NBC is starting something called Shoppable TV. During specific moments of a TV show, viewers will learn they can buy a specific product using their smartphones.
A QR code appears on your TV screen during programming or commercial content. Hold up your smartphone, scan the code, and voila, you have your product -- through the mail or other delivery service.
TV has done this before. A number of third-party companies have attempted this for sometime, but with lesser interactive attachments -- going to a website or calling on the phone when viewing.
But now, TV networks are taking the reins, leaving out the middleman, offering more real-time marketing buying connections.
Why now? Because the favorite push of modern TV advertising deal-making is looking for specific business outcomes. TV marketers aren’t interested necessarily in viewers, demographics, high ratings, or even necessarily CPMs. They are interested in actual sales, or to a lesser extent, website or store traffic.
NBC may not be trying to compete with Amazon. NBC and other TV networks groups need to figure out better ways to connect with marketers and prove their worth.
Analysts say TV has long worked well as a marketing vehicle. Recently, digital media is also making big claims about more focused audience targets.
Much of this isn’t all that different from what direct-response marketers have done for decades on TV: Here’s the product in the TV commercial, and here’s the phone number -- or website -- where you can get it. (Right now! While Supplies Last!)
Cable TV network commerce sites are also a fixture: Home Shopping Network or QVC. See the product during a live TV commercial presentation. Then call or buy via the website.
Why the upgrade? The rise of Amazon seems to have usurped much of what TV has done -- as well as a possible platform for flat-out competitive advertising video messaging.
While there can be strong impulse, spur-of-the-moment buying for many consumers, others want to take a somewhat slower digital website/platform approach. With Amazon (and other sites), you can decide on key colors, size and other variables -- as well as reading reviews.
Can TV do the same? Not really.
The positive is that TV allows content to reach wide-ranging consumers. The more difficult goal comes from hard-pressed marketers seeking even stronger -- and specific -- consumer connections.