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Engagement that entertains

Ryan Joe, senior editor, Direct Marketing News

On days when I’m feeling a little crazy, I log on to YouTube specifically to watch ads. Current favorites: Nike‘s “Leave Nothing” spots, as well as its three minute video for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. I also find myself riveted by video game teasers. I still remember the TV spot for Gears of War 3—a game that I eventually purchased—that featured a haunting cover of the song “Mad World.” This comes as no surprise: Successful marketing requires customer engagement. And the fastest path to that engagement—assuming the ad copy doesn’t include the words free or complimentary—is entertainment.

Obviously, no brand wants to produce a boring ad, but the importance of entertainment seems especially acute in today’s media landscape, where consumers are buffeted by countless distractions and dazzlements. Consider direct response television (DRTV): these spots need a hook to push customers from one channel (television) to another (voice or online). In the cover feature, writer Alex Palmer describes how analytics firm Turn Inc. designed DRTV spots to push customers to a webpage for Turn’s cross-channel analytics platform. Motivating customers to take action is no easy feat—especially for a B2B company; cross-channel analytics is useful and important, but it’s certainly not “entertaining,” however loosely we define the word. But by wrapping a cliffhanger narrative around its DRTV spot, Turn successfully drove prospects to its site, where they were prompted to enter an email address to receive further information about the platform product.

In fact, staff reporter Erin Dostal writes about the millennial audience—a group with vastly increasing spending power—who absolutely demand entertainment for their attention. Toyota, for instance, topped off its multichannel, millennial-targeted campaign for the Prius with a concert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: ground zero for New York hipsters.

But of course, entertainment need not be that bombastic. As writer Dianna Dilworth reports, the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., wanted to promote its event spaces in a creative way. So, instead of communicating the availability of the spaces through images or text, the boutique hotel engaged customers with video embedded into its email marketing.

Speaking of embedding, our new editor-in–chief, Ginger Conlon, is now firmly situated in her role. She’ll be taking over the engaging and entertaining duties from here on out. With that in mind, she’ll have the last word on this note—but her first for the magazine:

What’s next

Ginger Conlon, editor-in-chief, Direct Marketing News

Those who know me well think I’m a bit obsessed with all things “customer.” I am. And that’s a good thing.

I actually love it when I get that remarketing email, or cross-sell pitch when I contact customer service, or get served a (behaviorally) targeted ad online. When these things are done well, there’s nothing quite like it.

If we haven’t met yet: Hello, I’m Ginger Conlon, editor-in-chief of Direct Marketing News and obsessor of, well, you. You are my customer, after all.

My goal is to work with the stellar team here at Direct Marketing News to continue to bring you the content you value most in all its forms, plus more of everything you need to gain a competitive advantage, wow your customers, and be a marketing super-hero—profitably.

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