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Category : Brand Response

Brand Is #1 Again

Brand is CEO's and CMO's top priority again. 

According to Gartner, top management agrees that brand strategy is the single “Most Vital Marketing Capability.”
Let’s do an Inspiring Brand Idea Workshop and accelerate your brand-driven growth.
We’re a brand planning agency built for a performance-hungry world.
We’ve helped hundreds of clients discover the inspiring idea that organizes and drives growth.
The brand idea is the #1 performance driver.
While the trend of performance marketing is toward AI automation, brand becomes the sole strategic advantage.
I’d be honored to talk with you about your brand.
It’s amazing what one workshop can do.
You know where to find me.

The A-List Podcast with Mark DiMassimo

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO, Tom Christmann is joined by none other than, our chief and the founder of DiMassimo Goldstein, the most Inspiring Action agency in the world, Mark DiMassimo!

Okay, we can’t lie, we’re obviously excited about this episode. As chief, Mark has overseen the production a lot of great work in the advertising space over the past 23 years. However, Mark was not always the leader of an ad agency…

After a career as a young entrepreneur and musician, Mark DiMassimo began his second career at twenty-five years old in the direct marketing division of BBDO. There, Mark apprenticed to the Direct Marketing author, Ed Nash, and soaked in the atmosphere at a time when direct marketers were entrepreneurial, and brands where built through direct marketing.

As an account executive and without asking permission, Mark started writing ads for a client that had frustrated the creative department into mass creative block. Instead of being fired, he was invited into the creative department with the proviso, “But you won’t be able to tell us what to do anymore.” With time, he emerged as a pre-eminent creative with his career took off due to his track record of success.

Mark worked on choice assignments and launched major brands with the philosophy of exploiting the blind spots of fellow direct marketers by using brand insights to create integrated brand response advertising campaigns that dramatically out-performed more tactical work.

Mark led integrated creative departments and produced notable work at some of the best creative agencies in the world before founding his own in 1996. He founded DiMassimo Goldstein in the spirit of leading the charge for “a brand revolution among direct marketers and a direct revolution among brand marketers” as well as laying the groundwork for our practice of #InspiringAction.

On this episode, we follow Mark through his career and delve into his gritty origin story from start to finish.

You’re not going to want to miss this one. Listen here!

Show Notes:

[0:00-3:00] Intro.

[3:01-7:25] Mark talks about growing up in NJ and his early upbringing.

[7:26-9:29] Mark’s imagination and first forays into creativity as a profession.

[9:29-13:46] Mark’s super-dark childhood short story and learning how to express himself.

[13:47-16:11] Wayne Dyer’s ‘Erroneous Zones’ as a marketing inspiration.

[16:13 -20:23] SUNY Fredonia, majoring in music, and discovering the library.

[21:17-24:45] Transferring to Cornell and Industrial and Labor Relations.

[24:54-27:44] How he made the switch to communications and ultimately deciding on Advertising as a career path.

[25:00-32:30] BBDO Direct and Mark’s first job working on brand accounts in advertising.

[32:31-40:20] Mark discusses his first creative experiences as a copywriter and being challenged for the first time.

[40:42-49:00] Being laid off, freelancing, and getting copywriter positions.

[49:15-55:59] Mark on his rise through the ranks and deciding to start his very own agency.

[56:00-57:37] Outro.


 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

Pokémon GO and the Future of Mobile Social-Driven Brand Response

By Mark DiMassimo

You are immersed in a game on your mobile device, searching for Pokémon characters as you walk down a street. Suddenly, you see that there is a “Pokémon gym” up ahead, just outside a corner bodega. You collect a few Pokémon and go inside to reward yourself with a cool drink. You end up picking up a bag of chips as well. You have no idea you’ve just been advertised to. And perhaps you weren’t. You were lured!

Pokémon Go debuted on July 6th, stirring up the nostalgia experienced by many millennials who spent hours with their faces glued to Gameboys in the early 2000s. Gotta Catch em All, as the saying goes.


Niantic, the developer behind the virtual reality game, was once a start-up created within Google in 2010. Not unexpectedly, Pokémon Go is not its first foray into the virtual reality field; a game called Ingress and an app named Field Trip came first, employing the same type of augmented reality model.

