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!

Aug 12

Response July: Weary Legs and Entertaining Experiences

Response July 2015Last October, what eventually became the cover story for the July issue of Response had a simple genesis — I wanted to rest my weary legs. For more of that story and additional background on other key parts of the issue that hit mailboxes and the Web a few weeks back, read on!

  • Weary legs? Well, yes. I was attending the annual DMA conference in San Diego, and it’d been a long day of walking from show floor to session and back (and forth, and back again). During one afternoon time frame, I’d noted two possible educational sessions to pop into, in order to listen to and meet the marketers who were speaking on stage — and those weary legs told me, “Just go to the closest one.” It was there that I saw Alessandra Souers, brand director for JibJab, as part of a group discussing the future of online marketing. For those of you familiar with Response Expo, you know that Souers eventually sat on a panel at our event this past April. She’s one of the brighter young minds in marketing — and pretty darned amusing on Twitter, I might add. After her appearance at the Expo, I tossed out the idea of a cover story on JibJab’s marketing efforts — long focused online, but in recent holiday seasons, also dipping a toe into the pool of direct response TV. Not only did she help bring this cover to life, she actually got me all the way to the top — an interview with the company’s co-founder and CEO, Gregg Spiridellis. Among the many “online-to-offline” marketers we’ve covered of late, JibJab’s story of going from viral-video groundbreaker to monetized marketing leader may be the most interesting. If you missed the link above, here it is again: More Than Just Talking Heads
  • As one who prefers the value of finding and enjoying great experiences over the concept of buying “things,” I enjoyed the angle our writer Nicole Urso Reed — a one-time staffer at both Response and JibJab, and one of my most versatile and talented long-time freelancers — took for our annual look at marketing in the entertainment space. The idea that a consumer is looking for a great experience from not only events, but actual hard products, shouldn’t be news today. This evolving consumer is ever-more-picky about what he or she desires from time, money — and gadgets. If you didn’t already click the link above — here it is: Selling the Good Vibes
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes a look at the first long-form DRTV results of 2015 — and they continue what’s now a 2.5-year downward trend. Total spending in 1Q 2015 long-form billings was the lowest recorded in any first quarter by Response since 2001. If there is to be a rebound in the infomercial media space in the final nine months of 2015, it’s likely to be led by the market’s two biggest categories: beauty and fitness. However, while fitness had a strong first quarter, beauty remained mired in a slump that kicked in last year. For a more in-depth look at 1Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Stabilization, No Rebound, for 1Q Long-Form DRTV Billings
  • One steamy day of meetings in New York City in late June is the jumping off point for my July Editor’s Note column. As we reached the halfway point of what’s been a year of transition for the direct, digital and data-driven marketing world — and our role in it — listening to the comments from the many agency and network leaders we met with during that visit prompted some reflection on the first six months, as well as an opportunity to look ahead to closing out 2015 strong. Here’s that link once again: The Summer Heat Provides Its Own Time for Reflection

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jul 30

Response July: Turner’s Rise, Social Success and a Yahoo! Daily Ticker Link

Response July 2013The July issue of Response has been available online for a couple of weeks now. Hopefully, if you’re one of our readers, you’ve taken a look at it, but — if not — here’s some back story on the cover feature on Turner’s Jason Baron and Katrina Cukaj, as well as a number of the other key pieces in the issue:

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!