August 2008 - The Year in Review


Not Active in ERA?
Here’s What You Missed…

By Katie White

ERA hosts two major industry events each year. At the Annual Convention (October 2007), Donny Deutsch interviewed celebrities Susan Lucci, Leeza Gibbons and Cindy Crawford. Each of these entrepreneurs talked to Deutsch about why they decided to enter the direct response market, and how companies like Guthy-Renker are raising the bar when it comes to the perception people have about DRTV.

In addition to the red carpet presence, ERA’s power-charged education addressed such topical issues as the profitable partnership between DR and traditional advertising, increasing ROI with new technologies, the pathway to profitability for your product, affiliate marketing and the consumer in command. Panelists and presenters represented some of the industry’s most dynamic brands and companies, including Google, Hawthorne Direct, Yahoo, Sylmark, QVC, MSN, Savvier, Creative Commerce, Iceland Health, Pepperjam, Murad, Shopzilla, Respond2, Exceptional Products, OneUpWeb, Donat/Wald Agency, Product Partners, Rick Spotts Consulting, DoubleClick Performics and LinkShare.

The Annual Convention incorporates fantastic education and a tradeshow floor that doesn’t stop rocking, making it a must-attend event. Whether you have been in the industry for several years or testing the waters of direct response, you can benefit tremendously by attending. If you missed last year, don’t worry, you can still rock with us this year. The ERA Annual Convention (September 21-23, 2008 in Las Vegas) is the industry’s leading e-retailing event, featuring the largest industry tradeshow, master classes, new accreditation courses, renowned keynote speakers and festive networking activities. With 3,000-plus participants, here’s one ERA program you just can’t miss-be sure to sign up soon.

The eRetailer Summit (March 2008 in Miami) experienced an 11-percent growth in attendance and high marks from participants for the technology- and CSR-based education sessions, keynote presentations from both YouTube and, and a solutions-focused exposition.


We kicked off the year in sunny Santa Monica, Calif., with the Electronic Retailer LiveEdit Lab, January 30. A host of industry experts examined how to successfully integrate online and offline sales through a discussion of web analytics, search marketing, behavioral targeting, online video, e-mail marketing, social media marketing and mobile marketing. Participants were then able to wash down all the rich content with a refreshing cocktail during the ERA Member Networking Reception immediately following the full-day conference.

Next stop? The Windy City, for another successful opportunity to connect with colleagues at the ERA Member Networking Reception at the famed Chicago House of Blues, March 16.

April delivered another popular combination of education and networking, hosted by Electronic Retailer in New York City. An intense conversation on emerging technologies addressed the fate of paid programming, e-marketing trends, the evolution of the search marketing landscape, targeting customer acquisition efforts and customer service strategies and concluded with a valuable networking reception.

From the Big Apple to Capitol Hill: The May ERA Government Affairs Fly-In brought together 100 e-retailing professionals, partnered in small teams, for meetings with legislative representatives on Capitol Hill. As the industry’s only trade association advocate, ERA presented its position on three issues that could significantly affect your business: Net Neutrality (the principle of a free and open Internet), Behavioral Advertising (advance online advertising using tracking mechanisms) and the Streamlined Sales Tax (dramatic new tax legislation giving the country’s 7,500 tax jurisdictions the right to collect sales tax from online retailers).

The industry’s positions and concerns were made loud and clear, and the ERA brand and influence were reinforced through the halls of the House and Senate. With any movement on these three key issues, or any other relevant legislation, ERA remains steadfast in its role as the industry’s only voice on Capitol Hill. There is strength in numbers. It was evident that we made a difference with 100 voices. But we hope to include even more members of the industry during next year’s Fly-In and we encourage you to keep the communications open…tell us the issues that keep you up at night.

