Sep 18

Response August: Dating, Gumballs and Storage Units

Response August 2015Since we sent the September issue off to print almost two weeks ago, I suppose I’d better get around to my quick recap of the August issue of Response. An intriguing, multifaceted cover story on Social Discovery Ventures, another digital marketer that’s found success by adding offline media to its mix, plus the usual array of news, research, and opinion, gives you plenty of reason to read on for more background on the latest issue.

  • At a trade show in early 2015, I met with Lindsey Carnett of Marketing Maven PR to discuss her client base and see if there might be an interesting story or two out there among them. Near the end of the meeting, Lindsey brought up a dating site client that was involved in sponsoring the international road rally Gumball 3000. She mentioned that this client — which turned out to be SDV, owner of AnastasiaDate.com and AsianDate.com — not only had added a direct response TV campaign to its mix, but that it was inviting journalists to attend all or part of the nine-day, two-continent Gumball rally. During the next few months, with the help of Lindsey and former MMPR staffer Elizabeth Maxim, I was able to interview Anthony Volpe, SDV’s chief marketing officer, about SDV’s overall marketing plan, how a sponsorship of the Gumball event fit within that plan, and put together this feature on the performance-based aspects of their efforts. I also joined
    Hanging with Gumball 3000 founder Maximillion Cooper in Las Vegas on May 29.

    Hanging with Gumball 3000 founder Maximillion Cooper in Las Vegas on May 29.

    the final leg of the Gumball rally — from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, via Death Valley — on May 29-30 (and what an event that was: I’ll just leave this link to a piece from Eric Mack, one of my fellow journalists who was along for the ride) If you missed the link to the cover story above, here it is again: Racing to Success

  • Our writer Bridget McCrea — who was freelancing for the magazine prior to my arrival in 2001 and earns more than her keep every year — brings to life the natural fit of direct response as part of financial services marketers’ performance-based arsenal. For a long time, the financial services space — from local payday loan shops all the way up to multinational investment firms — have been leaders in using DR, and as services (especially online services) expand their power in the market, it’s no surprise that the financial space remains one of the most innovative users of performance-based tactics. If you didn’t already click the link above — here it is: Cracking the Code
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes a look at the first short-form DRTV results of 2015 — and some of you might want to look away. With a 12.8-percent decline, 1Q 2015 results were rather similar to the prior three-month period — 4Q 2014 numbers fell 12.7 percent. Total spending in 1Q 2015 short-form billings was the lowest recorded in any first quarter by Response since 2006. The results were intriguing in light of conversations I had during a recent visit to New York, where I met with a number of agency and network leaders. The buzz about the battle over what exactly constitutes a direct response TV campaign in 2015 was massive — and these reported results don’t exactly give lie to that buzz. For a more in-depth look at 1Q 2015 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: A Rough Start
  • If you remember one thing from my August Editor’s Note column, I’d suggest this: never fill up a 10×10 storage unit with 40-plus years of your life unless you want to spend four consecutive weekends clearing through its contents. If you missed the link to the column above, here it is once again: Slowing Down … to Pick Up Your Sales Pace

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jun 04

Response May: Beyond the Rack, the Media Pack and an Expo FAQ

Response May 2015The May issue of Response went live online just before Memorial Day weekend. With a full recap of late April’s Response Expo a key facet of the issue, we’ve pushed back our print and mail dates closer to mid-month, keeping content slightly more fresh for our readers. After some recent Response travel to San Francisco and Las Vegas, as well as tying up loose ends on the coming June issue, I finally have some time to glance back at how the pieces fit into our May issue puzzle.

  • Shortly after the calendar flipped to 2015, I was reading a different trade pub on a flight and came across a small blurb about Beyond the Rack, an online private shopping club based in Montreal. Digging deeper, I found that its vice president of marketing, Richard Cohene, was a regular on the speaking circuit and popped up often as a source in various stories online. Intrigued by the direct and digital aspects of operating a business like BTR’s, I dropped a line to the company. After a couple of stops and starts, due mainly to conflicting travel schedules, I got on the line with Cohene — who was not only personable, but extremely knowledgeable about today’s “direct response marketing,” as he repeatedly called it. Within a couple of calls, he’d agreed for the company to be featured in our May issue — and, just last week after the issue debuted, he agreed to be the first slated speaker for Response Expo 2016. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Where Marketing’s Always in Fashion
  • The May issue is home to our first Media Buying & Planning Guide for the year. With the mag’s history based in DRTV, it’s always great to dig deeper on the state of media, and in the spring we usually seek out the perspective of TV/cable network sales leaders. Hence, it’s a natural fit to publish the annual Cable Network Directory in that same issue. One of the relationships I’m most proud of helping build in my 14 years at Response is the relationship we have — and have helped leaders of other sectors of the industry gain — with TV sales leaders. During the past decade, I’m happy to say that Response has done unprecedented things in bringing together the sales and buying sides of the DRTV media business thanks to an investment in our relationships with the network groups. If you didn’t already click the links above — here they are: Connecting With All Screens and the 2015 Cable Network Directory.
  • The news pages of our May Field Reports section focus heavily on a recap of Response Expo 2015. From Peter Guber’s stellar keynote through the Closing Night Party, if you missed any of Response Expo in April, these stories will help you feel like you were there and let you know what you missed! Here’s that link again: Field Reports — Response Expo Recap
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes one last look at 2014 short-form DRTV results. And while the sector ended the full year with a minor 2.8-percent rise, struggles in the second half of the year prevented what could have been a full return to form after a dismal 2013. Fourth-quarter results — the focus in this month’s story — were particularly concerning, as overall spending in the final three months of the year hasn’t been this lackluster since 2005. For a deeper dive into 4Q 2014 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Total 2014 Short-Form DRTV Billings Rise 2.8 Percent
  • My May Editor’s Note column starts by referring to my interview with Cohene for this month’s cover story and his repeated references to BTR’s use of “direct response marketing.” As you can imagine, with the magazine’s — and my — stated goal in recent years being to foster the combination of direct, digital and data-driven marketing, this gave me plenty of food for thought considering BTR’s almost-100-percent digital marketing budget. Want to read on? Here’s that link once again: Direct Response Is Today’s Marketing … and Tomorrow’s

