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!

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 and — 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!