Apr 06

Response March: Bubbles Only the Beginning of a Bevy of Bylines

Response March 2018Response‘s March Issue debuted in print at our DRMA Chicago Reception on March 12 and was online by that week’s end. After one planned cover story fell out in late January, we did far better than we could have expected while scrambling to backfill: the issue’s cover feature offers an interview with SodaStream‘s Matti Yahav, timely given March’s annual International Home + Housewares Show. Our inaugural commerce spotlight feature — as part of our new editorial calendar focus on quarterly updates on media, technology, and commerce — looks, of course, at Amazon. The issue also offers a story on the latest marketing shifts in the housewares and hardware markets, a Response Advisors’ Forum roundtable about the future of TV, and a DRMA Spotlight story on the changing of the guard at Lincoln Media Services. We also take a look at 3Q 2017 DR radio media billings, and four contributed columns share some solid opinions. Here’s how the issue came together.

  • After losing my scheduled March cover story in late January, I started scouring our research partners’ rankings and listings for recent campaigns having success in the housewares space. We always try to get a housewares marketer on the cover in March due to the Housewares show and our long-term tradition of hosting a networking event during the show. SodaStream was one name that popped up a number of times that afternoon, and after searching for the company’s press releases, I came across a PR contact with a familiar name — Stephanie Goldman of The Pollack Group. Turns out, as Stephanie noted in her quick response to my email query, that the name was familiar because we’d done some work together during her time at Steinreich Communications, another New York-area agency. The good fortune that strikes when you network, eh? Stephanie and the SodaStream team were excited about the possibility and the story is one that ended up focused on the marketer’s brand refresh as an environmentally conscious, healthy sparkling water brand. Before I go on any more, if you missed the link above, click here: A Sparkling Success
  • Freelancer Pat Cauley handled our first commerce spotlight feature, which looks at how different marketers are attacking the opportunity to drive brand and sales on the behemoth that is Amazon. From an independent start-up, to an established As Seen On TV marketer, to a broker that groupsindependent products under its own Amazon shop, the piece shares a bit of what marketers can expect when trying to sell on Amazon today. Want to hear more from these folks? You can, at MTC Expo on Wednesday, April 25 at 3:20 p.m., in a session entitled Making Amazon Work. For now, though, if you missed the link: Unpacking Amazon
  • Our freelancer Bridget McCrea takes a dive into the housewares and hardware spaces — long-time evergreens for direct-to-consumer success. What’s affecting them today? Well, Amazon (of course) plays a
    Raised Chicago March 2018

    The view from our DRMA Chicago Reception on March 12.

    major role, but so too does the country’s real estate and housing boom. What’s working and what’s not? Here’s that link again: ‘Wares in Demand … Everywhere

  • Seven members of our Response Advisory Board responded to a set of questions about the future of television in our first quarterly Advisors’ Forum of 2018. Addressability, shifting video consumption, industry consolidation, SVOD providers’ investments in content — all of these topics and more are discussed in the online version, which features our advisors complete and unabridged answers. Miss the link? Here you go: Far From Crystal Clear
  • With Amanda Jones taking the helm from founder (and father) Gary Jones, the time was right to catch up with the team at DRMA-member company Lincoln Media Services for a DRMA Spotlight story. Gary Jones, who founded the media business two decades ago, is ready to focus on his long-time interest in aviation, but he’s been working with Amanda to prepare her to take the company’s reins for a number of years. What does the transition mean? Find out: From Father to Daughter, 2 Decades of Success
  • Third-quarter 2017 DR radio media billings are highlighted in our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research. For the third consecutive quarter, our partner Kantar Media says the radio space slipped, this time by a surprising 42.6 percent, leaving DR radio with its lowest third-quarter spend in four years. Continuing losses in the local radio sector remain concerning. For a full look at 3Q 2017 DR radio media billings, click here: Third Quarter Is 2017’s Worst Yet for DR Radio Billings
  • The March issue also offers a quartet of contributed columns:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column jumps from a pair of divergent customer service experiences during my recent travels. The idea: how one good — or bad — experience can change a customer’s perspective, for a long time to come. Interested? Click here: A Single Experience Can Lose a Long-Time Customer, or Gain a New One

