Oct 05

Response September: Supplements and Subscription Boxes Shed Light on Shifting Marketing Philosophies

Response September 2016Two weeks ago, Response’s September issue hit the web — after initially debuting, in print, at our DRMA Marketer of the Year event in Las Vegas on Sept. 14. Today seems like a good time to look back on the issue and dig into the particulars surrounding some of the key stories. The issue is led by a cover feature on health-and-wellness supplement marketer NutraClick and its Harvard-educated CMO, Patrick Carroll. The issue also features our annual look at the consumer packaged goods market, our 21st Annual State of the Industry report — featuring insight from members of the Response Advisory Board, and a feature touching on the latest trends affecting teleservices providers. Read on for more:

  • The name Patrick Carroll first popped into my consciousness in late 2015, on a call with Rus Sarnoff of Integrated Marketing. Rus has been a huge help for the Response team in planning and prepping our educational sessions at Response Expo for most of the past decade — in fact, along with Greg Sarnow, he’s the co-chair of our new DRMA Education Committee. Rus mentioned NutraClick and Patrick during a planning call for this past April’s Expo, and he was very passionate about Patrick’s capabilities both as CMO of NutraClick and as a possible speaker. I spoke with Patrick and Shannon Costello, the PR contact at NutraClick in early 2016, and though we didn’t have a fit for him on our main educational stage, we were able to place him on our sponsored Pre-Show Intensive panel. And, I must say, Rus was right — Patrick is as knowledgeable and thoughtful as they come. Once the Expo was over, it was just a matter of time before we slated NutraClick for a cover feature on its outstanding omnichannel marketing efforts for its successful products like Force Factor and ProbioSlim. If you missed the link to the story above, here it is once again: Tipping the Scales
  • Another annual staple, our feature what’s new in the consumer packaged goods space jumps full speed ahead into the burgeoning “subscription box” space. From cosmetics to razors to baby supplies — and more — delivered-monthly subscription boxes are changing the game in the CPG space more than just about any other vertical. Our Nicole Urso Reed focuses on three key marketers having success in these new models. Here’s that story link again: Delivering a Brand New Package
  • In our 21st Annual State of the Industry Report, 10 members of our Advisory Board took part in answering more than 15 questions about the present and future of performance-based marketing. The new realities of an omnichannel marketing world, expanding consumer control of the marketing funnel, how marketers can attribute sales to a specific marketing outreach, and the future of TV/video content — and advertising’s place in it — are just a few of the topics tackled. Bonus: the online version includes the full and unabridged answers from all of our board members who took part — an impossibility in our limited print pages. Just in case you skipped the link above: Response Magazine’s 21st Annual State of the Industry Report
  • In the second of our series of features on the back-end vendor services space (last month, we touched on payment processing, with a fulfillment feature slated for October), our Doug McPherson spoke with a trio of leaders on the teleservices side of the business. With how consumers can respond to marketing messages shifting heavily toward the web, teleservices providers are getting more specialized when it comes to serving as order centers, while — at the same time — expanding their customer service capabilities to respond to the growing “click-to-call” mobile response universe. Read more about the current state of teleservices here: Getting the Call
  • Our monthly direct response TV and radio media billings return to the DR radio space for first-quarter 2016 results. For the sixth time in the past seven quarters, radio dialed in for success. In fact, the total DR radio spend in 1Q 2016 — $18,344,000 — represents the best first-quarter result in the medium in 12 years. Why is radio continuing to grow at such an incredible pace? For a full look at 1Q 2016 DR radio media billings, click here: DR Radio Rocks Out in 1Q 2016
  • Other key items in this month’s issue include:
  • Finally, I use my side gig as an in-season online college football columnist for an angle to kick off this month’s Editor’s Note column. Right before I sat down to write this month’s column, I’d just wrapped up my wide-ranging preview of the Pac-12 football season (side note: through five weeks, I’ve picked 39 of 45 results correctly) and it got me thinking: what if marketers had to wait weeks — or even months — to find out the results of their hard work? Far-fetched? Take a look and let me know: Measuring Success? There’s Not a Second to Lose

Thanks again for reading and interacting with Response!

