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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports - February 2013

1 Feb, 2013 By: Doug McPherson, Thomas Haire Response

Barnes Lauds Mercury Media’s Acquisition of iMarketing

By Thomas Haire (

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — In early January, Mercury Media, a leading full-service direct response media agency, announced the acquisition of iMarketing, a full-service digital agency, in a move to extend Mercury’s expertise in measurable media performance from offline to online.

The new company is called Mercury iMarketing and specializes in search marketing, online media planning and buying, affiliate marketing, social media, mobile marketing, creative and Web development, research and analytics technology. With client billings of more than $30 million, some of Mercury iMarketing’s customers include Hoveround, eDiets, Premier Care in Bathing, Barclays, Yahoo!, Deal Chicken, American Express Publishing and The Wall Street Journal. iMarketing has been in business for nearly 15 years and has an impressive record of success across a wide range of product and service categories.

Recently, Response sat down with John Barnes, CEO of Mercury Media, to get his thoughts on the announcement and the new business entity.

Q: What does it mean to the industry for you to be able to combine the Mercury Media with a top full-service digital agency?

A: There are many benefits that accrue from this acquisition. First, Mercury can now provide DR marketers with fully integrated cross-platform media and marketing solutions that will more cost effectively drive sales, generate leads and acquire qualified customers. Clients can now access online and offline services from one source that can provide integrated plans and seamlessly analyze a campaign results across channels in order to maximize returns. And, with the convergence of TV and digital, we will be better able to guide our clients on how best to take advantage of the rapidly changing media marketplace.

Q: Explain the decision to add Mercury’s name in front of the iMarketing brand?

A: Both Mercury and iMarketing have strong equity in their names — Mercury in the DR industry and iMarketing in the digital media space. So we want to leverage the equity in both and — at the same time — feature that Mercury has robust digital capabilities with iMarketing. Both companies are experts in their worlds. Our combined experience and breadth of expertise is truly unrivaled in the world of performance media, where our mutual focus is on delivering optimal ROI.

Q: What can this new entity accomplish for those larger companies looking to use DR marketing?

A: Mercury can now provide a turnkey media solution. We can now handle everything from strategy to execution across all channels. By combining capabilities from the start, advertisers will benefit by minimizing testing time and expenses, better assessing full value of their campaigns, and having their dollars truly and accurately allocated to maximizing their yield — in essence delivering the optimal marketing mix.

Q: How do the combined services of Mercury Media and iMarketing help the agency stand apart?

A: Both Mercury and iMarketing are laser-focused on performance and delivering superior ROI for our clients. It’s what makes this marriage such a good fit. We also bring together two experienced and robust organizations. Mercury brings powerful DRTV resources and iMarketing brings a full suite of digital resources. iMarketing also brings with it “ROI Advantage,” an industry-leading data analytics platform that we will use to provide insight into and optimization of campaign performance.

Q: How will some of your most successful products and clients be served under the new team?

A: Over the past several years, Mercury Media and iMarketing have worked collaboratively for clients such as Hoveround, Inogen, eDiets and more. Our teams have been working hand in hand on those accounts in terms of planning, reporting and optimization. These clients and others should expect even greater integration and cross-platform analysis to determine the impact over every dollar spent, how best to allocate spend across channels, how budget changes on one channel impacts another and what is the resulting ROI.

Q: What are the company’s goals — both short-range and long-range?

A:  Mercury iMarketing will be immediately integrated into the Mercury organization. The Mercury and iMarketing staffs are already working together on common clients, and we will build on that activity. We are also working on new business development together and have identified a number of strategic value-added initiatives we will be pursuing, such as building out our cross-platform analytics capabilities. Our goal is to become the dominant player in the performance media world.

DRMA Chicago Reception Set for March 4

By Thomas Haire (

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) invites its members and attendees of the International Home + Housewares Show to a cocktail reception on Monday, March 4, at Chicago’s Vertigo Sky Lounge.

Presented by the DRMA, Response Magazine, Swipe Payment Solutions, a2b Fulfillment, Dial800, OpenJar Concepts, RW Advertising and Venable, the Chicago Reception returns for a third year to its popular and swanky location inside the Dana Hotel and Spa. The event will take place from 6-9 p.m. at the hip 26th-floor lounge at 660 N. State St. The event is the perfect opportunity for key industry players to network the night away while getting a sneak peek at what’s in store for the quick-approaching Response Expo 2013.

“We’re excited to partner again with the Vertigo Sky Lounge in the Dana Spa and Hotel,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response and co-founder of the DRMA. “Our attendees have packed the house and raved about the rooftop location the past two years, and we anticipate this will be another sold-out DRMA event. Plus, we look forward to once again bringing the DR community together as we close in on Response Expo 2013.”

The event will bring together industry leaders in town for the International Home + Housewares Show, which runs March 2-5 at McCormick Place. Space at this year’s cocktail reception is limited (with DRMA members receiving priority), so RSVP here as soon as possible to secure your spot:

The RSVP deadline is Friday, Feb. 22.

As a reminder, the DRMA Chicago Reception occurs just four weeks prior to Response Expo 2013, which is slated for April 2-4 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Register for an An-Access Badge today at:

Streaming Video Putting Paid Cable in a Bind

By Doug McPherson

FRISCO, Texas — Streaming video technology is getting better and that’s hurting cable, says research group TDG.

Paid-TV subscriptions topped out at about 101 million in 2011, remained virtually unchanged in 2012, and will sink to less than 95 million by 2017, TDG contends. Today, 87 percent of U.S. broadband households currently subscribe to a pay-TV service — a decline of almost five percentage points since 2010.

Michael Greeson, director of research at TDG, says Netflix and Hulu Plus are part of the reason, but that those services are still supplementary for most consumers. He says what will really bruise pay TV is when consumers adopt new OTT (over-the-top) technology — from Apple and Intel — as their primary entertainment services. “That’s what is going to change things, and they’ll be live in one year,” he predicts.

TDG says a growing number of broadband subscribers are now doing without pay-TV services altogether, having either cut the cord or never signing up at all. In all, TDG considers 13 percent of U.S. broadband households — 10 million — to be “pay-TV refugees,” of which 2.6 million have never subscribed to a pay-TV service. By its estimates, 7.4 million once subscribed to pay TV but have since cancelled the service.

Most cord-cutters (71 percent) cite the high cost of paid TV as their primary reason for leaving, while 28 percent cite free online video-on-demand services such as Hulu. In addition, 25 percent cite paid VOD services like Hulu Plus and Netflix as reason enough for cutting their cords.

About the Author: Doug McPherson

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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