QABy Thomas Haire ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Frankel Capitalizes on Experience, Industry Expertise
Doug Frankel was already nearly two decades deep in the media and broadcast industry when he founded Santa Monica, Calif.-based Broadcast Communications
Media in 2002. The company originally launched with a focus on TV and radio media
buying for the direct response business, but has expanded its scope in recent years
to offer a more complete creative marketing partnership to its clients. Recently,
Response caught up with Frankel, president and CEO, to discuss the growth of
Broadcast Communications Media — and its future.
Q: How did your professional background lead to you starting Broadcast
A: I’ve been in the broadcast business
my whole life. In 1989, I became head of
stations and vice president of the first 24-
hour financial radio network in the world.
The premise of the network was to sell
leads to financial companies — during
programming, listeners were prompted “If
you’re interested in finding out about this
financial product, call the number and
we’ll give you a free tape.” On the inbound
call, they’d be told someone may be contacting you with more information. These
leads went to Merrill Lynch and other major
financial companies who were our advertising partners. This was my entry into
understanding DR. After that, I became a
partner at United Broadcast Sales, where
my true exposure to DR came along.
Q: How did Broadcast Communications
Media start and grow?
A: We started in 2002 with three people
in an office in Santa Monica. It was a real
commitment to this business and this life.
We picked up some great accounts, but for
the most part, we stayed a quiet, behind-the-scenes group. You have to promote
yourself, though, and let others in the business know you exist. It also adds credibility
to what you do. As we did that, and picked
up steam, we brought in John Michaels
from APEX Media to run business development four-and-a-half years ago. A lot of
the success in this business comes from
relationships, not just spending money.
Q: What does Broadcast
Communications Media do for direct
response marketers that sets it apart
from other companies in this space?
A: We started the office as a media buyer.
But over the past four or five years, we’ve
constantly been asked questions by our clients about all aspects of the DR industry:
inbound telemarketing, scripting offers,
structuring continuity, merchant banking solutions, who to use for production,
who to use for fulfillment. We have paid
attention to all of the key vendors in the
DR industry and can pass on the fruits of
our relationships with them to our clients.
In addition, we have developed our own
media performance software, DR Ware,
that has been excellent in providing daily
media performance reports for our clients.
Our value-added expertise allows us to
compete with anyone in the industry.
Q: Can you share with us a short list of
some key clients?
A: Evercleanse has been a huge client.
Others clients include Smoke Assist, Zencor
Plus, 1-2-3 Health and Hoodia Diet. That’s
just a small cross-section of our clients.
Q: Tell us about a successful campaign
for a specific client?
A: Often the case study is finding a solu-
tion or answer for a client. Evercleanse is
a classic example. It’s a crowded category,
especially with Dual Action Cleanse. Of
course, there’s still a way to get in, but you
have to think outside the box a bit. How
can we come up with an angle that’s dif-
ferent? What’s the lowest barrier of entry?
There were two things that directed us.
One, Dual Action Cleanse isn’t doing radio.
Two, our client can’t afford a big infomer-
cial. With Evercleanse, the lowest barrier
is radio. Production was inexpensive, and
we tested with a number of different offers
and different creatives. We monitored low-
dollar tests and looked at the results. We
spent $5,000 on the initial test and turned
it into $18 million in total radio billings in
less than 18 months — spend was at $1.2
million per month at its height.
Q: What are two of the hottest topics
facing marketers in the DR space?
A: One of the hottest issues is how merchant processing affects clients today.
Visa and MasterCard have really tightened
up the kind of offers a client can make and
what kind of advertising merchant banks
will accept. Understanding merchant
processing and how it affects the growth of
a client is critical to the client’s future success. Another issue is flexibility in testing
different areas in media for a client.
Q: What are your plans for the future
with the company?
A: We are a one-stop shop solution for DR
clients. We’ve made good choices with our
vendor relationships and have a good track
record and history for our clients. We want
to continue to provide our clients with the
best possible solutions for their product
or service, and be flexible with our media
selections and choices for them.