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

May 12

Response April: Monsters, Makeup, and Memories

Just days before Response Expo late last month, the April issue of Response hit the web and mailboxes. Before it’s time for the May edition to drop, I finally found a window in the schedule to take a look back at the issue, which features a cover story on long-time job seeking/recruiting leader Monster Worldwide. Additionally, there’s the last installment of our four-part series on the consumer journey, our annual look at the beauty and personal care market, and an exclusive Q&A feature with the seven legends who were inducted to the Direct Response Hall of Fame on April 27 at the Expo. Suffice it to say, it’s a power-packed issue. Here’s more on how it came together:

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 30

Response March: Housewares Legends and Consumer Journey Lessons

The March issue of Response hit the web and began delivering to mailboxes around St. Patrick’s Day — and had a nice splash at both the International Home+Housewares Show and our own DRMA Chicago Reception on March 20. This month, we reached back to our roots in the As Seen On TV space for a rare cover feature on an old-school DRTV marketer — Top Dog Direct. In addition, there’s part three of our four-part series on the consumer journey, a feature on the housewares and hardware markets, and our most recent Response Advisors Forum feature, which takes on questions about consumer privacy and data security. For more on how the March issue emerged, read on:

  • If you’ve been around the DRTV business for any appreciable amount of time, you’ve likely met Bill McAlister, president and CEO of Trevose, Pa.-based Top Dog Direct. He’s been a fixture in the As Seen On TV world since he arrived at HSN in the 1980s. And his group of companies, which were united under the Top Dog umbrella a couple of years ago, have been responsible for a series of DRTV-to-retail hits: Urine Gone; Mighty Putty; the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow; Tag Away; and the BeActive Brace — among many others. Many of those hits have been in the housewares space, which is why Top Dog always has a major presence at the Housewares Show in Chicago every March — so the timing on this piece couldn’t have been better. It was a pleasure to interview McAlister — he’s engaging, funny, and one of the most open interviewees I’ve worked with in years. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Big Bark, Bigger Bite
  • The third 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 the purchase. When a consumer becomes a customer is a clear moment of truth for any marketer — but much more goes into that moment than meets the eye. Technology plays a key role in making consumers comfortable enough to go through with the purchase — especially safe payment processing for increasing digital purchases. Key freelancer Nicole Urso Reed has done a great job handling this series, and in this issue, she caught up with payment processing experts Vantiv, online marketer Adore Me, and agency head (and Response Advisory Board member) Doug Garnett of Atomic Direct. In case you skipped the link above: Paid in Full
  • As our annual look at the housewares and hardware spaces notes, the housing market is booming once again — which means housewares and hardware marketers are working hard to keep pace with consumer demand. Whether major marketers will full lines of product, or a “Shark Tank”-funded startup, these verticals remain two of the healthiest in the performance-based marketing world. Here’s that story link again: Marketing House & Home
  • Seven members of our Advisory Board took part in the first of four quarterly roundtable features that will appear in the pages of Response in 2017. This quarter’s topic is a hot one: data security and consumer privacy. Capitalizing on all the incredible data available today — while respecting and protecting consumers’ desires — is one of marketers’ defining efforts in this era. What do our Advisory Board members thing? Just in case you missed it above, here’s story link again: Keeping Consumers Safe, Secure, and Satisfied
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio sector for third-quarter 2016 results. And unlike recent DRTV results, the audio medium is riding a hot streak. DR radio rounded out a full four quarters of increases by jumping more than 37 percent in 3Q 2016. In fact, the total of more than $18.5 million marked the second-best third-quarter results reported in Response since we teamed with Kantar Media in 2004. For a full look at 3Q 2016 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Billings Pick Up Speed in 3Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column delves into the increasing interest — at events, in trade publications, and elsewhere across the performance-based marketing landscape — in the post-purchase facets of the consumer journey. Timely, don’t you think? If you missed the link above, here it is: A New Focus on the Back End of the Journey?

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!