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!

Dec 13

Response October: New Look, New Feel, Same Strong Content

Brand, refreshed! Our first issue under our sleek new masthead and tagline — the magazine for media, technology, and commerce — the October 2017 cover features Boll & Branch, the winner of our ninth annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award. And not only did the magazine get a facelift, so did our website, responsemagazine.com. If you haven’t bounced around the site yet (let’s be honest, this recap’s a bit on the late side), I urge you to do so! The cover story itself includes interviews with the Boll & Branch team, as well as leaders from the other two finalists: Highmark Health and Monster Worldwide. The issue also features our annual look at the automotive marketing space, a dive into the domination of Google and Facebook in digital advertising, and the latest edition of our biannual media buying and planning guide. Want to get deeper into the first issue of Response 3.0 (our moniker for the rebrand project around the office)? Read on!

  • With each of our three nominees for the Marketer of the Year Award having been featured in a cover story during the preceding calendar year, the competition for the 2017 DRMA honor (and second cover feature in Response) was one of the fiercest in years. Of her company’s victory, Cally Everett, vice president of marketing for Boll & Branch, says, “We have always made decisions as a company based on what’s right for us, not what our competitors are doing, and it’s encouraging to see that our approach is resonating with consumers and other marketers alike.” If you missed the link above, read more from Everett, Monster’s Chris Owen, and Highmark Health’s Chris Zdanowski by clicking here: Blanketing the Competition
  • Freelancer Doug McPherson speeds directly into traffic — social media traffic — in his look at marketing in the automotive space. Manufacturers, dealers, and others involved in auto marketing are finding great success online — particularly using Facebook — to reach, groom, and eventually sell to new car buyers. Miss the link above? Here it is again: The Wheel Deal
  • Beyond the shocking stats — such as Facebook and Google owning 85-percent of digital advertising’s growth during the past year — just what is it about these two behemoths that’s drawing marketers to give them so much advertising budget? What can other digital ad outlets do to compete — as Amazon begins to flex its muscles, as well? And what can marketers expect from the digital advertising space in the coming year(s). Freelancer Bridget McCrea digs deep for a few answers that could help. Here’s that link again: The Gigantic Digital Ad Duopoly
  • Freelancer Nicole Urso Reed queries leaders of some of the industry’s key agencies in her latest edition of our ongoing media buying and planning guide. Expansion or consolidation? That is the question. The answer: Both? Neither? Check out the story to find out the latest: Consolidation Rules
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings enter second-quarter 2017 with Response’s own long-form DRTV research. To no one’s shock, the 28:30 space suffered yet another drop: a 4.5-percent decrease that represents the fifth consecutive losing period for the long-form market. Spending was up in the top 30 DMAs, while marketers also invested a bigger share of their pies in the lower-cost satellite and broadcast outlets. For a full look at 2Q 2017 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Suffers Fifth Consecutive Down Quarter
  • Don’t miss October’s power-packed column submissions, as well:
  • Finally, as you might expect, my Editor’s Note column riffs on the changes represented by this issue of Response. What are we thinking by undertaking this refresh of the magazine and the DRMA and — in the case of our annual event, MTC Expo — full rebrand? How are we hoping our readers, members, and attendees respond? If you missed the link above, here it is: Response Refreshed — Here’s to the New World of Marketing!

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Aug 04

Response July: Digital (Focus). Digital (TV). Digital (Creative).

I decided to take a quick Friday break from working up the August and September issues of Response — summer can be a great time to catch up, after all — to recap our recently delivered (and posted) July issue. Along with this month’s cover story — an interview with Tumi/Samsonite C-level executive Charlie Cole — the issue includes features on the shifting market for entertainment content and our annual look at what’s new in the video production space. Let’s dig into how these stories — and other facets of the issue — came together.

  • July’s cover feature got its start in a conference room at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in February. There, at the eTail West event in Palm Desert, Calif., Charlie Cole — then merely chief digital offer for Tumi, who’s since added the title of global chief e-commerce officer for its parent company Samsonite — gave a presentation about his company’s digital marketing and measurement efforts during the past two years. His no-nonsense talk was impressive, and the story it told about Tumi’s efforts was one I wanted to know more about. I reached out to Cole after returning from the event to gauge his interest in a story — and he responded quickly. An open book throughout the process, Cole was one of the more refreshing cove subjects I’ve worked with in recent years. Unsurprisingly, then, the story — just a slice of how Tumi/Samsonite is tackling the great e-commerce revolution — feels like fresh air at a time when marketing and technology teams tend to find themselves at loggerheads more often than necessary. If you missed the link above, here it is once again: Digital Determination
  • What TV will look like three, five — or, god forbid, 10 — years from now is anyone’s guess. Our freelancer Nicole Urso Reed took the assignment for our annual look at marketing in the entertainment space and decided to poke around for answers to that question, as well as what those changes might mean for marketers who’ve long given TV the largest cut of their budgets. From mobile and online video to over-the-top (OTT) and video-on-demand (VOD), the possibilities are exciting. Oh, and Nicole’s headline nod to one of my favorite Dr. Dre songs certainly doesn’t hurt. In case you skipped the link above: The Next Episode
  • Those different possibilities are also driving changes across the video production space, as our freelancer Bridget McCrea continued to learn in her latest look at the production and creative space. Speaking with a half-dozen experts, McCrea finds that different ad lengths — yes, all the way up to a half-hour — still work, depending on the product, the target, and the media outlet. How are producers changing how they do things based on these opportunities? Here’s that story link again: Creative Leverage
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings enter the 2017 calendar year with a look at first-quarter long-form DRTV results. A market that’s lost ground in nine of the past 10 years started 2017 in similar fashion, dropping nearly 12 percent in comparison to its 1Q 2016 totals. However, the problem doesn’t seem to be availability of half-hour spots but rather the gaining power of the lower-cost broadcast and satellite markets at the cost of the contracting cable network sector. As cable pricing continues to fall to compete, overall spending results continue to dip. For a full look at 1Q 2017 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Billings Start 2017 on the Wrong Foot
  • The July issue also includes a number of strong submissions in our column well:
  • My Editor’s Note column got its first inspiration from the wide array of music I listen to each day at my desk (currently playing: The Hold Steady‘s “How a Resurrection Really Feels”) and how important great songs (and great songwriting) are in my everyday life. At its essence, great songwriting is great storytelling. Somehow, in fewer than 500 words — with a well-deserved (and, sure, gratuitous) shot at “bro country” included — I get from there to a brief exposition on Response‘s ongoing transition. If you missed the link above, here it is: A Change in Focus Doesn’t Mean a Change in How We Tell Stories

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!