Apr 18

Response April: A Capital Vision, A Capitol Vision and an Important Cause

I’m back again with some links from this month’s edition of Response Magazine and some back story on each piece. Please click on any of the links to jump to the stories included within!

Capital One's Patrick McLean

Capital One’s Patrick McLean graces Response’s April cover.

  • The April cover features Capital One’s Patrick McLean. The story grew out of an initial meeting in Boston during the fall 2011 Direct Marketing Association (DMA) annual convention. McLean was on an interesting panel about digital marketing, and after watching some of the session, my goal was to get him involved with a speaking opportunity at Response Expo, which will take place on May 15-17 in San Diego. Well, after a few conversations with Pat and Capital One staff, not only did we confirm him to be part of one of our high-profile sessions next month, but we also convinced him and Capital One to be featured on our cover. With a background in telecom, McLean’s transition to the financial services sector has gone rather smoothly, and his ideas about digital, online and social media marketing are intriguing. If you missed the story link above, here it is again:“Building Social Capital”

    DC Visit

    A great day on Capitol Hill

  • My monthly Editor’s Note column touches upon my recent visit to Washington, DC, with publisher John Yarrington, as sponsors of the DMA’s annual “DMA in DC” event. What a great experience it was for both of us, from working closely with Rachel Thomas, Linda Woolley and the rest of the DMA staff, to hearing the concerns of industry leaders about regulatory topics and government action, to visiting with Congressional staffers on the Hill to share concerns about the industry. At the same time, we were able to catch up with some DC-area clients, including Time Life’s Tim Pearson, FaceTime Strategies’ Todd Mason and Venable’s Jeff Knowles and Chuck Wilkins. A worthy three-day trip, indeed. Check out my take on it here: “Response Goes to Washington”
  • Lastly, but most importantly, the April issue also includes an exclusive interview with long-time DRTV industry executive Ray Golden, who is battling terminal cancer. Ray’s diagnosis was a gutshot to many in the industry who not only enjoyed doing business with him, but also counted him as a personal friend. The silver lining? Response is stepping up to the plate — and asking all of our DR industry friends and cohorts to join us — to support the Amber Golden Educational Fund, which Ray started to benefit his daughter, who is in her third year in pursuit of a nursing degree. For more on this moving story, and how you can contribute, visit our Field Reports exclusive with Ray right now: “Ray Golden Speaks on His Career and His Daughter’s Battle” 

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 14

Response March: The Power of Housewares in DR; Flying High at Response Expo; and a New Partnership With the DMA

Since our wonderful senior editor Jackie Jones took on this month’s cover feature about Hoover’s recent foray into direct response TV, this month’s recap is a little shorter. But here goes:

  • Having just returned from the annual International Home+Housewares Show in Chicago, I can tell you for a fact that the market’s excitement for and use of DR marketing is at an all-time high, as I contended in my March Editor’s Note.
    The Housewares Show was once again a hot spot for DR leaders.

    While there, it was a pleasure to meet Chef Rick Tarantino and Susan Zaso, crucial contributors to our feature story about celebrity chefs and their influence on housewares marketing. At the same time, it was great to catch up with Concepts TV Productions‘ Collette Liantonio, who authored a great column for the issue about how housewares marketers are using DRTV to help out consumers facing the tough economy. It’s always great when an issue of Response really comes together and is well timed, and, thanks to our contributors, this was definitely one of those!

  • We also announced a couple of big news items in this month’s Field Reports section, including welcoming ex-Blue Angels leader John Foley as the keynoter at Response Expo 2012. If anyone can fill the big shoes of Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Sir Bob Geldof — our past two Expo keynote speakers — it’s Foley.
    Blue Angels Keynoter

    John Foley will keynote Response Expo on May 15.

    His inspiring talk is also full of great business insight and is sure to wow our attendees. Finally, Response has teamed with the Direct Marketing Association to sponsor its DMA in DC event on March 26-27. For marketers interested in learning about the hottest regulatory topics facing their businesses and reaching the right government representatives to tackle those issues, the DMA in DC event promises to be a great forum!


Mar 03

A Smattering of Unrelated Mini-Rants

For all the media’s predictable hype, at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, the Lakers (who, if you are to believe the tenor of the local media since the NBA blew up the Chris Paul trade in December, are old, poorly coached, boring and barely hanging on to relevance) and the Clippers (who, if you believe the tenor of the local media since the NBA allowed their clearly inferior deal for the same Paul to go through, are young, hip, exciting and a clearly elite threat to win the NBA title) are in a virtual tie for first place in the Pacific Division more than halfway through the season. This is proof of one of two (or maybe both) things: the canyon between these two franchises was so incredibly vast prior to December 2011 that the Clippers having an almost identical record to the Lakers (and a 1-1 split in the season series to this point) is reason enough for Clipper-based orgasms of BS; or that the sports media, both locally and nationally, are more prone to bogus hype than the bastard child of TMZ.com and the National Enquirer
CP3 as a Laker

"Basketball reasons."

