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!

Aug 04

Response July: Digital (Focus). Digital (TV). Digital (Creative).

I decided to take a quick Friday break from working up the August and September issues of Response — summer can be a great time to catch up, after all — to recap our recently delivered (and posted) July issue. Along with this month’s cover story — an interview with Tumi/Samsonite C-level executive Charlie Cole — the issue includes features on the shifting market for entertainment content and our annual look at what’s new in the video production space. Let’s dig into how these stories — and other facets of the issue — came together.

  • July’s cover feature got its start in a conference room at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in February. There, at the eTail West event in Palm Desert, Calif., Charlie Cole — then merely chief digital offer for Tumi, who’s since added the title of global chief e-commerce officer for its parent company Samsonite — gave a presentation about his company’s digital marketing and measurement efforts during the past two years. His no-nonsense talk was impressive, and the story it told about Tumi’s efforts was one I wanted to know more about. I reached out to Cole after returning from the event to gauge his interest in a story — and he responded quickly. An open book throughout the process, Cole was one of the more refreshing cove subjects I’ve worked with in recent years. Unsurprisingly, then, the story — just a slice of how Tumi/Samsonite is tackling the great e-commerce revolution — feels like fresh air at a time when marketing and technology teams tend to find themselves at loggerheads more often than necessary. If you missed the link above, here it is once again: Digital Determination
  • What TV will look like three, five — or, god forbid, 10 — years from now is anyone’s guess. Our freelancer Nicole Urso Reed took the assignment for our annual look at marketing in the entertainment space and decided to poke around for answers to that question, as well as what those changes might mean for marketers who’ve long given TV the largest cut of their budgets. From mobile and online video to over-the-top (OTT) and video-on-demand (VOD), the possibilities are exciting. Oh, and Nicole’s headline nod to one of my favorite Dr. Dre songs certainly doesn’t hurt. In case you skipped the link above: The Next Episode
  • Those different possibilities are also driving changes across the video production space, as our freelancer Bridget McCrea continued to learn in her latest look at the production and creative space. Speaking with a half-dozen experts, McCrea finds that different ad lengths — yes, all the way up to a half-hour — still work, depending on the product, the target, and the media outlet. How are producers changing how they do things based on these opportunities? Here’s that story link again: Creative Leverage
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings enter the 2017 calendar year with a look at first-quarter long-form DRTV results. A market that’s lost ground in nine of the past 10 years started 2017 in similar fashion, dropping nearly 12 percent in comparison to its 1Q 2016 totals. However, the problem doesn’t seem to be availability of half-hour spots but rather the gaining power of the lower-cost broadcast and satellite markets at the cost of the contracting cable network sector. As cable pricing continues to fall to compete, overall spending results continue to dip. For a full look at 1Q 2017 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form DRTV Billings Start 2017 on the Wrong Foot
  • The July issue also includes a number of strong submissions in our column well:
  • My Editor’s Note column got its first inspiration from the wide array of music I listen to each day at my desk (currently playing: The Hold Steady‘s “How a Resurrection Really Feels”) and how important great songs (and great songwriting) are in my everyday life. At its essence, great songwriting is great storytelling. Somehow, in fewer than 500 words — with a well-deserved (and, sure, gratuitous) shot at “bro country” included — I get from there to a brief exposition on Response‘s ongoing transition. If you missed the link above, here it is: A Change in Focus Doesn’t Mean a Change in How We Tell Stories

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!