Jet Into D.C. for the Government Affairs Fly-In 2017

by Bill McClellan on May 10, 2017 11:03:45 AM Advocacy, Government Relations

I am truly excited this year about the Government Affairs Fly-In 2017 and our companion event, the ERSP Summit, which will take place May 23-24 right here in Washington, D.C.!

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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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Countdown to the Annual ERSP Summit

by Peter Marinello and Bill McClellan on May 4, 2017 3:47:11 PM ERSP, Advocacy

This year’s ERSP Summit will feature two of the Federal Trade Commission’s leading enforcement officials: Lois Greisman, Associate Director of Marketing Practices, and Frank Gorman, Assistant Director of the FTC’s Division of Enforcement.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Need to Attend the Government Affairs Fly-in

by Bill McClellan on Apr 26, 2017 7:57:46 PM

ERA's renowned Government Affairs Fly-In is just around the corner! Our plans for this year’s event are bigger and better than ever.  

If you think your company's compliance efforts can take a break because the Trump Administration is in charge — it's time to think again. State Attorneys General and Self-Regulatory bodies have made an effort to "pick up the slack."

Oh, and Congress has big plans too!

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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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A Story about “Big Luther” Strange III

by Bill McClellan on Apr 19, 2017 7:21:11 PM Government Relations

Today it is my honor and privilege to tell you a story about the junior senator from the great state of Alabama. Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) assumed office on February 9th, 2017 after his predecessor Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was nominated by President Trump for the position of the Attorney General of the United States of America. Back home and on the campaign trail, he is also known as “Big Luther” Strange.

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Field Report: What People Think of 'As Seen on TV' Brand

by Jordan Pine on Apr 18, 2017 7:34:12 PM Brand Marketing, As Seen on TV, Consumer Impression

I recently learned that the direct-response television (DRTV) industry spent $6.4 billion on advertising in 2016, according to DRMetrix. Of that, $316 million was short-form advertising for consumer products. Put another way: The “As Seen on TV” brand received more than $300 million in advertising support last year. So it’s worth asking: What are consumer impressions of this brand we all share?

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Pillow Pets: Staying Ahead of the Curve

by Rick Petry on Apr 14, 2017 8:54:00 AM Dish, Product Development

En lieu of this week's Friday Forecast, we offer readers Rick Petry's latest DISH column, entitled "Pillow Pets: Staying Ahead of the Curve." 

Every marketer knows that products have a natural lifespan, perhaps best exemplified by the classic product adoption life cycle that resembles a bell curve (Figure 1). In the simplest terms, this curve breaks consumers into groups within the overall pool of buyers for a given product.

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Blow-Back to Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Remote Sales Tax Law

by Bill McClellan on Apr 12, 2017 10:11:00 AM Advocacy, Government Relations

Back in January I alerted you to how Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Law would affect marketers. The big picture view is that the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined the review of a case that would require marketers to either collect sales tax on customer purchases in Colorado or report details of the purchase to the state tax collector.

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SXSW 2017: Trends and Observations

by Peter Koeppel on Apr 10, 2017 11:54:00 AM SXSW, Personalization

If this year’s annual gathering in Austin known as SXSW had one overriding theme, it might be “let’s get personal.” From politics of both the global and identity variety, to physical health and as well as wellness of the pocketbook array, to the continued evolution and potential impact of AI technology, the focus was on individual human experience. With an explosive cornucopia of content, here are a few observations culled from this year’s affair.

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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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Do Direct Response Marketers Need Protection from the Phishers?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 29, 2017 2:30:23 PM Government Relations


I recently ran across some new advice from the FTC offering tips for businesses that are impersonated during phishing scams. I hadn’t given much thought to this topic before so imagine many you haven’t either. The FTC contends that computer users are not the only ones harmed by phishing scams. The simple fact is that industry is also the victim of these crimes as well. 

How can you combat these phishers? 

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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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The Passing of "Product Queen" and ERA Member Arline Kramer

by ERA Staff on Mar 23, 2017 10:43:00 AM ERA News

Arline Kramer, longtime DR marketer and “Product Queen” of Remarkable Products International, Inc., passed away suddenly on Monday night in Chicago, where she was attending the International Home + Housewares Show. She was 58.

