Let’s Get Analytical


In the run-up to November’s presidential election, the analysis and amazing accuracy of Nate Silver’s FiveThirty­Eight political calculus blog in the New York Times generated a lot of buzz. Although his projections met with backlash from various detractors and pundits, in the end, it proved remarkably accurate. The cool thing about this heightened awareness? The direct response industry has always been about data. Collecting it. Analyzing it. Perfecting it.


Let’s be honest: We’ve always been math geeks, and we have been math geeks since way before it was cool. So how can we take that knowledge and bring more advertisers into the DR tent? How can we maximize and leverage this pivotal moment? How can we take the zeitgeist of data mining and analytics to our competitive advantage?


First, let’s start evangelizing to anyone and everyone who will listen. We have access to a wealth of data, we convert it into information every day, and we take that knowledge and use our mathematical intelligence to drive sales.


No matter what some may say, the direct response industry has always been a brand-builder for marketers, but we build brands with numbers, analytics, and metrics. We take the power of prediction and study marketplace trends to find the best ways to drive leads, purchases, subscriptions, and more.

DR allows global brands to hyper-indentify their consumers and audiences.


Let’s turn a new page this year, and start meeting with big consumer brands to get them to work with us in a more comprehensive way. Global brands such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, and American Express have jumped into our waters. Over the years, they have made sure that their media mix includes direct response.


Why? Because DR allows global brands to hyper-indentify their consumers and audiences. DR determines what dayparts, networks, demographic breaks, age groups, and specific programs work for each particular brand.


For big, global consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, it’s a full-circle way to leverage data intelligence and speak to the correct audience, in the right ways, at the right times, to grow their brands. For the good CPG players, testing and analytics let them invest in the general market with the smartest, most efficient media buys.


That’s exactly what the Obama re-election campaign did. It mined its data to drive the right messages to über-targeted groups of voters. This is classic direct response strategy, and it won the presidential election.


So now, let’s get these CPG brand leaders to communicate why they believe in DR. Let them tell us and others how important analytics and real numbers are to building their businesses and brands.


Direct response provides true answers about what media platforms are working, so let’s start championing that message in traditional TV forums. Let’s talk about that fact with our online partners. Let’s showcase how that can work in radio, mobile, or any other medium we play in. And let’s work collaboratively as an industry to hammer that message home with every client, in every forum we have.


We tend to speak only to each other in the DR world. But imagine for a moment if we joined together as an industry, with each of us responsible for bringing a new brand into the tent every year. Imagine how big our industry could get. Imagine if we became unified enough as a group to bring DR’s data-mining story to the top 25 general-market advertisers.


Remember, we were analytics before analytics were big—before Google and  before Nate Silver. So let’s share how cool we are as direct response marketers, media buyers, and more. Let’s unify and grow our businesses and industry together, by telling the story of how we convert data into information, and information into real-time market intelligence—and apply a layer of really cool analytics for good measure.


Brendan Condon, the CEO of REVShare and Media Properties Holdings, is an ERA board member and industry-leading executive who has specialized in all aspects of media including video, Web display, mobile, and ad-serving across portals, third-party ad networks, and emerging technologies.  Prior to REVShare, he spent 25 years at Time Warner in a variety of executive roles- in digital at AOL, in print with Time Inc, and in cross-platform media for Time Warner Cable.  He can be reached at [email protected]