Mantis Garden Tools’ LePera on DRTV
Mantis, a Southampton, Pa.-based marketer of landscaping and gardening products and a division of gardening tools manufacturer Schiller-Pfeiffer Inc., added DRTV to its marketing mix some 10 years ago. Not only did the move prove effective in generating leads, but it also has had a positive branding effect that’s boosted the company’s efforts on both the dealer and retailer side of the business. The company’s DRTV formats range from 30 seconds to half-hour programs—with its 60-second spots acting as the foundation of the program. Steve LePera, media director for Mantis, spoke with Target Marketing about the marketer’s current DRTV strategy and the challenges facing today’s DRTV programs.
Target Marketing: What is your approach in structuring your DRTV programming and keeping it cost effective?
Steve LePera: Like most direct response advertisers, we don’t really buy too much in terms of day part. We try to buy cost effectively, [and] that generally means broad rotators—18-hour rotations—[and] some overnights on networks that at least generally [are] endemically favorable to us. We’ve been able to generate qualified leads in more places than just Home & Garden Television, but you certainly want to be careful about waste. For example, it wouldn’t do us much good to be on MTV or Vh1. Within reason, we’ve found that it’s pretty effective to be on most general interest cable networks and, of course, anything that skews toward an older demographic, for example the History Channel [and] the news channels. We do some local spots marketing and we’ve done some broadcast network stuff, but for the most part, it’s national cable.
TM: Have services such as TiVo and the popularity of DVRs affected your efforts?
SL: I can’t say I’ve recognized a real impact [from] that if it’s going on. I think the video recorders cut both ways. Some people use it to fast forward [past] commercials. There are other people who use it to watch programs that they missed and watch them with the commercials in them. So that particular issue—while a concern—I haven’t seen have a particular impact on us. I think there are more important issues out there.