Field Reports - February 20111 Feb, 2011 By: Jackie Jones, Thomas Haire Response
DRMA Marketer of the Year Spotlight
Positec's Three-Year Expansion Laughs in the Face of Economy
In its October 2010 issue, Response announced and spotlighted the three finalists and winner of the Second Annual Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award. In the November issue, we began spotlighting the other seven top nominees in a monthly section. This month, we caught up with Tom Duncan, Charlotte, N.C.-based president and CEO of Positec Inc.
The three-year-old company reports 2010 revenue of more than $200 million, thanks mainly to the success of the WORX garden and Rockwell tool lines. The company launched three long-form campaigns in 2010, with plans for two more in 2011. And it’s not just DR success — the company contends its retail distribution increased 120 percent due to the success of its campaigns.
Q: What does it mean to you and your company to be one of the top 10 nominees for the DRMA Marketer of the Year Award?
A: It is an honor to be recognized by the DRMA for something that our team works hard at each and every day but encompasses what we have been striving toward for several years. The caliber of the other nominees is impressive so that also makes us proud of what we have accomplished.
Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?
A: We rolled out our sixth consecutive successful long-form infomercial, which gives us a batting average of 1.000 during the past four years. That is not easy to do in this economic environment. I am more proud of our consistency, as much as the level of success of each product.
Q: How did the successful products you had over the past year fit within the overall concept behind your company? Were any of those products so successful that they changed the way you do business? If so, how?
A: We are unique in that we are a brand company first and foremost and so each successful product that we launch via DR supports our overall multichannel brand strategy. Each successful DR campaign becomes another brick in our long-term brand foundation.
Q: Why do you think your business responded well during the recent economic downturn?
A: We have had a record sales year each of the past three years while our tool industry competitors have seen sales drop by high double digits. We have discovered the right formula for driving both DR and retail sales, which has allowed us to grow despite the economic downturn.
Q: What is your outlook for the next 12 months? What are the top items in your pipeline?
A: We are expecting another record sales year. We have two new long-form shows planned to launch in 2011.
Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2011? Why?
A: Great creative, a strong value proposition and a unique, appealing product is more important than what market or category a product is in. We operate in the tool and garden categories, and we see these markets continuing to struggle overall due to the housing market and stagnant disposable incomes.
Q: Does today’s consumer respond better to short-form or long-form DRTV? Which of these two formats are best supported by other media, including online, mobile, print and radio?
A: We prefer long-form because it works best for our higher-priced, highly demonstrable products. We also like the way we can use other media to remind or re-market a “fence-sitter” who may not have called or bought when he first saw the long-form show.
Basketball Hall-of-Famer, Renowned Entrepreneur Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson to Keynote Response Expo 2011
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Not many hall-of-fame professional athletes have forged a business career that would make their sports exploits pale in comparison. However, Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s off-court success — in both business and philanthropic endeavors — during the past two decades has become nearly as legendary as his on-court prowess as a five-time NBA world champion and three-time NBA most valuable player during his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s that business success — based on the teamwork and leadership he cultivated during his playing days — which Johnson will discuss as the keynote speaker at Response Expo 2011. His powerful message, presented by Euro RSCG Edge, kicks off the Expo on Tuesday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. “We are thrilled to bring Magic Johnson’s lively and engaging speaking skills to our attendees,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response and event director of Response Expo. “More importantly, his incredible success in sports and business, his understanding of teamwork and creativity, and his work for charitable causes should enthrall and educate the leaders of the direct response marketing world.”
Thomas Haire, editor-in-chief of Response Magazine and content director of Response Expo, adds, “Magic Johnson’s ability to combine competitiveness with joy on the basketball court made him one of the most compelling athletes of the 20th century. He brings those two seemingly divergent skills to his business and philanthropic goals, making him one of the most important and successful businessmen of this new century. I have no doubt that Response Expo’s attendees will not only enjoy, but learn from, Magic’s presentation.”
Johnson, chairman and CEO of Johnson Development Corp. and Magic Johnson Enterprises, spent 13 seasons with the Lakers (1979-91; 1996). He retired originally on Nov. 7, 1991, after announcing that he’d been diagnosed as HIV-positive. At the time, his diagnosis was seen as a near-death sentence, as knowledge of AIDS and HIV was very limited. He immediately went to work to raise funds for research and to help those with the disease, forming what became the Magic Johnson Foundation.
The foundation today is committed to improving the quality of life in urban communities, and has distributed more than 800 college scholarships to deserving minority students and has opened AIDS/HIV clinics in four cities. In addition, Johnson — who was featured on the cover of Response in May 2003 — has created 21 Magic Johnson Empowerment Centers to help bridge the digital divide in low-income communities.
“Doing business and giving back really go hand-in-hand,” Johnson said on his Web site. “It’s the best way to truly create a win-win situation for everyone. If the community is happy, then they support your business and if your business is doing well, then you can give even more back to the community.”
Speaking of doing business, Johnson Development Corp. is dedicated to urban revitalization by providing entertainment complexes, restaurants and retail centers in underserved communities nationwide. The company operates 103 Starbucks nationwide — the coffee giant’s only franchised locations — and has also opened six AMC Magic Johnson Theater complexes across the United States.
In addition, Johnson has invested millions of dollars in urban areas via the Canyon Johnson Urban Fund, the result of his partnership with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors. The partnership has raised more than $900 million and has acquired 24 properties to assist in the revitalization of underserved communities.