Apr 18

Response April: A Capital Vision, A Capitol Vision and an Important Cause

I’m back again with some links from this month’s edition of Response Magazine and some back story on each piece. Please click on any of the links to jump to the stories included within!

Capital One's Patrick McLean

Capital One’s Patrick McLean graces Response’s April cover.

  • The April cover features Capital One’s Patrick McLean. The story grew out of an initial meeting in Boston during the fall 2011 Direct Marketing Association (DMA) annual convention. McLean was on an interesting panel about digital marketing, and after watching some of the session, my goal was to get him involved with a speaking opportunity at Response Expo, which will take place on May 15-17 in San Diego. Well, after a few conversations with Pat and Capital One staff, not only did we confirm him to be part of one of our high-profile sessions next month, but we also convinced him and Capital One to be featured on our cover. With a background in telecom, McLean’s transition to the financial services sector has gone rather smoothly, and his ideas about digital, online and social media marketing are intriguing. If you missed the story link above, here it is again:“Building Social Capital”

    DC Visit

    A great day on Capitol Hill

  • My monthly Editor’s Note column touches upon my recent visit to Washington, DC, with publisher John Yarrington, as sponsors of the DMA’s annual “DMA in DC” event. What a great experience it was for both of us, from working closely with Rachel Thomas, Linda Woolley and the rest of the DMA staff, to hearing the concerns of industry leaders about regulatory topics and government action, to visiting with Congressional staffers on the Hill to share concerns about the industry. At the same time, we were able to catch up with some DC-area clients, including Time Life’s Tim Pearson, FaceTime Strategies’ Todd Mason and Venable’s Jeff Knowles and Chuck Wilkins. A worthy three-day trip, indeed. Check out my take on it here: “Response Goes to Washington”
  • Lastly, but most importantly, the April issue also includes an exclusive interview with long-time DRTV industry executive Ray Golden, who is battling terminal cancer. Ray’s diagnosis was a gutshot to many in the industry who not only enjoyed doing business with him, but also counted him as a personal friend. The silver lining? Response is stepping up to the plate — and asking all of our DR industry friends and cohorts to join us — to support the Amber Golden Educational Fund, which Ray started to benefit his daughter, who is in her third year in pursuit of a nursing degree. For more on this moving story, and how you can contribute, visit our Field Reports exclusive with Ray right now: “Ray Golden Speaks on His Career and His Daughter’s Battle” 

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Mar 03

A Smattering of Unrelated Mini-Rants

For all the media’s predictable hype, at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, the Lakers (who, if you are to believe the tenor of the local media since the NBA blew up the Chris Paul trade in December, are old, poorly coached, boring and barely hanging on to relevance) and the Clippers (who, if you believe the tenor of the local media since the NBA allowed their clearly inferior deal for the same Paul to go through, are young, hip, exciting and a clearly elite threat to win the NBA title) are in a virtual tie for first place in the Pacific Division more than halfway through the season. This is proof of one of two (or maybe both) things: the canyon between these two franchises was so incredibly vast prior to December 2011 that the Clippers having an almost identical record to the Lakers (and a 1-1 split in the season series to this point) is reason enough for Clipper-based orgasms of BS; or that the sports media, both locally and nationally, are more prone to bogus hype than the bastard child of TMZ.com and the National Enquirer
CP3 as a Laker

"Basketball reasons."

Speaking of sports hype: Jeremy Lin. Nice story. Impressive run. Plenty of intrigue to it, from the Harvard angle, to the Asian-American angle, to the out-of-the-blue angle. Fortunate to be in the center of a New York media maelstrom that glorifies the Knicks as if their history is comparable to the the Lakers or Celtics, rather than that of the Rockets or Pistons. Here’s hoping the kid keeps it up and becomes a long-term NBA star, rather than simply another reason for ESPN to run more Tim Tebow stories …

Hey, Rush Limbaugh: Way to steal the spotlight from Andrew Breitbart. For once, thanks, big guy …

New Springsteen: Big thumbs up. April 27 can’t come soon enough …

The First Amendment is just as much about the freedom from religion as it is the freedom of religion. Read it. In essence, the idea is no law should restrict a person’s ability to practice his or her religion, but at the same time, no law should be based on the beliefs of a specific religion. Make of this what you will …

“The Artist” as Best Picture at the Oscars seemed foregone for a while now. Excellent film. But, as an L.A. guy, I still think it’s victory was a West Coast example of the N.Y./D.C. East Coast navelgazing media winning out. Hollywood’s a company town. I found “The Descendants” a much more relevant film for our time …

RE: the UCLA basketball story in Sports Illustrated. Of course, as an SC guy, I get some mild amusement from it. But, really, what’s going on there that isn’t going on with a ton of other college students or not-very-successful athletic teams? Kids in college going to a rave? Getting high? Showing up somewhere hung over? Struggling teams featuring bad seeds? Dissension? Poor coaching and leadership? None of this is really massive news, is it? To give UCLA due credit, the reason SI makes this a story is because UCLA has the greatest winning tradition in college basketball. So, in the end, I find this story a different kind of hype than the ones above … but hype nonetheless …

Oregon Recruiting Issues

You'd be smiling too.

