Jan 27

Response January: The Rock and the Role of the Consumer

The January issue of Response hit the web and began delivering to mailboxes late last week. The issue includes a cover story on Prudential, features on the sports-and-fitness and rehab center markets, and the first in our four-part series on the consumer journey. Our first issue of 2017 is chock full of great information. How’d it come together? Read on:

  • The initial outreach for what became the cover story on Prudential and its head of brand marketing and advertising, Niharika Shah, came from Sheila Kulik of New York-based PR agency Prosek Partners in October. Sheila sent over a release about the company’s new TV and print campaign for its rebranded investment management business, PGIM. After reaching back, Sheila connected me to Pru’s VP of global communications, Discretion Winter, who expertly shepherded the interview and photography process with Niharika. By mid-November, I had the interview — a phoner — with Niharika in the can. Not only is she a deeply thoughtful and analytical marketer, but Niharika was also one of the more open interviewees I’ve spoken with in recent months. Not afraid to share in-depth thoughts on how Prudential wants to reach consumers — what its brand should mean and how performance-based methodologies can help make that happen — Niharika’s insight and personality made for an enjoyable conversation. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Rock On!
  • The consumer journey. The consumer experience. The customer journey. The user experience. Whatever your team is calling it, it’s become the buzz for marketers dealing with more empowered consumers. In the latter part of 2016, as we looked at creating content for our upcoming Response Expo in San Diego (April 25-27), it became clear that centering our education on the theme of the consumer journey made all the sense in the world. At that point, we created the trademarked “Consumer Journey Map” at right. With a five-step journey featured at the show, we decided to wedge a series of stories into the first four issues of 2017 discussing those steps with leading marketers and setting the stage for the educational sessions at Response Expo. Key freelancer Nicole Urso Reed is handling the series through April. Step one is awareness. In case you skipped the link above: Catching Looks
  • Our annual look at the sports-and-fitness space trains its eye on the fitness part of the equation. Our Doug McPherson spoke with a number of leaders in that space, including TV fitness legend and DR Hall of Famer Tony Little, about the changes wrought by younger consumers, new media options, and more. Here’s that story link again: The Pulse of Fitness
  • With nearly 23 million Americans in need of or receiving treatment for substance abuse, it’s been no shock to see both rehab centers and referral networks expand their marketing efforts. But marketing these services is — as you’d imagine — a very delicate line to walk. Our Bridget McCrea spoke with leaders from a center and a referral network about the challenges facing marketers (and their clients) in this burgeoning space. This story is the first in a planned recurring series about emerging markets for performance-based tactics. If you missed the link above, click here: Rehab Centers and Referral Networks Go Direct
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the long-form DRTV sector for third-quarter 2016 results. A second consecutive quarterly decrease — this time, 10.6 percent — leaves long-form billings about 3 percent shy of their total during the first nine months of 2015. The culprit in 3Q 2016? Lower pricing, especially in the satellite and Hispanic outlets: overall, the average cost of a 28:30 block of time dropped by more than 15 percent. For a full look at 3Q 2016 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Pricing Decrease Keys 3Q Long-Form DRTV Billings Decline
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column welcomes you to the consumer journey focus the magazine and Expo will have for all of our performance-based marketing readers and attendees during the first half of 2017. And — as always — I ask for your feedback on not only the story, but on your idea of the consumer journey, as well. If you missed the link above, here it is: Join Us to Explore the Consumer Journey

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jan 27

#LOTD2014: February Playlist

I’m jumping back into the way-overdue Lyric-of-the-Day project recaps from 2013-2014 with the February 2014 playlist. As a refresher, each day from Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2014, I posted a lyric on my Twitter feed. At the end of each month, I created a Spotify playlist of the songs featured, and throughout much of 2013-14 here on the blog.

Here’s February’s #LOTD2014 playlist (find the Spotify playlist I’ve created from these lyrics linked at the end of the post or on the clickable image at right), with some brief explanations (in italics) for a number of the lyrics.