Dec 18

2015 Pac-12 Picking the Winners Recap: November

Taylor McNamara's TD catch capped off USC's South Division-clinching 40-21 victory over UCLA on Nov. 28

Taylor McNamara’s TD catch capped off USC’s South Division-clinching 40-21 victory over UCLA on Nov. 28

Welcome to my third and final monthly recap of my 2015 “Picking the Winners” Pac-12 preview (which has appeared annually on USCFootball.com for the past decade or so). My first two recaps appeared on Sept. 30 (covering September results) and Nov. 5 (covering October results). If you missed my picks in the feature story, here’s the link:

15th Annual ‘Picking the Winners’ Pac-12 Preview

My November mark of 18-7 (including the Pac-12 Championship game) left my overall record for the season at 67-25 (.728), matching my 2014 mark. Not counting the Pac-12 title game — which I include as a loss, since I had Oregon (not Stanford) beating USC (hmm, on second thought, should I count the North champ over USC as a win?) — half of my defeats came at the hands of a Washington State team that closed out a surprising 8-4 season. Before taking a look at the season overall, let’s see how things shook out in November — my best picks, worst picks, and how my preseason expectations for each team compared with the reality.

Week 10

Best Picks

  • USC over Arizona (picked 42-27; actual 38-30)
  • Oregon over California (picked 57-28; actual 44-28)

Worst Pick

  • Arizona State over Washington State, 41-31 (actual: Washington State 38, Arizona State 24)
  • Washington over Utah, 22-20 (actual: Utah 34, Washington 23)

A 4-2 week was marred by, of course, Washington State’s home win against the Sun Devils — after falling behind 14-0 early — and Utah‘s victory over Washington. My best picks of the week narrowly missed being even better, as the Trojans (picked by 15 over Arizona) allowed a meaningless late touchdown after leading, 38-23. And while Oregon allowed 28 points to California (as predicted), the Ducks’ offense was still finding its way a bit.

Week 11

Best Picks

  • Oregon over Stanford (picked 30-24; actual 38-36)
  • California over Oregon State (picked 52-31; actual 54-24)
  • Arizona State over Washington (picked 38-23; actual 27-17)

Worst Pick

  • UCLA over Washington State, 48-22 (actual: Washington State 31, UCLA 27)

For the fourth time in 2015, I enjoyed a one-loss week, going 5-1. Unsurprisingly, it was the Cougars who kept me from my first perfect week of the season when they scored with three seconds to play at UCLA. Among the five winners, Oregon’s “upset” at Stanford was perhaps the most surprising after how the season’s first 10 weeks had played out. Meanwhile, my pick of Cal scoring 50+ in a blowout over Oregon State came true, and I missed the correct margin by just five points in Arizona State‘s win against the Huskies.

Week 12

Best Picks

  • Oregon over USC (picked 45-35; actual 48-28)
  • Arizona State over Arizona (picked 41-34; actual 52-37)
  • Stanford over California (picked 42-20; actual 35-22)

Worst Picks

  • Oregon State over Washington, 19-17 (actual: Washington 52, Oregon State 7)
  • Colorado over Washington State, 33-30 (actual: Washington State 27, Colorado 3)
  • Utah over UCLA, 26-16 (actual: UCLA 17, Utah 9)

The weekend of Nov. 21 tied for my toughest of the season (3-3). Incredibly, I picked the week’s marquee matchup (Oregon-USC) and two rivalry games (the Territorial Cup and the Big Game) correctly, while failing on what seemed to be less attractive games . The Beavers continued to somehow be worse than I imagined. And Washington State’s demolition of Colorado toppled one of my preseason upset picks.

