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 Match.com 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!

Nov 06

Response October: Autobytel Aspires, Columnists’ Desires, and Yogi Inspires

Response October 2015After a hectic October, a week full of prepping and planning for year’s end and — I can’t believe I’m saying this already — Response Expo, I finally have a chance on this Friday afternoon to take a look back at Response‘s October issue. For years, we’ve covered the automotive marketing space with a general feature in October, so we’re happy that our cover story on Autobytel, which had been in planning and prep for about 3-4 months, fell into this issue as well. Beyond those features, you’ll also catch our semi-annual media buying and planning guide, a DRMA Spotlight Update, and — as usual — our regular array of research and industry opinion. Let’s touch on some of the key pieces.

  • My first connection to the eventual Autobytel cover feature on Jeff Coats came during a May trip to Las Vegas covering another story for the magazine. There, I met Benjamin Hunting, a freelance writer with a presence in the automotive journalism space, who also does some editing work for Autobytel. A month or so later, Ben connected me with PR contact Jennifer Lange, to whom I pitched a feature on Autobytel’s multichannel, performance-driven campaigns — in both the B2B and B2C realms. It was a natural fit for us, geographically, as well — Autobytel’s offices are less than five miles from those of Response. From there, the interview and photo shoot pulled together fairly smoothly, and the piece is very intriguing from both a historical and current perspective. If you missed the link to the cover story above, here it is again: An Automotive Matchmaker
  • Tony BesasieOur latest DRMA Spotlight Update checked back in with Cannella Response Television and its president, Tony Besasie. The company is celebrating 30 years in business in 2015, but that’s far from the most noteworthy thing happening in its Burlington, Wis., and Los Angeles offices. Besasie and the company’s leadership are looking ahead, with a vision based on the current status of the TV and video advertising space — and its future. If you missed the link above, here’s your chance to hear from one of the DRMA’s leading member companies: 30 Years in, Cannella Response Television Keeps Looking Ahead
  • October was another heavy month for submitted opinion columns from industry experts in the mag, with a half-dozen takes on topics as widespread as doing business based on fear or love to the power (and folly) of self-assumed titles. However, two columns again stuck out as crucial conversation starters: Sean Fay of Seattle-based Envision Response wrote about how consumers’ mental triggers can be pulled in very similar ways by both digital and TV performance-based marketing campaigns. Even more provocatively, in a column that had its origins in a rollicking lunch conversation in New York in June, Tina Messina of Scripps Networks contends the term “direct response” simply isn’t carrying its weight anymore in the TV media sales space and asks readers, “What would you call it?” at the end of a well-written, and well-argued, piece.
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap returns to long-form DRTV for second-quarter 2015 results — and things are pretty much status quo. For the 11th consecutive quarter, long-form DRTV billings slipped — this time by 10.3 percent, marking the lowest 2Q spend since 2004. Though most of the news was predictably dour for the space, one slight positive did arise — cable pricing for a half-hour slot finally dropped after remaining stubbornly high throughout 2014. This helped the cable outlet gain market share, and likely helped the quarter’s total spend from falling even more precipitously. For a more in-depth look at 2Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: 2Q 2015 Long-Form DRTV Billings Slide Again
  • Yogi Berra Finally, as a lifelong baseball fan, October is always a special time. When Hall of Famer Yogi Berra passed away on Sept. 22, he not only left behind a brilliant baseball career, but also some of the most memorable — and confusing — quotes uttered by a public figure during the past five decades. That confluence — the time of year and Berra’s “way” with malapropisms — provided all the inspiration I needed for my October Editor’s Note column. One quote, in particular, seemed perfectly fitting for the current state of the overcrowded digital marketing space — and gave me a chance to riff on the continuing opportunities in offline media for marketers of all stripes — even Yankee pinstripes. If you missed the link to the column above, here it is once again: Berra’s Wit and Wisdom Can Benefit Today’s Marketers

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!