  • “In all that exists/None have your beauty/I see your face/I will survive” #INXS “Mystify” #LOTD2014 2/1
  • “The soul’s escaping, through this hole that is gaping/This world is mine for the taking” #Eminem “Lose Yourself” #LOTD2014 2/2
  • “I was in a fog, I didn’t notice everything everything/Was coming all apart inside of me” #TheNational “You Were A Kindness” #LOTD2014 2/3
  • “We could be daytime drunks if we wanted/But we’d never get anything done that way, baby” #RiloKiley “The Absence Of God” #LOTD2014 2/4
  • “The light’s shinin’ through on you/Yes, I’m with you my love/It’s the morning and just we two” #Cream “Sunshine Of Your Love” #LOTD2014 2/5
  • “It’s a rainy afternoon in 1990/The big city/Geez, it’s been 20 years/Candy, you were so fine” #IggyPop “Candy” #LOTD2014 2/6
  • “Gonna get me a little oblivion, baby/Try to keep myself away from me” #CountingCrows “Perfect Blue Buildings” #LOTD2014 2/7
  • “Hey, little dolly won’t you say you will/Meet me tonight up on top of the hill” #BruceSpringsteen “Ramrod” #LOTD2014 2/8
  • “Baby if you’re feeling good/Baby if you’re feeling nice/You know your man’s workin’ hard/He’s worth a deuce” #Kiss “Deuce” #LOTD2014 2/9 (The night our crew discovered one of America’s greatest dive bars: Mac’s Club Deuce in Miami Beach.)
  • “Everyone around me is a total stranger/Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger” #TheVapors “Turning Japanese” #LOTD2014 2/10
  • “I don’t care/Alright!?About your past, dig/I just want/Hey!/My love to last, come on” #JamesBrown “Cold Sweat” #LOTD2014 2/11
  • “They’ll stone ya and then they’ll say good luck/But I would not feel so all alone” #BobDylan “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” #LOTD2014 2/12 (An unexpected rooftop suite party in South Beach … thanks Kleiner.)
  • “Love you every day girl/Always on my mind/One thing I can say girl/Love you all the time”#TheBeatles “Eight Days A Week” #LOTD2014 2/13
  • “I’d give this world/Just to dream a dream with you/On our bed of California stars” #WoodyGuthrie #Wilco “California Stars” #LOTD2014 2/14 (Happy Wedding Day, Allen & Meredith!)
  • “Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder/Where it’s so white as snow” #RedHotChiliPeppers “Snow (Hey Oh)” #LOTD2014 2/15 (Lounging around in Charlestown, Mass., watching it snow, snow, snow.)
  • “I’m feeling supersonic/Give me gin and tonic/You can have it all but how much do you want it?” #Oasis “Supersonic” #LOTD2014 2/16
  • “President say/Little fat man ain’t it a shame/What the river’s done/To this poor crackers land” #RandyNewman “Louisiana 1927” #LOTD2014 2/17 (“Happy” Presidents Day!)
  • “Whatever you heard about me is true/I change the rules and do what I wanna do” #Prince “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” #LOTD2014 2/18
  • “I am lost, I’m no guide/But I’m by your side/I am right by your side …/Young lover I stand” #PearlJam “Leash” #LOTD2014 2/19
  • “I never did believe in the ways of magic/But I’m beginning to wonder why” #FleetwoodMac “You Make Loving Fun” #LOTD2014 2/20
  • ‘He’s drunk/He tastes like candy/He’s so beautiful/He’s so deep/Like dirty water/God he’s awful” #Hole “Awful” #LOTD2014 2/21
  • “Left for dead left for good/Left for dead not understood/But you/Always came back for more” #Whale “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe” #LOTD2014 2/22 (A random callout in conversation while on a wedding planning trip to Santa Barbara brought this song back into consciousness.)
  • “There was a time/Before we were born/If someone asks this is where I’ll be” #TalkingHeads “This Must Be The Place” #LOTD2014 2/23 (Agreed upon wedding event locations!)
  • “He quoted some poetry/He’s Tennyson in denim & sheepskin/He looked a lot like Izzy Stradlin” #TheHoldSteady” “Chillout Tent” #LOTD2014 2/24
  • “And this is how it all ends up/When you run the whole thing down” #Sugar “Believe What You’re Saying” #LOTD2014 2/25
  • “Me catch a ship across the sea/I sailed the ship all alone/Never think I’ll make it home” #Kingsmen “Louie Louie” #LOTD2014 2/26
  • “And in another world nothing was like this/There may’ve been a girl/There never was a kiss” #TomPetty #Heartbreakers “Echo” #LOTD2014 2/27
  • “Well, show me the way/To the next whiskey bar/Oh, don’t ask why/Oh, don’t ask why” #TheDoors “Alabama Song” #LOTD2014 2/28 (USC hoops and postgame drinks, a long-standing tradition.)

