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Direct Response Marketing

With All the Brand Madness, Don't Forget the Inventor

1 Jun, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

"It must be confessed that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men than the inventors of syllogisms."
— Voltaire, 1764

That confession mustn't have come easy for the French philosopher given to lengthy essays. However, his point is well taken — how on earth could you read Voltaire, Dickens, Hunter S. Thompson or even Response without the inventors who came up with ways to print ink on a piece of paper or to place text in an electronic space accessible to billions worldwide?

The inventor — whether he's working in his garage or she's in a boardroom with a team of coworkers — remains the lifeblood of commerce, even in this advanced technological age. As a matter of fact, the industry covered in these pages for much of the past two decades owes its beginnings to the humble inventors who marketed their widgets and services via DRTV beginning in the mid-1980s.

Today, as we look at the evolution of the direct response marketing business into the internationally accepted tool it's become among nearly all brand marketers and inventors, it remains important to remember that inventors remain the lifeblood of marketing. After all, without new products and ideas, what would those of us in the DR business do for a living?

On the heels of Response Expo 2008 (see coverage in Field Reports and in But Wait, There's More), which drew some of the biggest marketers in the world and the buzz to match, it's easy to forget the simple inventor. Fortunately, June provides everyone an opportunity to remember and reconnect with the original lifeblood of the business as many of the leading inventors in America will convene in Pittsburgh for INPEX, the Invention & New Product Exposition, on June 11-14.

During the event, Response is sponsoring and hosting the "As Seen on TV Direct Response Panel Review," which will allow INPEX's exhibiting inventors the opportunity to present their ideas to two panels of TV marketing professionals, experienced in the fields of infomercials and home shopping. The panelists will provide feedback and tips to inventors about their products' potential as a DRTV product.

Yes, major marketers in such areas as beauty (see more"A 'Social' Butterfly") and pharmaceuticals (see more"The Virtual Drugstore") have flexed their muscles in the direct response space in recent years. And, yes, Response has transitioned its coverage in an effort to lead the business in that new direction. However, we remain connected to our original lifeblood in many ways. I urge you, if you are involved in product development in any way, to check out what INPEX is all about — if it's too late to join the crowd in the coming weeks, put it on your calendar for next year. If just one new idea strikes you, it's clearly worth your time!

Thomas Haire, Editor-in-Chief

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