Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry

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Friday Forecast: Amazon's Change in Returns Policy: It's a Package Deal

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Aug 4, 2017 1:32:37 PM e-Commerce

E-commerce giant Amazon created an uproar this week when CNBC reported that the online retailer was making changes to its returns policy that would dramatically affect marketplace sellers.

According to the report, sellers doing their own fulfillment would now be subject to the same return policies as those shipping products via the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon service.

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Friday Forecast: Buh-Bye Coke Zero: A Case of Zero Recall or Shrewd Move?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 28, 2017 10:53:34 AM Consumer

For over 35 years now “New Coke” has been used as a textbook example of a bad business decision and a public relations debacle. Recall that in 1985, after 15 years of eroding sales, the Coca-Cola Company decided to reformulate Coca-Cola and introduce “New Coke” to the marketplace, a supposedly superior tasting product that would help reinvigorate the brand. Consumers rebelled, hoarding the original formulation, and vehemently protesting the corporation’s decision. After 89 days, the old drink – now dubbed “Coca-Cola Classic” was brought back and marketed beside the new entrant until, over time, the latter died off from American store shelves along with the controversy that surrounded it.

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Friday Forecast: Is Bias Infecting Your Marketing Efforts?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 21, 2017 11:01:25 AM Brand Marketing, Social Media

Amid our hazy summer of discontent, accusations of bias are everywhere. From charges of prejudicial news reporting, to the suppression of free speech on campuses, to one-sided social media screeds, the human tendency to lean into the views we agree with has become increasingly commonplace. In a world that is awash with a glut of information, the instinct to sort through and locate data that aligns with our preconceived notions acts as a kind of shortcut that allows one to separate the proverbial wheat from the chafe.

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Friday Forecast: Amazon Prime Day Proves the Power of Scarcity

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 14, 2017 10:34:06 AM Consumer Behavior, Consumer Impression

It was the day after Christmas when one of your Friday Forecasters started canvassing a table of Jim Shore holiday figurines that were priced at half-off in the cellar at Macy’s. No other shoppers were paying any attention whatsoever to the display until your faithful narrator started setting some boxes aside indicating purchase intent. Soon, like moths to a flame, the table was surrounded by like-minded individuals who engaged in a kind of feeding frenzy, jockeying amongst one another for the remaining spoils.

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Friday Forecast: What Collecting Vinyl May Also Say About the Future of Retail

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 7, 2017 9:19:45 AM Retail

According to a recent forecast from Credit Suisse, some 8,640 brick-and-mortar store fronts may close this year in the U.S. alone. We’re talking mainline brands such as Kmart, JC Penney, The Limited, Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, Radio Shack, and the list goes on, representative of some 147 million square feet. That’s more than the historical peak of 6,200 storefronts that were a casualty of 2008’s Great Recession. A combination of over-building and, more importantly, consumers’ increasing appetite for e-commerce is creating a retail tumbleweed effect akin to Walmart moving in and blowing out every mom-and-pop operation lined up on Main Street U.S.A.

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Friday Forecast: Budweiser's Patriotic Tribute Strikes the Perfect Note

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 30, 2017 9:30:15 AM Advertisements

Have you seen it? The moving video courtesy of United States Marine Core veteran and actor Adam Driver done in collaboration with Budweiser and the Folds of Honor Foundation, a non-profit that gives scholarships to family members of fallen and injured veterans who have served the country? Take less than four minutes out of your life to watch it below, and then report back. Don’t read below until you have. Then: we need to discuss.

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Friday Forecast: What's Up With Networks' Nielsen Titling Monkey Business?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 23, 2017 9:41:40 AM Advertisements

While perusing the most recent issue of The Weekly Standard, your Friday Forecasters came across this curious headline: “NBC’s Fake News Show.” The piece went on to explain that NBC had recently come under fire for selectively changing the title on their primetime news show from NBC Nightly News to NBC Nitely News for the purpose of Nielsen’s audience ratings tracking.

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Friday Forecast: Q3 Snapshot: 5 Things DRTV Advertisers Can Expect

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 16, 2017 4:17:49 PM Advertisements

This week your Friday Forecasters sat down with Scott Kowalchek, President & CEO of DirectAvenue, a short form direct response television (DRTV) and brand media planning and buying agency. Our aim: to identify trends that may have an impact on the third quarter DRTV media marketplace as well as evolving directions that are likely to impact such advertisers into the future. 

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Friday Forecast: The Normalization of Digital Piracy: A Blight on Advertisers

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 9, 2017 1:00:47 PM Consumer Behavior, Advertisements

There’s a lot of talk about shifts in media consumption habits by generation and the implications that it has for the traditional interruptive television advertising model. We know eyeballs are shifting away from TV onto smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, especially among the demographic groups under 35 years of age. We know too that more content is being streamed on a delayed or on-demand basis and that viewers are either fast forwarding past our commercials or foregoing them altogether.

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Friday Forecast: A Modest Proposal - Reach Out and Touch Someone

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 2, 2017 10:38:27 AM Brand Marketing

It happens all the time, even for those of us who have been knocking around the direct marketing industry for decades: we meet someone that, in all the years we’ve been at this, have never met. After quickly finding the common intersections, whether they be past jobs or client work or people we mutually know, we find delight in discovering one another, at long last.