ERA’s Government Affairs Fly-In is an opportunity to see how the legislative process works up close. As industry leaders, it is incumbent upon us to have our unified voice heard. After all, we’re the constituents and voters of these legislators whose decisions can have a profound impact on the success or failure of our businesses. A terrific ancillary benefit of participating in the GA Fly-In is that you get to network and relationship build with some of the industry’s top movers and shakers in an event that has an intimate feel.-Rick Petry, interim President & CEO, ERA

As a seasoned direct response marketer, it is vital that my firm is kept abreast of all government and compliance issues that affect the products and services that are represented. The 2008 ERA Government Affairs Fly-In promised interaction, intellectual property and involvement with issues that are critical to the short- and long-term growth of my business-and delivered on every promise. Not only was the content presented by business experts engaging and productive, but the opportunity to be part of a cohesive body-representing such important issues such as Streamlined Sales Tax Allocation, Net Neutrality and Behavioral Advertising-was encouraging, and provided the “lift” that is needed to build brand and enhance the credibility of the direct response industry-and specifically the Electronic Retailing Association. The Government Affairs Fly-In is a yearly event that will be on my calendar for years to come!-Steve Edelstein, CEO, The Logical Step

It was back to New York in June for another fantastic networking reception hosted by the ERA Membership Committee. O’Currance, Litle & Co, Dream Team Direct, Media Funding Corporation and Manatt co-sponsored the event, which drew close to 100 participants.

Networking is always valuable and fun, yet providing up-to-the-minute education and tracking the future of our industry is also vital to your business’s growth. Our monthly webinar series provides you with solutions and innovative perspectives from key presenters, all in 30 minutes from the convenience of your own office space. Past webinars explored web analytics, mobile marketing, search engines, legal issues with blogging, online video, social networking and DRTV basics.

ERA’s web analytics webinar fulfilled my expectations. It was a concise, insightful overview of this most critical arena for e-commerce analysis that benefitted all who attended. I appreciate ERA’s leadership in providing such an important education benefit to its members!-Tim Hawthorne, CEO, Hawthorne Direct

I found the webinar very informative and was able to come up with new ideas to help expand and improve our Internet sales.-Jen Taburiaux, Systems Engineer, Savvier Inc.

One of the exclusive benefits of being an ERA member is access to Forrester Research reports. Every member receives two valued industry reports each month, outlining recent data on industry trends. Additionally, ERA members are encouraged to provide us with input to help drive the topics of future reports. The Forrester teleconference, another benefit of membership, brings together researchers and e-retailing leaders to discuss specific industry trends. Members also receive a free copy of ERA’s annual consumer spending study, which provides extensive research on consumer spending habits across the various media networks. Lastly, our Media Report Cards are available every month. Data is gathered from the five largest media buyers in the industry to track trends and successes of products available in the market. Together, all of these research resources help members make wise business decisions, further growing the success of their companies.

We realize the importance of talking amongst your peers in the industry to share ideas and discuss challenges. We offer you the opportunity to join one of ERA’s 15 councils and committees. This is a great opportunity to meet people in the industry, hold a leadership position in the industry’s only trade association and lead the charge in the direction of the Association’s scope.

ERA’s mentor program kicked off this year, including the special opportunity for all participants to meet face-to-face during a breakfast at the eRetailer Summit and at an invitation-only reception at the ERA Annual Convention. Mentors are able to showcase all of the ERA member benefits firsthand to the “mentees,” as well as personally introduce them to the key players in our industry.

Lastly, Electronic Retailer launched a brand-new blog this year. In just three months it began drawing more than 2,000 unique visitors and captured over 8,000 page views a week. The blog has explored every topic from sex, religion and the FTC to MySpace, Google, YouTube and Check out what all the buzz is about and then join the discussion…we dare you!

High-level education, popular tradeshows, festive networking, exclusive research, Capitol Hill representation, volunteering opportunities and much more make ERA an excellent choice for anyone in the direct response industry. And we’re just getting started…the coming year brings a new Certification and Accreditation Program, more top-level education and networking, new online services and more. We encourage our members to actively participate in everything ERA has to offer. There is something for everyone.

All of these events and programs contributed to the success of our member recruitment. We ended the year with a record number of new retailers (55) and 54 new suppliers for a total of 109 new members, in addition to retaining 89 percent of our current membership.

Katie White is ERA’s retailer relations manager. She can be reached at (703) 841-8284, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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