you know, it's it's a real. It's a real push and pull. And where's the balance?

Mark Struczewski
Yeah. And we all seen those trailers. Every once a while and I'm bored. I'll just go to my iTunes app on my Apple TV. And I'll just watch trailers. And we've all at least one everyone has seen at least one movie with a trailer was awesome. And then you go get the movie or like, was they put all the good parts of the trailer? We've all seen that movie. And we all heard that podcast for you read the description. Oh my gosh, is gonna be awesome. And you can listen to podcast. Hello, this is a pocket like what what what is hampering them? Because they did. They went to some organization, they souped up the promo. And then you listen to it. And it feels like a bait and switch.

Thomas Haire
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's, that's true in any any format. I think podcast is so hot right now, with advertisers with media companies that you're just getting more and more of that. And a lot of you know it, but like any any other medium, although it'll come out in the wash, the cream will rise to the top, the best stuff is going to that's going to continue. A lot of these things are going to fade out and go away. You know, I mean, look, there's a reason that there's bad TV shows that have one season, right? Even on streaming now. I mean, like I read a story this week about Netflix canceling four different shows, well, three of them are one season one rooms, two seasons, you know, Netflix just isn't going to spend a boatload of money on shows that aren't getting what they want out of them. And the same thing is gonna happen with you know, is people make exclusive deals with Spotify or other podcasts that was I heart or whatever it is, yeah, if it doesn't sell, it's gonna be gone. You know, and then that's the danger. That's the danger of getting a little too big for your britches, as a podcast host maybe is thinking, Oh, I can sign an exclusive with Spotify and I'm going to be set for life. Well, you better bring the goods if you're going to do that, because they will cancel you quick.

Mark Struczewski
Yeah, yeah, they will. And you know, we live in an age now with streaming, most people have access to the internet. And so you look at the Apple TV plus, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Max, amazon prime video, that's on the video side, you have a countless number of podcast hosts. And even though we have all these choices, it still goes back to the point you just made very well. People don't want to listen to crap, okay, they will not listen to crap, they will not tolerate crap. Like I care about my audio for my listeners, I could have the best guests in the world. Now, the exception to that, if you were Richard Branson, and you are on your island, and you had a poor cell reception, people will listen to that, because it's Richard Branson, or it's Oprah Winfrey. But for the most of the world, we got to have good audio, you have to have good content. One of the things I do is when whether it's on Facebook, or Instagram or LinkedIn, or my podcast, I'm always trying to deliver the value, I believe if you deliver value to the listener or to the viewer, that is going to be more beneficial than if you create an ad a Facebook ad drive it the content. That's crap. You agree?

Thomas Haire
Oh, 100% .100% you can't you can't you? You can't You can't dupe listeners for too long, right? People will tune in I know. I mean, I look I've tried. Like Like many, many millions of people, especially in the last 18 months that the statistics show that we have all tried to listen to a lot more podcasts that we did, prior to the pandemic. You know, it was big questions like where people listening to podcasts in their car on their commute and what podcast really going to fizzle during the pandemic? The answer was hard no podcast when huge turns out people like listen in their home office. But I've tried to I've tried dozens of podcasts in the last year and a half, and maybe five or six are the ones that I still consistently listened to. Because the content is good. The contents what I want, if I know a show is gonna bring me laughs that and that's what I want out of it. I'm listening to it. I know is gonna have show's gonna make me think and that's what I want. I'm gonna listen to it. If there's no if the content isn't value, I'm out. I might give it to I might give it two episodes. And as looking at that from an advertising perspective, and as you look at advertising become more important in podcasts for the most part, that's going to become even more important the content has to be there to put the ads against it to sell. If the contents not there, you're not selling.

Mark Struczewski
Yeah. 100% 100% and that's why like my mid rolls on my podcast, I don't sell my coaching because I want people to get on my in my list, okay, because you can't really sell a high ticket item in 20 seconds, what I want to do is begin the relationship. And I think a lot of people, whether it's social media, direct response, or podcasting, they're they're trying to skip the relationship building. And it goes back to that old thing. y'all heard people do business with people they know like and trust, and you got to build a relationship. You can't just say, Hey, I'm March just to buy my course. And like, Who are you again, and I think people, they just want to skip the line, they want to go the front of the line, they want to make the big money and see Joe Rogan $10 million $100 million, whatever he sold with Spotify. But that's an outlier, most people have to provide value. Now Joe does provide value, Tim Ferriss does provide value, but you can't skip the line, you have to build the relationship. And I see too many people just want to skip that part.

