About Tom

Ad industry magazine editor, online sports columnist, known ranter, USC '94, all-around swell guy.
Mar 08

Response February: Lo-Tech Products to Hi-Tech Marketing

Response February 2018Following on the heels of my recap of the January issue, I’m back to share some inside info on Response‘s February Issue. Online for a couple weeks now, the issue’s cover feature focuses on a marketer you might not immediately identify as groundbreaking: ITW Welding. Our inaugural technology spotlight feature — as part of our new editorial calendar focus on quarterly updates on media, technology, and commerce — looks at cross-platform attribution, and we also present a look at what the FCC‘s recent repeal of net neutrality regulations could mean for marketers. We also lock in on 3Q 2017 short-form DRTV media billings, while three contributed columns contain some noteworthy thoughts. Let’s see how the issue came together.

  • If you’re a long-time reader of Response, our February cover boy might strike you as familiar. That’s because Rich Thompson, VP of marketing (North America) for ITW Welding, appeared on our cover in September 2006, then as part of his marketing efforts on behalf of DuPont’s Teflon brand. Rich has also spoken at Response Expo multiple times in the show’s existence, including in 2017. It was at that event — when he shared information about the company’s incredibly successful “We Build” campaign — that we began discussing the possibility of this feature. If you didn’t think the welding space was where you’d hear about some creative and powerful uses of online video to drive brand and response, well … you’re not alone. But the story is well worth the read. And you’ll be able to catch Rich on stage next month at MTC Expo to hear even more! If you missed the link above, click here: Removing the Masks
  • Freelancer Nicole Urso Reed takes the wheel for our first technology spotlight feature, which dives into the cross-platform attribution question that’s plaguing performance-based marketers of every stripe. What’s the best tech? How is it best used? Can you trust any attribution report provider 100 percent? In case you missed the link: Credit Where Credit Is Due
  • Our freelancer Doug McPherson handles our weekly e-newsletter — so he’s seen his share of reporting on the topic of net neutrality, especially in recent months. So when we needed to take a deeper dive into what to expect now that the FCC has overturned 2015 rules, he was the obvious choice. Doug touched base with a half-dozen experts on both sides of the debate, creating a well-rounded piece that you can find right here: Net Gain … or Loss?
  • Third-quarter 2017 short-form DRTV billings are highlighted in our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research. Our partner Kantar Media says the short-form space rose for the fifth consecutive quarter, this time by 6.6 percent. Through the first nine months of 2017, short-form billings are up by more than $370 million compared to the same timeframe a year prior. For a full look at 3Q 2017 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Continue Hot Streak
  • The February issue also offers a trio of solid column contributions:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column riffs off of a story that was shared with me by a number of our readers upon its appearance online in January: a millennial who recognizes the link between As Seen On TV marketing and Instagram marketing. In fact, that link remains apparent all the way through her experience. For my thoughts, click here: ‘The More Things Change, the More …’ Well, You Know the Rest

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 07

Response January: Shiny and New for 2018

Response January 2018Yes, it’s March. And, yes, I’m just now getting to my recap of Response’s January Issue. My bad … there have been some crazy times as we close in on MTC Expo next month. However, with a moment to breathe this week, I’m hoping that I can get both this note and one about the February issue posted. January’s book features JamesAllen.com CMO Johanna Tzur on the cover. The story about the world’s fastest growing online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer is an intriguing look at the power of online video. January also finalized our shift to becoming “the magazine for media, technology, and commerce,” and with that, we offer the first of four quarterly features on the media space — this one about the expanding world of digital advertising. We also have a look at the digital goods market and a look back at one of 2017’s biggest editorial projects — one year later — the ever-evolving consumer journey. We also move into 3Q 2017 for our quarterly media billings research, as long-form DRTV takes the stage. I guess what I’m saying is that the January issue is a meaty one. Let’s take a bite out of it.