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Payments 101 for Merchants: Understanding the Process, Key Terms, Fee Arrangements, and Other Basics

by Stan Feinberg on Mar 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM e-Commerce, Retail

Accepting online payments as a direct response business is appealing for many reasons, but if you are a new business owner with no prior payment processing knowledge, finding the right payment processor for you can seem like a daunting experience.
Let us take you through the basics of everything you need to know about payment processing from the payments ecosystem, understanding rates & fees, and finding the right payment processor for your business.

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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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What Do Direct Response Marketers Need to Know about the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 15, 2017 12:00:00 PM Government Relations

Earlier this month the FTC released its annual summary of consumer complaints from its Consumer Sentinel Network. It also released a new Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book which you can find here. There is a lot that Direct Response marketers should know about this data release and the report itself. It is important to understand that the FTC and other consumer protection enforcers use this report, and the underlying data, as a sort of roadmap for future enforcement activity. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for it every year. It is a great tool to help you understand and predict future trends in the consumer enforcement arena.

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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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Government Affairs Update from Puerto Rico

by Bill McClellan on Mar 8, 2017 5:00:00 PM Government Relations

Hello and greetings from my balcony overlooking the ocean here at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. The view is so perfect I knew I had to include a picture of it or you would probably think that my claim was too good to be true. Anyway, it turns out that a little Caribbean vibe is very, very good for an ERA trade show like GIS 2017. First, if you don’t already know, the food in Old San Juan is just excellent. It exceeded every expectation and you have my strongest personal recommendation on that. Second, it is also clear that a little Puerto Rican Rum can serve as a great accelerant. The parties at this show had a little extra energy and island vibe that is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world.

The education panelists were also just absolutely incredible at this year’s show. I mean people where literally leaving my onsite GA committee meeting early to go hear the speakers. So props and congratulations to the team that worked so hard to bring Dean Gaziosi, Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern, Alex Moore and the other rock star speakers down to visit with us. From now on I am going to make sure my committee meetings don’t conflict with ERA’s education. It’s just hard to compete with celebrities like that.

Thinking back over the week there were some interesting Government Affairs discussions that I want to update you on.

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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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Will Trump’s Cybersecurity Czar Cost Direct Response?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 1, 2017 3:00:00 PM FTC, Government Relations

Greetings from Puerto Rico! I am currently conferencing here in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton for ERA’s signature Great Ideas Summit 2017.  If you couldn’t make the trip we are sending you good vibes and sunshine and hope you can be with us next time.

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eCommerce Trends: How Europe Compares to the US

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Feb 27, 2017 9:00:00 AM e-Commerce

Examining eCommerce & Mobile Payments in Europe’s Largest Markets

Collectively, the European eCommerce market is substantially bigger than that of the US and Canada, with nearly 100 million more shoppers. However, despite their proximity to one another, there is a great range of diversity among those consumers—diversity that would be missed by a collective examination.

By comparing several of Europe’s largest eCommerce markets and their relationship to developing payment technologies, merchants and industry figures can piece together a much clearer picture.

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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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Operation Choke Point Meets the Trump Administration

by Bill McClellan on Feb 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM

At last year’s super successful GA Fly-In, ERA stormed Capitol Hill in search of relief from the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point initiative.   There attendees heard from our keynote presenter Chairman Pete Session (R-TX) of the House Rules Committee who enlightened the industry about the legislation to curb the scope of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” efforts. We then met with key staffers from the offices of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) responsible for the Operation Choke Point mitigation efforts in the US Senate.      

After our briefings, we walked the halls of Congress to advocate for the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 766) in the House and its mirror companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2790).   These critical pieces of legislation where our best hope to ensure that ERA and its members continued to enjoy a world class payment ecosystem as regulators in the Obama Administration looked at ways to cut processing for those they deemed to be “bad actors”.

So what’s up with Operation Choke Point now that President Trump is in office? I am glad someone recently asked me that question and I thought I would share with you the answer in the blog post below.

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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.