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Field Reports: Response Expo 2012 Recap

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

The who, what and where of last month's exciting Response Expo in San Diego.

Attendees Glad to Be at Response Expo Educational Sessions Following John Foley’s Keynote







John Foley talks about how his Blue Angels helmet represents high performance during his Keynote Address on May 15.

SAN DIEGO — Former Blue Angels leader John Foley drew a crowd of nearly 700 attendees to the Response Expo 2012 Keynote Address on May 15. The former lead solo pilot of the famed U.S. Navy air team kicked off the Expo with his talk, titled “The How of High Performance.” The Keynote Address was presented by Euro RSCG Edge at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, and set the tone for the rest of Response Expo.

“I’m so glad to be here, and those are words that have a deep significance to me,” Foley began the Keynote Address. “And I hope that those words will have a deep and richer meaning to each of you individuals at this show, too — thankful for the opportunity to have the jobs you do and for whom we’re all surrounded with here in this very room. As direct marketers, you have pretty cool jobs and the opportunity to impact a lot of people.”

Foley’s ability to parallel his life experiences with the world of direct response was impressive. “John was fantastic, and I hope everyone who attended the keynote enjoyed his insight and perspective as much as I did,” said Steve Netzley of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Euro RSCG Edge, which sponsored Foley’s appearance. “I couldn’t have been happier with the positive feedback I received from Edge’s employees and Expo attendees. John’s ideas about consistent high performance in our daily lives really resonated.”

The focus and motivation present in Foley’s talk was part and parcel of the week’s educational events, which actually began earlier that day with the Pre-Show Intensive (sponsored by Dial800), featuring two-time U.S. memory champion Ron White and a panel discussing the science of memorable advertising.

The event’s Educational Sessions took place on May 16-17, and were highlighted by Wharton School of Business Professor Cassie Mogilner presenting her research on retail consumer perceptions and consumer happiness. “Learning the details of happiness was very interesting,” Duncan Robinson, president of Trans DR, said of Mogilner’s session. “I think that could be helpful when you consider the audience demographics, and time vs. money is interesting. I think time these days is much more important to consumers.”

Other speakers represented such industry leaders as the American Cancer Society, Time-Life, Hearthware Inc., Hampton Direct, Ontel Products, Anthem Venture Partners and Skechers, among many others.

“I don’t care how long you are in this business: There is always something new to learn, and we can all benefit from hearing the trials and successes of someone else,” said Shelly Hufford, senior media buyer for Suarez Corp. Industries, who spoke on the May 16 “Quiet Giants” panel. “I tried to fit in as many of the sessions as I could just for that reason.”







Golf, Cocktails and Closed Deals: Response Expo’s Networking Sets a New StandardThe annual Bayfront Celebration featured acrobats, sword swallowers and more.

SAN DIEGO — Response Expo’s series of six networking events — five cocktail receptions and the Fifth Annual Golf Tournament — brought together vast swaths of the direct response industry elite and those new to the business.

All-Access Badge holders mixed business and pleasure at the Opening Night Party, the Bayfront Celebration and the Closing Night Party at the U.S.S. Midway, while all attendees enjoyed the show’s first Kick-off Party, sponsored by Lockard & Wechsler Direct, and a Martini Party, presented by Venable.

The Kick-off Party, hosted at Stingaree lounge in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter on May 14, provided the perfect backdrop to start off the week’s networking opportunities. This party before the show was a new addition to the Expo’s already-packed networking calendar. “The party Monday night was a great way to start off the week here,” said Nick Cirmo, managing owner of 440 Group, a direct response marketing agency based in Alexandria, Va.

Attendees at the sold-out golf tournament on May 15 showed off their charitable sides, taking the time to donate more than $2,500 for DRMA Cares in honor of the Amber Golden Education Fund. Just a few months ago, DR industry veteran Ray Golden announced the formation of this fund for his daughter Amber, who has gone through five heart surgeries in her young life and is now in her third year of nursing school.

It was announced the morning of the tournament that Golden — who spent more than 25 years on the teleservices side of the DR business — had passed away from lung cancer. While introducing that evening’s Keynote Address, John Yarrington, Response publisher and Expo executive director, said, “We all lost a good friend. I know his family appreciates the love and support from everyone at this show upon hearing this sad news.”

