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!

Dec 07

Response November: ICTV’s Rebirth, Mobile’s Expansion and Giving Back

Response November 2014Response’s November issue has been available online since the week before Thanksgiving. Based on some feedback we’ve received, many folks have already taken a good, hard look at the issue. Nonetheless, let’s take a quick look behind the scenes of the book — from the cover story on ICTV Brands and Rich Ransom to a key piece on the expansion of the mobile marketplace, my Thanksgiving thoughts and more!

  • During the summer, I had a conversation with Lindsey Carnett and Elizabeth Maxim of Southern California-based Marketing Maven PR, about their client base and hot topics in the industry. They mentioned the success story of ICTV Brands — a rare publicly traded marketer in the DR business best known for its DermaWand product — and talked about the company’s re-branding and plans to release a series of new products designed for a DR-to-retail rollout. I knew that the DermaWand folks had been through some ups and downs in recent years, but my interest was piqued. So we set a time for me to meet with Rich Ransom, ICTV’s president, for lunch in Santa Monica. What came of that meal you can read in these pages. Both Ransom’s personal history and that of ICTV Brands reads like a real underdog success story. The company’s willingness to push through the hard times, honestly tackle its problems and re-engage consumers is a great one. If you missed the link above, here it is again: Smoothing Out a Few Wrinkles
  • I’m sure anyone involved in direct, digital and data-driven marketing — and even those who aren’t — have heard plenty about “mobile marketing” in recent years. Yes, as consumers rely more and more on their smartphones to keep them connected to the fast-moving world, marketers are finding it more important to figure out how to connect with them there. But, perhaps while marketers were trying to figure out how to connect, consumers’ growing desire to buy via their phones may have solved the riddle. Consumers want to buy via phones — and tech leaders are coming up with simplified ways for those consumers to pay for marketers products. This may be the real “mobile revolution.” If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance: Buying — and Paying — in 1 Touch
  • This month’s DRMA Spotlight revisits OpenJar Concepts. The media and technology agency, located in Temecula, Calif., is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2014. Co-founders Adam Warren and Reno Renaldo sat down to catch up with me regarding the company’s growth since first being featured in the DRMA Spotlight in January 2013 — including intriguing moves in technology, brand development and lead generation. To read the Spotlight story, click here: Technology and Teamwork.
  • In our monthly look at direct response TV and radio media billings, we turn the spotlight on second-quarter 2014 short-form DRTV results. After an incredibly sluggish 2013, the space continues to bounce back strong in 2014, as the “Drug and Toiletry” category and the U.S. Hispanic market drove a 12.4-percent increase during the April-June period. Average spending per campaign not only leaped higher in the top 40, but also down the food chain as well, with smaller campaigns averaging a 5.1-percent average increase in spending. To take a deeper look at 2Q 2014 short-form DRTV media billings, click here: Short-Form DRTV Billings Continue 2014 Rebound
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column this month discusses my own personal efforts to provide leadership and expertise to the college students who will eventually take the mantle of this business. Between regular stops to lecture marketing students at San Diego State and my annual involvement in mentoring USC journalism students, perhaps the most rewarding part of gaining knowledge in my career has been the opportunity to share any bit of wisdom I can with the generations behind ours. To read the column, here’s the link once again: Giving Back Is the Best Way to Give Thanks

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Oct 01

Response August: Art Dealers, Financial Feelers and Media Healers

Response AugustWith a travel schedule like ours lately, it’s been a bear just to get the actual work done, let alone share thoughts on the two most recent issues of Response! So here I am at 11:30 on a Tuesday night, typing away about the August issue of Response, nearly a month-and-a-half after it hit the Web and most mailboxes. Nonetheless, let’s take a quick look back at the issue, including the cover feature on the intriguing team behind New Era HD and Gallery Direct, our annual look at the financial services market and more.

  • Response Advisory Board member Fern Lee of THOR Associates deserves much credit for re-linking me with Mitch Bader, CEO of Austin, Texas-based New Era HD and Gallery Direct, an online leader in providing fine art solutions to businesses and consumers. I’d met Bader several years back when he worked closely with industry teleservices legend Steve Pittendrigh at InPulse Response Group. A financial wizard, Bader teamed in 2012 with art expert Nick Nichols, who co-founded New Era back in 2000 to expand the company’s consumer facing entity, Gallery Direct. Together, the duo has used various facets of direct response marketing — especially digitally — to build that consumer art business while, at the same time, strengthening the B-to-B efforts of New Era. Now, the team is looking to add DRTV to its mix to drive traffic to its E-commerce sites. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Marketing a Masterpiece
  • The financial services space has been one of the direct, digital and data-driven marketing world’s most reliable verticals for years. And with the continued growth of the serve-yourself consumer universe found on the Internet, marketers in the banking, insurance and investment spaces are continually doubling down on their use of direct metrics to drive new customers as well as remarket to existing clients. What’s new in the space? If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance: Running With the Bulls
  • Just two years ago, product marketer Rob Albert and production whiz Frank Battisti formed Grand Slam Direct just outside San Diego. Though the soft-spoken and personable Battisti says his learning curve in helping to direct the new business has been steep, this month’s DRMA Spotlight shows that the duo is pushing all the right buttons. I recently was part of a group dinner that also included Albert and Battisti and when you listen to them speak about the business, as well as their hopes for the direct response industry as a whole, you understand pretty quickly where their long-term successes come from — and where their future direction may take them. For more on Grand Slam Direct, click here: Hitting a Marketing & Production Home Run
  • As the headline for this month’s direct response TV and radio media billings story reads: finally, a glimmer of hope! The short-form DRTV market expanded for the first time in more than a year in first-quarter 2014, gaining $80.1 million (9.2 percent) — earning back a huge chunk of 1Q 2013’s drastic losses. A key to the quarter’s success: the quickly expanding U.S. Hispanic marketplace, which surpassed one-quarter of all dollars spend in short-form DRTV. And marketers were happy to invest big dollars in winning products during 1Q 2014, as spending among the top 40 products for the quarter expanded more than 27 percent. To take a deeper look at 1Q 2014 short-form DRTV billings, click here: Finally, A Glimmer of Hope
  • Last but not least, the numbers keep rolling in on the power of the mobile consumer. While much has been discussed about how to reach consumers effectively with mobile marketing, the fact is that the key to mobile is its use as a consumer response tool. To that end, my Editor’s Note attempts to put some of the most recent research results about the mobile world into perspective. To read my full take, here’s the link once again: Reach + Responsiveness Will Make TV and Mobile a Dynamic Duo

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!