With the exploding popularity of Pokémon Go, it’s not surprising that Niantic CEO John Hanke told The Financial Times, “Niantic intends to allow retailers and other companies to sponsor locations on Pokémon Go’s virtual maps.” As a result, the potential for direct response marketing, in-game advertising, and “advergaming” with Pokémon Go is immense — especially considering that today we are primarily choosing to interact with brands and people through our mobile devices!

Location-based pit stops, special zones, and hot spots where individuals can come to connect for exclusive content are areas worth investigating. For example, a brand could “sponsor” an already established gathering zone in the game: a Pokémon gym. Imagine a Coca-Cola-branded Gym or Jamba Juice-branded gym with products and services from each company available nearby or at a discount for “Pokémon trainers” – who don’t even need to be aware that they’ve been advertised to.

On the grassroots level, Pokémon Go is being used in ingenious ways by small businesses and companies to attract customers. Let’s take the example that opened this piece. L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City, Queens, saw a 75% spike in revenue when a manager spent $10 to buy lures and virtually placed them outside the restaurant. (Lures are in-game purchases that attract Pokémon to a particular location. The Pokémon then attract people who want to capture them – millennials who have been chasing around pocket monsters the entire day are often interested in pizza and beer so they can revive and recuperate). Similarly, savvy bars and pubs across the country are offering discounts to Pokémon Go players, in some cases actually choosing factions within the game to support and providing even more exclusive deals.

However, in terms of marketing and advertising, the larger area for exploration might be one that Niantic has already experimented with in its previous game, Ingress. AXA, a French insurance brand, partnered with an Ingress in-game company (Visur Technology) to create a branded “shield” that was the most powerful in the game. In exemplifying one of DiMassimo Goldstein’s 10 Promises, the company escaped the false choice between selling and brand building. The Inspiring Idea was to “protect people both in the real world, and the augmented one.” What compounded the success of this venture was that the AXA shield was initially only available at AXA portals, meaning players would have to travel to AXA business locations to access the shield. As a result of the initiative, in a five-month period:

• Over four million Ingress players were exposed to the AXA brand promise
• Over 600,000 Ingress players visited AXA agencies in real life
• AXA agencies generated over three million in-game actions in Ingress
• Over five million AXA Shields were deployed in Ingress
• AXA representatives interacted with over 55,000 Ingress players during “anomalies” (an Ingress game term)

AXA built its brand name by showing that the service it offered “protected” people in the virtual reality world through its ultimate shield, in real life through its insurance policies, AND by selling!

Surely, such potential applications for Pokémon Go are already being crafted behind closed doors, in creative and strategy departments all across the country. Perhaps the solution to capitalizing on this new virtual reality medium lies in the hybridization of in-game advertising and advergaming and applying it to virtual reality games – the same way AXA was able to integrate its shield into actual gameplay.

Imagine: A Pokémon center that heals your Pokémon, sponsored by a hospital or pharmaceutical company; maybe all the Duane Reades in NYC could be Pokémon centers where trainers could go to recharge their Pokémon and recharge themselves with snacks and beverages.

New York Sports Clubs creating an in-game “potion” or “rare candy” that makes your Pokémon level up faster – one you can access only after you’ve spent the allocated amount of time “working out” at one of its facilities.

A Pokéball equivalent of a Masterball only available from a company whose brand promise is certainty (to the uninitiated Poké trainers, Masterballs have a one in 65,536 chance of failing – so, an almost 100% guaranteed catch rate).

One thing is certain: mobile and social-driven brand response is the marketing of today. The media conversation, which used to begin with television and then with Google, now begins with Facebook. Social leads. With most of us opting to do most of our interacting from our mobile devices, Facebook, Pokémon GO, and other media that put social-mobile first will become leading advertising media. Those of us who seek efficiency and effectiveness in driving brand value up while driving cost-per-acquisition down need to be where the action is.

The possibilities are as great as the creative team that rubs up against them.

For more on how to drive up brand value while you drive down cost-per-acquisition, read about The Ten Signs of An Inspiring Action Company. Inspiring action companies like Dollar Shave Club, Air BNB and Warby Parker consistently outperform their categories in building brand value and revenue.

Interested to know what Inspiring Action Marketers are obsessed with today? Find out here.


This research says there’s a trade-off between short-term and long-term results. It’s terrific research. It’s also wrong.

By Mark DiMassimo

Here’s the difference between research and brand response marketing:

Research is descriptive. It works from observation of what has occurred.

Brand response marketing is creative, inventive and synergistic. Brand response marketing creates new realities.

