Aug 04

Response July: Don’t Call Them Comebacks

Response July 2016It’s been about 10 days since Response‘s July issue hit the web (and mailboxes). Earlier this week, we wrapped up and sent off our August issue to print. So I’m now able to share a bit about the issue, which is led by  a cover story on long-time performance-based marketing leader Nutrisystem. The issue also features our annual look at production and creative work in the TV/video sector and a feature touching on the latest news in the entertainment market. Read on for some back story on the key facets of the July issue:

  • We at Response have a lengthy knowledge of and history with Nutrisystem and its marketing efforts. The 44-year-old company has been a long-time leader in utilizing performance-based efforts — both offline and online — that have merited our coverage in the past. Additionally, we’ve known, personally, a number of the company’s media strategy leaders over the years. But, while prepping for Response Expo 2016 last winter, we reconnected with the company’s PR head, Robin Shallow, thanks to another old friend of the magazine, Karla Crawford Kerr of ad agency Hawthorne Direct. And though the company’s CMO, Keira Krausz, wasn’t able to swing her schedule to speak at the Expo, we were able to grab this cover story. And what great timing, as Nutrisystem is on a three-year hot streak after some lean years — thanks to Krausz’s leadership and its team’s knowledge of omnichannel marketing. At the same time, the company made a key acquisition while also debuting a brand new campaign in late 2015. If you missed it above, here’s the link: All Systems Go!
  • An annual staple, our feature on the production/creative end of the business, used to be centered fully around DRTV production. But with the expansion of new screens, digital media, and more, the story has expanded to include a deeper dive into the wider world of what might now be called video production. It’s clear that video assets are among the most desired by online marketers — and the experience with the success of video in different facets of online marketing is driving many of these marketers to look at linear TV as an advertising option. Don’t worry — even though we have updated how we look at this feature, our annual “cost of” spot and infomercial production charts remain a major part of the piece. If you missed the link above but want to check out the story, click here: Harnessing the Ever-Shrinking Screen
  • If you didn’t get enough about the power of new screens in the production story, well, the entertainment feature has some more for you. Between the growing power of subscriber video-on-demand (SVOD) and over-the-top (OTT) options and the technological breakthrough of 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) televisions, performance-based marketers have a lot to consider these days. Our Nicole Urso Reed, a one-time senior editor for Response and long-time freelancer, has more in her story: Ready for the Next Big Thing
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the long-form DRTV space for first-quarter 2016 results that continue the sector’s recent run of good fortune. After a three-year losing streak was finally broken in 3Q 2015, results reported in this issue make 1Q 2016 the third consecutive winning quarter. Total time slots purchased rose more than 22 percent, and only fading cable media pricing — which, actually, is a relief to buyers and perhaps a major key to recent success — kept the quarter’s dollar-on-dollar rise below 16 percent. For a full look at 1Q 2016 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Billings Continue Rising in 1Q 2016
  • I wasn’t all that happy with my Editor’s Note column this month. When you’re tasked with writing a monthly column for 15 years, things can get … stale. And, sometimes — when you’re blocked — the writing gets rather clunky. Anyway, the thing you probably want to take from this piece is that we are working hard — at all times — to build our community of readers and advertisers. One recent development in that is the formation of DRMA Committees. While nearly four-dozen industry executives have joined the committees, there’s still room for more volunteers. Get more info on the committees here: DRMA Committees. And if you missed the link above, click here (if you must) to read my latest: Banding Together Can Create Business Freedom

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

May 17

Response April: Gnomes, Phones, and the Rather Well Known

Response April 2016It seems so long ago that we sent Response‘s April issue out the door. But with that happening just prior to the final countdown to Response Expo, followed by hosting the Expo, and then followed by the annual deep breath after the Expo, it’s finally time to share some of the inside information on how the issue came together. Led by a cover story on long-time online travel leader Travelocity, the issue also includes our annual story on the beauty and personal care products space, a key feature on the evolution of mobile as both a marketing and response mechanism, and an exclusive roundtable with the 2016 inductees to the DR Hall of Fame. Here’s a little more on just some of the items you should consider reading:

  • The cover story with Travelocity and its VP of marketing/general manager Brad Wilson was borne of discussions with Atrium PR leader Adrienne Scordato in late 2015. Atrium represents New York media agency Assembly, which won Travelocity’s business last year. With the help of Travelocity’s on PR insider Keith Nowak, we were able to pull together a very strong story about the marketer that’s celebrating 20 years in business, making it the longest-tenured of all the leading online travel sites. Wilson — a personable and thoughtful interviewee — is a veteran of direct-to-consumer marketing, having served at and Nutrisystem prior to joining Travelocity. In all, Travelocity’s story of combining online and offline marketing strengths (behind it’s well-known brand presence, the Roaming Gnome) may be the most powerful of our recent features focusing on such multichannel success. If you missed it above, here’s the link: Where the Gnome Roams
  • The rapid ascent of mobile as a marketing outlet and — perhaps more importantly — a consumer’s preferred viewing and response mechanism has changed the game for both sides of the marketing divide. With consumers spending more time on mobile devices than PCs or laptops — and with mobile commerce growing by leaps and bounds every month — marketers are seeking new ways to reach those consumers how and when they want. Freelancer Pat Cauley tracked down a number of marketers trying to make inroads in the mobile game — and going about it in vastly different ways. If you missed the link above but want to check out the story, click here: The Mobile Monarchy
  • On April 28, I was privileged to welcome all eight of our 2016 inductees to the DR Hall of Fame in our ceremonies at Response Expo. With six of those inductees on hand, it was an honor to introduce them and share with our attendees the joy and gratitude each of those inductees displayed in their acceptance speeches. As part of the April issue (which was available around the Expo in San Diego), we were able to conduct a roundtable with the seven living inductees. From fond remembrances to insight for the future, the resulting story is definitely worth a look: Worthy Winners
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the long-form DRTV space for fourth-quarter 2015 results. For a second consecutive quarter, the long-form market grew — inspiring some hope for 2016 after a long three-year downturn that finally subsided in the middle of last year. The quarter’s 7.7-percent increase (and a 6.6-percent jump for the final six months of the year) helped annual results in the long-form space nearly break even for 2015 as a whole. For a full look at 4Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Billings Build Momentum for 2016
  • An exceedingly strong group of guest columnists joined us in April (just take a look at these linked pieces: Media Zone; Support Services; En Español; Net Gains; and Guest Opinion). When that happens, I feel a bit more pressure on my Editor’s Note piece. Add in the Response Expo factor, and it was as good a time as any to restate Response‘s focus in the ever-changing and growing world we now refer to as “performance-based marketing.” And, as I note near the end of the piece, I do love feedback — in person, via phone, via email, and, yes, via the blog. If you missed the link above, click here to read (and respond to) my latest: Performance-Based Marketers Capitalize on the Present — and Drive the Future

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!