Julie Coons

Recent Posts

When It Comes to ROSCA, We're All In This Together

by Julie Coons on Jul 13, 2015 11:46:00 AM Monthly ERA Update, Self Regulation

Direct response marketing achieves success in a strong and trusted ecosystem. Since marketers’ businesses rely on supplier partners to reach consumers, those vendors are a key component in ensuring that customers are treated fairly and have an exceptional purchase experience.
One of the things ERA does without fail is set high standards for all members. Industry self-regulation initiatives and a focus on developments with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and on Capitol Hill keep our members—including our vendor partners—abreast of regulatory and legislative changes.
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Using Digital Channels to Keep Up with U.S. Hispanics

by Julie Coons on May 11, 2015 5:27:01 PM Monthly ERA Update, Digital Marketing

As I discussed earlier this year, Amazon is upending the entire retail category, and as direct response marketers, we must follow the consumer. Data tells us that not only are consumers changing their expectations for service and convenience, but in certain segments, they are also bypassing traditional call centers and desktop e-commerce transactions. Case in point: the rapidly changing behavior of the U.S. Hispanic consumer.

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The Power of Advocacy in Direct Response

by Julie Coons on Apr 13, 2015 7:03:00 PM Advocacy, Monthly ERA Update

For the past 25 years, ERA has led the fight to advance direct response marketers' needs on Capitol Hill. In fact, protecting your interests is the primary reason the Association was founded all those years ago. In the beginning, there was a very real threat that government action would ban the industry from operating over the airwaves.

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Celebrating 25 Years of ERA

by Julie Coons on Mar 17, 2015 5:32:00 PM ERA 25th Anniversary

ERA started the new year strong by marking its 25th anniversary during The Great Ideas Summit in January. What better way to commemorate this historic occasion than with a party attended by ERA’s many loyal and longstanding members? 

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How Amazon Sets the Bar Higher for Consumer Expectations

by Julie Coons on Jan 13, 2015 1:45:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

Since 1994, Amazon has pursued one succinct mission: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.” For Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, that means putting customers at the center of everything they do. “We like to pioneer, we like to explore, we like to go down dark alleys and see what’s on the other side,” Bezos told 60 Minutes correspondent Charlie Rose in a December 2013 interview.

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Attention ERA Members: Call for Board of Directors Nominees

by Julie Coons on Nov 25, 2014 8:30:00 PM ERA News

We are now accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the ERA Board of Directors to begin in September 2015. Do you have great ideas that will help lead ERA into the future? Could other members benefit from your industry insight and expertise?
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It's Time to Take a Big Step Forward Into Digital

by Julie Coons on Nov 3, 2014 11:41:28 AM Monthly ERA Update

With the holiday season approaching, marketers and retailers are bracing themselves for the most critical time of the year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday will set the tone for the buying season, and although DR companies have good reason to be concerned about holiday sales numbers, there are more long-term issues impacting the industry. 

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Please Welcome Our New Chairman and Board Members!

by Julie Coons on Sep 4, 2014 2:41:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

With the 2014 ERA D2C Convention upon us, it’s time for ERA to hand the reins to our incoming chairman and present the 2014-2015 Board of Directors. This year, we welcome two new Board members: Brandon Lewis, President of EvTech, and Shannon Moyer, Associate General Counsel at QVC.

Leading the Board is incoming Chairman Chris Reinmuth, Vice President of Midmarket Sales at Meritus Payment Solutions. Chris brings more than 15 years of industry experience to his chairmanship, and has been an instrumental voice in the association over the years—from conducting a strategic push into new, digital markets, to ensuring new members get to know the industry and the association. On behalf of the entire ERA staff, we look forward to working with him during his tenure.

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It's Time to Get Digital

by Julie Coons on Jul 9, 2014 5:31:00 PM D2C Convention, Monthly ERA Update

ERA strives to provide members with the latest tools and resources to help them stay competitive in the marketplace. That means keeping pace with the trends occurring in the industry, and sharing its findings with members. One significant change is that direct response has evolved from a single-channel marketing practice into an omnichannel ecosystem.

