Bill McAlister is president of Trevose, Pa.-based Top Dog Direct, a direct response television marketing company designed to bring successful products to TV and retail.
The company’s list of successes during the past 10-plus years includes Mighty Putty, Smart Mop and recent market leaders Tag Away and Night View NV. Recently, we caught up with McAlister in advance of Response Expo (April 29-May 1), where Top Dog plans to have a powerful presence.
Q: What are the three most important things a marketer like Top Dog Direct looks for from industry trade groups and events?
A: The only thing we look for from trade groups and events are new products. That is all that matters to us. Our industry doesn’t move forward unless we have new items.
Q: Who is most important for your company to meet with when you attend an industry trade show and why?
A: Inventors! They are the lifeblood of our industry. We are always looking for new, interesting, problem-solving items. It is also important for us to meet with the individuals that handle media buying at channels such as Discovery, CNN, CNBC, etc. If media costs continue to rise, it will kill our business. We need to figure this out.
Q: What are the two most important topics facing the DR industry today and how can the industry band together to address them?
A: Number one: the cost of media. Media costs are through the roof, and we won’t be able to continue with TV if these costs continue to increase. Based on the amount of channels and 7 million fewer people watching TV this year, this is a major concern for us. Second: knockoffs are a major problem in our industry, and nobody wants to talk about 800-lb. gorilla in the room.
Q: What are Top Dog’s two biggest successes in the past year?
A: Tag Away and Nightview NV. Tag Away skin tag remover is a monster success and continues to do great. With Nightview NV, we found a category within the sunglass category that is huge.
Q: What do you consider the most successful campaign you’ve worked on in your career and why?
A: Tag Away was our most successful. It helped solve a sensitive problem that so many people have.
Q: Where would you like to see the direct response business five years from now?
A: I would like to see TV stations get some type of religion and get real with their pricing so we can continue to use TV to drive retail.
This content is taken from a report on Response Magazine’s website. (http://www.responsemagazine.com/direct-response-marketing/field-reports-april-2014-7031)