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!

Oct 19

Response October: DRMA’s Big Winners, FTC’s Big Losers and Some Hope for Long-Form

The October issue of Response was another busy one for me and the team. Let’s take a look at some of the key pieces to the issue!

Response October

The Marketer of the Year Finalists graced Response’s October cover.

  • The 2012 DRMA Marketer of the Year race was a runaway for SENSA Products, but the battle for the other two finalist spots was tight, with Space Bag, recently purchased by consumer package goods behemoth SC Johnson, and Hampton Direct edging a slew of other competitors. What made these companies so strong in 20120? Find out in the cover feature, where SENSA’s Jeff Campbell, Space Bag’s Betty Jamieson-Dunne and Hampton’s Steve Heroux discuss the reasons for their products’ successes. Here’s the link again, if you missed it above: A Taste of Victory
  • The fourth annual MOY (as we call it internally at Response) event was also a big success, drawing around 900 DR industry folks to the Chateau Rooftop in Vegas. See a few pix of who was there in our monthly “But Wait, There’s More” section here: MOY Party a Who’s Who in Vegas!

    Zadspace

    Transpromo agency Zadspace is featured in this month’s DRMA Spotlight.

  • Our DRMA Spotlight focuses this month on a new player in the traditional direct marketing space: Zadspace. The company, which plays in the transpromotional sector of direct, features a familiar face at the helm to long-time DR insiders: Jeff Giordano, who served as chairman of the Electronic Retailing Association in its earlier days. Zadspace’s patented technology and methodology allows companies to place targeted promotions on the outside of DTC packages sent by E-tailers and catalogs. During a summer trip to New York, we were lucky enough to sit down with Jeff both for the print interview that’s featured in the magazine and for a video interview that can be found on our DRMA website. For the print story, once again, click here: Zadspace Turns the Box Upside Down For the video interview, in case you missed the link above, click here: DRMA Spotlight Video with Jeff Giordano
  • MB Chart

    Long-Form Media Bounced Back Big in 2Q 2012.

    The October issue also featured our latest analysis of the DR industry’s quarterly media billings results, this time in the long-form DRTV space. Second-quarter 2012 results — from Response‘s exclusive in-house research —  have the year off to its best six month start in quite a while. The $32 million leap in 2Q 2012 means that long-form DRTV media billings are up more than $40 million total in the year’s first half. For a full look at all the categorical and outlet results, here’s the link: 2Q 2012 Long-Form Media Billings Leap $32 Million

  • Finally, my October Editor’s Note tackles the recent FTC actions — with astoundingly big dollars attached — against some DR marketers. These actions, and their financial aspects, were all the buzz in Las Vegas last month, as many of the members of our Advisory Board are curious to see how the FTC proceeds from here. Is there not a better way to protect consumers than tackling products five years down the line? There will be more on this topic in coming issues of Response. If you missed the link above, here’s my take: The FTC Leans Hard on the DR Business … Again

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!