  • January’s cover interview with Tzur started with a conversation sitting on a pair of upholstered benches in Chicago’s McCormick Place at IRCE last June. Tzur was presenting at the event about JamesAllen.com’s (parent company: R2Net, until the business was bought by Signet Jewelers in September) digital efforts. Following up on that meeting, I worked with Diana Vicinanza of the company’s PR agency, Goldin Solutions, to keep the conversation going. By late summer, we’d agreed on this January spot for the cover feature. In the story, Tzur says, “Today, video is the format that projects greatest authenticity and allows high engagement with our viewers.” But that just scratches the surface of what JamesAllen.com is up to. If you missed the link above, click here: No Diamond in the Rough
  • Beginning with this issue, the No. 2 feature in the magazine will rotate among media, technology, and commerce topics each quarter. Leading off is this media spotlight on the power of digital advertising from long-time freelancer Bridget McCrea. Yes, the combined spend on all forms of digital marketing surpassed that of TV marketing spending for the first time in 2017 (or 2016, depending on who you listen to). But is there a single digital outlet that offers the scale of TV? The answer from our interviewees is a resounding “No!” But that’s not to say they’re not high on what digital opportunities — specifically mobile and social — are bringing to marketers. Once again, here’s the link to read more: The Expanse of Digital
  • As freelancer Pat Cauley notes in the second paragraph of his feature on the digital goods market, “From iTunes and Audible to Netflix and Tinder, digital goods represent one of the most diverse and thriving consumer segments.” Response just started giving the digital goods space an annual look three years ago, but it’s more than deserving of remaining on our editorial calendar in 2018 given both its overall growth and the innovative forms of marketing driving its success. In case you missed the link above, don’t miss it here: Service With a Smile
  • We kicked off 2017 with a four-month series of features on the Consumer Journey — a set of features written by former Response staffer and stellar freelancer Nicole Urso Reed that led directly into a six-session track on the topic at Response Expo last spring. With attention turning to the home stretch of planning this year’s rebranded MTC Expo, it seems only right that we get an update from Urso on what’s new for marketers trying to connect with consumers along that journey. The recurring answer: the growing importance of personalization. Here’s that link: The Personal Touch
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research reaches third-quarter 2017, which means we once again turn our attention to the flagging long-form DRTV space. Long-form’s total of $169.3 million represented the lowest third-quarter total in 21 years and marked the sector’s sixth consecutive losing quarter. However, with pricing continuing to fall — especially in the cable space — the number of time slots purchased jumped nearly 7 percent. For a full look at 3Q 2017 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form Billings’ Misery Reaches 18 Months
  • The January issue also features a pair of solid column submissions:
  • Finally, my January Editor’s Note column allowed me the chance to neg on the idea of New Year’s Resolutions AND quote Yoda. Fun? You decide: Measurable Goals — Not Vague Resolutions — Create Success

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jan 12

Response December: A Fitting Close to 2017

Response‘s December Issue dropped online and began hitting mailboxes the week before Christmas. While many of you have had a chance to flip through the pages or peruse the stories online, the holiday season (and catching up after it) got in the way of my monthly recap — until today. The issue is led by a cover feature on Colorado-based healthcare provider UCHealth. Features on the consumer electronics market and what’s new in the radio media space follow behind. We also take a look at 2Q 2017 DR radio media billings, and five contributed columns also give notable information from leaders in the performance-based marketing world. How did it come together? Let’s dive in.

  • The December cover interview with Manny Rodriguez, CMO of UCHealth, was a long time coming. The story of the story begins in March 2017, when Sallie Sangiorgio, a PR executive in Ogilvy‘s Denver office, sent a note asking if I’d like to connect with Manny during a visit to Southern California late that month. Though timing didn’t work out, I made clear our interest in a possible cover feature on what UCHealth — a nonprofit network of nine acute care hospitals and more than 100 clinics throughout Colorado, southern Wyoming, and western Nebraska — was doing to market its services. After an informational interview with Manny in April, it was clear this was a story we wanted to tell in Response. But at that point, we were locked in for covers through 3Q 2017. Sallie and I continued to stay in touch through the summer and finally settled on the December issue as the best timing for us and for UCHealth. My interview with Manny was one of my favorites of 2017. He’s forthcoming, funny, and focused — a rare combination. If you missed the link above, click here: ‘Extraordinary’ Marketing
  • Also in December, freelancer Bridget McCrea dug into the consumer electronics market just ahead of the annual CES event that took place in Las Vegas this week. What did she find? Perhaps the only thing growing and changing faster than the technology behind your favorite tech gadgets is the technology supporting the marketing programs that are placing those gadgets at the front of your mind. Check out the story for more: The Future Is Now
  • Speaking of marketing technology, our annual look at the radio media marketplace has a distinct focus on the use of artificial intelligence as a facet of the programmatic buying process — not to mention back-end analytics programs that are measuring creative effectiveness and audience response. If you missed the link above, freelancer Doug McPherson‘s story is a good one: Robotic Radio
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research focuses on second-quarter 2017 DR radio research provided by our partner Kantar Media. After riding high through much of 2015 and 2016, DR radio suffered a second-consecutive quarterly decrease, dipping 18.1 percent compared to 2Q 2016 numbers. Still, it’s not all bad news: the total spend of $13.9 million is the third-best second-quarter total in the past decade. For a full look at 2Q 2017 DR radio media billings, click here: Radio Dials It Down Another Notch in 2Q 2017
  • The December issue also features five excellent column submissions:
  • Finally, my December Editor’s Note column touches on the changes we made in 2017 — not only in Response, but also with the DRMA and MTC Expo. But our work is far from done, though the calendar has flipped. What’s to come? Plenty: A Year Ends and an Evolution Continues

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!