It’s been a while, eh? I’ll blame the annual Response calendar, which generally revs up when we return from the holidays, thanks to Response Expo’s spring dates. Honestly, from January through the end of Response Expo, each year, the close-knit Response staff is essentially doing full-time double duty. So, I’m taking advantage of working a little late on a Tuesday to put together this look back at our January issue, which has been online for a few weeks now. We started 2016 off on the right foot, thanks to a former Response staffer turned freelancer who pitched, earned, and wrote the cover feature on Square, stories on sports marketing and finding the right mix between organic and promoted social media, and — finally — some positive news for the long-form media billings market. Let’s take a deeper look!
While researching an assignment on the business solutions market for our November issue, Nicole Urso Reed — a former Response senior editor and a long-time freelancer for us — saw something interesting in the efforts of Square, which most people think of as that little attachment you put on your iPhone to process credit card payments for your small business. She saw a deeper story — one about Square’s work in partnering with their clients, providing marketing assistance, back-end data, and more. Essentially, she saw a business that had used performance-based media to market itself on TV and online that was actually a true B2B service provider, helping entrepreneurs reach for their dreams. Turns out, she was right. Her interview with Kevin Burke, a former Visa CMO who now heads customer acquisition for Square, as well as conversations with a few of the company’s leading clients make for an intriguing look at how important data can be to building a business with a certain style of guerrilla marketing. If you missed the link above, click here: Big Change for Small Businesses
Appropriately, when looking at the changing marketing landscape for sports marketers — which is a natural fit for expanded social media marketing along with traditional outreach for ticket and merchandise sales — our Doug McPherson dug into the growing success of Major League Soccer (MLS). Soccer’s ascension in popularity — driven heavily by millennials and the younger sect of Gen-X — is hard to miss, especially in cities like Portland, Columbus, and San Jose. And marketers from other sports are taking notice of that success, including those in the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. If you missed the link above but want to check it out, click here: Hitting the Goal
One of four contributed columns in the issue, the Legal Review piece from Venable‘s Jeff Knowles and Amy Ralph Mudge about the FTC‘s recent guidance on so-called “Native Advertising” is a crucial read for any marketer doing business today. And, honestly, as a writer, I might be the only one involved in the magazine or in the industry who’s happy about the FTC’s attempt to set some standards to clarify the continually blurring line between editorial content and advertising. If you missed the link above, here you go: The FTC Goes ‘Native’
Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings present a bit of a surprise, as third-quarter 2015 long-form DRTV billings broke the market’s three-year losing streak. Sure, the 5.5-percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2014 leaves the market a long way from its peak during the middle of the last decade. However, any sign of stabilization of the beleaguered space is welcome. For a full look at 3Q 2015 long-form DRTV media billings, click here: 3Q 2015 Long-Form Billings … Rise? Yes!
Finally, in my Editor’s Note, I kick off 2016 looking at something I dubbed the three “Cs” — competition, cooperation, community. How do they fit together? And how can you be a part of building a better marketing business? If you missed the link above, here’s my take — and a call to action — on the topic: Community and Cooperation Can Boost All Competitors
Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!
With Response‘s October issue wrapped and off to the printer today — and a biz trip to Vegas in the cards for next week — today’s the perfect time to put together my personal recap of the magazine’s September issue. Always one of our bigger issues of the year, September is led by a piece on the multifaceted integrated marketing programs at Bridgestone Americas, the world’s largest tire company, and includes the annual State of the Industry Report, as well as a series of solid contributed columns — all speaking to the expansion of the performance-based marketing universe. The expansion is so rapid and diverse, honestly, that we decided to update our cover tagline beginning with this issue. Yes, Response is now “The Magazine for Performance-Based Marketers.”
