Apr 24

Response April: The Energy of Qunol, Legendary Wisdom and Laurels for Long-Form

Response April 2013The April issue of Response has been available online since early this month, but with the wear and tear of Response Expo, followed closely by last weekend’s run to the Coachella music festival in the desert, time’s been tight for updates! However, the April issue did feature an up-close look at a supplement marketer that’s gone from invention to top-5 in-category at Wal-Mart in just five years, as well as personal thoughts from six of the nine inductees in the inaugural class in the Direct Response Hall of Fame – among other stories. Let’s take a look at those and some of the other key pieces in the issue:

  • Our cover feature on top-selling supplement Qunol and its parent company’s leader, Peter Boutros, was part of a true package deal for attendees at Response Expo earlier this month. While working on a special panel on using DR to create retail success with Lockard & Wechsler Direct‘s Dick Wechsler, he mentioned Boutros as a possible speaker. Peter graciously accepted and, after learning more on the background of Quten Research Institute and its use of DR to drive retail – and retail only – for Qunol, it was clear that this was the perfect combination of product and person to highlight in this new era of direct response. In the coming days, when the audio from each Expo session becomes available at ResponseExpo.com, I’d urge you to seek out his session. Until then, here’s the link again, if you missed it above: Energizing Qunol
  • We were extremely proud to induct our inaugural class into the brand new DR Hall of Fame on April 4 in San Diego. As part of the coverage, we were able to catch up with six of the nine legendary members of the class in a very special Q&A about their histories in the business, what makes direct response marketing special and their thoughts on where DR goes from here. This story is a “can’t miss” for anyone who fashions him or herself a DR expert. If you missed the link above, click here: Pearls of Wisdom
  • In DRMA news, the newly rebranded Monarch Direct Response is in the Spotlight this month. Since leaving Mercury Media to form Media Stream Direct a few years back, industry stalwart Eitan Cohen had built his company into one of the most competitive DR media agencies in the biz. To reflect that growth – and the level of service his clients have come to expect – Cohen and his team decided to rename and rebrand the company last month. If you missed the link above to the Spotlight feature, click here: A New Reign
  • Our latest analysis of the DR industry’s quarterly media billings results circles back to long-form DRTV billings’ 4Q 2012 results, which were cause for excitement, as the quarter’s negligible loss helped the final overall total reach $1.05 billion, marking the first year-on-year rise in the long-form space since 2006. Healthy competition for half-hour space, and the continued rise in 30-minute pricing – especially in the cable world – were the main drivers for 2012’s long-awaited results. For a full look at all the categorical and outlet results, here’s the link: 4Q 2012 Results Clinch First Annual Jump Since ’06
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note welcomed our 3,000 attendees to San Diego for Response Expo 2013, which was in full swing just three weeks ago (it already seems so long ago). We’re so thankful to all of our, advertisers, readers, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees for making the magazine and the Expo the consistent successes they’ve been over the years. From our operational perspective, the 2013 Expo was the smoothest ride yet in the seven years we’ve hosted the event – and much of the credit for that goes to our small but committed staff. We hope that your experience – if you joined us – was not only glitch-free, but fun and fruitful. And we’re looking forward to doing it all over again next April 29-May 1! If you missed the link to my the column above, here it is once again: Who’s In? At Response Expo 2013, Anyone and Everyone

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 18

Response March: An Ameriprise Package, Knight Time at Expo and Cannella in the Spotlight

Response March 2013The March issue of Response is now available online. From an intriguing look at a direct-to-consumer insurance group working under the umbrella of one of the largest financial service firms in America to the announcement of Bob Knight as Response Expo keynoter and more, let’s take a look at some of the key pieces to the issue!

