Apr 06

Response March: Bubbles Only the Beginning of a Bevy of Bylines

Response March 2018Response‘s March Issue debuted in print at our DRMA Chicago Reception on March 12 and was online by that week’s end. After one planned cover story fell out in late January, we did far better than we could have expected while scrambling to backfill: the issue’s cover feature offers an interview with SodaStream‘s Matti Yahav, timely given March’s annual International Home + Housewares Show. Our inaugural commerce spotlight feature — as part of our new editorial calendar focus on quarterly updates on media, technology, and commerce — looks, of course, at Amazon. The issue also offers a story on the latest marketing shifts in the housewares and hardware markets, a Response Advisors’ Forum roundtable about the future of TV, and a DRMA Spotlight story on the changing of the guard at Lincoln Media Services. We also take a look at 3Q 2017 DR radio media billings, and four contributed columns share some solid opinions. Here’s how the issue came together.

  • After losing my scheduled March cover story in late January, I started scouring our research partners’ rankings and listings for recent campaigns having success in the housewares space. We always try to get a housewares marketer on the cover in March due to the Housewares show and our long-term tradition of hosting a networking event during the show. SodaStream was one name that popped up a number of times that afternoon, and after searching for the company’s press releases, I came across a PR contact with a familiar name — Stephanie Goldman of The Pollack Group. Turns out, as Stephanie noted in her quick response to my email query, that the name was familiar because we’d done some work together during her time at Steinreich Communications, another New York-area agency. The good fortune that strikes when you network, eh? Stephanie and the SodaStream team were excited about the possibility and the story is one that ended up focused on the marketer’s brand refresh as an environmentally conscious, healthy sparkling water brand. Before I go on any more, if you missed the link above, click here: A Sparkling Success
  • Freelancer Pat Cauley handled our first commerce spotlight feature, which looks at how different marketers are attacking the opportunity to drive brand and sales on the behemoth that is Amazon. From an independent start-up, to an established As Seen On TV marketer, to a broker that groupsindependent products under its own Amazon shop, the piece shares a bit of what marketers can expect when trying to sell on Amazon today. Want to hear more from these folks? You can, at MTC Expo on Wednesday, April 25 at 3:20 p.m., in a session entitled Making Amazon Work. For now, though, if you missed the link: Unpacking Amazon
  • Our freelancer Bridget McCrea takes a dive into the housewares and hardware spaces — long-time evergreens for direct-to-consumer success. What’s affecting them today? Well, Amazon (of course) plays a
    Raised Chicago March 2018

    The view from our DRMA Chicago Reception on March 12.

    major role, but so too does the country’s real estate and housing boom. What’s working and what’s not? Here’s that link again: ‘Wares in Demand … Everywhere

  • Seven members of our Response Advisory Board responded to a set of questions about the future of television in our first quarterly Advisors’ Forum of 2018. Addressability, shifting video consumption, industry consolidation, SVOD providers’ investments in content — all of these topics and more are discussed in the online version, which features our advisors complete and unabridged answers. Miss the link? Here you go: Far From Crystal Clear
  • With Amanda Jones taking the helm from founder (and father) Gary Jones, the time was right to catch up with the team at DRMA-member company Lincoln Media Services for a DRMA Spotlight story. Gary Jones, who founded the media business two decades ago, is ready to focus on his long-time interest in aviation, but he’s been working with Amanda to prepare her to take the company’s reins for a number of years. What does the transition mean? Find out: From Father to Daughter, 2 Decades of Success
  • Third-quarter 2017 DR radio media billings are highlighted in our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research. For the third consecutive quarter, our partner Kantar Media says the radio space slipped, this time by a surprising 42.6 percent, leaving DR radio with its lowest third-quarter spend in four years. Continuing losses in the local radio sector remain concerning. For a full look at 3Q 2017 DR radio media billings, click here: Third Quarter Is 2017’s Worst Yet for DR Radio Billings
  • The March issue also offers a quartet of contributed columns:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column jumps from a pair of divergent customer service experiences during my recent travels. The idea: how one good — or bad — experience can change a customer’s perspective, for a long time to come. Interested? Click here: A Single Experience Can Lose a Long-Time Customer, or Gain a New One

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Dec 15

Response November: Yellow Boots, the Travel Bug, and the Power of Experiences

Following closely on the heels of my (admittedly quite late) look back at our October issue, let’s take a gander at the November book, which is headlined by a cover feature on well-known shoe and apparel brand Timberland. Our second issue under our sleek new masthead and tagline also features our annual look at the travel marketing space and an update on the technological advances driving the expanding home shopping space. And, as usual, there’s the latest look at media billings statistics, as well as a trove of intriguing thoughts and opinions in our column well. Let’s take a look at the issue’s highlights and how the key stories came together.