Week 13

Best Picks

  • California over Arizona State (picked 45-42; actual 48-46)
  • Utah over Colorado (picked 31-19; actual 20-14)

Worst Pick

  • Washington over Washington State, 28-27 (actual: Washington, 45-10)

I never would have imagined that my only perfect week of 2015 would coincide with the last full slate of the year — especially considering the number of rivalry games, what became a huge Stanford-Notre Dame matchup, and a back-and-forth shootout in Berkeley. But not only did I go 6-0 — meaning that I ended up picking all five traditional conference rivalry outcomes correctly in 2015 — but I also just missed the final score in Cal’s “Pac-12 After Dark” win over ASU.

Week 14

Pac-12 Championship: Stanford 41, USC 22 (picked Oregon over USC, 38-31)

Honestly, after what the Trojans faced during the first month-and-a-half of the 2015 campaign, I’m as stunned as you are that I picked the South Division champion correctly.

November Expectations vs. Reality

With six incorrect picks in regular season games, once again there’s plenty of shakeup when looking at my expectations for each squad. As usual, let’s start from the Pacific Northwest and head down the coast before curling back inland.

  • Washington (picked 2-2, 2-2 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): Overachieving Utah and underachieving Oregon State (even with limited expectations) helped me fail on two Husky picks.
  • Washington State (picked 0-4, 0-4 in Pac-12; reality 3-1, 3-1): The Cougars’ surprise season was reflected in three appearances in my “Worst Picks of the Week” column in November.
  • Oregon State (picked 1-3, 1-3 in Pac-12; reality 0-4, 0-4): My only miss on Oregon State in November: picking them to beat Washington at home. Instead, the Huskies led 45-0 at halftime.
  • Oregon (picked 4-0, 4-0 in Pac-12; reality 4-0, 4-0): My preseason pick of the Ducks as dominant finally came to fruition in a month where UO beat Stanford on the road and whipped USC in Eugene.
  • California (picked 2-2, 2-2 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): For a second consecutive month, I nailed all four Cal game predictions.
  • Stanford (picked 3-1, 3-1 in Pac-12; reality 3-1, 3-1): Not counting Stanford’s appearance in the Pac-12 title game (replacing my preseason pick, Oregon), I notched four correct calls on the Cardinal.
  • UCLA (picked 2-2, 2-2 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): While the pick vs. reality looks good, I shanked two Bruins’ picks, with Washington State’s improvement and Utah’s loss of Devontae Booker biting me.
  • USC (picked 3-1, 3-1 in Pac-12; reality 3-1, 3-1 ): A perfect four-for-four (five-for-five, if you want to count the Trojans’ loss in the Pac-12 championship game).
  • Arizona State (picked 3-1, 3-1 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): Yep, Washington State again.
  • Arizona (picked 1-2, 1-2 in Pac-12; reality 1-2, 1-2): A perfect month of Wildcat selections.
  • Utah (picked 2-2, 2-2 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): More muddled results with my Ute picks, missing their Washington and UCLA outcomes.
  • Colorado (picked 1-3, 1-3 in Pac-12; reality 0-4, 0-4): Those Cougs did it to me — and the Buffs — again.

2015 Pac-12 Picks: The Final Breakdown

If you’re still with me, here’s a look back at the full season results, in comparison to my preseason picks, with errors noted.

