Jun 06

Response May: Foundations, Revelations, and Exhortations

On the road again … heading to Chicago this afternoon for the IRCE event this week, and had some time to put together a quick recap of Response‘s May issue. With a full look back at Response Expo included, the issue delivered a touch later than normal — but the editorial content is worth the wait. The May magazine is headed by a cover story on one of our most well-received speakers at the Expo, Andrew Lermsider. Other features touch on the business solutions market and the current status of the media buying and planning space. That second story leads into our annual Cable Network Directory, which is our biggest one yet! There’s plenty for our readers to chew on this month, and here’s some background on how the pieces fit:

  • My first contact with Lermsider came via a LinkedIn introduction from Rus Sarnoff, who has long served as a close advisor on our Expo content and now co-chairs (with Greg Sarnow) our DRMA Education Committee. Shortly after the introduction, I learned that Sarnow had worked with Lermsider on a project several years back, and Greg had only glowing things to say. After one call with Lermsider, not only was I sure I wanted him to take part in our “Social Media as a Media Outlet” panel that was planned for the Expo (and, coincidentally, moderated by Sarnow), but that his background and vision for the future of performance-based marketing tactics would make a great cover story. He’s currently CMO and partner in Q Link Wireless, a mobile service provider, while also consulting a number of mid- and large-sized businesses on their marketing efforts. At 6.5 print pages, this is one of the longer cover stories in Response in recent years — but with Lermsider’s openness about the world of marketing and how he sees it unfolding, it probably could have been two to three pages longer. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Funnels and Foundations
  • Our most recent look at the burgeoning business solutions market kicks off with one of our top sources — and one of the top marketers in the space — for the past couple years: Wix.com. Vivian Hernandez, a speaker at the past two Response Expos, gives an update on the build-your-own-website service’s latest marketing moves and how driving customer experience on a local level is helping the brand grow globally. Beyond that, freelance writer Doug McPherson, touched base with leaders from service providers BigCommerce and SmartPrint to hear what’s working — and what’s not — on today’s marketing landscape. In case you skipped the link above: Stay Local, Get Global
  • Our semiannual look at the media buying and planning world queries leaders from the TV network world on how TV and digital continue to mix and merge, especially with the growth of over-the-top (OTT) and TV Everywhere services. Freelancer Nicole Urso Reed once again gets to the heart of what marketers need to know about where the best media opportunities are available. Here’s that story link again: Power Play
  • Once again, Response brings readers its annual Cable Network Directory. With contact and demographic information for more than 140 networks and other TV outlets, this is our biggest directory yet — and we actually send out requests for information to nearly 200 networks/groups. This year’s directory, if you missed it above, is here: 2017 Cable Network Directory
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the short-form DRTV sector for fourth-quarter 2016 results. A huge quarterly increase — nearly 40 percent compared to 4Q 2015 results — helped the short-form space finish 2016 down just 2.6 percent from total-year 2015 results. Back-to-back positive quarters seem to be a sign that the space is finally stabilizing after a long string of losses. For a full look at 4Q 2016 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Close 2016 on the Rise
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column picks up where our publisher, John Yarrington, left off in his welcome remarks to Expo attendees just before Sugar Ray Leonard’s keynote address on April 25. It’s also of a piece with Wilkins’ column linked above. While we’re thrilled to have created a true signpost event for our industry — Response Expo — that event is only as good as our readers, attendees, advertisers, sponsors, and exhibitors make it. And while it’s a great feeling to know we’ve filled a half-dozen hotels in San Diego with leaders from the business, if too many folks set up shop in those alternate locations, Response Expo cannot be at its best. As a matter of fact, if too many come to San Diego without feeling the need to take part in the actual Expo itself, the Expo could eventually go away — taking its signpost and everything that draws 4,000 people to San Diego with it. Being the change starts with being a part of what makes our business great. If you missed the link above, here it is: Why Fear Change? Instead, ‘Be the Change’