This excellent survey looks at many hundreds of marketing campaigns run over several decades and observes that those that performed best in the short run tended to perform worst in the long run. And vice versa. While those in the middle tended to perform best on both sales and brand measures in the long run.

If you’re quite sure you’re going to still have your job in the long run, no matter what you do, then I suppose you can settle for that. You can play the averages.

But, what if you’re like most mortals? What if you actually have to have excellent short-term results in order to earn the privilege of earning excellent long-term results? What if you need to sell and build a brand?

Then, you need more than a paradox, which essentially tells you what you already know — your job is difficult and you’re going to need to achieve a result that is both uncommon and far from the center of the Bell Curve.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 10.50.50 AM

Here’s good news for you: Most of the cases considered in the survey were created by normal marketers. Many of them inadvertently sold out their brands to achieve an acceptable acquisition cost. Some of them knew it and didn’t even care.

Others built brands without a care in the world about the efficiency of their acquisition marketing. Some of these cared more about their reputation for doing famous campaigns than they did about generating results. But many more were probably guilty of nothing more than misplaced faith in the myth that building a brand can solve all problems. It can’t.

And the results of all of those marketers’ campaigns are the data behind this study. In fact, the marketers you will compete with today will be much like these.

But you don’t have to be!

Brand response is not about reducing short term response in order to build long-term brand!

Is that the way Dollar Shave Club got to a billion-dollar valuation in just a few years? Is that they way companies like American Express, at their best, build a new product? Of course not.

Because it’s possible to discover an idea that will organize and change everything An idea based on an insight. And when you know how to apply that idea to brand response creative, you’re likely to measure an extremely favorable change in your acquisition data.

The right idea is inherently brand building, even as it sells harder — and here’s the thing: If it sells harder, it runs more and more people see it. If it builds the brand, and more people see it, then it builds the brand more effectively.

The fact that this synergy is rare — about as rare as successful product introductions — doesn’t mean it is unachievable. In fact, such brand response success can be reliably and predictably achieved. All that it requires is that you have the right people on the team and that they are doing the right things.

You can have better results in the short run that naturally lead to better results in the long run.

Don’t accept any less!

For more on how to drive up brand value while you drive down cost-per-acquisition, read about The Ten Signs of An Inspiring Action Company. Inspiring action companies like Dollar Shave Club, Air BNB and Warby Parker consistently outperform their categories in building brand value and revenue.

Interested to know what Inspiring Action Marketers are obsessed with today? Find out here.


Don’t Be Most CMOs

Written by James Nieman, Integrated Marketing Manager

The lifespan of a CMO can be short. Some barely last six months. Most don’t make it to see year three.

You don’t have to be most. And you won’t be.

Not if you have the right solutions. Not if you’re surrounded by the right people. Not if you hire the right agency.

And the right agency – the agency that employed CMOs have built fortunes with – is a brand response agency.

That’s because these CMOs – the type of clients that we work for – know that you don’t have to choose between brand building and brand selling. In fact, the idea that the two are mutually exclusive activities is a total myth.

That doesn’t stop most CMOs from believing it. That’s fine. You’re not going to be “most” CMOs… you’re going to be great.

Instead, the marketing campaigns that reap the most profit contain a combination of the two. All activity builds the brand. All activity drives response. We know this because it’s what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years. We know this because we’re the world’s leading brand response agency.

That synergy is hard to achieve. But, when the right people are working to achieve it, it works wonders.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 4.42.30 PM

When Warby Parker set out to sell eyeglasses directly to the consumer, they knew they needed to be inventive. The home try-on program immediately increased sales, but it also created a unique buying experience that made them distinct. It was iconic. It drove brand value up while lowering the cost of acquisition.

You don’t work for Warby Parker – we know that. But you could work for the next Warby Parker. The next Dollar Shave Club. The next Casper.

So what can a brand response agency do for you?

A brand response agency gets you the short-term results you need:
– Increased sales
– Increased leads
– Lower cost of acquisition

So that you can impress your shareholders and bosses. You’ve already surpassed the CMO you were brought into replace.

But a brand response agency also works to:
– Increase brand value
– Reach and acquire totally new sectors of customers
– Develop brand devotees
– Achieve price elasticity for your products

A brand response agency helps you build a brand that you know will prosper in the future.

A brand response agency gets you to year four.

A brand response agency separates you from “most CMOs.”