Jordan Pine

Jordan Pine is a consultant specializing in short-form DRTV and the author of The SciMark Report (scimark.blogspot.com), a popular industry blog. His field reports are based on actual conversations with top executives from our industry, many of whom are his clients, partners or vendors.

Recent Posts

No, You Don’t Have the Next Hit in That Hot Category – But Here’s Why You Think You Do

by Jordan Pine on Jan 16, 2017 3:00:00 PM DRTV, Retail, Trends

In 2002, psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. As Michael Lewis writes in his new book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, this was unprecedented because “how on earth does a psychologist win a Nobel Prize in economics?” The answer is that Kahenman was a pioneer in the field now known as “behavioral economics.” Specifically, his work focused on the psychology of judgment and decision-making.

Kahneman would surely have shared his Nobel with Amos Tversky, his lifelong collaborator, had Tversky not died of cancer in 1996. (The award is not given posthumously.) Kahneman and Tversky spent decades disproving the idea that humans are rational decision-makers. They initially identified three mental shortcuts, or “heuristics,” people use in place of logic and reason. Many more have since been discovered.

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Field Report: What Expert Execution Looks Like

by Jordan Pine on Nov 21, 2016 2:00:00 PM DRTV

In my August Field Report (“The Commoditization of DRTV”), I argued that only two things truly differentiate DRTV companies these days: superior strategy and expert execution. Since then, several conversations in the field have caused me to think more specifically about what I meant. Someday, I’ll think of a way to write about what’s happening with strategy, but until then let’s focus on execution.

What does expert execution look like? As I see it, it involves a high degree of competence in the five key areas.

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Field Report: 5 Ways to Lose Your Shirt in DRTV

by Jordan Pine on Oct 7, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV

During my 14 years in the field, I’ve worked with just about every company on the short-form side of the business. That has allowed me to observe the inner workings of DRTV from a unique vantage point. While I’ve learned a lot about how to succeed, I’ve learned a lot more about how to fail. The trick is not losing your shirt doing it—although I’ve observed how to do that, too. Below are the top five ways:

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Field Report: The Commoditization of DRTV

by Jordan Pine on Aug 30, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV

Competition in the short-form business has reached unprecedented levels. We have reached the point where no major rollout will remain uncontested, and there will almost certainly be two versions of every hot product on store shelves. This is not exactly news, but I think few have paused to consider its implications.
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Field Report: 4 Powerful Factors Only DR Pros Know

by Jordan Pine on Jul 18, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV

“Leads have four critical factors. What they cost is only one...Until you know all four of those factors, you don’t know anything.”

That’s Jay Abraham talking to Tony Robbins in a vintage “Powertalk” interview I just re-listened to courtesy of the Tony Robbins Podcast (TonyRobbins.com/podcast). Abraham is a famous executive coach, author, and consultant “known for his work in developing strategies for direct response marketing in the 1970s,” according to Wikipedia. Listening to his interview, I was reminded that we DR professionals possess unique and powerful knowledge. The “four factors” are a great case in point. According to Abraham, they are:

  1. Cost per lead
  2. Conversion rate
  3. Unit of sale
  4. Residual value
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[Opinion] Field Report: Are Details Really Divine?

by Jordan Pine on Jun 2, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV

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.

“God is in the details,” said the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Or was it the French novelist Gustave Flaubert? Or Michelangelo? Historians aren’t quite sure, but what is certain is that this idea has become deeply ingrained in the American psyche.

In the field of late, I have dealt with no less than three different marketers who wholeheartedly agree with this axiom.

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Field Report: The Hit Halo Effect

by Jordan Pine on Apr 21, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV

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.

One of my favorite business books is The Halo Effect and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers, by a Swiss professor named Phil Rosenzweig. Here’s a highlight from the book:
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[Opinion] Field Report: What is Advertising? I Know They Don’t Know

by Jordan Pine on Feb 19, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, Brand Marketing

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.

I’m both an NFL fan and an advertising fan, so the Super Bowl poses a real dilemma for me: When is the best time to use the bathroom? If I go during the game, I risk missing a big play. If I go during a break, I risk missing a commercial everyone will be talking about the next day. It certainly doesn’t help that the beverage of choice for football games is beer.

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[OPINION] Field Report: Breaking the Price Barrier - Is $40 the new $20?

by Jordan Pine on Dec 14, 2015 6:00:00 PM DRTV

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.

The hot topic in the field right now is TeleBrands’ surprise hit, Star Shower. It’s a surprise because it contradicts two DRTV truisms:
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Field Report: Walgreens, Rite Aid & the Impact of Retail Consolidation

by Jordan Pine on Nov 1, 2015 2:00:00 PM DRTV, Retail

The hot topic in the field these days is that announced acquisition of Rite Aid, the third-largest drug chain in America, by Walgreens, the largest drug chain. Assuming antitrust regulators approve the deal, which Reuters said would close in the second half of 2016, I wondered what effect it will have on the DRTV business. So I asked a few veteran drug-chain reps for their opinions.

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DRTV Pop Quiz (3)

by Jordan Pine on Sep 28, 2015 8:00:00 PM D2C Convention, DRTV

Time is running out to sign up for my "What Every DRTV Professional Should Know" Pre-Conference Workshop at the 2015 ERA D2C Convention, which takes place Monday, October 5 from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. You know you want to go, so I'll wait while you visit the page for the event ...

