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: 08/07/2018

    Starbucks prepares for a Bitcoin future

    I'm usually pretty progressive but I feel like there is a black swan in here, though. I'm not sure where -- but unregulated currency scares me.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Need a nap? Casper opened a store for that

    I hate to bring up the realities of the world we live in, but in Manhattan, safety and cleanliness are always issues. How do they manage these factors without creating unsafe conditions and big legal exposure?
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Will Amazon team with third-party sellers as a Prime perk?

    My first thought was that this was really off-strategy for both Amazon and any large retailer they partner with who is in mortal combat with Amazon. But then I thought about this more -- maybe the best way to do this is as a long tail play. Smaller retailers already DO sell on Amazon. They could bring Amazon Prime into their stores and drive a lot more traffic there assuming Amazon promotes the connection in some way. This would give Amazon a physical presence throughout the country but in a transformational way. As a point of reference, going after the long tail is exactly how Google became so dominant in search.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2018

    Will lockers transform Home Depot’s BOPIS operations?

    Here is why I think the lockers for Home Depot make so much sense -- those stores are so enormous that the store layout is horrible for 95 percent of people walking into the store! I say this because you walk in on a mission and the chance that you are looking for light bulbs or something barbecue-related is small, because so much else is in the store. What the lockers do is make the store layout perfect for each individual shopper! You have ordered exactly what you want and it is right there in front of you! So don't think of this as BOPIS, think of this as customized store layout. Now along those lines, what else could be done? First, insert a flyer for the exact location in the store of that type of product so if you want to change your mind, you immediately see options. Second, have a greeter right there to make sure you are happy with your purchase.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Amazon lowballs CVS and Walgreens on OTC med prices

    I would guess there is little connection in consumers' minds between OTC and Rx so the answer to the question asked is no, this will not help Amazon establish an Rx business. Furthermore, Amazon doesn't just sell stuff, they provide disruptive models. there is nothing disruptive to the Rx space about offering less expensive Motrin. On the other hand, I WOULD expect something disruptive from them in the Rx area as a separate initiative.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Is Amazon killing Barnes & Noble’s chances for a turnaround?

    there's a rule in sales: "always look for the second right answer." But in this case, look to the first right answer of course! Borders was also a casualty of Amazon. There's no need for sorrow -- this is the way business reinvents itself. Can Barnes & Noble do things to survive? Probably, but it will be based on the experience they deliver.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2018

    Is data-driven marketing holding back storytelling?

    the answer to the topic title is NO! Data does not hold back storytelling, it roots the story in a truth. The big problem is storytelling WITHOUT evidence! I have seen so much of that in marketing it makes me crazy. I won't name names but when I was Chief Research Officer at the Advertising Research Foundation I was faced with stories in the echo chamber about the death of TV. Well, facts in 2008 proved TV was actually more effective and since then, ad revenues have grown not declined. How about the story that the ROI of social media is that you will be in business in five years? Well, paid advertising continues to drive marketing, social is a small percent of brand impressions and advertising is getting more effective with programmatic targeting of shopper and other segments. Data-driven marketing makes marketing better and that, in and of itself, makes for a heck of a story!
  • Posted on: 05/30/2018

    Is GDPR an opportunity or a threat to retailers?

    In terms of media, IMHO, GDPR is a disaster. It is generating billions of dollars of unproductive legal fees, has already led to frivolous lawsuits in the billions, has cut programmatic activity substantially, and perhaps worst, has led to changes in business practices that harm marketers' ability to optimize their media spending. In particular, it has led Google to no longer share Doubleclick IDs, the cornerstone of multi-touch attribution modeling. There is currently a battle between Google and all of its publishers who think Google is putting on a power play. Google is setting up a clean room inside its ad hub, but it is not yet understood. GDPR has made walled gardens higher, which NO MARKETER WANTS. Ultimately, this will lead to less relevant advertising to consumers which will lead them to like advertising less, not more. The latest legal opinions I have heard is that no one knows what GDPR compliance really is and so businesses will take ultra-conservative stances in the face of uncertainty.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2018

    Will greater transparency drive a digital targeting backlash?

    All surveys I have seen show that people do not like advertising. They do not like it on their TV, on the web, on their phone, etc. Yet they understand that is the cost of free media. People want relevant messages more than irrelevant ones, which is what precision targeting does. Most people do not understand that relevance comes from data. That is the marketing community's job to convey this. Targeting will be very important in a GDPR future, but it will be based more on first party data that is fully permissioned. I think the only losers might be 3rd party data aggregators, but I'm sure they have lawyers working on this right now.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    In this digital revolution, stores are media

    I predicted in a blog last year that retailers as publishers was the coming sea change. Amazon could easily turn the big two into the big three. Walmart has similar assets. I live in digital and have done a lot in shopper. With all due respect, I think shopper experts miss the larger picture. It is not that the store is a medium. It is that retailers offer immersive physical and online environments that, when combined with unified deterministic data, will redefine marketing. I'm not sure the folks at Amazon or Walmart even realize what they have -- I bet they don't.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2018

    Albertsons launches an online marketplace for small CPG brands

    Some plusses and minuses here. On the plus side, shoppers love to discover new things and this helps to create a sense of discovery -- almost Target-like -- at Albertsons. Always felt retailers should feature what is new for a month. Shoppers would like it and the retailer could get additional trade funds. On the negative side, a retailer places their reputation on the line with every product they sell. Albertsons should make sure there is a vetting and inspection process that is as rigorous as a buyer would use to put something on the shelf.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2018

    Retailers differ on the value of location analytics

    There are two elements to consider with location data. One is the ability to trigger advertising based on location. The other is creating targetable segments based on how an individual user habitually navigates the real world. I have seen a lot of success with the later, providing accurate segment classifications. Location data is one way to target people at relevant moments. It has great promise, especially for retailers but ultimately, it needs to be proven out via AB testing. I am optimistic such testing will support its value based on a series of experiments I have an indirect relationship with at the Mobile Marketing Association.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2018

    Music stores play the blues as consumers play on(line)

    Interesting and personal discussion for me both as a musician and because my first cousin Elliott created one of the largest music store chains (Thoroughbred music) in the country that he sold to Sam Ash. Any older musician who passed through Florida would tell you about Thoroughbred. He then owned and ran Dean Guitars and D-Drums. Now his son (my second cousin Evan) runs the business. Elliott told me (and others who visited the store) that Thoroughbred was a place musicians would hang out, jam, socialize, and feel a part of a community. Sounds a lot like Apple stores! Now I go into a store only when I have to buy something and I would love to whip out some harps and jam, but they tell me to be quiet! BTW, music tastes are changing. Ukes are the big thing now. I think Elliott had the right idea about community.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    No joke – Walmart asks CPGs for higher priced products

    This makes sense. All of America wants affordable luxury and that is what Walmart is asking for ... the better and best alternatives to good CPG products. They will never charge more for good products than other retailers. It serves their customers and helps them manage the cost structure better.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2018

    FMI says switch to online grocery sales going faster than expected

    It seems like Nielsen was following the old forecasting advice -- give 'em a number and a date but never both at the same time!

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