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 JamesAllen.com 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 JamesAllen.com’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 JamesAllen.com 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!

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!