North Division (by order of finish)

  1. Stanford: Final record — 11-2, 8-1; preseason prediction — 10-2, 7-2 (second in North). Variance: lost at Northwestern; won at USC; advanced to and won Pac-12 Championship game vs. USC.
  2. Oregon: Final record — 9-3, 7-2; preseason prediction — 12-1, 9-0 (first in North). Variance: lost vs. Utah; lost vs. Washington State; failed to advance to Pac-12 Championship game.
  3. Washington State: Final record — 8-4, 6-3; preseason prediction — 3-9, 1-8 (sixth in North). Variance: lost vs. Portland State; won at Rutgers; won at Oregon; won at Arizona; won vs. Arizona State; won at UCLA; won vs. Colorado.
  4. California: Final record — 7-5, 4-5; preseason prediction — 6-6, 4-5 (third in North). Variance: won at Texas.
  5. Washington: Final record — 6-6, 4-5; preseason prediction — 4-8, 2-7 (fifth in North). Variance: won at USC; won vs. Arizona; lost vs. Utah; won at Oregon State.
  6. Oregon State: Final record — 2-10, 0-9; preseason prediction — 4-8, 2-7 (fourth in North). Variance: lost vs. Colorado; lost vs. Washington.

South Division (by order of finish)

  1. USC: Final record — 8-5, 6-3; preseason prediction — 10-3, 7-2 (first in South). Variance: lost vs. Stanford; won at Arizona State; lost vs. Washington; lost at Notre Dame.
  2. Utah: Final record — 9-3, 6-3; preseason prediction — 7-5, 4-5 (fifth in South). Variance: won at Oregon; won vs. Arizona State; won at Washington; lost vs. UCLA.
  3. UCLA: Final record — 8-4, 5-4; preseason prediction — 8-4, 5-4 (fourth in South). Variance: won at Arizona; lost vs. Arizona State; lost vs. Washington State; won at Utah.
  4. Arizona State: Final record — 6-6, 4-5; preseason prediction — 8-4, 6-3 (second in South). Variance: lost vs. USC; won at UCLA; lost at Utah; lost at Washington State.
  5. Arizona: Final record — 6-6, 3-6; preseason prediction — 8-4, 5-4 (third in South). Variance: lost vs. UCLA; won at Colorado; lost vs. Washington State; lost at Washington.
  6. Colorado: Final record — 4-9, 1-8; preseason prediction — 6-7, 2-7 (sixth in North). Variance: lost at Hawaii; lost vs. Arizona; won at Oregon State; lost at Washington State.

In the North, I was two points from picking California’s entire season correctly. Yes, I picked Texas to beat Cal by a point — but it was the Bears who pulled off a 45-44 win, saddling me with my only incorrect selection on the Berkeley schedule. Additionally, I missed only two outcomes each on the schedules of North stalwarts Stanford and Oregon.

Unsurprisingly, my worst set of results featured Washington State, which I picked to finish in the North cellar. I failed in picking seven of the Cougs’ 12 outcomes, but one of those has to be on them — their season-opening loss to FCS-level Portland State.

Intriguingly, I had exactly four incorrect selections for all six South Division clubs, while picking the division winner (USC) correctly. However, with some minor shuffling behind the Trojans, I correctly picked five South squads for bowl eligibility.

2015 Pac-12 Bowl Picks

Finally, with a record 10 conference clubs reaching the postseason, here are my picks for each bowl, with the slate getting underway tomorrow (College Football Playoff rankings reflected).

Saturday, Dec. 19

  • Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque: Arizona 41, New Mexico 30
  • Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas: (22) Utah 23, BYU 21

Saturday, Dec. 26

  • Hyundai Sun Bowl, El Paso: Miami 35, Washington State 31
  • Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas: Washington 31, Southern Mississippi 21
  • Foster Farms Bowl, Santa Clara: UCLA 38, Nebraska 27

Tuesday, Dec. 29

  • Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth: California 42, Air Force 28

Wednesday, Dec. 30

  • National Funding Holiday Bowl, San Diego: (25) USC 24, Wisconsin 20

Friday, Jan. 1, 2016

  • Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, Pasadena: (6) Stanford 30, (5) Iowa 24

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016

  • Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio: (15) Oregon 43, (11) TCU 37
  • Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, Phoenix: West Virginia 34, Arizona State 31

Thanks for reading. I look forward to being back for the 2016 season!

