Joel Rubinson

President, Rubinson Partners, Inc.

Joel is President of Rubinson Partners, Inc. marketing and research consulting for a brave new world. Prior to that, as Chief Research Officer at The ARF, Joel interacted directly with hundreds of research leaders and drove the organization’s initiatives regarding notably:

  • Research transformation (designing the future of the profession)
  • 360 media and marketing
  • Social media and listening
  • Online research data quality
  • Shopper insights

Joel helped build awareness of the ARF and its priorities by building a sizable social media presence via a blog that achieved thousands of page views each month and with a twitter profile of nearly 3,000 followers.

Prior to joining the ARF, Joel was Senior Vice-President, Head of Advanced Solutions for Synovate North America where he was their leading branding resource and was also the global thought leader for shopper research. Before joining Synovate, Joel was at the NPD Group for many years, leading the creation of tools for brand equity management (BrandBuilder), new product forecasting (ESP), category management and designed many of their data collection and sampling methodologies as NPD changed from paper diaries to online research. Joel started his research career at Unilever.

Joel is also a published author of numerous papers in professional journals and frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has taught the official American Marketing Association advanced tutorial on brand loyalty and lectured at Columbia, NYU, Wharton, Amos Tuck School, and University of Rochester, among others. Joel holds an MBA in statistics and economics from the University of Chicago and a BS from NYU.

  • Posted on: 08/10/2017

    Is it time to reinvent category management?

    First, a lot of the discussion about reinventing category management feels like an infusion of shopper insights that was definitely light in version 1.0 of category management which was heavily sales analysis based. Second, the biggest change in the past five years is understanding that shopper marketing is squarely in the digital and mobile world and the seamless blending of those activities to physical store layout, signage, experience, etc.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Will Walmart’s next-gen store fly with shoppers?

    Rather than thinking of the specifics, think of the mindset. Walmart is acknowledging that its shoppers are tech savvy and they are following the culture of their shoppers as any great retailer should.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2017

    What’s needed beyond KPIs?

    Nothing wrong with KPIs ... you need them! What gets me is when the KPIs are assumed to be valuable, but their value has not actually been proven. To be valuable, a KPI must reflect the business growth model, have an established statistical relationship with performance at time t+1, align to a marketing action (if it goes down, here is what we do...) and collectively encompass the full range of marketing actions and business outcomes (including upstream behavioral markers, such as "test drives"). Brand equity statistics are the worst offenders ... often no proven relationship to outcome (having been based on an assumption) and also never moving ... that's what makes them irrelevant as a brand tracker statistic.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    How should retailers use social listening tools?

    Beyond customer care, I have used social media as a main source of insights for retailers to stay on top of trends and to spot issues with particular product categories. One of the big differences between social media and surveys as a source of insights is that surveys, like a brand tracker, are always primarily focused on functional attributes of a brand vs. its direct competitors. Social media allows you to easily see the rest of a customer's life, seeing them as a human in a 360 degree way. You can set up a group of those who shop at your store (based on a tweet that reveals that) and then see what else they talk about on social media.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2017

    Are Amazon’s boxes prime ad real estate?

    Not only are they absolutely prime real estate but Amazon is also kind of doing it for themselves. The tape on the boxes I get says Amazon Echo! Imagine display ads on boxes that are context-sensitive to the contents. How long does it take to open a box? a lot longer than people view digital display ads on average. Yes, this could be big.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2016

    Does Alexa need a screen?

    I understand the benefits of a screen but what comes next, a keyboard? I think there is also something to be said for staying true to the idea ... voice!!!
  • Posted on: 12/02/2016

    Is transparency next for grocery private label?

    I think it would be a real wild card to the known national brand. It cheapens the brand a bit and actually might harm rather than help trust ("What do you mean you can sell your laundry detergent for 20 percent less if I buy it under the Stop and Shop name?!").
  • Posted on: 10/31/2016

    Why are mobile conversion rates so low?

    A topic I am knee-deep in! Some of you might know I am the consultant working with the mobile marketing association, charged with conducting the most expansive review ever conducted of multi-touch attribution methods (MTA). A key problem is that people engage in a lot of causal activity on their smartphones but prefer to convert in-store or by using their computers. That means that MTA methods must integrate screens via unified IDs, so that we can link together the exposure on the phone to the conversion via a computer -- which is now happening. However, many are still using last-touch attribution because of its simplicity and also because you can more easily negotiate CPAs with publishers. Anyway, there is a measurement problem, but we are on the verge of fixing this as an industry.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2016

    Will greeters make Penney a more inviting place to shop?

    Personally, I find greeters to be annoying. I don't know you, and I don't want to know you. If you are visible and I need help, I will ask and that is fine. But greeters saying, "Hello, how are you," or "welcome to blah blah"? ... annoying. It's like waiters in French restaurants. They know how to be visible but not obtrusive. More of that would be better, N = 1.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2016

    Why aren’t more retail apps being downloaded?

    The cost of entry for shopping apps is the following: they must REDUCE the time it takes to complete your mission; they must ADD offers. Retailers must have Wi-Fi that WORKS in their stores! It's simple and no one is checking all the boxes. When that occurs, we will see a huge bump in app use and hit a tipping point.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2016

    Will Google’s new devices give Apple and Amazon some competition?

    Google excels at improving what others might do first. Android is a big winner while Microsoft is no where to be found. In fact, Google was not the first search engine either. As far as Google home goes, their big advantage is that their voice recognition is far superior to Amazon (personal experience) but I can't compare to Apple/Siri. The thing is, the full connectivity of the home (includes TV and thermostats which they have) so this is just the first shot across the bow.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2016

    Costco sticking to store-first approach

    When things are going well, it is easy to say that we are following the right model and are going to stay the course. If there is a soft quarter or two, they will change their position on this. There is no reason they cannot come up with an online concept that ENHANCES rather than REPLACES the in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Are smartphones changing how Americans shop from home?

    Smartphones are so integrated into our lives we don't even know how we use them ... it just happens. I conducted research on behalf of AOL a few years ago that showed that nearly 70 percent of smartphone usage is at home but advertising was geared to SoLoMo. That was a big disconnect. Smartphones are just part of our sense-o-round life and so if it affects all elements of our life, that must include how we shop!
  • Posted on: 09/20/2016

    Unilever makes ‘purpose-driven’ deal for Seventh Generation

    It's a business decision, not a form of altruism. If the business fundamentals make sense in terms of trend, appeal to certain demo groups, and gives the ability to find target consumers more efficiently, programmatically, fine.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2016

    Will other brands follow Birkenstock in cutting off Amazon?

    Very interesting. How much of a sales drop is a brand willing to endure to reestablish the purity of its brand presentation at retail? My inclination is to think Birkenstock should stay on Amazon.

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