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Oct 17, 2008
Interview

Go Direct to More C-Level Execs by Pitching Electronic Retailer: 5 Steps

SUMMARY: Electronic Retailer, well-known in the infomercial and direct response TV world, is being read by more and more multichannel marketers and online retailers. Executive Editor Tom Dellner handles all ideas relevant to digital marketing strategies. Find out what works when pitching to the magazine.
Contact Information

Tom Dellner
Executive Editor
Electronic Retailer
1001 Avenida Pico, Suite #C 606
San Clemente, CA 92673
949-240-1429
tdellner(at)retailing(dot)org
http://www.electronicretailermag.com/info/homePage.html


Background

Dellner has been Executive Editor at Electronic Retailer for about two years, but he’s been in consumer publishing for 15 years – mostly in the golfing industry. He has worked at Links Magazine, Golf Tips Magazine and Golf Illustrated. He’s also done marketing communications work for companies, such as Marriott, Cobra Golf, and Ardent Mortgage.

Circulation/Readership

Electronic Retailer reaches 21,000 readers per month – mostly C-level marketing executives at Fortune 500 companies and top decision makers at big-box retailers and television and cable TV networks. Readers are not limited to Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) members, who make up a small percentage of readership, says Dellner. That’s a misconception. Another mistaken notion is that ERA members are all “hard-core DRTV people and infomercial companies,” he says. “Our membership base is changing.” More and more multichannel marketers and online retailers are readers.

Editorial Coverage

Electronic Retailer covers news, trends, how-to information and research on direct- response and electronic direct-response marketing. Coverage goes beyond DRTV and infomercial strategies, says Dellner. It encompasses multichannel marketing as well.

The magazine includes:
-cover feature
-case-study feature
-trends feature
-exclusive research
-channel-crossing columns about legal, financial, government affairs, support services, radio, DRTV, new media, retail, and production
-global-outlook section for direct marketers looking to take products worldwide, specifically the Asian/Pan-Pacific regions, Canada, Europe, and Latin America

Electronic Retailer also publishes a quarterly sister publication, Online Strategies. Its editorial focus is digital and mobile marketing. Dellner says the magazine “is targeted to retailers that are slightly more sophisticated in their digital-marketing efforts.”

How to Pitch: 5 Steps

Dellner really looks at the context of a pitch. He believes his advice can be useful for all forms of media. Here’s what he has to say:

->Step #1. Read the magazine – or blog, newspaper, other medium– you pitch to

Electronic Retailer and Online Strategies make this step very simple. Go to the website and click on the digital image of the cover of the magazine or the website. They allow you to flip through pages as if the magazine were physically in front of you.

Reading the magazine is the first step because it gives a rough idea of what editors look for, Dellner says.

->Step #2. Choose the relevant editor (or writer, author) for your pitch

Dellner handles all digital-marketing coverage in Electronic Retailer and Online Strategies. If your pitch is about online applications or the solution is primarily for an online retailer, send it to him. If a pitch is about integrating channels or involves radio, DRTV, fulfillment or traditional platforms, send it to Vitisia Paynich, Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Retailer.

->Step #3. Frame your pitch in a way that shows its value

Pitches fall short when they only highlight what a particular company or new technology is capable of, says Dellner. If pitches were framed like “Hey, we’ve got this terrific executive who’s developed this tool and it can be used to do this,” that changes the tone from being brand-centric to more educational. It shows that the executive is a thought leader with useful tips and advice for like-minded readers.

Also, take one giant step back and focus on the entire playing field when pitching.

Take a new behavioral-targeting technology, for example. Instead of saying, “Here’s our branded technology and it’s really cool because of a, b, and c,” set the stage by putting it in context. Try saying, “it can cost a lot of money to generate traffic to websites and marketers need better traffic conversion. There are a variety of different behavioral targeting technologies out there.” Next, provide an outline of the entire field and all the players. Mention your niche and how it addresses the problem of generating and converting Web traffic.

Answer these questions:
-What problems does your company or product solve?
-What other solutions are out there?
-What should the retailer or target audience be considering when looking for a solution?

Can you provide entertainment value? The pitch could turn into a cover feature.

“We love personality features,” says Dellner. The more compelling, innovative, or controversial the personality or thought leader, the better.

->Step #4. Narrow the subject matter when pitching column ideas

Columns are generally written by CEOs at testing and optimization firms, technical executives, media planners, media buyers, and CEOs at production companies. Generally, they offer some sort of specific advice.

Dellner is most interested in service providers that are experts in solutions for a retail readership. He needs to know who the expert is and what advice they can offer. It’s not necessary to make the pitch broad in scope.

->Step #5. Give good access to clients when pitching case studies

When pitching a case study, try getting a client with a recognizable name. If not, get a client with a compelling story, solution, or results. The key with case studies is having access to the client as well as the service provider, Dellner says.

“When the retailer reads something in part from another retailer’s perspective, they really connect and relate to the pain points,” he says. “The more access to the client the better.” For the perfect case study, he needs good access to both. Sometimes the service provider can answer questions the client can’t and vice versa.


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