Mar 07

Response January: Shiny and New for 2018

Response January 2018Yes, it’s March. And, yes, I’m just now getting to my recap of Response’s January Issue. My bad … there have been some crazy times as we close in on MTC Expo next month. However, with a moment to breathe this week, I’m hoping that I can get both this note and one about the February issue posted. January’s book features CMO Johanna Tzur on the cover. The story about the world’s fastest growing online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer is an intriguing look at the power of online video. January also finalized our shift to becoming “the magazine for media, technology, and commerce,” and with that, we offer the first of four quarterly features on the media space — this one about the expanding world of digital advertising. We also have a look at the digital goods market and a look back at one of 2017’s biggest editorial projects — one year later — the ever-evolving consumer journey. We also move into 3Q 2017 for our quarterly media billings research, as long-form DRTV takes the stage. I guess what I’m saying is that the January issue is a meaty one. Let’s take a bite out of it.

  • January’s cover interview with Tzur started with a conversation sitting on a pair of upholstered benches in Chicago’s McCormick Place at IRCE last June. Tzur was presenting at the event about’s (parent company: R2Net, until the business was bought by Signet Jewelers in September) digital efforts. Following up on that meeting, I worked with Diana Vicinanza of the company’s PR agency, Goldin Solutions, to keep the conversation going. By late summer, we’d agreed on this January spot for the cover feature. In the story, Tzur says, “Today, video is the format that projects greatest authenticity and allows high engagement with our viewers.” But that just scratches the surface of what is up to. If you missed the link above, click here: No Diamond in the Rough
  • Beginning with this issue, the No. 2 feature in the magazine will rotate among media, technology, and commerce topics each quarter. Leading off is this media spotlight on the power of digital advertising from long-time freelancer Bridget McCrea. Yes, the combined spend on all forms of digital marketing surpassed that of TV marketing spending for the first time in 2017 (or 2016, depending on who you listen to). But is there a single digital outlet that offers the scale of TV? The answer from our interviewees is a resounding “No!” But that’s not to say they’re not high on what digital opportunities — specifically mobile and social — are bringing to marketers. Once again, here’s the link to read more: The Expanse of Digital
  • As freelancer Pat Cauley notes in the second paragraph of his feature on the digital goods market, “From iTunes and Audible to Netflix and Tinder, digital goods represent one of the most diverse and thriving consumer segments.” Response just started giving the digital goods space an annual look three years ago, but it’s more than deserving of remaining on our editorial calendar in 2018 given both its overall growth and the innovative forms of marketing driving its success. In case you missed the link above, don’t miss it here: Service With a Smile
  • We kicked off 2017 with a four-month series of features on the Consumer Journey — a set of features written by former Response staffer and stellar freelancer Nicole Urso Reed that led directly into a six-session track on the topic at Response Expo last spring. With attention turning to the home stretch of planning this year’s rebranded MTC Expo, it seems only right that we get an update from Urso on what’s new for marketers trying to connect with consumers along that journey. The recurring answer: the growing importance of personalization. Here’s that link: The Personal Touch
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research reaches third-quarter 2017, which means we once again turn our attention to the flagging long-form DRTV space. Long-form’s total of $169.3 million represented the lowest third-quarter total in 21 years and marked the sector’s sixth consecutive losing quarter. However, with pricing continuing to fall — especially in the cable space — the number of time slots purchased jumped nearly 7 percent. For a full look at 3Q 2017 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form Billings’ Misery Reaches 18 Months
  • The January issue also features a pair of solid column submissions:
  • Finally, my January Editor’s Note column allowed me the chance to neg on the idea of New Year’s Resolutions AND quote Yoda. Fun? You decide: Measurable Goals — Not Vague Resolutions — Create Success

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Feb 09

Response January: Square, Soccer, and Going ‘Native’

Response January 2016It’s been a while, eh? I’ll blame the annual Response calendar, which generally revs up when we return from the holidays, thanks to Response Expo’s spring dates. Honestly, from January through the end of Response Expo, each year, the close-knit Response staff is essentially doing full-time double duty. So, I’m taking advantage of working a little late on a Tuesday to put together this look back at our January issue, which has been online for a few weeks now. We started 2016 off on the right foot, thanks to a former Response staffer turned freelancer who pitched, earned, and wrote the cover feature on Square, stories on sports marketing and finding the right mix between organic and promoted social media, and — finally — some positive news for the long-form media billings market. Let’s take a deeper look!

