Sometimes I get good ideas from looking in other business niches and seeing how they might apply to direct marketing and internet marketing.

But every once in a while I also see horrendous ideas that make me ecstatic that I’m not in another industry. Here’s one shocking example…

The March 30 issue of TelevisionWeek trade magazine featured an article on how, despite the recession, the upcoming Major League Baseball programming season is expected to do well from an advertising standpoint. OK, fair enough.

But I almost fell off my chair reading a couple of lines in the piece…

Nearly Insane Comment #1:  “[Baseball is] DVR-proof, live, exciting, and localized.”

I can see why the quoted TBS executive would like his trade readers to believe TBS’s product (ad space during baseball games) are “Digital Video Recorder proof”. But his comment goes against my experience. As a baseball fan with a DVR, here’s how I watch a game…

1) Set DVR to start recording game at actual start time (say 7:30). 2) Do something useful (work out, cook dinner, write) from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. 3) Sit down and watch game starting at 8:30PM, fast forwarding through all commercials and thus watching a 2.5 hour game in about 1.5 hours.

Direct Marketing Principle Violated #1: Knowing the behavior of your prospects. But it’s understandable that 99% of TV advertisers don’t know this, because of…

Nearly Insane Comment #2: The new “MLB Network Channel” is already being piped into over 50 million homes, but “Nielsen won’t be ready to provide ratings for the channel until after the fourth quarter – after the 2009 season ends,” said the article.

Direct Marketing Principle Violated #2: Measure immediately; cut your losers, run with your winners.

Can you – as a smart Early to Rise reader – even imagine spending probably billions of dollars launching a new business, and not being able to determine your actual “size of your list” for nearly a year? This would be funny if it were not so sad.

One easy way to get good business ideas from other business niches is to think about how you can “migrate” techniques that are working in that niche into your niche – where perhaps no one’s using them yet.

But this example shows equally that keeping on eye on other niches can show exactly what you should NOT be doing!

[Ed. Note: Charlie Byrne is Associate Publisher of Early to Rise. Get up-to-the-minute ideas by following him on Twitter at]

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Charlie Byrne

Charlie Byrne is a former Senior Copywriter and Editorial Director for Early to Rise. Charlie spent the earlier part of his business career as a systems analyst, project manager and consultant in New York City for Fortune 100 companies including Philip Morris, Digital Equipment, and Citicorp as well as New York University and Columbia University. He then spent over ten years at Reuters Ltd and Interealty Corp designing and implementing financial, real estate and news information services. In 2003, he joined Early to Rise as a senior editor and copywriter. Since then he has helped publish over 1000 editions of ETR, resulting in gross revenues of well over $25 million. He has also produced dozens of winning sales letters and promotions, including two that brought in over $200,000 in under 24 hours, another two that have grossed over $1 million each, and a single sales letter that sold 25 units of a $10,000 product.