DRMA Spotlight Monarch: A New Reign10 Apr, 2013 By: Thomas Haire Response
Eitan Cohen says his media agency’s re-brand as Monarch Direct Response signifies the power of the company’s work for best-in-breed DR marketers.
“We strive to bring the highest levels of profitability to our clients, while simultaneously offering valuable media time and one of the highest levels of personal service in the industry,” says Eitan Cohen, president and CEO of Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Monarch Direct Response. “We create sales through the use of multichannel marketing, using the most advanced, cutting-edge analytics and research tools to target our clients’ customers and drive them to take action.”
Cohen’s company — a long-time Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) member — was founded in 2007 as Media Stream Direct. But with vast growth continuing, Cohen and his team decided to re-brand and rename the business early this year (while also starting a new website at MonarchDR.com). “We focused on long-form when we started but that’s evolved over the years to include short-form, Spanish, Canada and emerging technologies,” he says. “We are also in process of expanding our office space to double its current size to accommodate our staff that’s grown to 25 and will likely be 30 by the start of summer.”
To emphasize the growth and shift into such a robust agency, Cohen says the re-branding was necessary. “We look at ourselves as leaders in media buying and relationships,” Cohen says, “and Monarch describes the level of the experience our customers receive.”
That experience tracks back to Cohen’s beginnings in the business, more than a decade-and-a-half ago. “I started with Katie Williams at Williams Television Time, managing clients,” he recalls. “Then, I spent seven years with Mercury Media, where I ended up as vice president of client services.”
He left Mercury with the idea of forming a media management company. “Many marketers were shifting into using multiple media agencies to buy time, and this company started with the idea of taking the energy and time those marketers were spending managing those relationships and bringing it under one roof,” Cohen says. “But many of our initial clients said, ‘Why don’t you just buy the time for us yourself?’ So, we quickly became an agency.”
With an executive staff boasting more than 100 years of combined industry experience, Monarch quickly made a mark in the long-form DRTV media space, launching and managing some of the largest and most successful campaigns in the business. But as the DR industry evolved, Monarch did as well, expanding to include short-form, Spanish-language and Canadian DR media buying.
Cohen contends, “Our media planning and strategy skills have set new benchmarks for the DR industry, leading the way in negotiating, buying, results tracking and buy optimizing. Simply, we are laser-focused on our clients’ bottom line ROI.”
Cohen singles out some clients who have experienced the Monarch difference. “We’ve been handling the Ab Rocket and its second generation Ab Rocket Twister for more than five years now, and it’s grown from a long-form winner into a hybrid retail play and into the U.S. Hispanic, Canadian and French Canadian markets,” he says.
Two others Cohen calls out are the Chair Gym and Teeter Hangups — two products that seem dissimilar, until you think about the consumer. “The Baby Boomer market is growing so rapidly, and they have a lot of discretionary income,” he says. “Monarch has seen a lot of success with products marketed toward this generation.”
Dermawand, the long-time DRTV hit skincare device, is another Monarch success story — but in a different way. “They initially approached us after having five or six years of success on TV,” Cohen says. “They wanted to know how we could create new value for their efforts. We convinced them to move into the Hispanic market, helped transcreate the show and brought it into that space. It’s taken off and become one of the most successful skincare shows in the Hispanic market.”
Cohen attributes much of Monarch’s growth during the past year to jumping into the short-form DRTV space in late 2011. “It’s really taken off and is one of the main reasons for our staff’s growth,” he adds.
Another reason for the company’s recent success: a focus on technology and reporting. “We’re data freaks,” Cohen says.
He adds that Monarch offers “highly developed multivariate analysis and comprehensive scrutiny of all aspects of a campaign’s results,” including television and Web attribution. “These results enable our clients to make the most educated and profitable campaign optimization decisions in a short period of time.”
Cohen also believes understanding what’s going on across the market can help as well. “In order to properly plan a media campaign, it’s critical to understand what similar products in the market are doing,” he says. “We utilize Kantar, Nielsen and IMS to properly research the media landscape, and we have the ability to dive even deeper into understanding consumer response by utilizing psychographic and demographic research tools.”
Monarch offers a full suite of tech-based applications that help marketers parse their numbers simply, but Cohen says that perhaps the most important — especially going forward into a world where Web sales attribution will become even more crucial to every campaign — is capable of attributing Web sales to specific television media. “On long-form, we’re seeing 35-80 percent of orders come via the Web, and on short-form it’s closer to 50-85 percent,” he says. “Our solution is an algorithm that takes Web response and marries it up with TV media that ran. And our tech team is constantly evolving it to optimize it for all of our clients.”
Another issue the Monarch team is tackling is the growing fragmentation of media. And though people have been talking about it for years, Cohen says that Monarch is dealing with it head on.
“Let’s find solutions — ones like using five-minute media,” he says. “If we’re not catching consumers through long-form because of DVRs or second-screen viewing, let’s find them with five-minute spots. We’re one of the largest buyers of this kind of time.”
Cohen also says that Monarch is buying in the video-on-demand (VOD) space. “Not many in this space understand the success you can have advertising products on downloaded shows — pre-reel, mid-reel or post-reel,” he says. “The viewer is a little more educated and tends to have more discretionary income, and on a number of VOD systems, fast-forwarding through these spots is not allowed.”
This kind of creative thinking bodes well for the future of Monarch under Cohen. “We want to continue to expand our services in digital — whether it’s E-commerce, mobile, search or keyword management,” he says. “We’re also interested in getting more involved in the creative production side, where we’ve been giving creative advice to many of our media buying clients. We’ve managed thousands of campaigns here and we understand what works creatively.”
Of course, Monarch will not lose focus on the core competency that’s made it so successful — buying and managing media campaigns. “Monarch is where the smart money goes when it wants to advertise on TV,” Cohen says. “If your campaign is short-form, long-form, Hispanic, Canadian or French Canadian, we have deep experience in generating success.” ■