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

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Sep 18

Response August: Dating, Gumballs and Storage Units

Response August 2015Since we sent the September issue off to print almost two weeks ago, I suppose I’d better get around to my quick recap of the August issue of Response. An intriguing, multifaceted cover story on Social Discovery Ventures, another digital marketer that’s found success by adding offline media to its mix, plus the usual array of news, research, and opinion, gives you plenty of reason to read on for more background on the latest issue.

  • At a trade show in early 2015, I met with Lindsey Carnett of Marketing Maven PR to discuss her client base and see if there might be an interesting story or two out there among them. Near the end of the meeting, Lindsey brought up a dating site client that was involved in sponsoring the international road rally Gumball 3000. She mentioned that this client — which turned out to be SDV, owner of AnastasiaDate.com and AsianDate.com — not only had added a direct response TV campaign to its mix, but that it was inviting journalists to attend all or part of the nine-day, two-continent Gumball rally. During the next few months, with the help of Lindsey and former MMPR staffer Elizabeth Maxim, I was able to interview Anthony Volpe, SDV’s chief marketing officer, about SDV’s overall marketing plan, how a sponsorship of the Gumball event fit within that plan, and put together this feature on the performance-based aspects of their efforts. I also joined
    Hanging with Gumball 3000 founder Maximillion Cooper in Las Vegas on May 29.

    Hanging with Gumball 3000 founder Maximillion Cooper in Las Vegas on May 29.

    the final leg of the Gumball rally — from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, via Death Valley — on May 29-30 (and what an event that was: I’ll just leave this link to a piece from Eric Mack, one of my fellow journalists who was along for the ride) If you missed the link to the cover story above, here it is again: Racing to Success

  • Our writer Bridget McCrea — who was freelancing for the magazine prior to my arrival in 2001 and earns more than her keep every year — brings to life the natural fit of direct response as part of financial services marketers’ performance-based arsenal. For a long time, the financial services space — from local payday loan shops all the way up to multinational investment firms — have been leaders in using DR, and as services (especially online services) expand their power in the market, it’s no surprise that the financial space remains one of the most innovative users of performance-based tactics. If you didn’t already click the link above — here it is: Cracking the Code
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes a look at the first short-form DRTV results of 2015 — and some of you might want to look away. With a 12.8-percent decline, 1Q 2015 results were rather similar to the prior three-month period — 4Q 2014 numbers fell 12.7 percent. Total spending in 1Q 2015 short-form billings was the lowest recorded in any first quarter by Response since 2006. The results were intriguing in light of conversations I had during a recent visit to New York, where I met with a number of agency and network leaders. The buzz about the battle over what exactly constitutes a direct response TV campaign in 2015 was massive — and these reported results don’t exactly give lie to that buzz. For a more in-depth look at 1Q 2015 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: A Rough Start
  • If you remember one thing from my August Editor’s Note column, I’d suggest this: never fill up a 10×10 storage unit with 40-plus years of your life unless you want to spend four consecutive weekends clearing through its contents. If you missed the link to the column above, here it is once again: Slowing Down … to Pick Up Your Sales Pace

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Dec 07

Response November: ICTV’s Rebirth, Mobile’s Expansion and Giving Back

Response November 2014Response’s November issue has been available online since the week before Thanksgiving. Based on some feedback we’ve received, many folks have already taken a good, hard look at the issue. Nonetheless, let’s take a quick look behind the scenes of the book — from the cover story on ICTV Brands and Rich Ransom to a key piece on the expansion of the mobile marketplace, my Thanksgiving thoughts and more!

  • During the summer, I had a conversation with Lindsey Carnett and Elizabeth Maxim of Southern California-based Marketing Maven PR, about their client base and hot topics in the industry. They mentioned the success story of ICTV Brands — a rare publicly traded marketer in the DR business best known for its DermaWand product — and talked about the company’s re-branding and plans to release a series of new products designed for a DR-to-retail rollout. I knew that the DermaWand folks had been through some ups and downs in recent years, but my interest was piqued. So we set a time for me to meet with Rich Ransom, ICTV’s president, for lunch in Santa Monica. What came of that meal you can read in these pages. Both Ransom’s personal history and that of ICTV Brands reads like a real underdog success story. The company’s willingness to push through the hard times, honestly tackle its problems and re-engage consumers is a great one. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Smoothing Out a Few Wrinkles
  • I’m sure anyone involved in direct, digital and data-driven marketing — and even those who aren’t — have heard plenty about “mobile marketing” in recent years. Yes, as consumers rely more and more on their smartphones to keep them connected to the fast-moving world, marketers are finding it more important to figure out how to connect with them there. But, perhaps while marketers were trying to figure out how to connect, consumers’ growing desire to buy via their phones may have solved the riddle. Consumers want to buy via phones — and tech leaders are coming up with simplified ways for those consumers to pay for marketers products. This may be the real “mobile revolution.” If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance: Buying — and Paying — in 1 Touch
  • This month’s DRMA Spotlight revisits OpenJar Concepts. The media and technology agency, located in Temecula, Calif., is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2014. Co-founders Adam Warren and Reno Renaldo sat down to catch up with me regarding the company’s growth since first being featured in the DRMA Spotlight in January 2013 — including intriguing moves in technology, brand development and lead generation. To read the Spotlight story, click here: Technology and Teamwork.
  • In our monthly look at direct response TV and radio media billings, we turn the spotlight on second-quarter 2014 short-form DRTV results. After an incredibly sluggish 2013, the space continues to bounce back strong in 2014, as the “Drug and Toiletry” category and the U.S. Hispanic market drove a 12.4-percent increase during the April-June period. Average spending per campaign not only leaped higher in the top 40, but also down the food chain as well, with smaller campaigns averaging a 5.1-percent average increase in spending. To take a deeper look at 2Q 2014 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Continue 2014 Rebound
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column this month discusses my own personal efforts to provide leadership and expertise to the college students who will eventually take the mantle of this business. Between regular stops to lecture marketing students at San Diego State and my annual involvement in mentoring USC journalism students, perhaps the most rewarding part of gaining knowledge in my career has been the opportunity to share any bit of wisdom I can with the generations behind ours. To read the column, here’s the link once again: Giving Back Is the Best Way to Give Thanks

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!