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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports - September 2014

1 Sep, 2014 By: Doug McPherson, Thomas Haire Response

DRMA Announces 10 Nominees for Marketer of the Year Award
By Thomas Haire (

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) and Response Magazine are proud to announce the 10 nominees for the Sixth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year Award, set to be presented on September 17.

The 2013 winner — Euro-Pro LLC — returns to the competition, joining nine other companies that have enjoyed tremendous success during the past 12 months: Direct Holdings Global/Time Life, Hampton Direct, Ideavillage Products, Murad Inc., Positec, TELEBrands Corp., Top Dog Direct Inc., Tristar Products and Zumba Fitness.

“We consider this group a ‘perfect 10’ — a who’s-who of the very best marketers in the direct, digital and data-driven world,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response and co-founder of the DRMA. “After allowing our Response Advisory Board to enter the initial nominees as part of the Sixth Annual DRMA Marketer of the Year competition, we would like to thank the 10 companies that have stepped up to the plate in 2014 by accepting their nominations. Not only that, but it’s a real thrill to have all three finalists back from 2013 — Euro-Pro, Hampton Direct and Tristar Products.”

The prestigious award recognizes the outstanding performance, accomplishments and innovation of a marketing company in the direct, digital and data-driven marketing industry. Previous winners include Euro-Pro LLC (2013), SENSA Products LLC (2012), Hearthware Inc. (2011), Your Baby Can LLC (2010) and Allstar Marketing Group (2009).

Once again, the winner will be determined by an E-mail vote of more than 5,000 eligible voters from across the industry. Third-party independent online election company Balloteer contacted DRMA members along with other industry leaders to take part in the balloting, which occurred August 18-29. The finalists and winner will be announced during a special event on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the brand new Drai’s Rooftop Nightclub, located atop the Cromwell Las Vegas hotel at the historic corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.

The 11th-story capstone of the stylish Cromwell, Drai’s provides an unrivaled view encompassing the neon-drenched strip and beyond. At every corner, meticulous attention to detail, massive LED lighting systems and modern technology fuse to create a multi-sensory experience unlike any other on the Strip. Created by nightlife impresario and Night Club Hall of Fame inductee Victor Drai, the 65,000-square-foot venue takes entertainment and service to new heights.

The event — sponsored by Convertro, Dial 800, Grand Slam Direct, Media Design Group, REVShare, Thill Logistics, Vantiv and West Direct — will begin at 9 p.m. and will include cocktails, networking and the awards ceremony.

Worldwide E-commerce Sales to Rise Nearly 20 Percent This Year
By Doug McPherson

NEW YORK — Business-to-consumer E-commerce sales worldwide will hit $1.471 trillion in 2014, a near 20-percent jump over 2013, says eMarketer. The researcher defines B2C E-commerce sales as all products and services ordered or booked via the internet on any device.

North America (the United States and Canada) will remain the leading region in B2C E-commerce sales share in 2014, accounting for one-third of the dollars spent on digital purchases worldwide. eMarketer had previously projected that Asia-Pacific would surpass North America in market share this year, but full-year data from 2013 and first-quarter 2014 data showed China’s B2C ecommerce growth slowing faster than expected due to the market maturing.

eMarketer now says Asia-Pacific will become the leading region for E-commerce sales in 2015, representing 33.4 percent of the total, compared with 31.7 percent in North America and 24.6 percent in Western Europe. These three regions combined will continue to take around 90 percent of the global E-commerce market.

The increase of E-commerce sales in Asia-Pacific is due to new buyers coming online. But by 2018, nearly 70 percent of Internet users in both Western Europe and North America will buy items on digital devices, versus just more than 50 percent in Asia-Pacific.

Buyer penetration in the Asia-Pacific translates to the largest number of consumers, but the region is more fragmented than North America and Western Europe, where E-commerce continues to grow at double-digit rates and will do so for several more years. North America and Western Europe consumers are buying more frequently and with higher order values, and consumer behaviors are relatively consistent across countries in both regions.

