Flash, Fortitude, and Fun

The 2016 ERA D2C Convention offers more best-practice digital marketing content and networking opportunities than ever before.


Each year since the early 1990s, ERA has hosted its signature event, the D2C Convention, in Las Vegas, and each event has improved upon the last. The 2016 show, set for Sept. 13-15, will be bigger and better than ever, and provide direct response marketers selling in every channel with new ideas, new information, and best of all, new contacts in the convivial confines of the Wynn Las Vegas.

The 2016 ERA D2C Convention will feature fresh insights from digital-first marketers, thanks to ERA’s reciprocal arrangement with e-commerce’s premier trade show, the Internet Retailer Conference+Exhibition (IRCE). “ERA’s collaboration with IRCE will help us deliver a host of new ideas at D2C,” says Chris Reinmuth, ERA president and CEO. “Even more importantly, it will help our members make connections with the people and companies driving best practices in omnichannel strategy today.”

Social First

As always, the program is packed with education, exhibits, networking events, and festivities. Early arrivals can take part in the ERA’s First Annual D2C Golf Tournament on Monday, Sept. 12, from 7:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m. at the world- famous Painted Desert Golf Club, which showcases breathtaking desert scenery alongside its world-class links.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, ramps up the show with a day of education, committee meetings and networking. The popular Masters Series session, “Direct Response 101: Leveraging Offline & Online Marketing to Achieve Greater ROI,” starts things off with Caitlin Haire, Cannella Response Television, LLC; James Diorio, Dial800; and Fern Lee, THOR Associates, discussing basic DR concepts for newcomers and seasoned digital marketers who want to extend their reach and ROI through television.

Next, “Why Brands Are Putting Mobile in the Driver’s Seat,” features Bryon Colby, Cornerstone Brands; Ed Deutscher, HSN; and Robin Shapiro, STiKi, Inc., talking about ways to drive engagement, loyalty, and conversion on the ascendant mobile shopping channel. For HSN, mobile already represents more than half of sales, thanks to a strategy that optimizes content across multiple platforms.

Next, “10 Innovative Ways Brands Are Leveraging Affiliate Marketing” features Greg Shepard, Pepperjam; and Ki Song, Monkey Sports, Inc., offering performance marketing as a flexible, data-driven standard that exceeds affiliate marketing in its ability to drive and track omnichannel transactions, abandonment, and retargeting.

Next, Internet Marketing, Inc.’s Roman Bills presents “Cross-Channel Attribution: Avoiding the Risks to Reap the Rewards.” The best way to measure the impact and effectiveness of a digital campaign, he says, is to use a “blended” or “multitouch” attribution model—and then use it to hone a campaign.

Finally, “Success Stories: Who’s Moving the Needle in Today’s Omnichannel World” starts the afternoon sessions with Lindsay Hendricks, Positec USA; Roman Bills, IMI; and Scott Reid, Oak Lawn Marketing. Brands wanting to reach consumers on multiple screens need to bridge the gap between DRTV and digital channels; some of the most successful have done so by building awareness among a variety of target audiences.

The Meet & Greet Lounge will be open all day for meetings, and Tuesday culminates in the D2C Launch Party at 6:00 p.m. at the Wynn’s Surrender Nightclub—the first of many social events that help the networking and deal-making continue into the evening.

Taking the Floor

The show floor opens on Wednesday, Sept. 14, with more than 50 exhibitors representing marketers, creatives, product developers, importers, call centers, payment processors, fulfillment houses, and more. A dedicated fixture of the show floor, the Women in Business Pavilion, will also showcase the industry’s vibrant businesses owned by women.

Another staple of the show floor, the InventHelp/INPEX New Product Showcase will again offer an array of innovative items set for sale or wider distribution. Over the course of the show, inventors will get the chance to present their products on the show floor and pitch them onstage, and the finalists in the competition will benefit from a DRTV-style pitch session with seasoned spokespersons adding to the hype. The winner will be named Inventor of the Year, and likely make the contacts that will help them sell nationwide.

Sessions move to the show floor on Wednesday with “Game of Fives: How to Win on TV and Digital in 5 Minutes,” with Ava Seavey, Avalanche Creative Services; Katherine Kalevich, Mercury Media; Maria Kennedy, Discovery Communications; and Susan McKenna, McKenna’s Marketing. The panelists will discuss “mid-form” ads and video, which offer big payoffs by allowing marketers to tell a story that used to take a half-hour in just five minutes.

At noon, a catered keynote luncheon, “Connected Storytelling: Leveraging Digital and Data to Move Beyond Powering Ads,” stars Mikael Greenlief, director of strategy for Giant Spoon, an “everything” agency specializing in content, culture, strategy, media, and innovation. He will explore how marketers and brands can look beyond data to drive engagement, performance, and response by creating context, value, meaning, and affinity by connecting with consumers across platforms.

In the afternoon, “Why Your Digital Marketing Needs a DR Power Boost,” will feature Allison Givens, Williams Worldwide Television; Lori Zeller, THOR Associates; David Antley, Revana; Albert Piechotta, Prevention Pharmaceuticals; and Charlie Fusco, Synergixx, LLC; telling how DRTV can add reach to a digital campaign—and money to the bottom line. Finally, “How to Use Online Video to Master User Engagement,” offers strategies from Collette Liantonio, Concepts TV Productions; and Stephanie Siewert, Marketing Maven, on leveraging online video content to garner greater website traffic and engagement.

Attendees can start schmoozing over coffee at networking breakfasts and lunches on the show floor, or in the many networking zones throughout the show. And—after a riotous debut at D2C 2015—the second annual White Party sponsored by TeleBrands on Wednesday evening from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. on the poolside patio is not to be missed.

On to the Gala

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Tina Cabranes, ResultsCandy, Inc., presents “Customer Profiling + Competitive Intelligence for a Winning Strategy,” which tells marketers how to use data to leverage the right media and messaging at the right times to get products in front of potential customers at the moment they’re ready to buy.

After a networking lunch and more show floor action, the Moxie Mixer allows guests to mingle a final time on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. The annual Moxie Awards Gala and banquet follows, with more than 30 creative and career achievement awards, celebrity guests, and a banquet dinner. New this year is an award recognizing superior performance in a social media campaign.

Sessions and events are still being added as ER goes to press, so be sure to check the ERA blog, signage at the show, and with your colleagues on the show floor for more details when you get to the show. The D2C Convention never fails to thrill, and this year is no exception. See you in Las Vegas!