Mar 30

Response March: Housewares Legends and Consumer Journey Lessons

The March issue of Response hit the web and began delivering to mailboxes around St. Patrick’s Day — and had a nice splash at both the International Home+Housewares Show and our own DRMA Chicago Reception on March 20. This month, we reached back to our roots in the As Seen On TV space for a rare cover feature on an old-school DRTV marketer — Top Dog Direct. In addition, there’s part three of our four-part series on the consumer journey, a feature on the housewares and hardware markets, and our most recent Response Advisors Forum feature, which takes on questions about consumer privacy and data security. For more on how the March issue emerged, read on:

  • If you’ve been around the DRTV business for any appreciable amount of time, you’ve likely met Bill McAlister, president and CEO of Trevose, Pa.-based Top Dog Direct. He’s been a fixture in the As Seen On TV world since he arrived at HSN in the 1980s. And his group of companies, which were united under the Top Dog umbrella a couple of years ago, have been responsible for a series of DRTV-to-retail hits: Urine Gone; Mighty Putty; the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow; Tag Away; and the BeActive Brace — among many others. Many of those hits have been in the housewares space, which is why Top Dog always has a major presence at the Housewares Show in Chicago every March — so the timing on this piece couldn’t have been better. It was a pleasure to interview McAlister — he’s engaging, funny, and one of the most open interviewees I’ve worked with in years. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Big Bark, Bigger Bite
  • The third of our four-part “Consumer Journey” series leading into April’s Response Expo — which will feature a six-session track on the topic — focuses on the purchase. When a consumer becomes a customer is a clear moment of truth for any marketer — but much more goes into that moment than meets the eye. Technology plays a key role in making consumers comfortable enough to go through with the purchase — especially safe payment processing for increasing digital purchases. Key freelancer Nicole Urso Reed has done a great job handling this series, and in this issue, she caught up with payment processing experts Vantiv, online marketer Adore Me, and agency head (and Response Advisory Board member) Doug Garnett of Atomic Direct. In case you skipped the link above: Paid in Full
  • As our annual look at the housewares and hardware spaces notes, the housing market is booming once again — which means housewares and hardware marketers are working hard to keep pace with consumer demand. Whether major marketers will full lines of product, or a “Shark Tank”-funded startup, these verticals remain two of the healthiest in the performance-based marketing world. Here’s that story link again: Marketing House & Home
  • Seven members of our Advisory Board took part in the first of four quarterly roundtable features that will appear in the pages of Response in 2017. This quarter’s topic is a hot one: data security and consumer privacy. Capitalizing on all the incredible data available today — while respecting and protecting consumers’ desires — is one of marketers’ defining efforts in this era. What do our Advisory Board members thing? Just in case you missed it above, here’s story link again: Keeping Consumers Safe, Secure, and Satisfied
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio sector for third-quarter 2016 results. And unlike recent DRTV results, the audio medium is riding a hot streak. DR radio rounded out a full four quarters of increases by jumping more than 37 percent in 3Q 2016. In fact, the total of more than $18.5 million marked the second-best third-quarter results reported in Response since we teamed with Kantar Media in 2004. For a full look at 3Q 2016 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Billings Pick Up Speed in 3Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column delves into the increasing interest — at events, in trade publications, and elsewhere across the performance-based marketing landscape — in the post-purchase facets of the consumer journey. Timely, don’t you think? If you missed the link above, here it is: A New Focus on the Back End of the Journey?

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Oct 05

Response September: Supplements and Subscription Boxes Shed Light on Shifting Marketing Philosophies

Response September 2016Two weeks ago, Response’s September issue hit the web — after initially debuting, in print, at our DRMA Marketer of the Year event in Las Vegas on Sept. 14. Today seems like a good time to look back on the issue and dig into the particulars surrounding some of the key stories. The issue is led by a cover feature on health-and-wellness supplement marketer NutraClick and its Harvard-educated CMO, Patrick Carroll. The issue also features our annual look at the consumer packaged goods market, our 21st Annual State of the Industry report — featuring insight from members of the Response Advisory Board, and a feature touching on the latest trends affecting teleservices providers. Read on for more:

