Field Reports1 May, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response
Brad Powers, Active Response Group
Brad Powers is chief executive officer of Active Response Group, an online lead generation and ad network company based in New York. Active has worked with such clients as Forbes, Atkins, Blockbuster, Netflix, American Express, Wal-Mart and the Video Professor. Recently, Response spoke with Powers about his background and company.
Q. How did Active Response Group start, and what keeps it so strong?
A. Active Response Group started as an offshoot of another marketing services company I founded, eWomp, a provider of customized E-mail and viral marketing solutions. We had built a special technology platform to manage our clients' performance and direct marketing online campaigns, and realized that it had the ability to become a really powerful application for managing and running a high-quantity, high-quality lead generation business. Active Response Group grew out of that technology platform, and here we are today — one of the largest lead generation firms in the space, with a very powerful and robust ad network to boot.
Q. What can Active Response Group do for its clients in the DR space that sets it apart from the competition?
A. We really excel at delivering direct marketers leads — into their CRM platform, into call centers, wherever they want it — that are high quality and high quantity. Our lead collection and delivery platform is extraordinarily flexible and robust, so it allows us the freedom to work with our advertising publishers in a variety of ways. We don't get stymied by crazy legacy CRM platforms and technological requirements. We are nimble enough to deliver data to our partners that meets the IAB best practices requirements and meets our client's needs.
Q. How does what Active Response Group does help draw its clients into DR marketing?
A. The DR space is a niche community in many ways. There are only a certain number of online providers doing what we do. If you do it well, marketers find out about you. And they recommend us to their colleagues in the field, as well. Most importantly, we listen and we customize our solutions to work with our clients' legacy platforms, outbound call and mailing centers, and their sales teams.
Q. What have been the most successful campaigns you've worked on?
A. Some of our most successful campaigns are the ones that are working every day, every minute, every month. But they aren't always the most interesting ones. In the past, we've done some really interesting work with a large diamond manufacturer and wholesaler — we created a fully integrated media plan that drove leads to diamond retailers via banner ads, classic lead-generation strategies, E-mail. It was a really powerful program that we'll look to repeat this year for them.
Q. How did the campaign you worked on with Atkins come about? How was it executed?
A. The campaign with Atkins came about because they were doing classic banner campaigns to drive people to their Web site and to register for coupons, but they weren't collecting much information on those consumers, so they weren't really sure who was responding to them online. We could help them identify a large quantity of interested consumers in a short amount of time and identify additional data points about those consumers during the survey process. In the end, we tested a number of different online lead generation mechanisms — opt-ins, custom questions, behaviorally targeted custom questions — to help them identify the most efficient and effective way of adding names to their database. Interestingly, once we got the coupon out there, consumers were forwarding it to their friends and family, and we got this whole viral component that we didn't even anticipate. We were able to leverage that pretty quickly though — we worked with Atkins' customer support — and immediately were able to start funneling those viral consumers into the newsletter sign up process, thus creating thousands of "free" leads for Atkins.
Q. What does the future hold for Active Response Group?
A. The future holds a lot for us! Perhaps more importantly, we're optimizing a lot of our own optimization and targeting techniques, so soon we'll be able to offer advertisers an even more targeted, specific lead-generation environment. The end goal is to improve the quality of leads while not compromising too much on overall quantity.
> MTV Networks announces it will host an upfront event to highlight its partnership opportunities across the company's new programming, commercial environments and emerging digital platforms on May 8 at the Nokia Theatre Times Square, New York. The presentation will highlight the company's commitment to partnership, industry-leading research and integrated marketing campaigns. In other news, Christina Norman, president of MTV, steps down after 17 years with the company. Also, MTVN hires two new account executives, Monica Lenti, formerly of Mindshare Interactive who will be selling The N, and Adrienne Florio, formerly of CBS syndication who will be selling CMT.
Christina Norman, MTV president steps down
> Katherine Krohn joins the Imagine Fulfillment Services (IFS) and IFS Television business development team.
> LiveOps Inc. has moved. They can now be found at 5425 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA, 95051. Telephone (408) 844-2400.
> Join the Direct Response Academy June 9-11, at the Fitzpatrick Hotel, New York, for "DRTV Management Boot Camp: Nutraceuticals & Cosmeceuticals." The cost is $1,990. For more information or to register, call (512) 301-5900 or visit www.DirectResponseAcademy.com.
> Revenue Frontier LLC's President Stacy Durand names Dan Casey as executive vice president of sales and marketing. In his new position, Casey will focus on expanding the company's media affiliate network in both traditional and new media environments.
> David DiMatteo is named group account director for Direct Response Media Inc. DiMatteo most recently served as manager for media services at DMW Worldwide.
> Joel Gable, formerly with Clear Channel, joins Marcum Media LLC as DR media manager.
> Federal Trade Commission (FTC) member William E. Kovacic is named the commission's new chairman.