Oct 13

Response September: 25 Years Down and a Transition to Come

Following on the heels of my August recap, here’s a look at Response‘s September issue — the last issue of our 25th year of publication and the final issue prior to the brand refresh we’ve been working on in recent weeks. Appropriately, then, the issue is led by a cover story about a traditional direct-to-consumer marketer also celebrating its 25th anniversary: Tristar Products. Beyond that, September’s book includes a look at marketing in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market, a piece on the power of video marketing (no matter the medium) driving the convergence of media, technology, and commerce, and our 22nd annual State of the Industry report. Let’s take a look at how these — and other stories — came together to form this transitional issue.

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Mar 08

Response February: Building, Engaging, and Maintaining Responsibility

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’s Karla Crawford Kerr — a valued ally in the business and now member of our DRMA Education 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
  • The second of our four-part “Consumer Journey” series leading into April’s Response Expo — which will feature a six-session track on the topic — focuses on engagement. My belief in the consumer journey as the centerpiece of the Expo was further confirmed last week when I attended the annual eTail West show in Palm Desert, Calif. Various facets of the consumer journey were the focus of nearly every conversation on the show floor, at the parties, and on the educational stage. Key freelancer Nicole Urso Reed is handling the series. In this issue, she caught up with representatives of 2016 DRMA Marketer of the Year finalists Nutrisystem and Vistaprint, Response Advisory Board member Peter Koeppel, and PR/social media expert (and DRMA Education Committee member) Lindsey Carnett. In case you skipped the link above: The Power of Attraction
  • 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
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • 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

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Dec 01

Response October: Better Late Than Never

Response October 2016Considering that Response’s November issue hit the web and mailboxes in the past two weeks, you’d be right in thinking, “Why’s he recapping the October issue now?” I’ll tell you this: it isn’t for lack of effort. Things have been crazy around the Response offices of late: our new DRMA Committees are in full swing, planning for Response Expo 2017 is underway in earnest, and preparation of our annual Preferred Partner Directory for its December debut was, as always, time-consuming. Today, though, I finally found some wiggle room to dig into an October issue that featured the winner of the eighth annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award, the second part of our biannual media buying and planning guide, a look at the automotive marketing scene, and more. Read on to look back:

  • In one of the closer races in the eight-year history of the competition, Nutrisystem was announced as the winner of the 2016 DRMA Marketer of the Year Award on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas. Vistaprint finished second in the voting, with Adore Me, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and AIG finishing behind them in that order. Stacie Mullen, Nutrisystem’s vice president of celebrity management, was on hand to accept the award — and could not have been more personable and thankful. And she was outstanding to all involved while posing for the cover story photography with Vistaprint’s Peter Tardif and others while overlooking the Vegas Strip from Drai’s Rooftop Nightclub at The Cromwell. For more on the competition — and the victors — and if you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: A Big Victory — by the Slimmest of Margins
  • Freelancer Doug McPherson took on our annual look at the automotive market. And while high-tech, performance-based tools like augmented reality (AR) and interactive games are taking hold — which makes sense as an intriguing adjunct to the traditional test drive —a number of those in the space, from car manufacturers to car dealers and aftermarket goods marketers — are still finding success with more traditional media. Even print! Here’s that story link again: Fueling Sales
  • Expanding TV technology. Video content everywhere. Second-screen messaging. Expanding mobile response. In the second media buying and planning guide feature of 2016, long-time contributor Nicole Urso Reed queried leaders from the agency side of the business about key 2016 topics, such as the effects of political and Olympic advertising, and what’s coming in 2017 and beyond. Technological shifts that impact the empowered consumer’s journey to purchase lead both the challenge and the opportunity lines. Just in case you skipped the link above: Rolling With the Changes
  • In the third of our series of features on the back-end vendor services space (in August, we touched on payment processing, with teleservices covered in September), our Doug McPherson spoke with a trio of leaders in the fulfillment space. Talk about a business that’s changed — especially thanks to consumers’ Amazon-driven expectations for immediate delivery, constant communication, and easy returns. Read more about the current state of fulfillment here: Providing Product
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the long-form DRTV space for second-quarter 2016 results. For the first time in a year, long-form suffered a (minor) setback, dropping $11.4 million from 2Q 2015 results. However, much of that decrease can be attributed to a continuing decline in cable outlet pricing — and who, on the agency side, is complaining about that? In fact, total time slots purchased were up 8.4 percent, while spending in the top-30 DMAs also jumped. For a full look at 2Q 2016 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Billings Send Mixed Messages in 2Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
    • A DRMA Spotlight story on Z Living, and its expanded slate of new programming designed to reach key demos across an array of platforms.
    • The But Wait, There’s More page features a bevy of photos from the packed DRMA Marketer of the Year event in Las Vegas.
  • Finally, the topic for my Editor’s Note column was a no-brainer: the October issue is the first of Response‘s 25th year in business. And while I was a junior in college when that first issue published in 1992, it almost feels like I’ve been here the whole damned time. Mostly, though, it felt like a time to reflect on that history, my role in it, and my goals each day. If you missed the link above, here it is: Happy Anniversary to Us!

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!