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!

Oct 11

Response August: Financial, Fulfillment, Festivities

Hey all. Yes, it’s been a while. We got our October issue off to print late last week — and here I am blogging about our August issue?! Yep. September was a crazy month of personal and business travel, on top of working heavily on the rebrand of Response Expo as MTC Expo, and the brand refreshes of Response Magazine and the DRMA. Both the Response and DRMA sites should be brand new by early November. Finally, here’s a look back August, which is led by an intriguing cover interview with Jean Vernor, who leads MetLife‘s direct-to-consumer efforts. Other features in the issue include a look at how the wider financial services space is using direct methodologies and our annual look at the fulfillment and logistics space. How did these — and other — pieces come together? Let’s take a look.

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Jun 06

Response May: Foundations, Revelations, and Exhortations

On the road again … heading to Chicago this afternoon for the IRCE event this week, and had some time to put together a quick recap of Response‘s May issue. With a full look back at Response Expo included, the issue delivered a touch later than normal — but the editorial content is worth the wait. The May magazine is headed by a cover story on one of our most well-received speakers at the Expo, Andrew Lermsider. Other features touch on the business solutions market and the current status of the media buying and planning space. That second story leads into our annual Cable Network Directory, which is our biggest one yet! There’s plenty for our readers to chew on this month, and here’s some background on how the pieces fit:

  • My first contact with Lermsider came via a LinkedIn introduction from Rus Sarnoff, who has long served as a close advisor on our Expo content and now co-chairs (with Greg Sarnow) our DRMA Education Committee. Shortly after the introduction, I learned that Sarnow had worked with Lermsider on a project several years back, and Greg had only glowing things to say. After one call with Lermsider, not only was I sure I wanted him to take part in our “Social Media as a Media Outlet” panel that was planned for the Expo (and, coincidentally, moderated by Sarnow), but that his background and vision for the future of performance-based marketing tactics would make a great cover story. He’s currently CMO and partner in Q Link Wireless, a mobile service provider, while also consulting a number of mid- and large-sized businesses on their marketing efforts. At 6.5 print pages, this is one of the longer cover stories in Response in recent years — but with Lermsider’s openness about the world of marketing and how he sees it unfolding, it probably could have been two to three pages longer. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Funnels and Foundations
  • Our most recent look at the burgeoning business solutions market kicks off with one of our top sources — and one of the top marketers in the space — for the past couple years: Wix.com. Vivian Hernandez, a speaker at the past two Response Expos, gives an update on the build-your-own-website service’s latest marketing moves and how driving customer experience on a local level is helping the brand grow globally. Beyond that, freelance writer Doug McPherson, touched base with leaders from service providers BigCommerce and SmartPrint to hear what’s working — and what’s not — on today’s marketing landscape. In case you skipped the link above: Stay Local, Get Global
  • Our semiannual look at the media buying and planning world queries leaders from the TV network world on how TV and digital continue to mix and merge, especially with the growth of over-the-top (OTT) and TV Everywhere services. Freelancer Nicole Urso Reed once again gets to the heart of what marketers need to know about where the best media opportunities are available. Here’s that story link again: Power Play
  • Once again, Response brings readers its annual Cable Network Directory. With contact and demographic information for more than 140 networks and other TV outlets, this is our biggest directory yet — and we actually send out requests for information to nearly 200 networks/groups. This year’s directory, if you missed it above, is here: 2017 Cable Network Directory
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the short-form DRTV sector for fourth-quarter 2016 results. A huge quarterly increase — nearly 40 percent compared to 4Q 2015 results — helped the short-form space finish 2016 down just 2.6 percent from total-year 2015 results. Back-to-back positive quarters seem to be a sign that the space is finally stabilizing after a long string of losses. For a full look at 4Q 2016 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Close 2016 on the Rise
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column picks up where our publisher, John Yarrington, left off in his welcome remarks to Expo attendees just before Sugar Ray Leonard’s keynote address on April 25. It’s also of a piece with Wilkins’ column linked above. While we’re thrilled to have created a true signpost event for our industry — Response Expo — that event is only as good as our readers, attendees, advertisers, sponsors, and exhibitors make it. And while it’s a great feeling to know we’ve filled a half-dozen hotels in San Diego with leaders from the business, if too many folks set up shop in those alternate locations, Response Expo cannot be at its best. As a matter of fact, if too many come to San Diego without feeling the need to take part in the actual Expo itself, the Expo could eventually go away — taking its signpost and everything that draws 4,000 people to San Diego with it. Being the change starts with being a part of what makes our business great. If you missed the link above, here it is: Why Fear Change? Instead, ‘Be the Change’

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!