Nov 05

2015 Pac-12 Picking the Winners Recap: October

Welcome to my second monthly recap of my 2015 “Picking the Winners” Pac-12 preview (which has appeared annually on USCFootball.com for the past decade or so). My first recap, on Sept. 30, covered September’s results. And I’ll take a complete look back in a post-season, pre-bowl overview in December. If you missed my picks in the feature story, here’s the link:

15th Annual ‘Picking the Winners’ Pac-12 Preview

My October mark of 17-9, upped my overall record for the season to 49-18 (.731). Arizona‘s struggles and USC‘s upheaval (and Washington taking advantage of both), along with Washington State‘s emergence were my main nemeses. Let’s see how things shook out — my best picks, my worst picks, and how my preseason expectations for each team compared with the month’s reality.

Week 5

Best Pick

  • Oregon over Colorado (picked 54-24; actual 41-24)

Worst Pick

  • UCLA over Arizona State, 30-28 (actual: Arizona State 38, UCLA 23)

As we moved more completely into the conference season, the realities of this year’s teams start to really shake out vs. the expectations we were all working with before the season. So, though I picked three of four games correctly on the week of October 3, the closest I got to an actual score/margin was Oregon‘s 17-point win at Colorado — and even that score is affected by the Ducks’ struggles and Colorado’s improvement. In my other wins, I had Stanford beating Arizona by 17 (the Cardinal won by 38) and California by three TDs over Washington State (the six-point margin looked much less confusing by the end of October).

And, let’s be honest: that worst pick, my only loss on the week, was maybe more shocking after what led up to UCLA‘s match-up with Arizona State in Pasadena than it seemed before the season began. The Bruins were riding high at 4-0, and the Devils, at 2-2, were coming off a whipping in Tempe at the hands of USC. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Week 6

Best Picks

  • Utah over California (picked 38-31; actual 30-24)
  • Arizona over Oregon State (picked 45-17 actual 44-7)
  • Arizona State over Colorado (picked 42-27; actual 48-23)

Worst Picks

  • Oregon over Washington State, 57-20 (actual: Washington State 45, Oregon 38 — 2OT)
  • USC over Washington, 44-24 (actual: Washington 17, USC 12)

This was a very Jekyll-and-Hyde week for me, as my three wins were all actually pretty solid picks in relation to final score and/or margin — led clearly by my choice of Utah in a tight home victory over Cal.

However, those two bad picks were on the “wow” level, as Oregon‘s early season slide merged with Washington State‘s continuing emergence in Eugene. Meanwhile, in one of the worst football games I’ve ever seen in person, a so-so Washington team outlasted seemingly disinterested USC on a Thursday night in L.A. Of course, with the upheaval in the USC program that came just days later, the Trojans’ performance seems less odd in retrospect.

Week 7

Best Picks

  • Washington State over Oregon State (picked 35-27; actual 52-31)
  • Stanford over UCLA (picked 34-24; actual 56-35)

Worst Picks

  • Arizona State over Utah, 33-27 (actual: Utah 34, Arizona State 18)
  • USC over Notre Dame, 38-28 (actual: Notre Dame 41, USC 31)

My worst week of the year so far (3-3) really showcased the changing realities in the 2015 season mentioned earlier. Washington State? Better than expected. Utah? Way up! Arizona State? Down. USC? In turmoil. Colorado? Not quite ready to pull the big upset. Stanford? Turning into a playoff contender. UCLA? Injuries destroying its defense.

Week 8

Best Picks

  • UCLA over California (picked 41-24; actual 40-24)
  • USC over Utah (picked 27-13; actual 42-24)
  • Stanford over Washington (picked 37-7; actual 31-14)

Worst Pick

  • Arizona over Washington State, 40-20 (actual: Washington State, Arizona 42)

Man, soooooo close on that UCLACal pick! Getting so close on that one was a positive precursor to one of the better 3-2 weeks you can have. I had USC over Utah by 14 in preseason — and Utah over USC by 15 in my weekly preview for USCFootball.com. The Trojans, though, rose from their apparent collective grave to whip the stunned Utes and the final margin landed awfully close to my initial call. On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Leach’s Washington State club pulled off its latest road shocker, this time in Tucson — blowing my preseason choice right out of the water like a cannon-shot to a pirate ship.