But Asia-Pacific consumers are more disparate. China will make up more than half of all the region’s E-commerce sales this year, and by 2018, its share will top 70 percent. Australia and Japan rival markets like the U.S., U.K. and Western Europe in buyer penetration and average order values.

In less mature markets like India and Indonesia, there are large absolute numbers of digital buyers, but many are new to the market. Instead of buying high-ticket items, new digital buyers tend to start with less costly purchases, due to product availability or income constraints.

eMarketer projects that as Internet usage continues to mature across the world, E-commerce growth will slow over time, settling around 10 percent by 2018. But, with sales reaching $2.356 trillion in 2018, a 10-percent growth rate still represents more than $200 billion new dollars.

TELEBrands Goes All in on Toy Market
By Thomas Haire (

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — In recent years, marketers in the direct response space have looked more closely at the toy market. This is unsurprising given the overwhelming success of Pillow Pets a few years back and an overall market that reached nearly $22.1 billion in sales in 2013 according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA).

AJ Khubani, leader of As Seen On TV giant TELEBrands, has seen this success and earlier this year, his company TV-tested three new toy products successfully — Ball Pets, Phantom Saucer and Teddy Tank. TELEBrands plans to roll out these products with national retailers this month.

“The toy category is one we haven’t focused on for some time, but the success of Pillow Pets caught our attention, most definitely,” Khubani tells Response. “We wanted to look into the category, so we hired a full-time toy consultant, whose role was to get a pipeline of toy ideas and products flowing our way.”

Khubani says that TELEBrands spent two years in the process and tested “a bunch” of toy products before arriving at the three it’s rolling out — and the company is continuing to test other items. Khubani says media testing toys is different from other As Seen On TV products.

“Toys will never rank high on the Jordan Whitney or other charts for media spend, because the items are usually only successful on children’s stations,” he says. “The amount of media cleared is not nearly as high as other big hits, so the overall spend is lower — but is highly targeted.”

And while TELEBrands tested other stations with little success, Khubani says success on children-targeted networks have a longer “response curve.” He adds, “Toy offers really build with more frequency. With other products directed at adults, you know if it’s a hit in the first few spots.”

And while, like almost all TELEBrands products, the idea was to create a buzz for the retail rollout, Khubani says these toy products have driven a higher level of online response. “The percentage of orders coming in online is much higher than on adult offers,” he contends. “Parents seem to want more information immediately, and because of that, we offer a greater selection of the Ball Pets and Teddy Tank products online than we highlight in the TV ad. It creates a higher average order, because the kids want to collect them all.”

What are the products?

Ball Pets™ are plush balls that transform into a stuffed animal. When it is in ball shape, it’s about a quarter the size of a soccer ball, but once opened through the child-safe hinges, it unfurls into a furry companion.

“This product was a hit under another name — Furberries — in the middle of the past decade,” Khubani says. “We took the license on the product because we felt it would work again in the market between ages three and 12. It’s a perfect fit for that market.”

Phantom Saucer™ is a yo-yo-like skill toy that introduces children to the art of sleight-of-hand magic. The UFO-shaped saucer appears to magically hover and spin between users’ hands with only a theatrical shake of the fingers and wrists.

“We got the idea for the Phantom Saucer in Hamley’s, a seven-story toy store in London,” Khubani says. “There were four pitch people displaying products on every floor and they were pitching a similar product.”

He contends that the demographic target for this product was a bit tougher to find — “It’s probably a bit older since it involves a more of a skill set,” Khubani says — but TELEBrands expects solid retail sales.

The Teddy Tank™ is a combination stuffed animal/fish tank. Created in 2010 by then-University of Florida pre-med student Spencer Grabois, the plush toy has a removable one-gallon fish tank embedded in its midsection.

“”We got this product directly from Spencer, and its great to partner with him to help bring the product to market,” Khubani says. “Kids love pets — and for many kids, the first pet is often a fish. From the parents’ perspective, they’re easy to take care of. So why not give the fish a friend in the Teddy Tank.”

