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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Jun, 2006 By: Thomas Haire, Nicole Urso Response


Though the court sided with ERA in its February verdict, Trudeau and his lead attorney in the appeal, Kimball Anderson of Winston & Strawn, will argue that Tulipane's statements are, in fact, actionable.

"The trial judge believed that Tulipane's statement was protected, and Kevin Trudeau and I disagree," said Anderson. He said an average reader would believe that Tulipane, as the president of ERA, would have a factual basis that an average person would not, for making that statement. "Readers would believe that she had empirical evidence."

According to Anderson, the appellate process could take up to one year before the court renders a final verdict. The next deadline in the case, according to a California Appellate Court Web site, is Aug. 14.

ERA declined to comment on the appeal, but announced in an earlier statement after winning the defamation suit that, "Ms. Tulipane is pleased to put this issue behind her and continue focusing on the well being of the organization and the vitality of the direct response industry."

 

Q&A

 

By Thomas Haire (thaire@questex.com)

 

Swanson Brings Leadership Swagger to DR World

 

For more than a decade, Lee Swanson, president of Phoenix-based InPulse Response Group, has been a leader in the teleservices side of the direct response arena. When he joined Hooked on Phonics in 1995, Swanson was a well known "turnaround guy" — an expert in reconstructing struggling businesses. There, Swanson met InPulse founder Steve Pittendrigh, and in 2003, Swanson joined the company. Recently, Response talked with Swanson about his experience and the direction of the DR industry.


 

Q. Can you talk about your professional background and how you came to your position at InPulse?

A. I set out to be a CPA back in Chicago, but the army decided to send me to Southeast Asia instead. My tour ended after an ambush in a minefield. I came home and spent the next 20 years with Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. Leading men in combat, I realized that I thrive in chaos and have a talent for providing effective leadership in times of crisis. So I launched my consulting career, reconstructing financially distressed businesses. In 1995, I was hired by Hooked on Phonics to save the brand from bankruptcy. That was my introduction to the DR world, and it was love at first sight. In the chaotic landscape of DR, I found the challenge and opportunity I knew my leadership style could thrive in. It's also where I met Steve Pittendrigh. In 2003, the stars aligned when my wife told me she wanted to move closer to our kids. I called the only the person I knew in Phoenix — Steve Pittendrigh. We've been working together ever since.

Q. As a veteran of the industry, what do you see as two of the biggest challenges facing the DR world in the next 3-5 years?

A. I see more than two. For example: increasing government scrutiny; fragmentation of media; and technological changes that will affect the DR industry and radically changing consumer buying behavior — just to name a few. However, let me focus on media fragmentation and consumer behavior. Because of media fragmentation, I see fewer campaigns recouping their investment dollars on a pure media efficiency ratio (MER). That's why you're seeing more soft offers, which increase call volume, but they also increase the burden on the back end, because of the burden product claims have to carry in order to justify the selling price. Regarding consumer behavior, I listen to 50 calls a week, and consumers are simply demanding to be in control of their buying environment. The Internet is extremely successful because it lets consumers shop whenever and however they want. The No. 1 reason consumers buy is trust. QVC and HSN figured this out a long time ago. Consumers trust the companies, and they trust their hosts. Icompletely convinced that more people than ever before are buying in these media streams because of trust.

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