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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

17 Sep, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response


Netzley Looks Toward ‘Future Response’
By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

Twenty-two years ago, Steve Netzley founded a small DRTV media buying firm near San Diego. Today, Netzley is CEO of that same agency, which has come through many iterations to be known as Euro RSCG Edge, a part of the Euro RSCG Worldwide advertising empire. Still based near San Diego — in Carlsbad, Calif., to be precise — Netzley has created a network of leading direct response agencies with a singular mission: engage customers and compel them to act. Recently, Response chatted with Netzley about his years in the business and what’s next for Euro RSCG Edge.

Q: What’s been the most memorable moment since founding the agency that has become Euro RSCG Edge?

A: While it is actually not one moment, I would have to say it is our history of innovating the direct response model over the past 22 years. We have been so fortunate to work with great clients who have allowed us to push the boundaries of direct response in so many ways: placing the first pure direct response commercial during the Super Bowl for Cash4Gold; creating the first 100-percent drive-to-Web campaign for Astrive Student Loans; crafting the first multi-brand spot for Clorox; breaking the $1,000 price point for an item sold with SoloFlex. It is really these moments of innovation and partnership that make me proudest.

Q: What’s new at Euro RSCG Edge?

A: We continue to enhance our offering as the industry’s leading integrated direct response advertising, marketing and media agency. Our work with MaxClarity is really a game changer in many ways, and our ability to launch a new acne management line into such an aggressive marketplace and see such great success is really something we are all quite proud of. As an agency, we are also very proud of the launch of our VantEdge Point database. VantEdge Point is a real strategic weapon for us as it contains 22 years and more than $8 billion worth of DR sales and media buys. This platform really allows us to have a leg up on the competition when it comes to knowing what is going to perform for a client, and our latest version is state-of-the-art.

Q: What do you consider the most successful campaign you’ve worked on, and why?

A: I would have to say Astrive Student Loans is one that really stands out. In close partnership with our client, we were able to deliver astounding financial results allowing them to build a $1.5 billion business in less than two years. The key to our success was leveraging amazing creative insights to surround the college students and their parents online and offline in every relevant media vehicle with a message that was unique and really connected them with the brand. The ROI on that program was among the highest we have seen, and we are very proud of the work and our team that delivered it.

Q: How has the relationship with your parent company changed the way your agency has done business? How has your own business model affected how the parent company does business?

A: Euro RSCG Worldwide, of which Edge is a sub-network, has 233 offices globally and has more global accounts than any other agency in the world. As direct response becomes more global in nature, our ability to leverage the more than 11,000 employees Euro has around the world becomes a real strategic asset to us and our clients, fast-cycling cultural and country-specific learning curves and speeding market entry. Edge has always had the fire of entrepreneurialism burning in its belly and we have played a large role in bringing more nimble, flexible thinking and aggressive and unique client/agency business models to Euro since we were acquired eight years ago. Our relationship with our holding company really is a partnership that delivers for our employees and our clients each and every day.

Q: Where would you like to see Euro RSCG Edge in the next five years?

A: The future of the direct response industry is taking shape today. The past 10 years have seen unprecedented growth in the number and adoption of media devices and platforms and there is seemingly no end in sight. It is interesting to note that after all the hoopla subsides, most of these advances are really just new screens to connect with consumers on. Mobile phones, the iPad, digital out-of-home, even online gaming — all are really just new sizes of TV screens, and no one knows how to change consumer behavior via TV better than we do. At Edge, we believe this new era of direct response marketing will be called Future Response™. These are exciting times and we believe that Edge has more insight about how all of these devices will work together in a new direct response model than any other agency. Couple that with our all-star team of creative, strategic and media leadership, and I know we will help our clients get to the future first and succeed faster than their peers.

 

Levesque Sets Sights on Washington
By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

Jason Levesque, CEO of Auburn, Maine-based DR marketing company Argo Marketing Group, is the Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives’ seat in Maine’s second district — the largest geographical district east of the Mississippi River. He’s facing off against four-term incumbent Democrat Mike Michaud on Nov. 2 to represent a district he says is “rich in history and natural resources.” Response sat down with Levesque to chat about the campaign and how he hopes to work for the benefit of direct response marketers should he win.

Q: During your career in DR, and especially recently as leader of Argo Marketing, what experiences did you have that prompted you to make this run for U.S. Congress?

A: All of my experience as founder and head of Argo Marketing Group has prepared me to be a United States congressman. It started with the realization that entrepreneurs, not government officials, create economic viability — that businesses and organizations can be charitable and, most importantly, that if you work with people instead of against them (think vendor-client relationships) to establish strategic goals and the methodology to achieve them, it can be done. Isn’t that what Congress should do? If you think about it, DR is probably one of the best training grounds for politics. We have to work together, balance our budgets, and make smart decisions or else we fail. These seem like traits we are missing today in Washington.

Q: What issues facing the DR market do you believe you can help address should you win the November election?

