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’sKarla Crawford Kerr — a valued ally in the business and now member of our DRMAEducation 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
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
Jordan Pine continues his monthly look at some of the As Seen On TV space’s newest releases in his SciMark Report research column.
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!
Continuing to push through the way-overdue Lyric-of-the-Day project recaps from 2013-2014 with the March 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 March’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.
“I’m filling a need/I’m plugging a hole/My mama’s so glad/I ain’t on the dole” #RollingStones “When The Whip Comes Down” #LOTD2014 3/1
“For the millionth time askin’ me/Questions like Wendy Williams harassin’ me” #JayZ “A Million & 1 Questions” #LOTD2014 3/3
“I have no fear of falling/But I hate hitting the ground” #TheBadlees “Fear Of Falling” #LOTD2014 3/4 (I took a tumble while jogging in downtown L.A. and broke my left pinkie.)
“They can plead/But they can’t see the light/Cause the boy with cold hard cash/Is always Mr. Right” #Madonna “Material Girl” #LOTD2014 3/5
“Bend my finger back (snap)/Wrap it in a paper towel/Break a twig in half and set it straight” #VampireWeekend “Finger Back” #LOTD2014 3/6 (Surgery on that broken pinkie with my long-time hand and wrist specialist, Dr. Shin.)
“Light up, light up/As if you have a choice/Even if you cannot hear my voice/I’ll be right beside you dear” #SnowPatrol “Run” #LOTD2014 3/7
“The infrastructure will collapse/From voltage spikes/Throw your keys in the bowl” #Radiohead “House Of Cards” #LOTD2014 3/8
“Take the water prisoner/Fill the sky with screams and cries/Bathe in fiery answers” #TownesVanZandt “Lungs” #LOTD2014 3/9 #TrueDetective (HBO airs the last episode of the amazing first season of “True Detective.”)
“Hey brother, do you still believe in one another?/Hey sister, do you still believe in love I wonder?” #Avicii “Hey Brother” #LOTD2014 3/10
“Headphones are loud/Chilling on a pillowy cloud/Comfort of codeine & Springsteen pristine” #KurtVile “Snowflakes Are Dancing” #LOTD2014 3/11
“Sun’s brighter than its ever been/Why ain’t I?/Cause I’m a Son of an American/ That’s why” #TheSoSoGlos “Son Of An American” #LOTD2014 3/12
“Shoefly, dragonfly/Get back t’your mother/Pick up a flat rock/Skip it across Green River” #CCR “Green River” #LOTD2014 3/15 #StPatsChicago (In Chicago for work, but spent the day enjoying the city’s incredible annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration.)
“I need a garden/Where nothing’s forbidden/I need an apple/That no one’s been eatin'” #TheWallflowers “When You’re On Top” #LOTD2014 3/16
“When the night has no end/And the day yet to begin/As the room spins around/I need your love” #U2 “Hawkmoon 269” #LOTD2014 3/17
“We live for just these twenty years/Do we have to die for the fifty more?” #DavidBowie “Young Americans” #LOTD2014 3/19
“Does your imagination try to make you what you wanted to be/I’m sorry I do what I did but it came naturally” #Haim “The Wire” #LOTD2014 3/20
“Moons and Junes & ferris wheels/The dizzy dancing way you feel/As every fairy tale comes real” #JudyCollins “Both Sides Now” #LOTD2014 3/21 (Attended the “Mad Men” creator and cast roundtable at Paleyfest at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.)
“Hold back the dam/Fill these bags with sand/Every boy, woman, every man/Has got to…” “Lend A Hand” #JakobDylan#LOTD2014 3/22 #SCervice (Worked with a group of underprivileged junior high and high school students interested in journalism as part of USC’s annual Day of Service.)
“Put our heads together/Start a new country up/Our father’s father’s father tried/Erased parts he didn’t like”#REM “Cuyahoga” #LOTD2014 3/23
“Lake made of sand/And the milk don’t pour/And the honey don’t dance/And the money ain’t yours” #ChanceTheRapper “Pusha Man” #LOTD2014 3/24
“Did I tell you how much I miss your smile?/Did I tell you I was okay?/Well no way” #AdamAnt “Wonderful” #LOTD2014 3/25
“You wake and let’s wait to start the morning process/Rebuilding & you’re still a work in progress” #Eminem “Beautiful Pain” #LOTD2014 3/26
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
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
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!