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Oct 02

Response September: Performance-Based or Bust

Response September 2015With Response‘s October issue wrapped and off to the printer today — and a biz trip to Vegas in the cards for next week — today’s the perfect time to put together my personal recap of the magazine’s September issue. Always one of our bigger issues of the year, September is led by a piece on the multifaceted integrated marketing programs at Bridgestone Americas, the world’s largest tire company, and includes the annual State of the Industry Report, as well as a series of solid contributed columns — all speaking to the expansion of the performance-based marketing universe. The expansion is so rapid and diverse, honestly, that we decided to update our cover tagline beginning with this issue. Yes, Response is now “The Magazine for Performance-Based Marketers.”

  • In May, I received a press release from Cassie Jones, a senior account executive at PadillaCRT, the public relations agency for Bridgestone. The release touted a then-upcoming TV campaign for its new DriveGuard tires that starred actor/comedian Will Arnett, perhaps best known for his character Gob Bluth on the hit TV show “Arrested Development.” I responded to Cassie, inquiring about the campaign and its overall fit in any direct, digital, or data-driven efforts underway by the Bridgestone marketing team. All credit goes to Cassie for listening to what our readers want from Response and producing an interview in late June with Amber Holm and Scott Palubinsky, talking about how performance-based metrics are becoming crucial to not only Bridgestone’s tire sales, but also for its 2,200 retail stores under the Tires Plus, Wheel Works, and Firestone Complete Auto Care brands. If you missed the link to the cover story above, here it is again: The Rubber Meets the Road
  • In the print and digital pages of Response, readers were able to hear a cross-section of answers from members of our Advisory Board as part of the magazine’s 20th annual State of the Industry Report. However, one of the best parts of our online edition is the opportunity to expand on such stories. For years now, we’ve been able to present the full, unabridged answers from all of our Advisory Board members who choose to take part in the story to each question. This version is no different. So, if you’ve read the print version and were left wanting more, click the link now to read the extended, Web-exclusive version of the story: Response Magazine’s 20th Annual State of the Industry Report
  • On a monthly basis, we run somewhere between two and six submitted columns from experts in the industry. These pieces are designed to share thought leadership from those who do the work of the performance-based marketing world on a daily basis, touching on hot topics and providing crucial tips and tricks for our readers. The September issue was no different — other than the fact that, from my perspective as the person who assigns and edits each and every one of these submissions, we were lucky to have a couple of exceedingly strong viewpoints. Doug Garnett of Portland, Ore.-based Atomic Direct (and a long-time Advisory Board member) touched on how DRTV is a boon for online businesses, while Venable LLP‘s Jeff Knowles and Ellen Berge gave readers the lowdown on new EMV credit card technology and how it could cause a burst of fraudulent activity in card-not-present processing. (Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a shout to the Washington, D.C., law firm’s practice group development manager Chuck Wilkins, whose help has been invaluable to Response‘s editorial efforts over the years).
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes a look at the first DR radio results of 2015. Those results maintained a recently positive trend for the market, showing a minor 1.6-percent increase over results from the same time frame in 2014. Lately, with recent DRTV billings struggling, it’s been refreshing to get around to the radio results each quarter. This quarter is no different, as a small jump in the total number of radio campaigns and increased spending on small-to-mid-level campaigns point to a strengthening marketplace. For a more in-depth look at 1Q 2015 DR radio media billings, click here: 1Q 2015 DR Radio Media Billings Stay Positive
  • Last but not least: not only do I own up to playing fantasy football for the past two decades in my September Editor’s Note column, I’m able to link that to the incredible expansion of weekly fantasy sports, brought to you on your TV nightly by businesses like DraftKings and FanDuel. What do these recently valued billion-dollar entities see in the combination of short-form DRTV and their fully digital product? And what does their ubiquitous advertising mean for the performance-based marketing business? If you missed the link to the column above, here it is once again: Fantasy-Level Media Investments Signal Huge Opportunities

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

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!