DRMA Spotlight: InterMedia16 May, 2013 By: Thomas Haire Response
DRMA Spotlight: InterMedia
It’s been a challenging year for the direct response business, but the team at the Inter/Media Group of Companies® has plenty to celebrate. Speaking with Robert Yallen, the company’s president and CEO, in the company’s year-old corporate offices in Woodland Hills, Calif., you can sense his pride in the work of his team.
“Inter/Media’s been doing very well, but there have been some challenges. All agency executives will tell you there have been inventory level problems, audiences have declined and response has declined as well,” he says. “We thought that with the Olympics and the elections behind us that there would be a lot more inventory. But we’ve been able to figure out a lot of solutions.”
Yallen is in his 28th year with the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) member company that his father Sydney founded in 1974 (see sidebar). Inter/Media also has office locations in New York and Dallas, and the pride the younger Yallen takes in the work that has made the agency a half-billion-dollar business is apparent right down to the design and decoration of the corporate offices.
It’s also clear that Yallen and his team have designed an array of businesses (12 in all) and operations that can help clients find DR success in a bevy of ways.
“We’ve created our own unwired network platforms, one of which is the CPM Networks™, which is comprised of 87 million homes throughout the country,” Yallen says. “We aggregate local media to create our own platform, and we deliver our homes at a discount even to our rates on a national equivalent basis.”
He adds, “Another tool we have, and another proprietary asset, is our Mediapoint Network®, which is our performance-based company. It sets the bar lower on a cost-per metric, whether it’s cost-per-order or cost-per-lead on a cash basis.”
The company’s digital division is another point of pride for Yallen. “We’ve created a very robust offering in our digital division. We believe digital is the common denominator of all advertising — kind of like the Yellow Pages back in the day. But you can’t lose focus on what drives digital. We believe that television is still the driving force. It — with print, radio and other media — creates that halo effect.”
When asked what allows Inter/Media to outperform its competition, Yallen says simply, “We buy better. We all say that. Of course, the top 10 companies in the space really buy well. We have an incredible team of media buyers, we have the clout, and we’ve created our own assets. Recently, we’ve also developed what we call ‘Advionics’ — the science of media-creative analytics in the direct space.”
But that’s not all, as Yallen also points to Inter/Media’s expertise in creative, production, retail distribution and celebrity endorsement deals. “We’ve created our own state-of-the-art production and post-production facilities,” he says.
He also talks about the company’s retail division. “InterQuantum® is our retail distribution subsidiary,” Yallen says. “We specialize in getting retail distribution for our clients in top retailers, such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, GNC and Wal-Mart. The key is the timing to get their products on shelves and successfully selling through.”
Perhaps most importantly, he adds, “We also have Inter/Media Entertainment™, our entertainment division, which does intellectual property (IP) work as well as specializing in spokespeople deals. Some of the deals we have in play right now are Joe Theismann for Super Beta Prostate, Joan Lunden for A Place for Mom, William Devane for Rosland Capital, Bruce Boxleitner for Toppik, Chuck Woolery for Medical Direct Club, and Larry King for Breath Gemz.”
Yallen singles out two of those — Super Beta Prostate and Toppik.
“Super Beta Prostate is one of our biggest successes in the past 18 months,” he says. “They were very successful doing a lot of long-form and endorsement radio. Basically, the product saturated the limited marketplace and the results started to trend down. So they came to us and we evaluated the situation.”
Super Beta Prostate’s position as a niche brand for aging men meant it needed what Yallen calls a “brand ambassador.” He adds, “We acquired Joe Theismann. We’ve been able to create some great messaging around him. The brand’s been reinvigorated using direct response television.”
Yallen says Theismann represents the best of all worlds in a brand ambassador. “The keys to success in using a brand ambassador are credibility, believability, relevance, a fit with the brand — and salesmanship. But it’s also about finding somebody who really uses the product and believes in the product. And that’s Joe Theismann,” Yallen says.
Similarly, Inter/Media has seen great success teaming actor Bruce Boxleitner with Toppik. “Men and women use it to give the appearance of full, beautiful hair,” Yallen says.
The product failed when it initially tried DRTV 10 years ago, but that changed when Inter/Media got involved. “Toppik is another good example of our ability to succeed where others have failed. The product demonstrates exceptionally well, almost so well that consumers might not believe the selling proposition,” Yallen says. “We needed a strong spokesman. Through Inter/Media Entertainment, we went out and got Bruce Boxleitner, who’s a tremendous actor. Bruce has done a fantastic job positioning the product and making the product extremely believable. He’d used it before in his career with his make-up and hair people. He also has a slight hair-loss problem, so the product really did work for him.”
These successes, among others, have Yallen and Inter/Media excited for the next five years. He says, “Our growth strategy for the Inter/Media Group of Companies is three-fold: to continue to organically grow our current client base; to create new lines of business in the advertising, media, marketing, entertainment, creative and communication sectors; and acquisitions. We’re aggressively looking to acquire other companies that fit within our growth strategy, a plan that was begun five to six years ago.” ■
Location: 22120 Clarendon St., Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: (800) TIME-BUY; (818) 995-1455
The Inter/Media Group of Companies® is a fully integrated, $500 million advertising, media, marketing, creative, entertainment and communications organization renowned for blending direct response advertising with general market techniques. Founded in 1974, IMGC specializes in DR, retail, brand building and E-commerce. The company is comprised of multiple synergistic business units: Inter/Media Advertising® (strategy, planning and research), Inter/Media Time Buying Corp.® (offline media execution), Inter/Media Interactive® (online planning, buying and creative), Mediapoint Network® (performance-based advertising), Inter/Image Productions® (television and radio production), Inter/Post Productions® Editorial (post-production and effects), InterQuantum® LLC (retail brokering, marketing consulting), InfoTech Development™ (advertising and media metrics technology), Inter/Media Entertainment™ (celebrity and IP-licensing deals) and CPM Networks™ (unwired networks comprised of cable, broadcast TV and radio media).