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Friday Forecast: Privacy, Security & The Ghosts of '1984'

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on May 26, 2017 12:38:46 PM Consumer Behavior, Trends

The ramping up of allusions to George Orwell’s legendary dystopian novel 1984 really began in earnest when Edward Snowden revealed the degree to which the American government was surveilling its citizens. But since Donald Trump assumed the office of the United States presidency, such references to the literary classic have revolved more around the notion of Thought Police and Thought Crimes and the idea that the powers that be are manipulating a narrative in order to deceive the public.

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Friday Forecast: Manhattan Media's Marianna Morello: The Evolution of a Direct Marketing Trailblazer

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on May 19, 2017 10:16:13 AM DRTV, Direct Response

It was in the early 1990s when the first National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA) annual convention descended on the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Like the manmade volcano that erupted in front of the resort drawing awestruck tourists, Marianna Morello, having recently launched her agency Manhattan Media, was white hot. Word had circulated that she was behind the success of the first print campaign for product marketer A.J. Khubani and Telebrands. Because of this huge success, the direct response television (DRTV) industry was eager to hear more.

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Friday Forecast: Six Essential Tips for Direct Marketing Success

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on May 12, 2017 9:55:00 AM Trends, Direct Response

Entrepreneurs, inventors, and mainline brands may all consider direct marketing at some point as a means of introducing their product or service to the marketplace. Amid a world of dominant online and offline retailers, it makes perfect sense: why not sell directly to the consumer, enjoy better margins, and keep more profits for yourself?

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Friday Forecast: Direct Marketers: Take Five! (Minutes, That Is)

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on May 5, 2017 11:40:22 AM Trends, Consumer Impression

Somewhere between half-hour paid programs and shorter length television commercials, there is the minimercial. Also, known as mid-form direct response advertising, these longer advertisements (that are also shorter when compared to paid programs) can range from three to seven minutes.

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Friday Forecast: United Airlines and the Death of Trust

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Apr 21, 2017 4:50:44 PM Trends, Consumer Impression, Trust

By now, most everyone is aware of United Airlines mistreatment of Dr. David Dao, who was bloodied and dragged off of a flight by O’Hare International Airport security for refusing to heed airline employee orders to give up his seat. Having taken last week off, your Friday Forecasters are admittedly late to the arrival gate on this topic, which has been steady fodder for pundits, late night comics, and outraged social media warriors. While the incident was indeed shocking, and will no doubt be the subject of armchair quarterbacking in marketing and public relations classes for many years to come, we believe the depth of animus it has ignited is rooted in a deeper truth. United’s actions and the buffoonish response of its CEO Oscar Munoz, have exposed a raw nerve the public has suspected for some time: that airlines such as United really don’t give a sh*t about us.

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Friday Forecast: Text - Direct Marketing's Next Big Thing?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Apr 7, 2017 10:37:30 AM Digital Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Texting


For many years, direct response advertising has offered consumers two primary ways of reaching out to marketers: the telephone and the web. Now a third, exciting avenue has emerged: text. Why do we think this is such a compelling opportunity?

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Friday Forecast: One From the Heart

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Mar 31, 2017 3:19:34 PM Arline Kramer, Memorial, Community


The world of marketing and advertising is vast, but our slice of that universe is actually quite finite. It is the world of direct marketing whose roots lie in direct response television, but which is now engulfed in an Omnichannel reality that includes, but is not limited to: broadcast, digital, mobile, social, print, and brick and mortar retail. Many of us have grown up together – some might say grown old together – and travelled the world, in what has been and remains a truly tribal experience. Conventional wisdom asserts that the average professional will have seven different careers across the span of their working life; yet, in the case of our clan, while individuals may reinvent themselves, they rarely leave the fold. Why? 

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What Makes a Great Tagline

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Mar 24, 2017 12:05:36 PM Brand Marketing, International Home + Housewares,, Marketing, Taglines

Photo Credit: IHA

As we roamed the cavernous halls of this year’s International Home + Housewares Show which wrapped up this week at Chicago’s McCormick Place, and stood among the colorful and distinct booth and displays, we wondered: what makes a great tagline? A tagline, after all, can help advance positioning and create competitive differentiation. At its best use, it is highly memorable and helps reaffirm positive feelings for a brand, product, or service. In fact, this year’s theme for the show – which acted as a kind of tagline was – “It’s smart.” This was in keeping with the emphasis on innovations for the smart home, which uses technology such as smartphone apps and voice commands to run everything from lights and locks to indoor and outdoor appliances for the sake of convenience and efficiency.