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Letter from the CEO - June 2014

by Julie Coons on Jun 12, 2014 11:19:00 AM Monthly ERA Update

May brought ERA members the incredibly important ERA Government Affairs Fly-In, and members resoundingly told us that this year was the “best year ever.” ERA welcomed to Washington, D.C. executives from Allstar, Beachbody, Concepts TV Productions, EvTech Media, Litle & Co., Meritus, TELEBrands, Oak Lawn Marketing Group, Professional Marketing International (PMI), Savvier, and Sensa.

Throughout the two days, members seized the opportunity to network with top-level direct marketers, senior government officials, as well as influential Congressional leaders. The Fly-In also provided an amazing line-up of speakers and sessions that delivered valuable insight into how to protect and grow your bottom line.

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Alert – Senate Weight-Loss Hearing

by Julie Coons on Jun 12, 2014 11:13:00 AM Advocacy

122_Julie_Coons_120On Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 10:00 a.m., there will be a hearing in Congress titled “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products.” A live video feed of the webcast will be available here

ERA has been informed that this hearing will focus on “weight-loss scams” and view it as a follow-up hearing to the FTC’s settlements with Sensa and Pure Green Coffee

The witness list for this hearing has not yet been published. However, we have learned that the Committee has contacted several companies in the broadcasting, Internet, and publishing space to inquire about their practices in screening misleading advertising. 

In addition, Lee Peeler, CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), will testify. The ASRC is the parent organization of ERA’s self-regulatory program, ERSP. His testimony will focus on ERA’s self-regulatory efforts through ERSP to obtain modification or discontinuance of unsubstantiated weight-loss claims. He will also discuss trends in weight-loss advertising such as affiliate marketing and use of misleading online “product review” pages. We also understand that Dr. Oz will be a witness tied to his promotion of Pure Green Coffee. 

Earlier this year, the FTC updated its guidance for Media Outlets on Spotting False Weight-Loss Claims in Advertising. We believe it is important for you to review this new guidance, as well as the FTC’s Gut Check Reference Guide

There is a strong probability that increased public scrutiny and press coverage will follow this hearing. In the near term, this activity could create a chilling effect for clearance of weight-loss advertising. 

Please contact Bill McClellan at bmcclellan@retailing.org if you experience any clearance-related issues with your advertising. As needed, ERA stands ready to engage with media companies (broadcast, online, and publishers) as appropriate. 

ERA will continue to work this issue aggressively, and alert you to any material or substantive developments as they unfold.

Best Wishes,

Julie Coons

President and CEO
Electronic Retailing Association

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Letter from the CEO - April 2014

by Julie Coons on Apr 9, 2014 3:39:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

On April 12, 2004, ERA and the National Advertising Review Council (NARC) formally unveiled the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP). This groundbreaking program sought to enhance consumer confidence and provide the direct response industry with a forum to review claims independently of federal regulation.

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Letter From the CEO - March 2014

by Julie Coons on Mar 24, 2014 3:41:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

It was wonderful seeing you all last month at The Great Ideas Summit 2014. Clearly, the warmer weather and picturesque views of South Beach were a welcome relief to the cold and frigid temps felt on the East Coast. There’s nothing like thawing out under the Miami sun while sitting poolside sipping a tropical drink.

The three-day conference was the perfect combination of business and leisure. By day, attendees talked business on the show floor, and by day’s end were relaxing with a cocktail and catching up with friends at our nightly parties. It was also refreshing to see people let their hair down a bit and show off their fun side in the ERA photo booth.

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Letter From the CEO - December 2013

by Julie Coons on Dec 17, 2013 3:56:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

As we say goodbye to 2013, I’d like to highlight the accomplishments that the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) has made throughout the past 12 months. Membership in ERA finished the year strong, with membership dues revenue up 6.2 percent over 2012. What’s more, 20 companies celebrated 20+ years as ERA members. This is a testament to the industry leaders’ commitment to being role models in advertising self-regulation. On behalf of the ERA Board and staff, I salute them for their support and dedication to ERA and the industry. Continuing to deliver the best networking opportunities in the industry, the 2013 ERA D2C Convention in September attracted more C-level marketing executives than it did in 2012. We welcomed more than 3,500 attendees, more than 130 exhibiting companies, and 36 sponsors.