  • The name Patrick Carroll first popped into my consciousness in late 2015, on a call with Rus Sarnoff of Integrated Marketing. Rus has been a huge help for the Response team in planning and prepping our educational sessions at Response Expo for most of the past decade — in fact, along with Greg Sarnow, he’s the co-chair of our new DRMA Education Committee. Rus mentioned NutraClick and Patrick during a planning call for this past April’s Expo, and he was very passionate about Patrick’s capabilities both as CMO of NutraClick and as a possible speaker. I spoke with Patrick and Shannon Costello, the PR contact at NutraClick in early 2016, and though we didn’t have a fit for him on our main educational stage, we were able to place him on our sponsored Pre-Show Intensive panel. And, I must say, Rus was right — Patrick is as knowledgeable and thoughtful as they come. Once the Expo was over, it was just a matter of time before we slated NutraClick for a cover feature on its outstanding omnichannel marketing efforts for its successful products like Force Factor and ProbioSlim. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Tipping the Scales
  • Another annual staple, our feature what’s new in the consumer packaged goods space jumps full speed ahead into the burgeoning “subscription box” space. From cosmetics to razors to baby supplies — and more — delivered-monthly subscription boxes are changing the game in the CPG space more than just about any other vertical. Our Nicole Urso Reed focuses on three key marketers having success in these new models. Here’s that story link again: Delivering a Brand New Package
  • In our 21st Annual State of the Industry Report, 10 members of our Advisory Board took part in answering more than 15 questions about the present and future of performance-based marketing. The new realities of an omnichannel marketing world, expanding consumer control of the marketing funnel, how marketers can attribute sales to a specific marketing outreach, and the future of TV/video content — and advertising’s place in it — are just a few of the topics tackled. Bonus: the online version includes the full and unabridged answers from all of our board members who took part — an impossibility in our limited print pages. Just in case you skipped the link above: Response Magazine’s 21st Annual State of the Industry Report
  • In the second of our series of features on the back-end vendor services space (last month, we touched on payment processing, with a fulfillment feature slated for October), our Doug McPherson spoke with a trio of leaders on the teleservices side of the business. With how consumers can respond to marketing messages shifting heavily toward the web, teleservices providers are getting more specialized when it comes to serving as order centers, while — at the same time — expanding their customer service capabilities to respond to the growing “click-to-call” mobile response universe. Read more about the current state of teleservices here: Getting the Call
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio space for first-quarter 2016 results. For the sixth time in the past seven quarters, radio dialed in for success. In fact, the total DR radio spend in 1Q 2016 — $18,344,000 — represents the best first-quarter result in the medium in 12 years. Why is radio continuing to grow at such an incredible pace? For a full look at 1Q 2016 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Rocks Out in 1Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, I use my side gig as an in-season online college football columnist for an angle to kick off this month’s Editor’s Note column. Right before I sat down to write this month’s column, I’d just wrapped up my wide-ranging preview of the Pac-12 football season (side note: through five weeks, I’ve picked 39 of 45 results correctly) and it got me thinking: what if marketers had to wait weeks — or even months — to find out the results of their hard work? Far-fetched? Take a look and let me know: Measuring Success? There’s Not a Second to Lose

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jun 23

Response June: A Series of Educated Gambles

Response June 2016Response‘s June issue hit the web (and mailboxes) this week. Headlined by a cover story on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the issue also features our second quarterly Advisors Forum feature of 2016, this time centered on the topic of attribution, a special case study on Delivery.com‘s solution to issues with credit card fraud, and a web-exclusive story on the pharmaceutical and healthcare space. Read on for background on some of the key facets of our first summer issue:

  • In a shocking turn, the headline for the cover story on the LVCVA echoes its most famous tagline: ‘What Happens in Vegas …’ The work on this story actually dates to late 2015, when I received a press release from the LVCVA’s Courtney Fitzgerald about a new digital offering from the group. By early January, we’d settled on a cover interview with Cathy Tull, the group’s senior vice president of marketing, as a cover story. But with a new TV campaign rolling out in June — and a series of mobile-focused digital offerings hitting in the interim — we agreed to push the feature until this particular issue. It was the right choice, because by the time I sat down for a phone call with Tull in early May, we had plenty to discuss. The LVCVA’s wide-ranging goals and ever-expanding online and offline marketing efforts make it a great story for anyone looking at any facet of performance-based marketing. If you missed it above, here’s the link: ‘What Happens in Vegas …’
  • Attribution may be the biggest buzzword in performance-based marketing today. Marketers, agencies, and other vendors are working constantly to find the right mix of data that will help them attribute each lead or sale back to the piece of media that prompted a consumer to act. But as consumers have gained more control over how and when they are reached — let alone how and when they respond — that attribution is harder and harder to nail down. Seven members of the Response Advisory Board responded to questions for this special roundtable on the topic of attribution — and the online version includes their full, unabridged answers. If you missed the link above but want to check out the story, click here: What’s the Attribution Solution?
  • When I met with Forter‘s Bill Zielke and Delivery.com’s Colin Sims at the eTail West event in Palm Desert, Calif., in February, I was intrigued by their story about the online retailer’s struggles with credit card fraud and Forter’s solution. Right then and there, I made an immediate decision that this story was worthy of a rare case study feature in the pages of Response. Four months later, freelancer Doug McPherson has the story for you: Fighting Fraud
  • The issue’s fourth feature — our look at the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets — is only available online. For marketers of healthcare services to health insurance to pharmaceuticals, an ever-changing regulatory environment is nothing new. How are these marketers dealing with the restrictions — and capitalizing on new opportunities in the age of Obamacare and expanded Medicare coverage? Don’t miss this web exclusive: Healthy Changes
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio space for outstanding fourth-quarter 2015 results. The radio space’s best 4Q performance in five years lifted its annual total to more than $58 million — a 7.9-percent rise over 2014, which itself was a big bounce-back year. What’s behind the recent success of the radio medium? For a full look at 4Q 2015 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Doubles Down on Success
  • Response is very fortunate to have many of the brightest minds in the business as regular contributors to our column well. This month’s pieces display the breadth of that expertise, if you simply click on these links: Media Zone; Production House; Net Gains; and Legal Review. At the risk of sounding a little self-assured after more than 15 years running the magazine’s editorial, I’d like to think I’m in that group of “bright minds,” which means I always want to make sure my Editor’s Note column measures up. This month, I flip the attribution debate among marketers and agencies on its head and ask our readers to view attribution from a consumer’s perspective. Might this reversal help you better understand your attribution issues from a business perspective? That’s what I’d like to know. If you missed the link above, click here to read (and respond to) my latest: Thinking Like a Consumer Could Help Your Attribution Modeling

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!