All signed up? Great.

Still not convinced you should attend? I get it. Either way, take my third and final quiz below to see where you stand:

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DRTV Pop Quiz! (2)

by Jordan Pine on Sep 17, 2015 12:00:00 AM D2C Convention, DRTV

Since I delivered my last quiz on a Monday morning, I decided to wait for Thursday morning this time.

Are you ready once again to test your DRTV knowledge? OK then, here's pop quiz No. 2:

1. When choosing products for DRTV, why is it important that they be easy to explain?

2. Explain the 'five-times markup rule.'

3. There are several cliché DRTV phrases almost anyone can recite. Which one, pertaining to a satisfaction guarantee, did direct-selling pioneer Alvin Eicoff coin?

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DRTV Pop Quiz!

by Jordan Pine on Aug 30, 2015 8:00:00 PM DRTV

It will probably be Monday morning when you get this, so I apologize in advance. Maybe wait until you’ve had another cup of coffee and are settled, then tackle this? I’ll wait…

OK, here we go. Do you know everything a DR professional should know? Are you sure?

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Field Report: How Scientific Is Direct Response Marketing?

by Jordan Pine on Aug 12, 2015 6:00:00 PM DRTV

A century ago, advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins published a seminal work titled Scientific Advertising. In it, Hopkins set down the core philosophy of a direct response marketer for the first time:

Every ad is surrounded by countless appeals. Every effort involves much expense. The man who wins out and survives does so only because of superior science and strategy.

Today, applying science to advertising is nothing new, but direct response marketers still stand alone in their ability to conduct measurable experiments.

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Are You a DRTV Expert?

by Jordan Pine on Jul 5, 2015 5:00:00 PM DRTV

How well do you know the fundamentals of DRTV? Would you consider yourself a DRTV expert? Here’s a pop quiz to test your knowledge:

1. What is an MER, and how is it calculated?

2. What’s the difference between a break-even and an allowable, and how are those metrics calculated?

3. If you were evaluating an A/B split designed to see which version of a commercial generated better response, what would be the best metric to focus on?

4. What is the No. 1 contributor to DRTV revenue after the main offer and bonus?

5. If you needed to cut a CPO in half, what change to your commercial would be most likely to yield that kind of result?
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[OPINION] Field Report: During a Famine, Remember the DRTV Feasts

by Jordan Pine on Jun 2, 2015 3:00:00 AM DRTV

During_a_Famine_Remember_the_DRTV_Feasts-259106-editedThe 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.

It seems my last post, a foray into psychiatry, was mutually therapeutic. As a result, I’ve decided to continue in the same vein. From what I’m hearing in the DRTV field, marketing professionals are most in need of some good counseling these days. Two recent comments make the point.

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[OPINION] Field Report: Coping with Missed DRTV Opportunities

by Jordan Pine on May 4, 2015 3:00:00 AM DRTV

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.

Imagine the following scenario: You just learned that a silly DRTV product you openly mocked is rolling out at retail. This comes just days after you discovered that another product, one that you carefully considered before rejecting, was tested by another company and has a working CPO…
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[OPINION] Field Report: March Madness, DRTV Madness & How to Make $1 Billion

by Jordan Pine on Mar 30, 2015 3:00:00 AM DRTV

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.

Among the accomplishments of which I am most proud are helping to pioneer two methods of identifying DRTV winners that have become industry standards: Web testing and online surveys. By using these tools, many of today’s top DRTV companies have greatly improved their odds of success and reduced the amount of time and money they waste on failures.
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OPINION - Field Report: The Rise of ‘Feeders' in Direct Response Television

by Jordan Pine on Mar 2, 2015 3:00:00 AM DRTV

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.

Once upon a time, DRTV companies discovered and developed their own hits…Well, I should clarify: They monitored live shopping to see what was selling. They monitored long-form and the general marketplace to see what higher-priced bestsellers they could provide at cheaper prices. And sometimes they also cut deals with inventors.
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OPINION – Field Report: The 3 Big DR Trends that Will Shape 2015

by Jordan Pine on Feb 4, 2015 3:00:00 AM DRTV

Editorial Disclaimer: 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.

If you plan to be a player in the short-form game in 2015, these are the three big industry trends you need to know about…
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OPINION: How Much Should Direct Response Marketers Care about Customer Satisfaction?

by Jordan Pine on Dec 15, 2014 8:30:00 PM Digital Marketing, DRTV, Consumer Behavior

Editorial Disclaimer: 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.

There is an inherent conflict between the companies that market your typical ‘As Seen on TV’ (ASOTV) product and their customers. The companies want to make a profit, of course, while also ensuring their product sells at a rate deemed worthy of staying on the shelf. Their customers want a product that delivers on the promises made in a TV commercial, and they want it for a bargain price.

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FIELD REPORT: The Most Important Number in DR

by Jordan Pine on Nov 5, 2014 3:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, DRTV

Based on recent observations and conversations, I’ve realized that there is some confusion about what DR metric is the most meaningful. Is it the CPO (cost per order)? The MER (media efficiency ratio)? Or some other number? The answer reveals a sea change in how forward-thinking DR professionals now view our business model.

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Editorial Disclaimer

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.