Fact Checked

What Is a Direct Response Advertising Agency?

Kristie Lorette
Kristie Lorette

A direct response advertising agency is a service provider that helps its clients create, implement and track direct response marketing and advertising campaigns. Direct response is one type of advertising or marketing a business can participate in. The reason it is referred to as direct response advertising is because the goal is that as soon as the direct response advertising agency gets the promotion in front of the intended customer, the customer reacts immediately.

There are various forms of marketing and advertising that a direct response advertising agency can use in these types of campaigns. One of the most commonly known and popular direct response advertising methods is coupons. Consumers can immediately cut out a coupon and take it to the store to redeem. Some coupons even include redemption codes, so these coupons can even be redeemed online. An agency would help a client put together the coupon or discount they should offer and then put a tracking or response initiative in place to see how successful or not successful the coupon campaign is.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

A direct response agency spends a lot of time working closely with their clients. The agency representative wants to get to know the company inside and out. The agency representative also needs to get to know the customers of their client. Gathering all of the information allows the direct response advertising agency to put together the campaigns that the clients are most likely to respond to immediately.

Through this research and the experience of the direct response advertising agency representatives, the representative can typically put together a plan. The representative then helps to implement and roll out each of the direct response campaigns. In addition, the agency tracks the response rates so it can report back to the client to let them know what was and was not successful.

The agency and the clients typically use the response rates to replicate the successes and tweak the failures, or campaigns that were not so successful. In essence, a direct response advertising agency puts together marketing and promotional campaigns that encourage customers of their clients to react immediately, which immediately boosts the sales of the clients the agency is serving.

Today, these types of agencies use both online and offline direct response tactics. Some other examples of direct response pieces include reply cards, toll-free numbers, supplying an email address and name online to download a free report, ebook or other information.

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Discussion Comments


Imagine being the guy that wrote the script for Billy Mays OxiClean commercial or for the hair in the can or the Ronco rotisserie oven. Those infomercials are almost as well known as famous episodes of popular TV shows. They run over and over so often that you almost can't help but see them eventually.


Are there actual dedicated direct response ad agencies or do most big agencies offer this kind of service in addition to others?

I know that some of the big New York advertising agencies will do just about anything you want if you have the right money. They will even do local radio spots if you can meet their fees.


I used to work for an ad agency that specialized in direct response marketing. They had the whole operation in house. They had writers and producers and ad people to come up with the selling points and the script and then a whole production studio where we would put together the ads, mostly infomercial kind of stuff.

Basically a manufacturer would come to us wanting to sell their product in a direct response way. We did everything else because that was our specialty, you come up with the product and we figure out how to sell it. We even had a team of British guys to act as the hosts. It was an interesting job, for a while...

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