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Feb 25

Response February: A Beauty Mask, E-Commerce Vision and Exciting New Research

Response February 2015The February issue of Response went live online early last week and started hitting mailboxes later in the week. Aside from an intriguing cover story on a new beauty product that’s running the DR-to-retail race in reverse, there are a number of other notable pieces in the latest issue. Let’s take a look!

  • My cover feature on illuMask and its founder Jay Tapper came to us from one of the most reliable sources on our Advisory Board — someone who has actually been a part of that group longer than the nearly 14 years I’ve been editor of the publication. R2C Group’s David Savage always seems to come through for us when we’re in an editorial pinch, but this time he actually pitched me the illuMask story well in advance — and it’s a good one. Tapper’s brainchild, the product gained big-time retail traction when it debuted about a year ago with a Facebook-driven campaign in conjunction with major retailers as its only real marketing effort. To expand on that success Tapper’s team at La Lumiere decided to create a short-form DRTV campaign around the product. It’s initial success and the DRTV concept drew a $20 million investment from the VC arm of Johnson & Johnson. It’s one heck of a story, and one that will continue to be told as part of a panel at Response Expo in April. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Behind the Mask
  • As the omnichannel universe continues to make marketing a near-constant effort, our coverage continues to expand and encompass more and more facets of the direct and digital world. This month, that means a feature story that looks at some recent e-commerce campaigns that have used old-school direct marketing tenets mixed with newfangled technology to maximize reach and ROI. These are marketers who are becoming more familiar to those who’ve grown up in the direct response space — Squarespace, MailChimp, Warby Parker and Bonobos — as well as one, Weight Watchers, that’s been a staple but has made some recent tweaks. Old ideas are new again — and new ideas find a home more easily in today’s marketing environment. If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance to read the story: The Art of E-Commerce
  • DRMetrix LogoThe February issue is also the debut issue for our new exclusive research page provided via a partnership with DRMetrix. Based in Southern California, DRMetrix is attempting not only to fill a void in direct response television research but also to bring TV media research more closely in line with the digital research available in the market. Conversations about what the DRMetrix team was trying to accomplish and how Response could team with it began early last year, and we were intrigued by the possibilities of its technologies. With this introductory piece and DRMetrix’s first snapshot of its research, this month’s debut promises great things to come. Once again, if you missed the link above, click here: Introducing DRMetrix: The Next Generation in Direct Response Research
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings update focuses on third-quarter 2014 short-form DRTV results. While third-quarter’s 4-percent increase was a bit of a disappointment after the year’s first half — and with how dismal 3Q 2013 results were — it does mean that total 2014 results are up more than 8 percent over the first nine months of the previous year.. This is the second consecutive year of losses for the long-form space — unless fourth-quarter results are shockingly good. Additionally, marketers seemed more willing to expand spending on mid-level hits during 3Q 2014 than they have recently, a positive sign for confidence in the industry and the economy. To take a deeper look at 3Q 2014 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Rise 4 Percent in 3Q 2014
  • As part of my other role in the Response Group — content director of Response Expo — I take notes every time I travel to other trade shows and/or networking events. There are times where events are so disappointingly and poorly conceived in comparison to the needs and desires of their targeted audiences that it truly boggles the mind. That’s the genesis of my Editor’s Note column this month. In it, I ask for reader/attendee feedback on what you’ve seen at Response Expo and other trade shows that works — and that doesn’t work. I’ll also ask the same here: let me know what you want out of an event. If we’re not listening to our customers, we’re not doing our job. In case you missed the link to the piece, here it is once again: Building Better Events Starts With Keeping Attendees Top of Mind

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!