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!

Apr 18

Response March: Joy, Household Toys, and 15 Years, Oh Boy!

Response March 2016After a visit to the Housewares show in Chicago (while also hosting our annual DRMA cocktail party there), a 10-day Ireland vacation, and the twin deadlines of our April issue and finalizing the speaker roster for Response Expo, I finally have a little breathing room to look back at Response‘s March issue. With a rather timely cover feature on DR Hall of Famer and award-winning biopic subject Joy Mangano, our annual look at the housewares and hardware markets, and our first Response Advisory Board roundtable of 2016 tackling the media challenges presented by election and Olympic ad spend, the magazine packed a lot of punch in its 60 pages. Here are some of the key pieces you should consider taking a look at:

  • The cover story on industry legend and 2015 DR Hall of Famer Joy Mangano was a long time coming, honestly. We had hoped to bring a feature to our readers about Mangano since the first announcement that director David O. Russell and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence were teaming to bring her story to the big screen. Mangano’s involvement in “Joy,” which netted Lawrence a Golden Globe in January, plus her creation of the retail launch discussed in the feature, took her off the board in 2015. The idea to bring readers a story about Mangano was resuscitated during a January conversation with Hawthorne Direct‘s Karla Crawford Kerr about an educational session that’s taking place at next week’s Response Expo. I mused that I was still looking for a cover for our March issue, which is always featured at the International Home+Housewares Show, and Karla immediately mentioned Joy as a perfect fit — now more than ever — if we could make it happen. She was absolutely right, and Mangano’s PR team jumped on the opportunity immediately once I reached out. The phone interview with Mangano really was an absolute joy (pardon the pun). Here’s the link to catch up with Mangano, if you missed it above: What a Joy!
  • For the first time, we combined our looks at the housewares and hardware markets into a single feature story (a combination necessitated by the addition of features on two burgeoning markets — digital goods and business solutions — to our annual editorial calendar). Our freelancer Doug McPherson did a great job with both markets, diving into the vast expansion of digital marketing and sales for both verticals. If you missed the link above but want to check it out, click here: Housewares Finds a Home
  • Our first Response Advisors Forum of 2016 tackled the year’s big TV media topics: how 11 months’ worth of political advertising and two weeks worth of Olympics advertising tying up the NBCUniversal networks will affect availability, pricing, and more. With as much as $12.5 billion expected to be spent in conjunction with the U.S. election cycle and Rio Olympics, the squeeze is on for marketers across the board. But our Advisory Board says that solid planning and a little ingenuity can help advertisers not only overcome the challenges, but thrive through them. One more thing: the online story is a web-exclusive expanded version of the story that ran in print. To see the unabridged answers from our experts, and missed the link above, just click here: A Long Run … and a Short Sprint
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio space for third-quarter 2015 results. While the radio market enjoyed its second-best 3Q results in the past six years, a pullback in spending by a single marketer doomed the space to a 10.2-percent dip from 2014’s stellar third quarter. That marketer’s reduced spending was also a big factor in losses in both the network radio outlet and the “Drug and Toiletry” category. For a full look at 3Q 2015 DR radio media billings — and to find out the culprit in those decreases — click here: 3Q 2015 Short-Form DR Billings Continue Reset After Kantar Shift
  • Fifteen years. 15. My Editor’s Note marks a decade-and-a-half since I joined the Response team as the magazine’s lead editor. What a difference time can make … I mean, look at the damn headshot. What’s that shirt-tie combo about? And I don’t remember having all that hair! Anyway, it’s been one hell of a good time putting this magazine together for our readers — and co-creating Response Expo … and the DRMA … with our esteemed publisher (and, more importantly, my friend) John Yarrington. As usual, looking back also gives one a chance to look ahead, so if you missed the link above, click here to catch some of my thoughts on our past, present, and future: Looking Back on 15 Years Crystallizes a View of the Future

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Apr 13

Response March: Vistaprint’s Vision, Housewares Galore and a New Spotlight

Forgive me for my tardiness, but the March issue of ResponseResponse Digital March went live less than a week before my wedding and 2-week honeymoon to Fiji — so, honestly, getting this post up took a pretty deep back seat to all of that. When I returned to work a little more than a week ago, it was right into the teeth of planning for next week’s Response Expo. However, late this afternoon, I had a chance to dig into the issue for my regular look at some of the back story behind some key pieces in the issue.

  • This month’s cover feature on Vistaprint, the now well-known online business services provider, came to us via our link with media agency Havas Edge. For years, the presenting sponsor of Response Expo‘s keynote address, Edge and its leader, Steve Netzley (a member of Response‘s Advisory Board), are not only key partners for us but also one of the leading media agencies in the direct, digital and data-driven world. Netzley connected me directly with Peter Tardif, Vistaprint’s director of North American channels and markets, in fall 2014. His company’s story of utilizing offline media to drive response to Vistaprint’s website is one that’s becoming more and more familiar to readers of Response. Next week, Expo attendees interested in hearing more about Tardif’s work at Vistaprint will have the opportunity to see him as part of a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 22 at 3 p.m. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Getting Down to Business
  • As usual, our March issue was timed out to take part in bonus distribution opportunities at the International Home+Housewares Show in Chicago — as well as our very own DRMA reception during the event. With housewares continuing to be a crucial category for marketers and service providers in our world, we took our annual look at what’s hot and happening in the space — from both a product and a method standpoint. Not surprisingly, digital continues to expand its influence among housewares marketers big and small. If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance to read the story: Moving Housewares
  • The March issue also marks the return of our DRMA Spotlight section after a few months off, as DRMA member Swipe Payment Solutions joined us for a Spotlight Update Q&A. Now chief operations officer for the payment processing company, Curtis Kleinman is well-known in the direct response space for his tireless networking efforts. If you missed the link above and want to catch up with what’s new at Swipe, click here: DRMA Spotlight: Processing the Right Answers for Clients
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings update focuses on third-quarter 2014 DR radio results, which were shockingly good. With a 50-percent jump over 2013’s 3Q numbers — pushed mainly by the network radio outlet and the “Drug and Toiletry” category — these third-quarter results were the best in the DR radio market since the middle of the past decade. For a deeper dive into 3Q 2014 DR radio media billings, click here: 3Q 2014 DR Radio Media Billings Spike 50.3 Percent
  • As noted in last month’s blog post, February marked the debut of for our new exclusive research page provided via a partnership with DRMetrix. I’m of such a strong opinion on the power of this new research that I decided to cover it once again in my Editor’s Note column this month. For years, research in direct response television has been hampered by a number of blind spots and a lack of technology. DRMetrix truly takes some major strides in shining a light on some of those long-term dark spaces. In case you missed the link to the piece, here it is once again: Introducing the ‘Metrix’ System: New Research for All Marketers Using DR

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!