  • In early June, I attended an educational session at the IRCE event in Chicago featuring Timberland’s Frank Hwang and representatives of Olapic, an agency specializing in maximizing the effects of user-generated content. Rightfully intrigued by the success of the company’s “We Built It, You Made It” campaign for its iconic Yellow Boot (yes, that’s Frank sporting a pair on the cover), I spoke with Frank and the Olapic team after the session. Upon returning home, I was connected with Nora Garrity, Timberland’s senior PR manager. With Nora’s tremendous assistance, we began to build what became this three-pronged cover feature, which includes interviews with Frank, Mike Isabella, the company’s consumer engagement director (also on the cover), and Jim Davey, Timberland’s vice president of marketing. If you missed the link above, click here for Timberland’s story of using performance-based marketing to promote such a strong brand in this consumer-centric era (and, yes, the headline indeed comes from the classic John Coltrane song/album): Giant Steps
  • One of our key freelancers, Nicole Urso Reed, says urges for one-stop shopping and personalized service are tweaking travel marketing in new and different ways. Yes, the power of the Expedias, Orbitzes, and other all-in-one discounters is here to stay. But discerning travelers are seeking more: more chances to check out reviews and book in the same place (think TripAdvisor); and more opportunities to create their own specialized itineraries with the help of local or demographic experts — think old-school travel agents, but better. Check out the story for more: All-Inclusive Adventures
  • As anyone who’s been around more than a few years knows, the home shopping TV networks are the (still living) ancestors of today’s e-commerce megasites. So, if you thought that QVC acquiring HSN and becoming the nation’s third-largest e-commerce player was the story of the year in home shopping, well … yea, you’re right. But, as usual, freelancer Bridget McCrea digs deeper to find that some of the smaller, more nimble players are driving advances in the home shopping space, particularly through the use of mobile apps and other digital technologies. Here’s that link again: Home Shopping’s Digital Evolution
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings research focuses on second-quarter 2017 short-form DRTV research provided by our partner Kantar Media. After ending a bit of a losing streak during the second-half of 2016, the short-form space has continued gaining ground in the first half of this year. As a matter of fact, 2Q results left the short-form market up by more than $327 million during 2017’s first six months compared to the same period of the year earlier. For a full look at 2Q 2017 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Reach a Year’s Worth of Hikes
  • The November issue also features a trio of solid submissions in our column section:
    • In a strong Media Zone piece, Koeppel Direct‘s Peter Koeppel delivers five suggestions on how to reach the coveted millennial market.
    • In a timely Support Services column, Moulton LogisticsPatrick Moulton says a marketer’s job is only half done when they make it to a home shopping network. With more home shopping outlets now preferring drop-shipping, what do marketers need to know about this particular back-end service?
    • Barbara Kerry‘s Production House column tackles the other end of the generational spectrum, as Script to Screen‘s leader says that TV remains a powerful tool to reach Boomers, who still hold much of the nation’s spending power.
  • Finally, the inspiration for my Editor’s Note column about valuing the power of experiences over the accumulation of things (and what that might mean for marketers) came partly from an October spent attending the National League playoffs and World Series at Dodger Stadium. Though my childhood team (yes, the Dodgers) eventually lost Game 7 of a great World Series to the Houston Astros, the experience of attending all eight of L.A.’s 2017 home playoff games is one that will live with me forever. Reaching consumers’ indelible memories to create an emotional attachment to a brand is a strategy as old as advertising itself (just see the “Mad Men” clip I reference in the column). But what’s different about consumers today? That’s where the column has some thoughts you might carry ahead: Consumers Can Power Campaigns With Powerful Experiences

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Oct 13

Response September: 25 Years Down and a Transition to Come

Following on the heels of my August recap, here’s a look at Response‘s September issue — the last issue of our 25th year of publication and the final issue prior to the brand refresh we’ve been working on in recent weeks. Appropriately, then, the issue is led by a cover story about a traditional direct-to-consumer marketer also celebrating its 25th anniversary: Tristar Products. Beyond that, September’s book includes a look at marketing in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market, a piece on the power of video marketing (no matter the medium) driving the convergence of media, technology, and commerce, and our 22nd annual State of the Industry report. Let’s take a look at how these — and other stories — came together to form this transitional issue.

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