One highlight of the conference was the introduction of Masters Series learning sessions, which provided high-level educational content during all three days of the conference. Members have expressed delight at the exceptional quality and relevance of the content delivered this year, and our record attendance at the sessions reflects this. You can count on ERA to continue to build on this year’s conference successes.

Working with member companies, we continued to convene the CEOs of the largest firms in the industry for twice-annual CEO Summits. At D2C, we also held the first meeting of CEOs for our smaller member companies, naming it the CEO Club. We look forward to continuing to work with the senior executive leadership of the industry to ensure quality peer-to-peer engagement, and focusing on issues that impact the industry’s bottom line.

In addition, the ERA Government Affairs team worked diligently in 2013 to address the industry’s most pressing legislative issues, including:

  • The Online Sales Tax. As active members of the True Simplification of Taxation Coalition (TruST), ERA witnessed encouraging developments regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act, the primary legislative vehicle for an online sales tax. Due to a consistent, effective effort on the part of ERA and its TruST partners, the legislation’s momentum has halted in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House leadership has shown limited interest in pursuing the issue, while the Republican chairman of the committee with jurisdiction in the matter has expressed reservations about the bill’s language. As always, ERA will update members as developments arise.
  • Industry Guidelines. This year, the association addressed FTC actions with a proposed update to the ERA Marketing Guidelines for Electronic Retailers. Earlier in the year, the FTC announced its intention to broaden the scope of enforcement to cover not only marketers, but also suppliers such as media buyers, credit card processors, and other back-end companies, referring to these suppliers as “choke points” in an effort to shut down bad actors. The ERA Government Affairs Committee responded proactively with a proposed update of industry guidance that simplified advice to the industry while applying the same rules for truthful and substantiated advertising claims across all media.
  • Self-Regulation. With the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program’s (ERSP) 10-year anniversary approaching, ERSP and ERA leaders have been brainstorming ways to expand ERSP services. One area of significant effort is an expansion in the program’s telemarketing review and lead-generation monitoring, with full product implementation expected in early 2014. In addition, ERSP is developing a service to help marketers identify red-flag issues in direct response campaigns that might not be readily apparent to marketers in early-stage development.

As we have for more than 20 years, ERA will continue to work every day to help members grow the industry. Whether it’s expanding business-development opportunities, ensuring that self-regulation efforts stay relevant, or stepping up our investment in legislative and regulatory advocacy, rest assured that ERA is committed to your success now, and well beyond the New Year!

Happy Holidays from all of us at ERA!

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Letter from the CEO - November 2013

by Julie Coons on Nov 19, 2013 4:01:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

The ERA Board of Directors has just completed its second board meeting of the year. After spending nearly a full day together, the Board invested time, energy, and intellect in the beginnings of a renewed strategic plan. During my nearly five-year tenure with ERA, previous Boards worked diligently to develop a strategic plan and monitor its implementation. That plan period ended June 2013 and during its three-year period, delivered amazing financial and programmatic results to ERA. Now it is time to consider the next three years within the current renewed resources and capabilities of ERA, but most importantly, the current business environment for direct response.

Many members of ERA including those on the Board have noted that the industry is at a cross road, where the amazing power of television is now an integral part of a truly multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-screen marketing environment. A new strategic plan must take in to account this evolution and support ERA’s membership’s effective and profitable growth in this new world. The Board affirmed that ERA will continue to be the meeting place for direct marketing leaders to better their companies, themselves, and the industry; that ERA's role as the only advocate for this industry is paramount; that supporting and promoting self-regulation is a core role for ERA; and that ERA must continue to look for new and innovative ways to support the industry. The Board also agreed that ERA has an important role to play in supporting its members in the evolving multi-screen, multi-channel marketing ecosystem.

As this year progresses, the Board will continue to refine the specific objectives for the organization that will bring this strategic plan to action and then once approved, monitor its implementation. To learn more about ERA’s 2013-2014 Board of Directors, I highly encourage you to read the cover story in Electronic Retailer magazine’s November issue.

