From humble beginnings, the subscription box industry has grown by leaps and bounds. With over 2,000 subscription boxes available, consumers can have apparel, cosmetics, meals and wine boxes — to name just a few — delivered to their front door monthly, quarterly or at a variety of intervals. Participants can curate their journey with the subscription brand, and their boxes provide unique choice, variety, flexibility, and convenience that traditional shopping cannot.
One of the more bizarre aspects of the Donald Trump Administration, amid a carnival of oddities, has been the President’s penchant for excoriating publicly traded companies and their leaders by way of Twitter. No single company has drawn the ire of the Donald more than e-commerce giant Amazon and its chairman, Jeff Bezos.
On Tuesday, April 10, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a witness before a joint session of two Senate Committees — the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee. Basically, that means that Mark could potentially face almost half of Congress during his questioning period. There are 100 Senators in Congress and 44 of them serve on either of these two Committees. That’s a lot of potential questions.
Launching a new product is always risky. No matter how diligently you prepare, you can never guarantee success.
And, as you’ll see below, even the most successful businesses suffer the occasional flop. But how do you know when a product is a flop?
Features, price, service, selection? When competitors offer similar items, what’s the magic that turns a browser into a buyer? According to market research, many shoppers say that a selling point that can seal the deal is when one of the products is “Made in the USA.” If you state on your products or packaging, in ads, on your website or in social media that your merchandise is American-made, are you complying with the Federal Trade Commission’s established standards?
Checking my mail one day, I received an oversized postcard from a restaurant, called Lena’s Italian Kitchen, offering 20% off my first order. As a New York City resident, I can say that this was the first (and only) solo direct-mail piece I ever received from a restaurant. As a direct marketer, I applauded its strategy … what a great way to stand out in a very crowded landscape. Just how crowded? According to a recent report from Crain’s New York, crowded to the tune of more than 26,000 restaurants across the five boroughs!
Chargebacks really haven’t changed all that much over the years. The dispute process at the beginning of 2018 was largely the same as when chargebacks were first introduced more than four decades ago. However, that’s all about to change.
We have all heard it, “Bitcoin,” the first cryptocurrency created in late 2008, early 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Many of us are still on the periphery and don’t understand Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. As marketers and direct response professionals, we try to stay on top of the latest trends and disruptive technology. Cryptocurrency is one of those disruptive technologies that cannot be ignored in any industry. For many, the term, “cryptocurrency,” itself is scary and somewhat esoteric.
Just about everyone in advertising or marketing who isn’t already a marketer has dreamed of having that winning product that will allow them to reap the fruit of their expertise from the client side of the desk, as opposed to that of a vendor. Such was the case back in 2013 when Michael Weinstein was driving across New York’s Westchester County, listening to shock jock Howard Stern on the radio. Weinstein, who today is Chief Marketing Officer for Allstar Products Group, was running a digital agency at the time. Stern had billionaire Mark Cuban as his guest and had thrown down a challenge to his staff: each of them took a turn pitching a product idea to Cuban to see if they could pique the businessman and investor’s interest. When it came time for producer Richie Wilson to pitch, he was flush with an idea: a disposal wet wipe in the shape of a mitten called, Shittens. The entire studio, not to mention the listening audience, was in stitches. Cuban’s response: “Shittens! Everyone needs one!”
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.
In May, I wrote “The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching Direct Response Marketers.” This still holds true. State attorneys general, such as Karl A. Racine (D-DC), an up-and-coming star in the Democratic Party, and other state regulators are making enforcement waves on direct response marketers.
Our first featured speaker at the Government Affairs Fly-In, Lois Greisman, was incredible and I’m so glad she kicked off our two day conference. As associate director, she currently heads the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Marketing Practices as part of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Under Greisman’s management, Marketing Practices leads the FTC’s law enforcement initiatives tackling telemarketing fraud (including Do Not Call enforcement), fraudulent investment opportunity schemes, and internet frauds, with particular focus on challenges posed by new technologies and convergence issues.