Now that I have a few years of chart-making under my belt, I am thinking about changing the True Top 50. Before I do, I'd like to know what you think about my proposed changes. Please review the suggested changes below, and then cast your vote. All responses are anonymous. Majority opinion rules.
Change #1: Exclude any campaign that doesn't average at least $50,000 per week in spending. This bar shouldn't be very hard to hit for "true" rollout campaigns. Independent spending estimates aren't based on real DR rates (because such rates vary wildly based on supply and demand), so they are always overly generous. The point of this change: To weed out "pump and dump" campaigns and also small-scale campaigns that don't deserve to be among real hits.
Otherwise, I would continue to eliminate all campaigns that aren't "true" short-form DRTV: brand-support campaigns, corporate campaigns, short-form versions of long-form shows, etc. In other words, if it isn't the sort of campaign I would review on this blog, it gets screened out.
Change #2: Remove the limit of 50, and change the name of the chart to "True Top Spenders." Since the above parameters will produce a list shorter or longer than 50 campaigns, I would have to remove that artificial goal/limit. The point of this change: I would like to provide a more accurate assessment of the top marketer and top producer, since that title is based on the number of campaigns on the chart. I would also like more marketers and producers to get recognition for their successes.
As for the word "spenders" in the name, isn't that the most accurate way to put it? After all, what's a "hit" these days? A profitable CPO? Break-even on TV? An acceptable TV loss that is made up for at retail? Every marketer has a different opinion, and the threshhold varies by product and campaign. Without verifiable inside information on every campaign, the only thing I can effectively monitor and report is spending.
Change #3: Publish the list twice per year, instead of seasonally, and make it a to-date ranking. The new plan: After mid-year, I would publish a ranking for the first half of the year and name a mid-year True Top Marketer and True Top Producer. After the end of the year, I would publish a revised ranking for the full year and name my official, annual True Top Marketer and True Top Producer. The point of this change: I think the seasonal ranking is too frequent to be meaningful, and the overall record for the year is what should be considered.
Change #4: Introduce "peer review." What I would like to do going forward is publish the chart in rough or "review" form and give people a chance to email me about ommissions and errors -- and to fill in any blanks (who produced what, etc.). Then, say a week later, publish the final, "peer reviewed" chart. The point of this change: Not having to issue corrections is the obvious benefit, but I want to go one step further and start showing the marketer and producer for every campaign on the chart. That way, the whole industry will know who's hot and who's not, and the under-appreciated will have a chance to shine.
So what do you think? Please cast your vote and let me know. I will publish the overall result (percent for, percent against) in a week or so.