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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports - May 2012

1 May, 2012 By: Jackie Jones, Thomas Haire Response

Brill Keynote, Capitol Hill Visits Highlight ‘DMA in DC’ Event

By Thomas Haire (

WASHINGTON — Timeliness, truthful discussion and thought-provoking meetings headlined the “DMA in DC” event, created and hosted by the Direct Marketing Association at the offices of Venable LLP and around the congressional offices of Capitol Hill, on March 26-27. The first day of the event was highlighted by a lunchtime keynote from Julie Brill, a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioner, just 90 minutes after the FTC released a long-awaited report on online privacy (Response This Week, March 28), while day two featured a series of visits by direct marketing and direct response industry insiders to the offices of nine U.S. senators and six members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Response was one of six sponsors for the event that hosted more than 100 industry leaders. “Sponsoring the DMA in DC 2012 event and partnering with the leaders in government affairs and regulatory work across the world of direct response marketing was a great choice,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response. “The DMA’s years of experience in carrying the torch for marketers in Washington shone through, from the stellar lineup of speakers from government agencies, top law firms and key marketers. At the same time, the care the DMA took in selecting members of Congress with influence in the spaces that matter to direct marketers created intriguing and knowledgeable conversations between our breakout groups and the legislators and their aides.”

From free-trial auto renewal legislation to concerns around negative option marketing, online privacy and robocalling, the educational sessions on March 26 allowed marketers to gain a tremendous grasp on where government leaders and regulators are focusing.

“There were 336,000 Do-Not Call complaints in February 2012,” said Lois Greisman, associate director of the division of marketing practices for the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, during one morning session. “Of those, 200,000 were related to robocalling. If we are going to solve this issue, we must work together.” She also warned marketers — whether the topic was robocalling or another area — to make sure they are diligent about background checks of their partner vendors and agencies.

“You must really know how all of your partners do business. Otherwise you are putting yourself at risk of becoming entangled with the FTC,” she said, also mentioning that the FTC had just closed more than $1 billion in settlements with marketers involved in negative option marketing violations in the past year.

Helen MacMurray, partner at MacMurray, Petersen and Shuster LLP, was also part of the same panel. “There are three legs to fighting the robocalling issue — industry self-regulation, government enforcement and consumer education,” she said. “And industry associations are only as good as the worst members they back. You must draw a line in the sand and hold to it.”

But the highlight of the day’s sessions was Brill’s address coming on the heels of the FTC’s privacy report. She gave the commission’s first public comment on the report at her lunchtime talk, beginning by saying, “There are three tenets behind the findings and proposals in the online privacy report — privacy by design, simplified consumer choice and greater transparency.”

Brill also said the FTC is urging businesses to de-identify as much consumer information as possible in order to protect consumers while still being able to maximize marketing opportunities. She also laid out the five key “to-do’s” for the FTC when considering next steps in the privacy debate: how do-not-track regulation might work; the ramifications of mobile marketing; regulating data brokers; comprehensive tracking concepts; and self-regulation efforts.

The event’s second day saw attendees, led by the DMA’s government affairs staff, visiting offices across Capitol Hill.

“I appreciated the opportunity to speak with folks who live and breathe the process of shaping our ideas and public concerns into laws,” said Jill Eastman Vidal, director of business development for Inc., in Carle Place, N.Y. “I especially enjoyed hearing the point of view of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) assistant, Danny Sepulveda, who actually helped pen the Kerry/McCain privacy legislation, as he clearly understands — and could effectively communicate — the background and positioning of that bill.”

Dennis Dayman, chief privacy and security officer of Vienna, Va.-based Eloqua, added, “The annual DMA in DC event is an exciting one for me because it gives me time to reach out to those congressional members who have a real interest in protecting the privacy and security of individuals and help educate them on technology issues to ensure that we can work on a solution beneficial for all that continues innovation, such as social media.”

Yahoo! Becomes the Latest to Launch a Do-Not-Track Feature

By Jackie Jones (

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Starting this summer, Yahoo! users will be able to opt out of website tracking using the online company’s newly launched Do-Not-Track (DNT) header feature, according to an official company statement.

The DNT header feature will ensure that users who click on it do not receive behavioral-targeted ads based on his or her browsing activity, according to Shane Wiley, vice president of privacy and data governance at Yahoo. However, Yahoo! will continue to collect data for its own operational reasons, including site security and improvement and fraud protection, Wiley added.

“Yahoo! is deeply committed to innovation and bringing world-class experiences to our users. To do this, Yahoo! will continue to collect information for purposes such as fraud and security, financial reporting, and to improve our products for your benefit,” Wiley said. “It’s important to note that you will continue to see ads — but without the advantage of being personalized to your ad interests.”

Yahoo’s DNT solution has been in development for a year, according to the company, and it has already begun the implementation process worldwide.

Yahoo’s announcement comes on the heels of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) report in late March that fell short of calling for a new “Do Not Track” law but instead proposing Congress should enact a law that “would provide consumers with access to information about them held by a data broker” (Response This Week, March 28).

