About Tom

Ad industry magazine editor, online sports columnist, known ranter, USC '94, all-around swell guy.
May 12

Response April: Monsters, Makeup, and Memories

Just days before Response Expo late last month, the April issue of Response hit the web and mailboxes. Before it’s time for the May edition to drop, I finally found a window in the schedule to take a look back at the issue, which features a cover story on long-time job seeking/recruiting leader Monster Worldwide. Additionally, there’s the last installment of our four-part series on the consumer journey, our annual look at the beauty and personal care market, and an exclusive Q&A feature with the seven legends who were inducted to the Direct Response Hall of Fame on April 27 at the Expo. Suffice it to say, it’s a power-packed issue. Here’s more on how it came together:

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 30

Response March: Housewares Legends and Consumer Journey Lessons

The March issue of Response hit the web and began delivering to mailboxes around St. Patrick’s Day — and had a nice splash at both the International Home+Housewares Show and our own DRMA Chicago Reception on March 20. This month, we reached back to our roots in the As Seen On TV space for a rare cover feature on an old-school DRTV marketer — Top Dog Direct. In addition, there’s part three of our four-part series on the consumer journey, a feature on the housewares and hardware markets, and our most recent Response Advisors Forum feature, which takes on questions about consumer privacy and data security. For more on how the March issue emerged, read on:

  • If you’ve been around the DRTV business for any appreciable amount of time, you’ve likely met Bill McAlister, president and CEO of Trevose, Pa.-based Top Dog Direct. He’s been a fixture in the As Seen On TV world since he arrived at HSN in the 1980s. And his group of companies, which were united under the Top Dog umbrella a couple of years ago, have been responsible for a series of DRTV-to-retail hits: Urine Gone; Mighty Putty; the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow; Tag Away; and the BeActive Brace — among many others. Many of those hits have been in the housewares space, which is why Top Dog always has a major presence at the Housewares Show in Chicago every March — so the timing on this piece couldn’t have been better. It was a pleasure to interview McAlister — he’s engaging, funny, and one of the most open interviewees I’ve worked with in years. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Big Bark, Bigger Bite
  • The third of our four-part “Consumer Journey” series leading into April’s Response Expo — which will feature a six-session track on the topic — focuses on the purchase. When a consumer becomes a customer is a clear moment of truth for any marketer — but much more goes into that moment than meets the eye. Technology plays a key role in making consumers comfortable enough to go through with the purchase — especially safe payment processing for increasing digital purchases. Key freelancer Nicole Urso Reed has done a great job handling this series, and in this issue, she caught up with payment processing experts Vantiv, online marketer Adore Me, and agency head (and Response Advisory Board member) Doug Garnett of Atomic Direct. In case you skipped the link above: Paid in Full
  • As our annual look at the housewares and hardware spaces notes, the housing market is booming once again — which means housewares and hardware marketers are working hard to keep pace with consumer demand. Whether major marketers will full lines of product, or a “Shark Tank”-funded startup, these verticals remain two of the healthiest in the performance-based marketing world. Here’s that story link again: Marketing House & Home
  • Seven members of our Advisory Board took part in the first of four quarterly roundtable features that will appear in the pages of Response in 2017. This quarter’s topic is a hot one: data security and consumer privacy. Capitalizing on all the incredible data available today — while respecting and protecting consumers’ desires — is one of marketers’ defining efforts in this era. What do our Advisory Board members thing? Just in case you missed it above, here’s story link again: Keeping Consumers Safe, Secure, and Satisfied
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio sector for third-quarter 2016 results. And unlike recent DRTV results, the audio medium is riding a hot streak. DR radio rounded out a full four quarters of increases by jumping more than 37 percent in 3Q 2016. In fact, the total of more than $18.5 million marked the second-best third-quarter results reported in Response since we teamed with Kantar Media in 2004. For a full look at 3Q 2016 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Billings Pick Up Speed in 3Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column delves into the increasing interest — at events, in trade publications, and elsewhere across the performance-based marketing landscape — in the post-purchase facets of the consumer journey. Timely, don’t you think? If you missed the link above, here it is: A New Focus on the Back End of the Journey?

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 08

Response February: Building, Engaging, and Maintaining Responsibility

It’s been a little more than two weeks since the February issue of Response hit the web and began delivering to mailboxes. With a cover story on house-and-home e-tailer Build.com, part two of our four-part series on the consumer journey, and feature on the digital goods market, this compact issue packs a serious informational punch. For more on how we pulled it together, read on:

  • I was first introduced to Marshal Downey, our cover guy and interviewee for this feature on Build.com, during the run-up to Response Expo 2016. The first connection came from Hawthorne’s Karla Crawford Kerr — a valued ally in the business and now member of our DRMA Education Committee. Though we haven’t been able to nail Marshal down as a speaker for the Expo, we eventually locked him in for this interesting look at how the now-17-year-old e-tailer has grown its customer base via online and offline outreach — as well as impeccable customer service. One of the youngest cover subjects in years (all of 13 years old in 2001 — when I took the editorial helm of Response), Downey is wise beyond his years when it comes to omnichannel marketing. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Not Your Average Home Expansion
  • The second of our four-part “Consumer Journey” series leading into April’s Response Expo — which will feature a six-session track on the topic — focuses on engagement. My belief in the consumer journey as the centerpiece of the Expo was further confirmed last week when I attended the annual eTail West show in Palm Desert, Calif. Various facets of the consumer journey were the focus of nearly every conversation on the show floor, at the parties, and on the educational stage. Key freelancer Nicole Urso Reed is handling the series. In this issue, she caught up with representatives of 2016 DRMA Marketer of the Year finalists Nutrisystem and Vistaprint, Response Advisory Board member Peter Koeppel, and PR/social media expert (and DRMA Education Committee member) Lindsey Carnett. In case you skipped the link above: The Power of Attraction
  • Our annual look at the digital goods space explores the depth and the breadth of what “digital goods” can be: movies, gambling, eCards, meditation, books, Wi-Fi, web design, music, dating — and more. Our Pat Cauley spoke to leaders from JibJab, Wix, Boingo (all past Response cover subjects) and more for this in-depth piece on what’s working, what’s not, and what’s new in marketing in this young but exploding vertical. Here’s that story link again: The Digital Boomtown
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the short-form DRTV sector for third-quarter 2016 results. After seven consecutive quarterly losses, short-form DRTV finally bounced back — if only slightly. A $4.3 million increase (less than 1 percent higher than 3Q 2015 results)  The network and spot TV markets continued to shine in short-form, helping make up for Hispanic’s continuing struggles. For a full look at 3Q 2016 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: A Ray of Light for Short-Form DR Billings
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, in my Editor’s Note column, two moments inspired some thoughts on the ongoing — and perhaps growing — controversy surrounding consumer privacy and data security. One phone call and one intriguing article helped prompt this piece — one that includes references to Voltaire, Spider-Man, and the Bible (all in a single sentence)! If you missed the link above, here it is: Data and Targeting, and Power and Responsibility

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!