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!

Dec 04

Response November: Doing Well by Doing Good

Response November 2016Response’s November issue hit the web and mailboxes during the past two weeks. Here’s something to consider: in our four feature stories, we cover the housewares market, the medical equipment space, the travel marketing world, and home shopping/e-retail. Even for our team, that’s some impressive breadth. That’s not to mention this month’s research and opinion pages. Suffice it to say, we packed a lot into a tight 52 pages. If you want to hear more about how it came together, read on:

  • If you are in the habit of listening to your car radio, there’s a high likelihood you’ve heard a Boll & Branch ad. I can’t remember the last time I was in my car heading to our Orange County office on a Monday morning and didn’t hear a B&B ad on one of Howard Stern’s SiriusXM channels. So when I went to the IRCE show in Chicago in June, I made sure to head to the educational session featuring Scott Tannen, co-founder and CEO of the company. In the days thereafter, I reached out to Tannen’s team to see if they would have any interest in a cover feature on their performance-based marketing efforts. Very quickly, the PR liaison for the company, Dillan Arrick, was on the job. Timing was the issue, which is how many of our cover stories — this one included — take five or more months from genesis to print. Scott, his wife Missy, the company’s co-founder and president, and Dillan could not have been easier to work with. And this story is not only a great testament to performance-based metrics building a huge housewares e-retailer, it’s also a feel-good piece about a company that does things the right way. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Balancing More Than Sheets
  • Think of your own needs and desires when you travel. Are they more about convenience or comfort? Service or luxury? Now, multiply those by the choices of billions of others and you’ll understand the challenges travel marketers face in today’s consumer-controlled marketing world. Make promises … at your own peril. Our Nicole Urso Reed dove into the space for this feature, chatting with marketers from across the travel spectrum to find out what’s working — and what isn’t. In case you skipped the link above: Total Immersion
  • Another key member of our team of contributors, Bridget McCrea delved into the rapidly changing world of home shopping. With the expansion of Amazon, long-time home shopping leaders like HSN and QVC have had to nimbly adjust their business plans. And, just as they’re gaining comfort as multichannel e-retailers, along comes Amazon again — now with its own online “home shopping” programming. What’s next in the home shopping world? Here’s that story link again: The ‘Amazon-ing’ of Home Shopping
  • Our Doug McPherson‘s outstanding case study on the truly intriguing birth and success of the HurryCane, is not your average “bring a hot new product to market” story. From the why and the when to the how and the who, the success of this medical equipment legend took many hands. If you missed the link above, click here: How a HurryCane Forms
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the short-form DRTV space for second-quarter 2016 results. And though those results show the least-steep decline in more than a year, short-form DRTV — at least according to how Kantar Media measures it — continues to flounder. Is it an issue of what Kantar’s measuring — to wit, are its parameters for a direct response spot too narrow in today’s performance-based marketplace? We’ve heard rumblings from readers about this, and we’re not wholly unconvinced. For a full look at 2Q 2016 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Media Billings Continue to Fade
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, in my Editor’s Note column, I ask marketers and other leaders in our space to look ahead — at 2017 and beyond — after spending months spellbound by the most memorable and most embarrassing election cycle in modern U.S. history. We, as an industry, have plenty of challenges — and opportunities — to focus upon in the coming months and years. Let’s get to them! If you missed the link above, here it is: Now That That’s Over …

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Dec 21

Response November: Winners, Travelers, and Home Shoppers

Response November 2015With travel and year-end projects taking precedence, I’ve fallen behind on my Response recaps. So, this is the first of two Response-filled blog posts during Christmas week — a look at Response‘s November issue. With our DRMA Marketer of the Year event shifting to early October, our cover story on the three finalists also shifted back one month to this issue. Additionally, we covered the travel and home shopping spaces, while adding a new feature on the business solutions market — a vertical that’s growing thanks to the combination of online and offline marketing. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the issue’s top pieces.

  • In an intriguing bit of timing, DraftKings‘ victory in the annual industry-wide vote for DRMA Marketer of the Year was announced in Las Vegas on Oct. 7 — the same week that initial stories of one of its employees winning $350,000 on competitor site FanDuel surfaced. Since then, the intrigue around the two daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites has continued to build, with legal challenges slowing the companies’ advertising, but fantasy sports players continuing to flock to the services in record numbers. DraftKings was a deserving winner in the competition, as voters responded to its overwhelming TV and online marketing efforts with a similarly overwhelming number of ballots. The trio of 2015 finalists — also including SharkNinja (formerly Euro-Pro) and TELEBrands — represents, one might say, the past, present, and future of the performance-based marketing world. If you missed the link above, and want to read more about the three finalists, click here: Crowning the New ‘Kings’
  • Travel marketers have been long-time believers in direct response — well before the transition into the omnichannel, performance-based efforts that dominate today’s landscape. For years, we’ve covered this space as it exhibited leadership in how best to combine online and offline methodologies that could be effective for marketers of all types of products and services. This feature is no different, as we’ve caught up with top-level travel marketers from the resort side (Atlantis Paradise) and from the local travel bureau perspective (Nassau Paradise Island Promotions Board and If you missed the link above, click here to read how performance-based methods are driving travelers to locations around the world: Leveraging the Power of ‘Book Now’
  • Perhaps no part of the old-school direct response universe has been forced to adjust as rapidly as the home shopping space. From the leaders — HSN and QVC — to smaller start-ups, the direct connection these networks have to their viewers and shoppers has changed immensely with the expansion of digital marketing. More impressively, their embrace of this change — celebrating innovation rather than cowering in fear — should be a model for all marketers. What’s new in the space? If you missed the link above, click here: Lights, Camera … Creativity
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap returns to short-form DRTV for second-quarter 2015 results, which — thanks to some measurement changes by Kantar Media — were a bit shocking. While the quarter shows a frightening 39-percent decrease from 2Q 2014 results, the bulk of that can be ascribed to a change in rate estimates for U.S. Hispanic space. So, where the other four TV media outlets showed a more palatable 9.2-percent decrease, the Hispanic space plummeted more than $330 million. For a more in-depth explanation from Kantar and a full look at 2Q 2015 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Kantar Methodology Shift Is the Culprit in 2Q Short-Form DRTV Decrease
  • Finally, you might have noticed a recent change to the magazine’s tagline. Response is now “The Magazine for Performance-Based Marketers.” Similar changes have been made to the DRMA (“The Alliance for Performance-Based Marketers”) and Response Expo (“The Event for Performance-Based Marketers”). Why? It’s all in this month’s Editor’s Note: Join the Performance-Based Marketing Evolution

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!