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 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’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 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 07

Response November: ICTV’s Rebirth, Mobile’s Expansion and Giving Back

Response November 2014Response’s November issue has been available online since the week before Thanksgiving. Based on some feedback we’ve received, many folks have already taken a good, hard look at the issue. Nonetheless, let’s take a quick look behind the scenes of the book — from the cover story on ICTV Brands and Rich Ransom to a key piece on the expansion of the mobile marketplace, my Thanksgiving thoughts and more!

  • During the summer, I had a conversation with Lindsey Carnett and Elizabeth Maxim of Southern California-based Marketing Maven PR, about their client base and hot topics in the industry. They mentioned the success story of ICTV Brands — a rare publicly traded marketer in the DR business best known for its DermaWand product — and talked about the company’s re-branding and plans to release a series of new products designed for a DR-to-retail rollout. I knew that the DermaWand folks had been through some ups and downs in recent years, but my interest was piqued. So we set a time for me to meet with Rich Ransom, ICTV’s president, for lunch in Santa Monica. What came of that meal you can read in these pages. Both Ransom’s personal history and that of ICTV Brands reads like a real underdog success story. The company’s willingness to push through the hard times, honestly tackle its problems and re-engage consumers is a great one. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Smoothing Out a Few Wrinkles
  • I’m sure anyone involved in direct, digital and data-driven marketing — and even those who aren’t — have heard plenty about “mobile marketing” in recent years. Yes, as consumers rely more and more on their smartphones to keep them connected to the fast-moving world, marketers are finding it more important to figure out how to connect with them there. But, perhaps while marketers were trying to figure out how to connect, consumers’ growing desire to buy via their phones may have solved the riddle. Consumers want to buy via phones — and tech leaders are coming up with simplified ways for those consumers to pay for marketers products. This may be the real “mobile revolution.” If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance: Buying — and Paying — in 1 Touch
  • This month’s DRMA Spotlight revisits OpenJar Concepts. The media and technology agency, located in Temecula, Calif., is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2014. Co-founders Adam Warren and Reno Renaldo sat down to catch up with me regarding the company’s growth since first being featured in the DRMA Spotlight in January 2013 — including intriguing moves in technology, brand development and lead generation. To read the Spotlight story, click here: Technology and Teamwork.
  • In our monthly look at direct response TV and radio media billings, we turn the spotlight on second-quarter 2014 short-form DRTV results. After an incredibly sluggish 2013, the space continues to bounce back strong in 2014, as the “Drug and Toiletry” category and the U.S. Hispanic market drove a 12.4-percent increase during the April-June period. Average spending per campaign not only leaped higher in the top 40, but also down the food chain as well, with smaller campaigns averaging a 5.1-percent average increase in spending. To take a deeper look at 2Q 2014 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Continue 2014 Rebound
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column this month discusses my own personal efforts to provide leadership and expertise to the college students who will eventually take the mantle of this business. Between regular stops to lecture marketing students at San Diego State and my annual involvement in mentoring USC journalism students, perhaps the most rewarding part of gaining knowledge in my career has been the opportunity to share any bit of wisdom I can with the generations behind ours. To read the column, here’s the link once again: Giving Back Is the Best Way to Give Thanks

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!