A: There are some broad issues that need addressing that concern small businesses, which most DR companies are. Health care, financial reform, cap-and-trade — but most importantly, we must tear down the barriers that prevent businesses from growing and introduce regulatory and legislative consistency, getting capital flowing once more. All of this will allow more people to work and, of course, start purchasing products again. I am also looking forward to continuing my work with industry leaders in promoting good legislation, and fighting bad, ill-considered bills … only instead of flying to D.C. once a year, I will have an office.

Q: How has the DR industry responded to your candidacy? How can DR leaders get involved?

A: At first it seemed that they were very skeptical: “How can a DR business owner be a congressman?” During the past year though, I have been very appreciative of all the support I have received — especially the financial support that folks have offered. That is the biggest way someone can get involved: contribute the funds we need to run our own DR campaign. We accept Visa and Mastercard at
www.levesqueforcongress.com. But wait, there’s more!

Q: What are your expectations for election night and beyond?

A: All the data we have seen shows an even shot at winning. With that said, we must execute our plan, have the resources available to execute and not make a mistake. After I win, and the two days off that I will take, I literally will have to build another business: hire a full staff in Washington, open four district offices each staffed with up to three individuals, and find a place to stay in Washington. And, if possible, I will book my flight to Response Expo 2011!

 

Frankel Capitalizes on Experience, Industry Expertise
By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

Doug Frankel was already nearly two decades deep in the media and broadcast industry when he founded Santa Monica, Calif.-based Broadcast Communications Media in 2002. The company originally launched with a focus on TV and radio media buying for the direct response business, but has expanded its scope in recent years to offer a more complete creative marketing partnership to its clients. Recently, Response caught up with Frankel, president and CEO, to discuss the growth of Broadcast Communications Media — and its future.

Q: How did your professional background lead to you starting Broadcast Communications Media?

A: I’ve been in the broadcast business my whole life. In 1989, I became head of stations and vice president of the first 24-hour financial radio network in the world. The premise of the network was to sell leads to financial companies — during programming, listeners were prompted “If you’re interested in finding out about this financial product, call the number and we’ll give you a free tape.” On the inbound call, they’d be told someone may be contacting you with more information. These leads went to Merrill Lynch and other major financial companies who were our advertising partners. This was my entry into understanding DR. After that, I became a partner at United Broadcast Sales, where my true exposure to DR came along.

Q: How did Broadcast Communications Media start and grow?

A: We started in 2002 with three people in an office in Santa Monica. It was a real commitment to this business and this life. We picked up some great accounts, but for the most part, we stayed a quiet, behind-the-scenes group. You have to promote yourself, though, and let others in the business know you exist. It also adds credibility to what you do. As we did that, and picked up steam, we brought in John Michaels from APEX Media to run business development four-and-a-half years ago. A lot of the success in this business comes from relationships, not just spending money.

Q: What does Broadcast Communications Media do for direct response marketers that sets it apart from other companies in this space?

A: We started the office as a media buyer. But over the past four or five years, we’ve constantly been asked questions by our clients about all aspects of the DR industry: inbound telemarketing, scripting offers, structuring continuity, merchant banking solutions, who to use for production, who to use for fulfillment. We have paid attention to all of the key vendors in the DR industry and can pass on the fruits of our relationships with them to our clients. In addition, we have developed our own media performance software, DR Ware, that has been excellent in providing daily media performance reports for our clients. Our value-added expertise allows us to compete with anyone in the industry.

Q: Can you share with us a short list of some key clients?

A: Evercleanse has been a huge client. Others clients include Smoke Assist, Zencor Plus, 1-2-3 Health and Hoodia Diet. That’s just a small cross-section of our clients.

Q: Tell us about a successful campaign for a specific client?

A: Often the case study is finding a solution or answer for a client. Evercleanse is a classic example. It’s a crowded category, especially with Dual Action Cleanse. Of course, there’s still a way to get in, but you have to think outside the box a bit. How can we come up with an angle that’s different? What’s the lowest barrier of entry? There were two things that directed us. One, Dual Action Cleanse isn’t doing radio. Two, our client can’t afford a big infomercial. With Evercleanse, the lowest barrier is radio. Production was inexpensive, and we tested with a number of different offers and different creatives. We monitored low-dollar tests and looked at the results. We spent $5,000 on the initial test and turned it into $18 million in total radio billings in less than 18 months — spend was at $1.2 million per month at its height.

Q: What are two of the hottest topics facing marketers in the DR space?

A: One of the hottest issues is how merchant processing affects clients today. Visa and MasterCard have really tightened up the kind of offers a client can make and what kind of advertising merchant banks will accept. Understanding merchant processing and how it affects the growth of a client is critical to the client’s future success. Another issue is flexibility in testing different areas in media for a client.

Q: What are your plans for the future with the company?

A: We are a one-stop shop solution for DR clients. We’ve made good choices with our vendor relationships and have a good track record and history for our clients. We want to continue to provide our clients with the best possible solutions for their product or service, and be flexible with our media selections and choices for them.

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