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!

Jun 24

Response May: Pressure Washers, Media Sellers and Fond Remembrances

The May issue of Response has been available online since right around Memorial Day — but with a busy schedule and a RES0514_CV1week out of the office, I’m only just now getting to my regular glance inside the issue. Now, with the June issue on the verge of debuting online and in your mailboxes, I forced myself to take some time today to take a look at our May magazine, including the cover feature on hardware giant Briggs & Stratton, our recap of Response Expo and more.

  • With the National Hardware Show taking place annually in May, we often look to feature a hardware marketer on our cover. And when I look for a hardware marketer having success in direct, digital and data-driven marketing, I often drop a line to Doug Garnett, long-time Response Advisory Board member and leader of Portland, Ore.-based Atomic Direct. This time around, that call resulted in a link to Eric Loferski, director of marketing, portable power & cleaning systems, for Milwaukee-based Briggs & Stratton. Loferski has worked for a who’s-who of Wisconsin-based brands and it’s no surprise he’s turning to direct and digital marketing to create retail and brand buzz for the company’s new line of POWERflow+ pressure washers. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: High Pressure, High Flow
  • One of our most popular research efforts, the annual Cable Network Directory is a who’s who of those selling DR media time at the cable network — and now satellite provider and MSO — level. From behemoths like Viacom, Turner and Discovery to small independent networks, we strive to grow this list every year. And, with more than 135 networks listed in 2014, we’re proud to say that this version of the directory is the biggest and most complete yet! If you want to know who to call to buy time for your DRTV campaign and you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance: 2014 Cable Network Directory
  • Our Field Reports section provides a full recap of Response Expo in the May issue. From keynoter Brian Billick to all the education and networking opportunities, you can relive the best Response Expo yet! And a special bonus: our monthly But Wait, There’s More section offers a two-page spread of the event’s excitement! If you missed the links above, click here for the news recap: Field Reports May and here for the photo spread: But Wait, There’s More May
  • The final quarter of direct response TV and radio media billings results proves no better for the short-form DRTV market. Fourth-quarter billings dipped more than 10 percent from the same quarter in 2012 — sadly, the year’s best quarterly result in Kantar Media’s short-form DRTV research. As we begin to track 2014 billings, one hopes that Kantar’s contention that a change in measurement and calculation was responsible for about 50 percent of the year’s nearly $1 billion drop from 2012 is true. For more on 4Q short-form DRTV billings from Kantar and Response, click here: Short-Form DRTV Media Wraps Unsightly 2013
  • Moderating a session at Response Expo.

    Moderating a session at Response Expo.

    Finally, my Editor’s Note takes a fond look back at Response Expo. As the co-founder of this event, the eighth version of it that took place in late April and early May was perhaps the most fulfilling. With our smallest team ever and minimal support or notice from our parent company, I cannot tell you just how proud I am of all of my Response teammates, from our core crew in the Orange County office to our key supporting staff who join us each year from our Newton, Mass., office. With a team that’s, at best, half the size of teams that put on other events in our industry, the hard work that goes into creating Response Expo is rather tiring. So to see the event unfold with nary a hitch and to hear the wonderful feedback of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and speakers is incredibly satisfying. To read my full take, here’s the link once again: Feeling the ‘Vibe’ at Response Expo

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!