With a Sept. 1 retail rollout planned, TELEBrands is looking to hit big during the upcoming holiday season. “The fourth quarter is always the biggest season for toys, and these products will hit shelves just in time,” Khubani says. “We’re expecting to ratchet up toward the holidays, with our TV advertising turning to retail-support only in November and December. Though the cost for time spikes and availability drops at that time, we’re ready to pay the price.”


Condon Expects Programmatic to Evolve on TV
By Thomas Haire (

Brendan Condon is CEO of Media Properties Holdings, based in New York and Temecula, Calif. The business operates companies — including REVShare, AdMore and Lead Generation Technologies — that provide automated and programmatic buying, lead generation and CPA TV advertising. Recently, we caught up with Condon to discuss the latest happenings at the company, especially in light of the recent advances in programmatic technology.

Q: In recent years, the DR industry has seen technology change the way its many facets do business. From a media perspective, what’s been the biggest change — and why?

A: One of biggest changes is leveraging data. Converting data to information to intelligence has always been the secret sauce behind the DR industry. In fact, from a leadership perspective, DR was mining data way before brand marketers started using it to target audiences and, in turn, optimize their media plans to better reach them.

Q: What are the two things a marketer must understand about automated or programmatic TV ad buying?

A: First, for automation to work well it has to be a comprehensive solution for a marketer. The toolset being provided has to make it easy for one to forecast audiences accurately, then readily be equipped to place an order directly at a cost-effective price and, of course, have the capability to deliver the creative to the respective media outlets – all with the underlying assumption of capably reaching and tracking the requisite volume of a select audience demographic or psychographic target for each buy. Second, automation should be embraced by agencies and marketers alike — but be skeptical. Expect your providers to equip you with turnkey and analytically backed solutions specific for your TV ad buying efforts. Ensure it makes your schedules more measurable, accountable and the results immediately transparent and actionable.

Q: What is your business doing to attack these changes head on?

A: We launched our newest REVShare division, AdMore, in 2013. AdMore is an automated — or programmatic — TV ad buying platform. We created AdMore to offer brand marketers an automated TV advertising model that is effective, accountable and scalable. AdMore has developed an innovative algorithmic methodology that integrates external data, including measurements and reporting systems (like Nielsen), and Web-based dashboards and tools, to help advertisers and agencies measure and optimize their TV advertising campaigns. Programmatic or automated buying has been in the digital marketplace for some time now and we felt we could bring an automated solution to the TV side of the ad business, particularly for brand marketers.

Q: What is AdMore and how does it help marketers take advantage of new technology to maximize their ad buys?

A: Simply put, AdMore is an advertising platform that reaches more than 110 million households across 200 DMAs and offers a fully scalable, Nielsen-monitored automated TV buying solution. With a single insertion order, you can reach a highly targeted nationwide audience across more than 1,000 media outlets. AdMore is unique because we participate in both the supply and demand sides of the programmatic TV offering, and, as such, we are a turnkey solution for marketers looking to enhance and expand the value of their media spend. In addition, it’s fully transparent through AdMore’s Web-based analytics dashboards.

Q: How does AdMore maximize the benefits of programmatic for your clients, your agency and the media outlets you work with?

A: Automated TV buying allows agencies and brands to focus on other important parts of the consumer engagement process including branding, storytelling, retail, activation and custom solutions. Our technology offers clients, agencies (and their trading desks) and media partners a simpler, smarter and more efficient way to reach their targeted demographic.

Q: Where do you think programmatic TV buying will stand in 24 months?

A: It’s inevitable that TV buying will evolve and become more comfortable using programmatic platforms, such as AdMore. We heard a lot of discussion about programmatic TV buying in this year’s upfront and every large media holding company now has trading desks to buy programmatically. We expect programmatic TV buying will be a significant portion of every brand marketer’s media buys in the next 24 months.

About the Author: Doug McPherson

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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