May 12

Response April: Monsters, Makeup, and Memories

Just days before Response Expo late last month, the April issue of Response hit the web and mailboxes. Before it’s time for the May edition to drop, I finally found a window in the schedule to take a look back at the issue, which features a cover story on long-time job seeking/recruiting leader Monster Worldwide. Additionally, there’s the last installment of our four-part series on the consumer journey, our annual look at the beauty and personal care market, and an exclusive Q&A feature with the seven legends who were inducted to the Direct Response Hall of Fame on April 27 at the Expo. Suffice it to say, it’s a power-packed issue. Here’s more on how it came together:

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Nov 06

Response October: Autobytel Aspires, Columnists’ Desires, and Yogi Inspires

Response October 2015After a hectic October, a week full of prepping and planning for year’s end and — I can’t believe I’m saying this already — Response Expo, I finally have a chance on this Friday afternoon to take a look back at Response‘s October issue. For years, we’ve covered the automotive marketing space with a general feature in October, so we’re happy that our cover story on Autobytel, which had been in planning and prep for about 3-4 months, fell into this issue as well. Beyond those features, you’ll also catch our semi-annual media buying and planning guide, a DRMA Spotlight Update, and — as usual — our regular array of research and industry opinion. Let’s touch on some of the key pieces.

  • My first connection to the eventual Autobytel cover feature on Jeff Coats came during a May trip to Las Vegas covering another story for the magazine. There, I met Benjamin Hunting, a freelance writer with a presence in the automotive journalism space, who also does some editing work for Autobytel. A month or so later, Ben connected me with PR contact Jennifer Lange, to whom I pitched a feature on Autobytel’s multichannel, performance-driven campaigns — in both the B2B and B2C realms. It was a natural fit for us, geographically, as well — Autobytel’s offices are less than five miles from those of Response. From there, the interview and photo shoot pulled together fairly smoothly, and the piece is very intriguing from both a historical and current perspective. If you missed the link to the cover story above, here it is again: An Automotive Matchmaker
  • Tony BesasieOur latest DRMA Spotlight Update checked back in with Cannella Response Television and its president, Tony Besasie. The company is celebrating 30 years in business in 2015, but that’s far from the most noteworthy thing happening in its Burlington, Wis., and Los Angeles offices. Besasie and the company’s leadership are looking ahead, with a vision based on the current status of the TV and video advertising space — and its future. If you missed the link above, here’s your chance to hear from one of the DRMA’s leading member companies: 30 Years in, Cannella Response Television Keeps Looking Ahead
  • October was another heavy month for submitted opinion columns from industry experts in the mag, with a half-dozen takes on topics as widespread as doing business based on fear or love to the power (and folly) of self-assumed titles. However, two columns again stuck out as crucial conversation starters: Sean Fay of Seattle-based Envision Response wrote about how consumers’ mental triggers can be pulled in very similar ways by both digital and TV performance-based marketing campaigns. Even more provocatively, in a column that had its origins in a rollicking lunch conversation in New York in June, Tina Messina of Scripps Networks contends the term “direct response” simply isn’t carrying its weight anymore in the TV media sales space and asks readers, “What would you call it?” at the end of a well-written, and well-argued, piece.
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap returns to long-form DRTV for second-quarter 2015 results — and things are pretty much status quo. For the 11th consecutive quarter, long-form DRTV billings slipped — this time by 10.3 percent, marking the lowest 2Q spend since 2004. Though most of the news was predictably dour for the space, one slight positive did arise — cable pricing for a half-hour slot finally dropped after remaining stubbornly high throughout 2014. This helped the cable outlet gain market share, and likely helped the quarter’s total spend from falling even more precipitously. For a more in-depth look at 2Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: 2Q 2015 Long-Form DRTV Billings Slide Again
  • Yogi Berra Finally, as a lifelong baseball fan, October is always a special time. When Hall of Famer Yogi Berra passed away on Sept. 22, he not only left behind a brilliant baseball career, but also some of the most memorable — and confusing — quotes uttered by a public figure during the past five decades. That confluence — the time of year and Berra’s “way” with malapropisms — provided all the inspiration I needed for my October Editor’s Note column. One quote, in particular, seemed perfectly fitting for the current state of the overcrowded digital marketing space — and gave me a chance to riff on the continuing opportunities in offline media for marketers of all stripes — even Yankee pinstripes. If you missed the link to the column above, here it is once again: Berra’s Wit and Wisdom Can Benefit Today’s Marketers