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Friday Forecast: Advertisers - Does Familiarity Breed Contempt or Contentment?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Mar 17, 2017 3:21:32 PM


Television campaigns have long featured recurring characters, conventions and taglines. The reason is simple: in a world of infinite media clutter these devices help commercials rise to the top of the heap, arrest attention, and, when executed with the greatest deftness, entertain – all while advancing a brand and its message. From the ubiquity of Progressive Insurance’s Flo to the Chick-fil-A cows to the Energizer Bunny, today’s TV advertising landscape is riddled with examples of such repetition. How successful such customs are may very well be eye-of-the-beholder stuff, but in water cooler conversations that occur both literally and virtually, it is apparent that some are beloved, while others are loathed. This observation has led your Friday Forecast bloggers to ask: Why is this so? What makes some campaigns work and others send you scrambling for the mute button… if not the bathroom? Let’s take a closer look at two campaigns, one that we believe achieves this with the greatest poise and another; well, not so much.

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Friday Forecast: How OYO Fitness Raised $659,000 and Crushed it on Kickstarter

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Mar 10, 2017 9:10:51 AM

In just six weeks, fitness direct marketer OYO Fitness – short for On Your Own Fitness – raised over $659,000 on Kickstarter, making it the second most successful fitness product in the history of the crowdfunding site. The success is a testimony to the product’s innovation and certainly the campaign itself, but it also speaks to the evolution of Kickstarter in general. Back in 2011, co-author Rick Petry (who, in the spirit of full disclosure also consults for the company) wrote a column in Electronic Retailer magazine entitled, “The New Mothers of Invention.” As he observed way back then, the site was used more commonly to fund endeavors “on the margins of commerciality – say a band’s new album or an unfinished documentary film...” In fact, at that time, Kickstarter specifically spelled out on its site that it was not intended for “As Seen On TV Products” owing, presumably, to their unabashed commerciality. How times have changed. Today Kickstarter has morphed into a marketplace and the ultimate consumer testing ground where the public gets to vote with their wallet as to whether or not they want to back and provide part of the economic engine that helps bring cool and innovative new products and product concepts to market.

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Friday Forecast: The Marketing Tactic That Works Everywhere, Every Time

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Mar 3, 2017 2:50:18 PM Great Ideas Summit, Digital Marketing, Brand Marketing

According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the seminal marketing treatise, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, there is one weapon of influence that works in every culture and in every corner of the globe. What is it you may wonder? Reciprocity. 

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Friday Forecast: The 7 Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing (and How To Avoid Them)

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Feb 24, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Like the proverbial cobbler’s children with no shoes, too many businesses in the direct marketing business have no business doing their own marketing. It’s a strange paradox: companies that do a brilliant job of elevating the campaigns of others, often fail to buoy their own prospects. They are guilty of the 7 Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing, which undermine their ambitions at every turn. To understand how these worst practices can work against a company, let’s be clear about what the purpose of B2B marketing is: to initiate a conversation. Assuming we have agreement on that matter then, let’s examine this blight in more detail and what one can do to remedy it.

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Friday Forecast: What Can the Industry Do About Fake Reviews?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Feb 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM

“Fake news” is a term batted around on a daily basis in and on what is – purportedly – “the news.” According to a report released last year by the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of American adults access news on social media, and an astounding 66 percent of Facebook users turn to the popular platform for their news. Yet who among us hasn’t fallen for the fake obituary post or wondered whether that privacy warning to Facebook cut and pasted by one of their friends is an act worth repeating or evidence of that friend’s gullibility?

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Tuesday Forecast: Super Bowl LI Ads - America The Beautiful

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Feb 7, 2017 12:00:00 PM DRTV, Advertisements

This week our Friday Forecast appears on Tuesday so that we can dive into the water cooler talk du jour: the annual battle for supremacy known as the Super Bowl and its attendant commercial advertising.

Politics took center stage this year, yet amid our national disunity, the focus was on themes of inclusion, diversity, and commonality. These motifs were delivered with a range of approaches that varied from broad humor to thought provoking poignancy. From immigration to pot legalization, gender politics to religious differences, the full gamut of our political zeitgeist was on display. And yet for all of it, nothing was overtly controversial, mirroring halftime entertainer Lady Gaga’s decision to play it down the middle. While some might consider the approach largely bland or uninspired, we would argue that it was just the kind of feel good balm this country needed as it took a break from ceaseless infighting to gather together and applaud what has become the quintessential American unofficial holiday and celebration (smarting Falcon fans aside).

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Friday Forecast: Anchors Away - What is the Future of Department Stores?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Feb 3, 2017 12:00:00 PM e-Commerce, Retail

Welcome to the Friday Forecast

The so-called anchor store, which has been a mainstay of shopping malls across America since the centers first made their appearance in the mid-1950s, is in serious jeopardy. Although brick and mortar retails sales still eclipse ecommerce by a wide margin, the lion’s share of growth in retail sales is occurring online:

  • According to eMarketer, domestic sales for 2016 are forecasted at nearly $5 trillion. However, retail ecommerce accounted for just 8.7% of total retail spending.

  • However, while year-to-year retail growth was pegged at 3.3%, year-to-year ecommerce growth was 14% according to a forecast from Kiplinger.

While ecommerce continues its inexorable march to a bigger bite of the overall retail pie, department stores have been taking it on the chin. While Macy’s is currently the fifth largest ecommerce retailer with $4.8 billion in online sales, the department store chain recently announced the closure of 68 stores by mid-year with plans to close 30 more over the next few years. Those closures represent a loss of approximately 10,000 jobs.

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.