ERA Interviews Marcia

ERA Interviews Members and Friends

This week ERA interviews Marcia Waldorf, partner at Waldorf Crawford and longtime industry professional. marcia14
Read Marcia’s comments on the most important elements she sees to drafting direct response scripts and why she’s remained a member of ERA for the past six years.

If you are interested in being considered for an upcoming e-newsletter interview or know someone who should be interviewed by ERA, please contact Molly Alton Mullins at or at 703.908.1020.

ERA Interviews…Marcia Waldorf


ERA: Marcia, you have been involved in the direct response industry for over 15 years. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen during this time?

Waldorf: In the early days of DRTV, marketers didn’t need half a million dollars to create and test a long form campaign. Back then, low media rates made basic core offers profitable and using television to drive retail sales was not the major focus, as it is today. Furthermore, the Internet didn’t even exist. Now, with major corporations catapulting media rates, many marketers’ first profits are generated by continuity program sales. Today, most marketers are using DRTV in conjunction with the Internet to build consumer brand awareness in support of retail sales.

ERA: Much of your career you’ve spent writing scripts for direct response advertisements. In your opinion, what are the most important elements to consider when drafting successful scripts?

Waldorf: Today, viewers are inundated with sophisticated marketing messages, but making a message truly compelling prevents channel flipping and increases sales. A successful DRTV script communicates how the buyer’s life will improve once they own the product. The unique selling proposition must be clear and revisited often throughout the show and CTA. The script must build dramatically and include teases, strategically placed to encourage the viewer to keep watching and, thereafter, purchase the product. Testimonials must be completely credible. The offer must be absolutely irresistible. Experience has shown that once the consumer tries and likes a product, there’s a high probability that they won’t send it back. Unfortunately, free trial campaigns are expensive for marketers, who must float costs while awaiting a future revenue stream.

ERA: What are the fundamental differences to understand when drafting long form versus short form scripts?

Waldorf: In short form DRTV scripts, every word counts. In a two minute script, you really only have about 90 seconds to set up the problem/solution model, demonstrate your product, present a couple quick and strong testimonials, and build your case for why a person should order your product. The offer blue screen is presented during the final 30 seconds. It’s even tighter for a 60 second script, but it can be done.

ERA: You have been attending ERA conferences for quite some time now, almost since they first began in the early 1990s. What value do you receive by attending year after year?

Waldorf: ERA conferences offer us an invaluable opportunity to meet with existing clients and industry colleagues, to find new clients and to establish new alliances, all at one location and within a short time frame. As long as we’ve been in the industry, we still always learn something from the seminars. Plus, the conferences provide an excellent networking venue.

ERA: A member of ERA since 1999, do you think the organization has improved its services and benefits during the past five years? Are you more or less content with the association now in 2005?

Waldorf: Our longstanding membership in ERA reinforces our credibility in the direct response industry. We are consistently contacted by prospective new clients who find Waldorf Crawford listed in the directory. The ERA e-newsletter keeps us informed about important regulations and other issues, as well as direct marketing trends. Lastly, we also are proud of ERA’s leadership role in protecting our industry through self-regulation.

For more information on Marcia or Waldorf Crawford, visit
or telephone 951.659.2580.

Information provided in the line of questioning and responses in this interview have not been substantiated by ERA,
are strictly the opinions of the company being interviewed, and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the
Electronic Retailing Association or its members. Please note that no portion of ERA’s newsletter may be replicated
in part or in its entirety without the written consent of ERA.