In May, I received a press release from Cassie Jones, a senior account executive at PadillaCRT, the public relations agency for Bridgestone. The release touted a then-upcoming TV campaign for its new DriveGuard tires that starred actor/comedian Will Arnett, perhaps best known for his character Gob Bluth on the hit TV show “Arrested Development.” I responded to Cassie, inquiring about the campaign and its overall fit in any direct, digital, or data-driven efforts underway by the Bridgestone marketing team. All credit goes to Cassie for listening to what our readers want from Response and producing an interview in late June with Amber Holm and Scott Palubinsky, talking about how performance-based metrics are becoming crucial to not only Bridgestone’s tire sales, but also for its 2,200 retail stores under the Tires Plus, Wheel Works, and Firestone Complete Auto Care brands. If you missed the link to the cover story above, here it is again: The Rubber Meets the Road
In the print and digital pages of Response, readers were able to hear a cross-section of answers from members of our Advisory Board as part of the magazine’s 20th annual State of the Industry Report. However, one of the best parts of our online edition is the opportunity to expand on such stories. For years now, we’ve been able to present the full, unabridged answers from all of our Advisory Board members who choose to take part in the story to each question. This version is no different. So, if you’ve read the print version and were left wanting more, click the link now to read the extended, Web-exclusive version of the story: Response Magazine’s 20th Annual State of the Industry Report
On a monthly basis, we run somewhere between two and six submitted columns from experts in the industry. These pieces are designed to share thought leadership from those who do the work of the performance-based marketing world on a daily basis, touching on hot topics and providing crucial tips and tricks for our readers. The September issue was no different — other than the fact that, from my perspective as the person who assigns and edits each and every one of these submissions, we were lucky to have a couple of exceedingly strong viewpoints. Doug Garnett of Portland, Ore.-based Atomic Direct (and a long-time Advisory Board member) touched on how DRTV is a boon for online businesses, while Venable LLP‘s Jeff Knowles and Ellen Berge gave readers the lowdown on new EMV credit card technology and how it could cause a burst of fraudulent activity in card-not-present processing. (Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a shout to the Washington, D.C., law firm’s practice group development manager Chuck Wilkins, whose help has been invaluable to Response‘s editorial efforts over the years).
Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings recap takes a look at the first DR radio results of 2015. Those results maintained a recently positive trend for the market, showing a minor 1.6-percent increase over results from the same time frame in 2014. Lately, with recent DRTV billings struggling, it’s been refreshing to get around to the radio results each quarter. This quarter is no different, as a small jump in the total number of radio campaigns and increased spending on small-to-mid-level campaigns point to a strengthening marketplace. For a more in-depth look at 1Q 2015 DR radio media billings, click here: 1Q 2015 DR Radio Media Billings Stay Positive
Last but not least: not only do I own up to playing fantasy football for the past two decades in my September Editor’s Note column, I’m able to link that to the incredible expansion of weekly fantasy sports, brought to you on your TV nightly by businesses like DraftKings and FanDuel. What do these recently valued billion-dollar entities see in the combination of short-form DRTV and their fully digital product? And what does their ubiquitous advertising mean for the performance-based marketing business? If you missed the link to the column above, here it is once again: Fantasy-Level Media Investments Signal Huge Opportunities
Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!
I’m back again with some links from this month’s edition of Response Magazine and some back story on each piece. Please click on any of the links to jump to the stories included within!
Capital One’s Patrick McLean graces Response’s April cover.
The April cover features Capital One’s Patrick McLean. The story grew out of an initial meeting in Boston during the fall 2011 Direct Marketing Association (DMA) annual convention. McLean was on an interesting panel about digital marketing, and after watching some of the session, my goal was to get him involved with a speaking opportunity at Response Expo, which will take place on May 15-17 in San Diego. Well, after a few conversations with Pat and Capital One staff, not only did we confirm him to be part of one of our high-profile sessions next month, but we also convinced him and Capital One to be featured on our cover. With a background in telecom, McLean’s transition to the financial services sector has gone rather smoothly, and his ideas about digital, online and social media marketing are intriguing. If you missed the story link above, here it is again:“Building Social Capital”
A great day on Capitol Hill
My monthly Editor’s Note column touches upon my recent visit to Washington, DC, with publisher John Yarrington, as sponsors of the DMA’s annual “DMA in DC” event. What a great experience it was for both of us, from working closely with Rachel Thomas, Linda Woolley and the rest of the DMA staff, to hearing the concerns of industry leaders about regulatory topics and government action, to visiting with Congressional staffers on the Hill to share concerns about the industry. At the same time, we were able to catch up with some DC-area clients, including Time Life’s Tim Pearson, FaceTime Strategies’ Todd Mason and Venable’s Jeff Knowles and Chuck Wilkins. A worthy three-day trip, indeed. Check out my take on it here: “Response Goes to Washington”
Lastly, but most importantly, the April issue also includes an exclusive interview with long-time DRTV industry executive Ray Golden, who is battling terminal cancer. Ray’s diagnosis was a gutshot to many in the industry who not only enjoyed doing business with him, but also counted him as a personal friend. The silver lining? Response is stepping up to the plate — and asking all of our DR industry friends and cohorts to join us — to support the Amber Golden Educational Fund, which Ray started to benefit his daughter, who is in her third year in pursuit of a nursing degree. For more on this moving story, and how you can contribute, visit our Field Reports exclusive with Ray right now: “Ray Golden Speaks on His Career and His Daughter’s Battle”
Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!