Thomas Haire
Oh, no doubt about it. You know, and it's funny, you know, what you're doing as lead generation, you're, when you do those mid rolls, you're creating an interest, you're creating an interest to your show. And you're saying, hey, if this is awesome, and if this is interesting to you, come check out a little more. But let's keep the conversation going. That's that and that's, that's what you're trying to do. And so many people, these days, they're, you know, immediate gratification, run immediately sell you something, it's like, well, you know, meanwhile, on the other end of it, when we do our trade shows, and our webinars that we provide, for our, for our customers, and for our members and our market, the two words customer experience, those two words, keep getting talked about for the last five years over and over and over. So the smart marketers are out there, and they are trying to to curate an experience that will bring the customer up into their funnel, eventually coming, coming to sales, but also drive that customer into the situation where they become an outlet. And then they become someone who's also marketing that product, because they're happy not only with the product or the service, but they're happy with their experience with that product or service or brand. No. And as, as more professional marketers, and more in depth marketers, and the direct consumer marketers, the ones who have had this experience of creating these relationships for decades and decades and decades, gain more power. That construct customer experience becomes more important. So the folks who are really just trying to jump from now to sale are are mistaken. And and, and, and there's not, they're not going to have the success that they could have.

Mark Struczewski
I also think that when you have when you do have ads on your podcast, for example, you got to make sure they're congruent with your message. So like, I've heard so many audible ads, some of these zip recruiter ads, some of these zoom, zoom legal. And I think they're just getting those ads, because anybody can advertise those products. But I think if you're really going to truly serve your audience like Tim Ferriss does, he makes sure he only talks about stuff that's congruent and can benefit the audience. If you're just going to grab anyone that loves to share anything on your show, you may confuse your listeners, you may lose your audience and say, What does that have to do with what you're talking about? So I think there has to be we have to have a conversation, not just on this podcast, but as as content creators. Do the ads, are they congruent with our message talked about? Talk about that?

Thomas Haire
Yeah, I mean, look, you're always gonna have advertising that's just everywhere, right. And that's one of the hard things with let me step outside the podcast and say, in the streaming world, right now, if you watch anything on streaming that has that add support to it. A lot of times, you get fed the same ad, like six times an hour like and that gets annoying, you know, it's like come on, like, because because that's the only company it's about the ad, or at least the only three companies about the ad it is its big advertisers, like you mentioned, same things happening in podcast, but you know, you are a brand, you mark your brand, you're not you this, this podcast is your brand, right, this is who you are, this is what you want to talk about. This is the ideas that you want to get out there and share in the world, this is your brand. And the best if you ever did decide to go that route, and put advertising in your show. The best success is going to come to those advertisers who are aligned with the ideas of your brand. You know, if they're aligned with the same concepts as as the brand that they're advertising on, that creates success, there's no question about it. So you know, if you're, if you're Ferris, you can do something like that, because everyone knows what your brand is. Everyone knows what your jam is like, this is who you are. And they're you know, and so brands that that make sense with that are going to resonate right there. You know, and the good news is I think that for someone like him is that there's a lot of brands out there that want to resonate. with them, some of them maybe think they resonate and don't, but a lot do. So, yeah, I mean, there's a lot of value in finding and finding a like match between content and product. For sure.

Mark Struczewski
Well, listen, you gave us a lot to think about today. It was an incredible conversation, where can people go to find out more about you and the dent you're putting the universe?

Thomas Haire
Yeah, um, so performance driven Marketing Institute is the pdmi.com. That's our that's our group. We're a membership organization, not for profit we work for on behalf of the folks who work in performance and direct consumer marketing. Again, like we said, the start been doing this for 20 years writing content, doing trade shows, etc, etc. Our next trade show is in San Diego in October, our first trade show in two years in person. And we're very excited about it. So as the industry as we come out of the pandemic, and that's really that's, that's, that's the key, we can you can find us there. We have a lot of expertise in that in that area, particularly in the media centric area of that. So you're talking about the media outlets, the media agencies and how all that kind of advertising comes together. That's that's one of our key areas, as well as dealing with government regulation and all that other stuff that comes across in that space. So the PDMI.com.

Mark Struczewski
Okay. Thomas, thank you so much for being on the show today. Absolutely. having you here.

Thomas Haire
Thank you so much, Mark. tick. Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for your time and attention for listening to this episode of the marks do chesky podcast Hey, are you a Mark Struczewski insider yet? This is my free email newsletter where I will send you value multiple times a week and I promise you every time I send an email out to my insiders, it always has value. So if you want to sign up absolutely free, just head on over to Mr. productivity. COMM m i str Mr. productivity.com.

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