RE: the recent Oregon/NCAA news (which was expertly dumped late on a Friday; good work Oregon athletic department taking cues from the U.S. government’s way of keeping bad news quiet by releasing it when the pundits are well into a weekend-beginning Happy Hour): Here are two links that fit my thoughts as an observer of the NCAA’s growing impotence (at best) or crookedness (at worst) and where my amusement comes in as a USC fan.

Finally, I just spent a week at an industry conference in Miami. Thoughts:

  • Our people still know how to use their expense accounts to treat each other to amazing meals and drinks at incredible bars, lounges and clubs. I’ll never rant about that; it’s the way business gets done AND it’s a helluva perk …
  • That said, those hefty expense accounts are one of many things that seem to give a level of self-importance to people with no real right to it. Just be you, and I’ll be me, and if it makes sense for us to work together, let’s do it …
  • DR is an industry of optimists. If a product deserves a chance to work, the people in this business really will give it a fair shot …
  • I’m always amazed by the ability of four people around a table discussing direct response advertising (myself included) to make said conversation appear to outsiders as important as a discussion between world leaders on nuclear disarmament. I’m telling you, we’ve all got that “interested/concerned/piqued/amused” rotation of faces down pat …
  • I don’t think I’ve ever spent five days in a hotel at a networking show and never once seen a single employee of the organization hosting that event … until this week (that’s especially surprising when the organization has something along the lines of two-dozen staffers). As someone who co-founded and co-hosts an industry event that draws 3,000 people, it seems that it’s kind of hard to know what your constituents want or need from the event if your staff is locked up in board rooms or “working” an essentially non-existent “show floor” while the massive bulk of your attendees are doing business across the many bars, restaurants and public spaces at the fantastic property you’ve booked. For me, understanding the full experience of everyone at the event is always crucial to improving it the next time around. That’s why I always spend time on the floor, in the conference rooms, with our sponsors, around the hotel’s bars and restaurants, and at the parties that other companies throw in conjunction with our event …
  • Smartphones are great. I love my iPhone. But they’ve become the bane of the scheduled meeting at events like this. “Hold on, I need to take this call,” is rarely a sufficient excuse to put a 10-minute hold on the one face-to-face meeting we’re likely to have in the next 3-5 months …
  • “I have a hard stop.” Yea, I have a meeting at 2:30, also. But I don’t need to use a dumb corporatized catch-phrase to tell you that (and make you feel like this meeting doesn’t remotely compare to your 2:30) …

With that, this blogging effort has reached a hard stop … for bed.

 

Feb 22

Response February: Growing Hair, Inside Jerry’s ‘Circus’ and a Rant on the DRMA’s 5th

Once again this month, rather than just putting links on Facebook and Twitter with my Response Magazine stories, I figured I’d transition the links to a single blog post that I could then link to said social media. Plus, this forum gives me a little space to expand on each story and give you some deeper background.

  • The February cover features Bosley’s Rob Spurrell. The story actually grew out of an initial call with Steven Aquavia, the director of marketing for the Beverly Hills-based leader in hair-loss solutions and medical hair restoration. Steven will be a featured speaker at Response Expo 2012 in San Diego this May. I was intrigued by the 37-year old company’s marketing story, and Steven kindly linked me to Rob, a 15-year veteran at Bosley. Rob was an intriguing interview, especially when discussing the company’s huge success the past two years, despite marketing a high-priced “vanity” service in a down economy. If you missed the story link above, here it is again: “No Splitting Hairs”

    Bosley, Jerry and a rant.

    Bosley's Rob Spurrell leads the way into the latest issue of Response.

  • Our February issue also includes an exclusive interview with TV talk legend Jerry Springer. Why Jerry? Well, aside from the obvious comedy of his over-the-top talk show that’s now in its 21st syndicated season, “Jerry” is a haven for DRTV advertisers. As NBC Universal’s Brian Levy, who pitched this story to me in autumn 2011, knows from his experience with that company’s syndicated program media offerings, “The Jerry Springer Show” has brought tremendous success to its advertiser base. Even more impressive than Springer’s self-deprecating sense of humor over the phone, however, was his own clear knowledge of why his show works for DRTV advertisers. Once again, if you missed that first link, here’s your second chance to read my one-on-one with Jerry Springer: “Springer’s ‘Circus'”
  • Finally, my monthly Editor’s Note column touches upon the fifth anniversary of the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA), the magazine’s associated networking group that I helped found. We’re happy that the DRMA has, to this point, fulfilled its mission, and clearly our members and the leaders of our business deserve the lions’ share of the credit for that. However, we’ve experienced — first hand, time and time again — the high costs, the red tape and the petty politics most people experience when dealing with less-effective industry trade groups. There’s no doubt that the avoidance of these things has been a boon to the DRMA’s success thus far. Again, here’s the link if you missed it above: The DRMA at 5

Once again, thanks for reading and interacting with Response!