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Nov 11

Response October: Marketer of the Year, Media Feedback and Much More

Response October 2014It’s been about three weeks since Response’s October issue hit the website. While many of you have likely taken a gander at the issue, whether online or in print, let’s take a quick look at how it all came together — from the cover story on our DRMA Marketer of the Year finalists and winner to some of the other key ingredients.

  • For the sixth consecutive year, Response and the Direct Response Marketing Alliance hosted a massive networking event in Las Vegas to announce the winner of the annual Marketer of the Year award, decided in an industry-wide vote. The party, on Sept. 17 at Drai’s in Las Vegas, was the biggest and best yet — with nearly 1,000 attendees enjoying the Strip’s hottest new club of 2014. Prior to the big announcement, we debuted the annual DRMA video, which included dozens of industry leaders donning their “superhero” best during filming at Response Expo this past spring. Through all the pomp ad circumstance — and not a few cocktails — the finalists and winner of the 2014 honor were announced, with Tristar Products taking home the big award and 2013 winner Euro-Pro tying Zumba Fitness for second place in the competition’s closest voting ever. If you’d like to read more about the winner (and finalists) and the campaigns that earned them the industry’s recognition, here’s the link: The Stars Align!
  • Twice a year, we take a hard, feature-length look at the media buying and planning space. In our fall version, we hear more clearly from the buyers’ perspective (in the spring, we usually focus on the perspective of the cable and broadcast media outlets). In this month’s edition, talk of the omnichannel marketing world dominates, with media buyers and sellers going in depth on how to reach consumers in a fragmenting TV universe. While opportunities abound thanks to technology, attribution in campaigns has become more and more difficult. Where did that sale come from, anyway? However, these experts do know one thing — all of those fancy metrics you hear digital media experts kicking around these days got their start with the advent of direct response TV. If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance: A Brighter Outlook
  • This month’s DRMA Spotlight revisits Cannella Response Television. The media agency, with locations in Los Angeles and Burlington, Wis., continues to grow from its leadership role in the long-form DRTV space. President Tony Besasie and CEO Rob Medved sat down for a video interview with me in the company’s Wisconsin offices in August to discuss a number of topics, including growth into the short-form buying space and some surprising results from a DRTV consumer study the company worked on with California-based Script to Screen and M2 Marketing. To read the Spotlight story, click here: Keeping an Edge. To view the video interview with Besasie and Medved, click here: DRMA Spotlight Video: Cannella Response Television
  • In our monthly look at direct response TV and radio media billings, we turn the spotlight on second-quarter 2014 long-form DRTV results, which continued to struggle, losing 6.4 percent from results during the same time period in 2013. However, there were some positive signs — lower costs meant the number of half-hour time slots purchased actually rose, and the U.S. Hispanic marketplace continued to show steady growth across the board. To take a deeper look at 2Q 2014 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: Long-Form Media Billings Fall 6.4 Percent in 2Q 2014
  • Finally, my Editor’s Note column this month takes on some of the topics bandied about in the media buying and planning guide feature mentioned above. In the competitive landscape for marketing dollars today, it’s not enough for media leaders who are well schooled in the direct response space to sit on those laurels. DR media leaders have a significant strategic advantage over both traditional media agencies and digital media agencies — they’ve understood the metrics of attribution for a much longer time than both. To read the column, here’s the link once again: It’s Not Your Father’s MER

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!