  • Much like last month, our cover feature on Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance and its vice president of marketing, Lisa Jossart, saw its genesis from a meeting request at last October’s DMA show in Las Vegas. I spent some time listening to one of Jossart’s key players, Jill Fochs, during an educational session. Fochs’ expertise on the digital side of direct — specifically in social media — was so interesting that we decided to bring her on to present a case study at Response Expo on Thursday, April 4. Jill connected me with Lisa, whose expertise in direct-to-consumer marketing — and an interesting twist on partner marketing — is, suffice it to say, expansive. Here’s the link again, if you missed it above: Doing Direct Differently
  • Once again, there are two items of note in our Field Reports (aka, news) section this month. One is my Q&A with long-time DR industry production leader Rick McIntosh about his company’s history, recent successes and hopes for the future. The other is the announcement of our Response Expo keynote speaker: coaching legend Bob Knight. As a sports fan, Knight’s history of success is as appealing as his personality is polarizing. There’s no question Expo attendees are in for an interesting evening when Knight kicks off the Expo on Tuesday, April 2. The good thing is, there’s still time to register to catch Knight and all of the rest of the special events and opportunities Response Expo has in store. Check out these stories and more DR news here: Field Reports March
  • In DRMA news, Cannella Response Television is in the Spotlight this month. We’ve been working with the Burlington, Wis. and Los Angeles-based company for years here at Response, so catching up with Tony Besasie and Rob Medved about the company’s years of leadership in the long-form media buying space wasn’t unexpected. However, hearing the duo talk so incisively about the direct response marketing space as a whole — from television to digital and more — was refreshing in a world where many get so locked into their little slice of the pie. To watch the video interview I shot in Wisconsin in mid-January, click this link: DRMA Spotlight Video on Cannella Response Television or check out the print story here: Staying Ahead of the Curve
  • Our latest analysis of the DR industry’s quarterly media billings results circles back to DR radio billings’ 3Q results. Mirroring both long-form and short-form television counterparts, DR radio results stayed essentially even with the same quarter of 2011, helping the overall outlook for 2012 remain solid. For a full look at all the categorical and outlet results, here’s the link: 3Q 2012 DR Radio Media Billings Down $233K
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note waxes a bit on stretching our your business travel legs during the past month or so before swinging into why you must make sure that Response Expo is a part of your 2013 travel schedule. You can say I’m biased when I say that the Expo will be your best business travel investment of the year — and you’d be right. But just because I have that natural bias for and belief in my own work and that of the Response team doesn’t mean I’m wrong. 🙂 If you missed the link to my the column above, here it is once again: Next Month’s Response Expo Will Be Your Best Biz Travel Investment of 2013

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jan 17

Response January: Creative Genius, Media Matters and DRMA Leaders

Response January 2013The January issue of Response is now available online. It was a pleasure to kick off the new year with a lot of positive stories and great news for the DR industry  Let’s take a look at some of the key pieces to the issue!

  • Our cover feature on the extremely successful Baby Genius brand of children’s music and video (and more) products started percolating during a meeting with Response Advisory Board member Denise Kovac in September. A line of products that’s had fantastic retail success for well over a decade jumping into DRTV is always of interest to us, and this story came with a bonus — the eventual cover subject became Larry Balaban, the creative mind behind Baby Genius since its beginnings. Balaban is one of those folks that is easy to interview because he so genuinely believes in his products, loves what he does and feels that he’s making a difference for his audience: parents and their young children. When you’ve done as many cover interviews as I have, it’s always a wonderful breath of fresh air to pick up the phone and find a guy like Larry on the other end of the line. Hopefully, it comes across in the story. Here’s the link again, if you missed it above: Hitting a Marketing High Note
  • Our first quarterly Response Advisors Forum touches on the continuing expansion of the DR media market since the second half of 2011 and what to expect as 2013 gets underway. The topic drew out a big number of advisors who bounced back and forth on the reasons why the market is thriving, what the biggest challenges are for 2013, and how TV technology like DVRs, VOD and OTT are going to continue to affect the business. Best of all, the version of this story online is a vast expansion of the piece that appears in the print magazine, allowing each answer from each respondent to appear. Check it out now: The Future’s So Bright?
  • On Dec. 11 in New York, we were happy to announce that Nancy Lazkani of Icon Media Direct in Van Nuys, Calif., had won an industry-wide vote of her peers to earn the 2012 Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Member of the Year award. Lazkani’s long history in the DRTV space is a well-known story to Response‘s readers, and her continuing commitment to bettering not only Icon’s fortunes but also that of the entire business does not go unnoticed. We caught up with the second winner of this prestigious honor for an exclusive interview. Don’t miss it: Lazkani Earns DRMA Member of the Year Honors
  • In other DRMA news, Temecula, Calif.-based OpenJar Concepts is the subject of this month’s DRMA Spotlight feature. We’ve known Adam Warren and Reno Renaldo, the team behind the three-year old company, for a number of years, and you’re not likely to meet a better duo — both as businessmen and people. Working with them on this story, especially while filming the video interview, was a complete pleasure, because not only are they good guys, but they have a damned good story to tell about a biz that’s crucial in our space. To watch the video interview, click this link: DRMA Spotlight Video on OpenJar Concepts or check out the print story here: They’re All the Buzz
  • Our latest analysis of the DR industry’s quarterly media billings results circles back to long-form DRTV billings’ 3Q results. While third-quarter was by far the weakest quarter of 2012 so far, the results — which were essentially flat when compared with 3Q 2011 — remained promising for the year as a whole. Since DRTV media in 3Q faced a huge Summer Olympics, as well as a building presidential campaign, there was some fear of a big drop. Instead, should fourth-quarter results match 2011, the full-year 2012 will likely be long-form’s biggest since pre-crash 2008. For a full look at all the categorical and outlet results, here’s the link: Long-Form Media Billings Stay Flat in 3Q 2012
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note turns the idea of outlandish New Year’s resolutions on its head a bit by talking about setting reachable goals and how that can actually help make those resolutions stick. Before I share the link again, I want to thank those of you (and there were many more than normal) who responded to my December column about the new greed of Thanksgiving weekend. The feedback is much appreciated. If you missed the link to my January piece above, here’s my take: Making Resolutions That Stick

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!