I look forward to updating you on this progress.

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Letter from the CEO - October 2013

by Julie Coons on Oct 28, 2013 4:04:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

Last month, we closed the book on another successful ERA D2C Convention. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting first-timers to the conference, as well as reconnecting with returning attendees. What struck me the most about the three-day event were the high-level discussions that took place on the show floor, in meeting rooms, and at the education sessions. It was encouraging to see thought leadership in various forums fostering dialogue among industry colleagues about the trends and issues impacting today’s marketplace. More importantly, hearing that our members and other industry leaders wanted to continue the conversation beyond the show floor inspired me.

That’s why special gatherings such as the CEO Summit serve such a vital purpose. They help cultivate ideas and incite interaction in the community. The CEO Summit emerged when a group of Board members identified the need for sharing their industry experiences and providing broader strategic input beyond the Board of Directors. To date, the CEO Summit comprises 60 of the largest member companies in the industry. This group of top executives brings key issues to the forefront such as counterfeiting, regulatory enforcement, and streamlined sales tax initiatives.

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Julie Coons Recounts the September Board Meeting

by Julie Coons on Sep 24, 2013 4:07:00 PM ERA News

Greetings from here on site at the ERA D2C Convention!  On behalf of the ERA Board of Directors and all volunteer leaders, we are delighted that you are here at the industry's largest annual international trade show and conference.  Thanks to you, we are already on our way to record numbers for this year.

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Letter From the CEO - June 2013

by Julie Coons on Jun 3, 2013 4:12:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

With summer upon us, many ERA members look forward to traveling for business and leisure. Many are now preparing for  The Electronic HomeShopping Conference (EHSC) 2013. Presented by ERA Europe, the annual conference will take place in Rome, Italy, June 23–25 and attract nearly 400 representatives from more than 45 countries.

For those who have never attended this event (and especially those considering expansion into international markets), I recommend doing so this year. There will be ample opportunities to network with key decision-makers who represent leading DR companies in the global market. In addition, the conference offers an education program that will challenge your thinking with topics such as “The Future of Home Shopping,” “The Home Shopping Triple Convergence Model: TV-Internet-Social Media,” and (with a nod to this year’s location) “Home Shopping in Italy: Coming to Age for Growth.”

The new venue is not the only change for this year’s EHSC; there has also been a change in leadership at ERA Europe. In March, Marcel Avargues stepped down from his position as executive director. Marcel was instrumental in the formation of ERA Europe and has helped lead its growth as a membership, advocacy, and networking entity for more than 12 years. On behalf of the ERA membership and staff, I would like to thank Marcel for his dedicated service.

Dr. Julian Oberndörfer will step into the executive director role, effective July 1. Julian recently served as the 2012-2013 chairman of ERA Europe’s Board of Directors, and joins the association staff from Home Shopping Europe (HSE) GmbH, where he served as vice president of media law, media politics, and network development, and head of country management for Austria and Switzerland. Given his vast experience at HSE and his leadership on the Board, Julian will be a terrific leader of ERA Europe and an asset to the entire ERA family.

“Stepping into this new position is an exciting step forward,” Oberndörfer says. “Having been part of the European board for six years, I now have the chance to form and develop the organization from the inside.”

EHSC, The Great Ideas Summit, and the D2C Convention reflect the international nature of ERA and the industry, and help forge ties across borders. Only through your participation and attendance at these yearly industry events can ERA create more value-added member benefits and provide the vital resources that can help you—our members—enhance your business opportunities worldwide. I look forward to seeing you this month in Rome and in Las Vegas in September!

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Letter From the CEO - May 2013

by Julie Coons on May 9, 2013 4:17:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

A few months ago, the ERA leadership gathered for a productive strategic-planning meeting. At the top of the agenda was the identification of specific initiatives for the association’s future growth and evolution.

“Discussions with the Board and at the CEO Summit have revealed a number of important issues that are challenging our industry,” says Harry Hill, ERA chairman and president and CEO of Oak Lawn Marketing. “In the spirit of the ERA forefathers, the Board is engaged in ongoing conversations about these issues, so that the association can strive to be ahead of them over the next several years.”

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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.