Here’s the Spotify playlist if you’d like to listen along: #LOTD2014: February

Dec 21

Response December: Another Year Done … from A to zulily

The December issue of Response hit the web and mailboxes beginning late last week. And in a random bout of timeliness — plus the fact that I’m out of the office this evening through Jan. 2 — I’m here to recap it for you. This issue’s features include a cover story on zulily, a piece on the expanding consumer electronics market, our fourth Response Advisory Board roundtable of the year, and a web exclusive on the DR radio space. For more on how we built 2016’s last issue, read on:

  • zulily (and, yes, the folks there are all about that lower-case “z,” y’all) has made a name for itself in the e-retail segment in recent years. Reaching a coveted demographic — mothers between 25-44 — helps. Quality marketers running the business don’t hurt, either. The company first came to my attention when a long-time industry colleague and friend, Chris Johns, took a gig in the company’s strategic partnerships division in 2015. After a couple of meetings (ahem, cocktails) and a couple of calls to the right people, Chris put me in touch with Lindsay Powers in the company’s PR department. Lindsay did a splendid job wrangling this story with me, from helping select the right executive — Kevin Saliba, the company’s vice president of strategic partnerships and business development —to providing contact with zulily partner Crayola to help flesh out the story. With more than 15,000 brands selling products on zulily, it’s an intriguing case study on today’s expanding e-retail environment. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Giving Moms What They Want
  • Consumer electronics technology is not only a burgeoning vertical for marketers — it’s also crucial to the delivery of every marketer’s message. Freelancer Pat Cauley did a nice job of walking this line in his update on the CE space. From AR to VR and AI to IoT (Confused? Read the story to find out what those abbreviations mean) marketers of products that use those technologies are finding fertile ground, while marketers in other verticals want to maximize those technologies as outlets for their messages. In case you skipped the link above: A Space Odyssey
  • In preparation for our final quarterly Advisors Forum feature, I spent a couple of days digging through researchers’ many (and varied) predictions for marketing — digital, TV, and beyond — for 2017. After culling those down to some of the more interesting projections, I provided the members of our Advisory Board a series of questions on the topics raised. This useful year-end exercise provided a some surprising — and conflicting — responses. As always, the online version of the Advisors Forum presents our board members’ complete and unabridged answers. Here’s that story link again: Parsing the Projections
  • Our Doug McPherson spoke with media leaders in the DR radio space for a web exclusive feature. After a downturn earlier this decade, media billings research has shown DR radio expanding healthily in recent years. What’s driving this growth in a medium that’s often scoffed at? If you missed the link above, click here: DR Radio Rocks the Reach
  • Speaking of DR radio media billings, our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the space for second-quarter 2016 results. Growth remains the buzzword, as an 11.7-percent increase over 2Q 2015 results led to radio’s best second quarter since 2007. For a full look at 2Q 2016 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Billings Drive Forward in 2Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • My Editor’s Note column leads with the big news: Response moved its offices — two whole miles — in late November (if you still need that new address: 2600 Michelson Drive, Suite, 1700, Irvine, CA 92612). From there, I riff a little about fresh starts, Response Expo, and reader feedback. It’s all very exciting! If you missed the link above, here it is: We’re Movin’ on Up!

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response throughout 2016! I wish you a happy holiday season and all the best in 2017.