Is the ERA/ERSP Government Affairs Fly-In vital to your direct response marketing business? The answer should be a decisive yes! Why? The Fly-In shines a spotlight on the most critical issues affecting the industry today and puts you in front of the government regulators and Congressional leaders whose decisions could have a dramatic impact on current and future legislation.
Retail product marketers have straightforward goals: attract new customers, increase product sales and improve the brand’s awareness to drive recurring sales for their product or group of products. However, this is a challenging task in the current, tumultuous retail environment combined with a fragmented media environment. Many institutions that built and supported U.S. commerce for decades, like Sears, Macy’s and Toys “R” Us, have had to shut down a significant number of their locations or, in the case of Toys “R” Us, experienced full bankruptcy liquidation. As a result, new media options have pushed marketers to reinvent themselves to keep up with the demands and shopping considerations of today’s retail customer.
It isn’t every day that a leader in the direct marketing industry receives recognition from a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. But in a recent interview with CNBC’s Make It, musician, actor and entrepreneur Jon Bon Jovi cited the story of Allstar Products Group Founder Scott Boilen as an example of why success in business isn’t about chasing “fads or fashions.” Bon Jovi remarked, "The guy that created the Snuggie showed that that was his creation. Don’t try to create the Snuggie 2 because you saw someone be successful at it." As Boilen recounts, “Blankets with sleeves had been around, but nobody knew about them — they were buried in the back of catalogs or the bottom rung of store shelves.” It took a clever name, the right problem/solution positioning, and a whimsical commercial that went viral organically to launch a new category of household item that has, ahem, blanketed pop culture, selling well over 30 million units.
This is one of an occasional series featuring direct marketing leaders who will share five key insights they have learned from their career in marketing and advertising. This week, your Friday Forecaster met up with Ava Seavey, Queen Bee of Avalanche Creative Services, Inc., a cost-effective alternative to traditional Madison Avenue agencies that she founded in 2001.
Every day, Google processes 3.5 billion search queries. That’s an average of 40,000 per second. And while Google deserves a ton of credit for its success and dominance, it may want to send out a few “Thank You” notes. A most worthy recipient, in my opinion, would be the television industry and its advertisers.
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!”
On March 11, the direct response marketing industry came out in droves to attend the Electronic Retailing Association’s annual Network Chicago on the ROOF of theWit Hotel. Guests had a bird’s eye view of the Windy City’s picturesque skyline, as they mingled over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The highlight of the evening, of course, was the presentation of the 2018 ERA Achievers Awards, which recognized member companies for providing outstanding levels of leadership and financial support to ERA throughout 2017. The awards include two categories: marketer and supplier.
If you’re attending the Great Ideas Summit 2018, be sure to set aside room in your schedule for education. This year, the Electronic Retailing Association will present three Dynamic Knowledge Sessions on Tuesday, February 27, in the Mona Lisa room of the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort.
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.
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).
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.
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.
There are some eye-opening stats out there about loyalty program engagement: Consumers on average are enrolled in 29 loyalty programs, yet are only active in 12. Six out of 10 customers believe that companies only offer rewards programs to get them to buy more. And 74 percent of U.S. retailers reveal that customer engagement is their number one concern.
Some people might be surprised why so many direct response companies are based in the great state of Maine. I traveled to Maine recently (It was my first trip and won’t be my last) to find out.
NJ.com reports that FBI agents on October 13 arrested Ralph Mandil, a 37-year-old employee of an unnamed manufacturer of “As Seen On TV” products, charging him with stealing trade secrets and offering to sell the information for $197,500. According to prosecutors, the arrest was the result of a two-month sting operation.
On Wednesday, September 14, at the D2C Convention, marketing professionals attended the Masters Series session, Game of Fives: How to Win on TV and Digital in 5 Minutes led by moderator Ava Seavey, Avalanche Creative Services. During this very informative hour, Seavey and panelists Maria Kennedy (Discovery Communications), Kate Malevich (Mercury Media), and Susan McKenna (Hairclub and Bosley) discussed a little-known alternate-length spot in DRTV and Digital: the five-minute format.
Want to learn how these leading industry experts have been able to use this alternate-length format—or “mini-mercials”—to generate greater response?
The holiday season is right around the corner, and everyone will be in a festive, gift-giving mood. People are ready to spend money, and your product is going to be a high-demand hit. Media, call center, and other vendor services are paid in full, and orders are streaming in.
The holiday season is your company’s own Super Bowl—a chance to win big. Nothing would be worse than to lose the ability to process payments in the middle of it.
At the recent D2C Convention, I presented a Masters Series session entitled, Trend Spotting: Benchmarking the Present and Predicting the Future of Marketing. My intention was a simple one: to synthesize the latest statistics, forecasts, and best practices in marketing from over 100 different sources to save my audience time and to provide insight that will help you today and in the future. Over the next six weeks on consecutive Tuesdays, I will be blogging about each of a half-dozen marketing channels and topics.
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:
During the 1990s, Media Arts International presented an infomercial series, “Amazing Discoveries,” hosted by Mike Levey. In this classic episode, Levey and his pal Ian Long, along with the "Princess of Pressing," Sandy Bradley, show how you can iron your laundry with ease using the Power Steamer. The show originally aired in spring 1991 on TNN in the overnight infomercial block.
Tracy and Renny Tenney, and their invention, The Flat-Out Backen’®, earned the coveted honor of the 2016 Inventor of the Year during the InventHelp-INPEX® New Product Showcase, which took place at the 2016 ERA D2C Convention last month.
There was a lot of interesting dialogue regarding advertising self-regulation at the ERA D2C Convention in Las Vegas earlier this month. ERSP Director Peter Marinello moderated a Masters Series panel entitled, "D2R - It's Hot and It's Not What You Think." It featured Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Venable’s Jeffrey Knowles, Invictus’s Bill Knowlton, and Manatt’s Marc Roth.