Ask the Expert

For the last four years, Dorothy Vodicka has been running “Ask the Expert” television ads on WCTV. Since she started the TV ads in 2005, Vodicka has noticed increases in appraisals, custom designs and jewelry repairs, which also happen to be the top-three topics people in her Tallahassee, Fla., market ask about most often.

Vodicka advertises several times during the week but concentrates the bulk of her time slots during the “Early Show,” a local morning news show in the Tallahassee market, similar in content to the Today show.

Viewers are asked to submit questions to the WCTV Web site. E-mails are later forwarded to Vodicka. She then answers the questions person to person by e-mail and follows up with phone calls and even store visits depending on the person’s interest level.

The couple started formally tracking sales linked to the “Ask the Expert” ads this year. In looking back at the three active years of the campaign, Vodicka has anecdotal data that indicate 2007 and sales to date in 2009, “have been our strongest years,” she says.

Actual tracking data for 2009 show increases in the top-three areas of interest from Tallahassee WCTV viewers, with appraisals up 20 percent, repair work up 10 percent, and customer design work up 5 percent. Vodicka points out these are services that require more in-depth explanations. …

—Paul Holewa, Retail Details, Sept. 25, 2009