Week 9

Best Picks

  • Utah over Oregon State (picked 33-17; actual 27-12)
  • USC over California (picked 42-34; actual 27-21)

Worst Pick

  • Arizona over Washington, 38-28 (actual: Washington 49, Arizona 3)

My best week of October was its final week, as I correctly picked five out of six outcomes. And, by margin of victory, I had two of my best choices of the season: Utah over Oregon State by 16 (final margin: 15) and USC over California by eight (final margin: six).

However, Washington really gave me my money’s worth out of that single loss: a 56-point swing from pick to reality, as the Huskies had their best performance of 2015 against a floundering Arizona club.

October Expectations vs. Reality

With nine incorrect picks, once again there’s plenty of shakeup when looking at my expectations for each squad vs. the reality. Let’s start from the Pacific Northwest and head down the coast before curling back inland.

  • Washington (picked 0-4, 0-4 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): The Huskies scored two unexpected victories over expected South Division contenders USC and Arizona.
  • Washington State (picked 1-4, 1-4 in Pac-12; reality 3-2, 3-2): Only a late Stanford comeback kept the resurgent Cougars from winning four of five in October.
  • Oregon State (picked 1-3, 1-3 in Pac-12; reality 0-4, 0-4): My only miss on Oregon State so far this season: picking them to beat Colorado at home. Instead, the Buffs broke a 14-game conference losing streak and a 13-game conference road losing streak.
  • Oregon (picked 4-0, 4-0 in Pac-12; reality 3-1, 3-1): Another victim of surprising Washington State. The Ducks finished the month with a dramatic OT win at Arizona State. Can they ride the momentum from that through season’s end?
  • California (picked 1-3, 1-3 in Pac-12; reality 1-3, 1-3): I called for an October downturn for the Bears — and got all four of their games correct. My only mistake on Cal’s schedule remains picking a loss in its eventual one-point win at Texas.
  • Stanford (picked 4-0, 4-0 in Pac-12; reality 4-0, 4-0): Nailed it!
  • UCLA (picked 3-1, 3-1 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): That ASU loss really was a stunner, even with the Bruins’ injury problems.
  • USC (picked 4-0, 3-0 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-1 ): With the Sark episode mixed into the middle of one of the toughest stretches in USC’s schedule (@ Notre Dame, Utah, @ Cal), it’s no shock that the Trojans suffered a couple of unexpected losses. While there’s no shame losing in South Bend, Sark’s last game — the loss to Washington — was brutal.
  • Arizona State (picked 2-2, 2-2 in Pac-12; reality 2-2, 2-2): Always fun to see the pick match the reality, isn’t it? No, it’s not. ASU’s stunner over UCLA was the hiccup, and by the time it rolled around, the Devils loss at Utah wasn’t much of a shock.
  • Arizona (picked 3-2, 3-2 in Pac-12; reality 2-3, 2-3): While I wasn’t exactly a buyer of the idea that Arizona would, once again, challenge for the South Division crown (see my preseason pick of Colorado over the Wildcats), I really didn’t expect them to fall to both of the Washington schools.
  • Utah (picked 2-2, 2-2 in Pac-12; reality 3-1, 3-1): Without USC’s win over the Utes, I’d have really struggled with my Utah picks this month!
  • Colorado (picked 1-4, 1-4 in Pac-12; reality 1-4, 1-4): Like ASU, the matching results reflect a pair of misses. That will happen when you try to hand-pick the right “upset” (in this case, over Arizona — which didn’t happen) for a team that’s struggled for years.

Enjoy this weekend’s games!