The FTC’s final report called on companies handling consumer data to implement recommendations for protecting privacy, adding that the “industry has made significant process.”

“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices — and many of them already have – they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do-Not-Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.”

‘Build the Business, Build the Brand’ Philosophy Drives Euro RSCG Edge’s Continued Success

By Thomas Haire (

Steve Netzley is the CEO of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Euro RSCG Edge, one of the DRTV industry’s longest-running and largest agencies. For nearly a quarter century, the Edge team has expanded from its humble beginnings by maximizing its expertise and technological know-how to serve clients from the traditional DRTV space to some of the largest traditional brand advertisers now using direct response. Recently, we chatted with Netzley, a member of the Response Advisory Board, about the past, present and future of the agency and the DR business.

Q: How has Euro RSCG Edge grown in recent years? What do you attribute that growth to?

A: Edge has grown on a total revenue basis as a direct result of our constant commitment to helping grow our clients’ businesses. We are passionate business builders, and our consistent growth over the past 23 years is recognition that our clients are seeing growth in the marketplace as a result of their partnership with us and our efforts on their behalf.

Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?

A: We feel very fortunate that the percentage of clients who are partnering with Edge for both creative and media services is increasing both on television and online. Clients are recognizing that when they partner with us, we treat their businesses as our own — and that by consolidating their assignments here, they see heightened accountability and better in market business performance.

Q: How does your team make the services it offers so strong?

A: We are constantly challenging all assumptions and using data to drive improved performance. By coupling our analytic nature with the breadth of industries and offerings we are fortunate enough to work on and the amazing talent we employ, we simply have the strongest best-practices approaches and the best team in the direct response industry.

Q: How crucial is the idea of driving brand creation with DRTV to your average customer?

A: Our agency philosophy is “Build the Business. Build the Brand. In that Order.” Great DR campaigns are — first and foremost — effective ROI delivery vehicles. However, over time, great DR campaigns can develop real brand equity in the marketplace and allow for brand extension and expansion at higher rates of success. Our clients are passionate about their short-term and long-term results in the marketplace, and they are seeing real success by partnering with Edge and sharing our philosophy.

Q: Looking ahead, where do you see the DR media landscape in 18-36 months, and where does Edge fit?

A: The media landscape continues to evolve and, in the next few years, we will see many new and exciting opportunities emerge for DR. TV will continue to play an important role for most DR marketers, but new devices and opportunities like Web-enabled TV, tablets and social commerce will change the definition of engagement and the way that we close the sale. Products targeting younger consumers will be able to engage with many of these new tools faster, but the Boomer and senior markets are rapidly embracing technology today and will not be far behind!

Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2012? Why?

A: Success is not a function of picking the right vertical market to enter. Any product can be a success if it is soundly positioned, compelling, fairly priced, offers meaningful consumer benefits that are easily communicated, and brought to market creatively in a manner that engages and entertains consumers. Consumers are looking for products and solutions that solve real problems, and marketers who market and sell responsibly and respectfully will continue to succeed across all verticals.

Mobile Platforms Bridging Demographic Digital Divide

By Jackie Jones (

WASHINGTON — The increase of mobile adoption could be the most significant factor bridging the demographic divide amid digital consumers, according to the latest research from the Pew Internet Project.

While one in five Americans still don’t use the Internet at all, 88 percent of U.S. adults have a cell phone, 57 percent own a laptop, 19 percent own an E-book reader and 19 percent have a tablet computer; about six in 10 adults (63 percent) now go online wirelessly with one of these devices, according to the Pew report titled “Digital Differences.”

“The rise of mobile is changing the story,” wrote Kathyrn Zickuhr and Aaron Smith, research specialists at the Pew Internet Project and co-authors of the report. “Groups that have traditionally been on the other side of the digital divide in basic Internet access are using wireless connections to go online. Among smartphone owners, young adults, minorities, those with no college experience, and those with lower household income levels are more likely than other groups to say that their phone is their main source of Internet access.”

The ways in which people access the Internet are much more varied today than in 2000, and Internet access is no longer limited to solely desktop computers, according to Pew Internet Project. When looking at smartphone owners, the study found that young adults, minorities, those who didn’t to college and consumers with lower household income levels are the most likely to report that their mobile phones are the main source of Internet access.

“Gadget ownership is generally correlated with age, education and household income, although some devices — notably E-book readers and tablets — are as popular or even more popular with adults in their 30s and 40s than young adults ages 18 to 29,” Zickuhr and Smith wrote.

Of no real surprise, the senior market is the main demographic absent from the World Wide Web, the research noted.

It’s just one of multiple benefits of mobile the industry has recently taken note of. Mobile commerce sales in the U.S. soared a shocking 91.4 percent to reach $6.7 billion in 2011, and continued growth is expected to boost sales to $31 billion in 2015, according to an eMarketer study (Response This Week, Jan. 11). M-commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 55 percent from 2010 to 2015, with a growth of 73.1 percent expected this year alone, eMarketer found. Smartphone adoption will contribute significantly to consumers’ ease of use when shopping via mobile, according to research.

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