Following the Keynote Address, All-Access Badge holders enjoyed the Opening Night Party in the Sapphire Foyer and Terrace of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. On May 16, attendees were first treated to a first-class time at the Venable Martini Party, where they tasted a special selection of martinis. Later in the evening, All-Access Badge holders enjoyed a Dangerous Night on the Front, which featured fire breathers, sword swallowers and a surprise appearance by acrobats who rappelled down the side of the Hilton.

“This was my first time at Response Expo and it’s been very impressive,” Eric Rose, an inventor and professor at Pepperdine University, said at the Venable Martini Party. “I’m here on the inventors’ side and I came to pitch a variety of ideas and products and have already cahref me up with a few business opportunities that hold a lot of potential.”

Expo attendees capped off the three-day event with a private party at the U.S.S. Midway, the historic aircraft carrier that calls San Diego Harbor home. The event allowed attendees to explore the ship with the help of docents who had served onboard, as well as try out their flying skills in a series of flight simulators.


Wharton’s Cassie Mogilner headlined the Expo’s Educational Sessions.

This Month on the Response Group Websites

Response Magazine

The Response Web Exclusive for June is its quarterly Advisors Forum. In this edition, members of Response’s Advisory Board debate the effectiveness of social media as a direct response driver, as well as its overall measurability. Scan the QR code here or enter the following Web address to access Response Magazine’s print archives at and then click the June issue cover to locate this special feature:

Response Expo

Now that Response Expo 2012 is history, you can take a look at a selection of the event’s Educational Sessions online, with both downloadable PDFs of the PowerPoint decks and audio! Just scan the QR code below or enter this following Web address now:


Only Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) members are guaranteed entrance to the Third Annual Summer Bash, scheduled for Thursday, July 26 (6-9 p.m.) at Shady Canyon Country Club in Irvine, Calif. Brought to you by the DRMA and BJ Global Direct (and sponsored by Swipe Payment Solutions, a2b Fulfillment, Dial800, OpenJar Concepts and Venable), this special wine and food event in the Southern California sunset has become a seasonal staple of the industry travel circuit. To RSVP today (or to be placed on the wait list if not a DRMA member), scan the QR code below or enter the following Web address now:

The Expo’s annual golf tournament was a big draw.

The U.S.S. Midway provided an historic setting for the Closing Night Party.

News Corner


Keith Till, Sheila Hamowy and Matthew Greger

> Media Design Group’s vice president of media, Michelle Murphy, is named to Cable Fax’s Sweet 16 of 2012, which recognizes people from brands and agencies supporting cable with ad buys, partnerships, brand integrations and other strategic alliances designed to get the right brand messages to the right audiences. The company also announces the promotion of Meredith Gale to account coordinator.

> WideOrbit Inc. announces the integration of WO Central, a single-source solution for media buyers to purchase directly from WideOrbit clients, with InfoTech’s Media Management System.

> Diray TV has added five professional staff members over the past 12 months: Matthew Greger as director of emerging technology, Sheila Hamowy as senior account executive, Keith Till as account executive, Jeffrey Engborg as media assistant, and Kayne Prestigiacomo as assistant traffic coordinator. As part of the celebration of 25 years in business, the company also announces its relocation to new corporate headquarters. The new address is: 372 Danbury Road, Suite 205, Wilton, CT 06897.

Expo Hall Area Thrives With New Networking Hotspots

SAN DIEGO — With more than 3,000 attendees, Response Expo’s show floor was the center of the action during the May 15-17 event at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Attendees mixed and mingled for two days in the Expo Hall. For a second year, the New Product Pavilion showcased soon-to-be successes as well as top DR hits, while three new networking lounges on or near the show floor added to the excitement.

“We’re glad we came. It’s our second year, and we’re meeting the right kind of people in the industry. Plus, it’s a social and friendly group of folks,” said Marcy Browe with Rovi Corp. of Burbank, Calif.”

“It’s a great show. We’ve been able to meet current clients and make some potential new partners. It’s been a bigger crowd this year, and, of course, San Diego is a great venue,” added Dan Klenkar of SPExpress, a fulfillment company in Phoenix.

The new Energy Lounge on the Expo Hall floor (presented by Marketsmith) offered complimentary coffee and energy drinks to attendees. The international contingent was easy to find at the GMA Lounge, co-hosted by DMI Magazine and PacNet Services Ltd.


The Expo’s new Beer and Wine Garden was a key addition to the bustling attendee action.

And, just outside the Expo Hall on the Sapphire Patio, FaceTime Strategy, Grand Slam Direct and Media Design Group sponsored the new Beer and Wine Garden, which featured food for purchase, as well as complimentary beer and wine.



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