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Making the Best of a Bad Hand

Members of the global direct response community share how their businesses overcame the strain of yet another international crisis — the COVID-19 pandemic — to grow stronger.

By Thomas Haire

This is the cover story of Results Magazine's March 2020 issue. Click here to read this feature via our digital publication website or simply scroll down to continue reading here.

Though 2020 was an incredibly difficult year, one group of leaders in the performance marketing world seemed able to overcome the year’s ups and downs and — in some cases — post record-level success: "As Seen on TV" product marketers using traditional direct response methodologies across various media.

It’s no secret that direct response marketers have — in the past — turned difficult eras into boom times, using their ability to quickly bring products to market that meet the demands of the times and their agility in media planning to capitalize on an otherwise-shaken media marketplace.

Last year was no different as — according to PDMI research partner DRMetrix — "As Seen on TV" marketers’ media spend exploded in the United States, reaching heights not seen in more than five years. According to DRMetrix’s figures, during the initial stay-at-home orders last spring, "As Seen on TV" advertisers increased their TV media expenditures by 376 percent over the prior year period. In the initial post-quarantine period last summer, those massive increases continued, as the same marketers’ expenditures continued to be up 200 percent. (For more information from this report, click here).

As we considered this success, we began to wonder: what can the leaders in this space tell us — not just in the U.S., but also globally — about how their businesses fared during 2020, and why? So, we reached out to a select group of global direct response leaders with a series of questions. Four companies responded with intriguing feedback. The respondents include:

  • Tracy Coleman, head of international, High Street TV (United Kingdom)

  • Ken Daly, CEO, JML (United Kingdom)

  • Amit Khubani, vice president of international sales, Ontel Products (United States)

  • Andres Sunnah, partner, A3D Chile S.A. (Chile)

Read on to hear from them about their fears, successes, opportunities, challenges, and more during the past year.