  • While researching an assignment on the business solutions market for our November issue, Nicole Urso Reed — a former Response senior editor and a long-time freelancer for us — saw something interesting in the efforts of Square, which most people think of as that little attachment you put on your iPhone to process credit card payments for your small business. She saw a deeper story — one about Square’s work in partnering with their clients, providing marketing assistance, back-end data, and more. Essentially, she saw a business that had used performance-based media to market itself on TV and online that was actually a true B2B service provider, helping entrepreneurs reach for their dreams. Turns out, she was right. Her interview with Kevin Burke, a former Visa CMO who now heads customer acquisition for Square, as well as conversations with a few of the company’s leading clients make for an intriguing look at how important data can be to building a business with a certain style of guerrilla marketing. If you missed the link above, click here: Big Change for Small Businesses
  • Appropriately, when looking at the changing marketing landscape for sports marketers — which is a natural fit for expanded social media marketing along with traditional outreach for ticket and merchandise sales — our Doug McPherson dug into the growing success of Major League Soccer (MLS). Soccer’s ascension in popularity — driven heavily by millennials and the younger sect of Gen-X — is hard to miss, especially in cities like Portland, Columbus, and San Jose. And marketers from other sports are taking notice of that success, including those in the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. If you missed the link above but want to check it out, click here: Hitting the Goal
  • One of four contributed columns in the  issue, the Legal Review piece from Venable‘s Jeff Knowles and Amy Ralph Mudge about the FTC‘s recent guidance on so-called “Native Advertising” is a crucial read for any marketer doing business today. And, honestly, as a writer, I might be the only one involved in the magazine or in the industry who’s happy about the FTC’s attempt to set some standards to clarify the continually blurring line between editorial content and advertising. If you missed the link above, here you go: The FTC Goes ‘Native’
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings present a bit of a surprise, as third-quarter 2015 long-form DRTV billings broke the market’s three-year losing streak. Sure, the 5.5-percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2014 leaves the market a long way from its peak during the middle of the last decade. However, any sign of stabilization of the beleaguered space is welcome. For a full look at 3Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: 3Q 2015 Long-Form Billings … Rise? Yes!
  • Finally, in my Editor’s Note, I kick off 2016 looking at something I dubbed the three “Cs” — competition, cooperation, community. How do they fit together? And how can you be a part of building a better marketing business? If you missed the link above, here’s my take — and a call to action — on the topic: Community and Cooperation Can Boost All Competitors

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Dec 26

A Year of Response ‘Editor’s Note’ Columns in 1 Entry

response-mag-logoAs we close out the year that was 2012, I began to read back on my Editor’s Note columns in the pages of Response for the past year. I do this annually, just to make sure that I maintain the most vital and balanced voice I can in support of the magazine’s goals, the DR industry’s goals and the individual business goals of our readers.

As I was reading through them, I figured that TomRants might be the perfect place to put an annual compendium of these columns at the end of each year. So, here you have them — all 12 of my personal opinion pieces from Response for 2012. As always, I’m open for feedback on any of my thoughts! Feel free to drop a line.

January: Adding Value and Accessibility Helps Our Readers, Advertisers

February: The DRMA at 5: A Milestone Due to Your Hard Work and Support

March: Housewares Market Continues to Be a DR Hot Spot

April: Response Goes to Washington

May: All Aboard? Setting Sail at  Response Expo 2012

June: While Some Remain Down in the Mouth, Most DR Indicators Are Up

July: From Bloodlines to the Bottom Line

August: Controversy Over NBC Olympics Coverage Gives Marketers a Golden Message

September: A Commitment to Marketers and Service Providers Drives Our Business

October: The FTC Leans Hard on the DR Business … Again

November: A November Surprise? 2Q DR Media Results Bode Well for Future

December: Giving Thanks … and Slowing Down Greed