Speaking of sports hype: Jeremy Lin. Nice story. Impressive run. Plenty of intrigue to it, from the Harvard angle, to the Asian-American angle, to the out-of-the-blue angle. Fortunate to be in the center of a New York media maelstrom that glorifies the Knicks as if their history is comparable to the the Lakers or Celtics, rather than that of the Rockets or Pistons. Here’s hoping the kid keeps it up and becomes a long-term NBA star, rather than simply another reason for ESPN to run more Tim Tebow stories …

Hey, Rush Limbaugh: Way to steal the spotlight from Andrew Breitbart. For once, thanks, big guy …

New Springsteen: Big thumbs up. April 27 can’t come soon enough …

The First Amendment is just as much about the freedom from religion as it is the freedom of religion. Read it. In essence, the idea is no law should restrict a person’s ability to practice his or her religion, but at the same time, no law should be based on the beliefs of a specific religion. Make of this what you will …

“The Artist” as Best Picture at the Oscars seemed foregone for a while now. Excellent film. But, as an L.A. guy, I still think it’s victory was a West Coast example of the N.Y./D.C. East Coast navelgazing media winning out. Hollywood’s a company town. I found “The Descendants” a much more relevant film for our time …

RE: the UCLA basketball story in Sports Illustrated. Of course, as an SC guy, I get some mild amusement from it. But, really, what’s going on there that isn’t going on with a ton of other college students or not-very-successful athletic teams? Kids in college going to a rave? Getting high? Showing up somewhere hung over? Struggling teams featuring bad seeds? Dissension? Poor coaching and leadership? None of this is really massive news, is it? To give UCLA due credit, the reason SI makes this a story is because UCLA has the greatest winning tradition in college basketball. So, in the end, I find this story a different kind of hype than the ones above … but hype nonetheless …

Oregon Recruiting Issues

You'd be smiling too.

RE: the recent Oregon/NCAA news (which was expertly dumped late on a Friday; good work Oregon athletic department taking cues from the U.S. government’s way of keeping bad news quiet by releasing it when the pundits are well into a weekend-beginning Happy Hour): Here are two links that fit my thoughts as an observer of the NCAA’s growing impotence (at best) or crookedness (at worst) and where my amusement comes in as a USC fan.

Finally, I just spent a week at an industry conference in Miami. Thoughts:

  • Our people still know how to use their expense accounts to treat each other to amazing meals and drinks at incredible bars, lounges and clubs. I’ll never rant about that; it’s the way business gets done AND it’s a helluva perk …
  • That said, those hefty expense accounts are one of many things that seem to give a level of self-importance to people with no real right to it. Just be you, and I’ll be me, and if it makes sense for us to work together, let’s do it …
  • DR is an industry of optimists. If a product deserves a chance to work, the people in this business really will give it a fair shot …
  • I’m always amazed by the ability of four people around a table discussing direct response advertising (myself included) to make said conversation appear to outsiders as important as a discussion between world leaders on nuclear disarmament. I’m telling you, we’ve all got that “interested/concerned/piqued/amused” rotation of faces down pat …
  • I don’t think I’ve ever spent five days in a hotel at a networking show and never once seen a single employee of the organization hosting that event … until this week (that’s especially surprising when the organization has something along the lines of two-dozen staffers). As someone who co-founded and co-hosts an industry event that draws 3,000 people, it seems that it’s kind of hard to know what your constituents want or need from the event if your staff is locked up in board rooms or “working” an essentially non-existent “show floor” while the massive bulk of your attendees are doing business across the many bars, restaurants and public spaces at the fantastic property you’ve booked. For me, understanding the full experience of everyone at the event is always crucial to improving it the next time around. That’s why I always spend time on the floor, in the conference rooms, with our sponsors, around the hotel’s bars and restaurants, and at the parties that other companies throw in conjunction with our event …
  • Smartphones are great. I love my iPhone. But they’ve become the bane of the scheduled meeting at events like this. “Hold on, I need to take this call,” is rarely a sufficient excuse to put a 10-minute hold on the one face-to-face meeting we’re likely to have in the next 3-5 months …
  • “I have a hard stop.” Yea, I have a meeting at 2:30, also. But I don’t need to use a dumb corporatized catch-phrase to tell you that (and make you feel like this meeting doesn’t remotely compare to your 2:30) …

With that, this blogging effort has reached a hard stop … for bed.