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: 07/10/2019

    When does marketing cross an ethical line?

    I always hated negative opt in -- if you don't tell us you don't want the book of the month, you get the book of the month. Same today with "free trials" in digital. You enter your credit card and the subscription will start past the trial period unless you cancel, but it becomes really hard sometimes to figure out how to cancel (often no customer service number is even available). I guess this falls into the theme of giving consumers the illusion of control.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2019

    Location-based marketing is spreading beyond smartphones

    In general consumers are getting more attuned to privacy protection and their ability to opt out. It is featured in the browsers and soon Chrome (market leader) will make opt outs for cookies easy. However, smartphones are less susceptible. For example, apps use ad IDs. Also, note that location data is not only used for ad serving, it is used for conversion data (e.g. advertise Burger King -- did more people actually visit a Burger King?). For conversion data, only mobile is relevant. For advertising placement, I'd say second to mobile would be Digital Out Of Home (DOOH).
  • Posted on: 05/24/2019

    Questions abound about the value of net promoter scores

    The NPS is incomplete ... that is its biggest problem. It cannot be used to measure the interest of likely customers in your brand yet nearly half of many business' buyer bases come from non-users the prior year. Another problem is that it is highly influenced by how different cultures use scales. An NPS in the U.S. cannot be compared to one from Japan (I have seen global NPS studies and it is impossible.) NPS is simple, that is its benefit and there IS some value to the metric. But the only number you will ever need? Puh-leez ...
  • Posted on: 05/22/2019

    Should retail boards include seats for store associates?

    Bernie Sanders' suggestion of associates on the board might have some merit, just like Lee Iacocca put the union on the board. HOWEVER, the rest of his socialist agenda is nuts. Who is he to say what a CEO deserves to make? The free market determines what the multiplier should be. So basically, the Bernie Sanders "ice man cometh" world would require an analysis of every business in America and mandating wages, comp packages, etc. Let him start with the money stars make for pictures vs. production crew, or boxing champs vs. sparring partners, or Clinton speeches vs. admins who report the schedules ... on and on. Madness.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2019

    Gen Z survey: Brands get drowned out in all the cause marketing noise

    Might be the way the questions are asked. If you asked what social values a brand is associated with, I bet you would see a lot more association. The sponsoring of causes is a way to get to those associations. So if the consumer cannot remember the cause but they retain the societal value associated with the brand, that still counts!
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    What’s wrong with the (fill in the blank) category?

    I'd say we need to slow that roll -- isn't it the job of the category captain to prevent the decline in a particular retailer and to analyze it fully? Is the category declining everywhere or just that retailer? I do not buy the questionable research by the Columbia professor that more choices leads to less buying (other academics had difficulty replicating her results.) On the other hand, a proliferation of SKUs could mean it is time to completely reexamine how the shelf is organized.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2019

    Who is winning the shopping search race — Amazon or Google?

    I consult to a company that has amazing longitudinal behavioral data. So far, all of the case studies I have analyzed showed more search on Google BUT a much higher conditional probability of going to a product page IF the search occurred on Amazon. Hence, for the question, I'd say Google has a ways to go to rival Amazon for shopper-purposed search. BTW, I have to comment that an attitudinal approach to addressing this issue seems a bit too old school.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2019

    Will shoppable ads help Walmart’s Vudu compete with Amazon and Netflix?

    Walmart has a big play it can make in ad tech but this isn't it. Their play should be based on shopping behaviors revealing brand and category intenders. Vudu is a media player where ads can be placed (like Amazon offers ads on Kindle Fire). Video content isn't a good place for shoppable content because we shop at a different pace from the pace we have when we watch TV content to be entertained. To interrupt the flow of the video content to shop a new coffee maker in a kitchen scene? I just don't see it.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2019

    Will America’s love for paper coupons ever die?

    I wonder if it has something to do with a preference for physical things in a physical world. The ergonomics are actually sometimes better with paper. A related example ... if I need to speak with an agent at the airport I prefer a physical boarding pass. No waking the phone up, unlock codes, battery levels. On the other hand, I really doubt there is a preference for physical coupons vs. discount codes in e-commerce. Simplicity is important.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2019

    Hubert Joly: New Best Buy CEO has the right stuff to lead chain to new heights

    My advice to Best Buy is to master digital from a commitment and technology POV but MOST IMPORTANTLY, as a brand-led play. Every possible way that they can make it wrong for a consumer to go to Amazon or Walmart for home electronics, technology, appliances, they have to go for that. why does Amazon have 10 times the share of Walmart online? Pricing? Breadth of offers? I doubt it ... it's brand and the search pattern habits that consumers adopt. So Best Buy -- brand, brand, BRAND!
  • Posted on: 04/15/2019

    Can Walmart beat Amazon, Facebook and Google at the online ad game?

    I predicted three years ago that retailers moving into adtech would be the next big thing. I predicted Amazon would become #3 in ad revenues only exceeded by Google and Facebook. I also said at the time that Amazon was like the combination of Google and Walmart and, in fact, they have since announced a deal. Here is the thing -- the predictions were based on a firm belief in the power of precision targeting based on behavioral signals. Walmart can easily compete on that basis for ad dollars but they have to get their act together in the digital space. They don't think about digital as much and for that reason have one-tenth the business of Amazon online while being bigger overall. Ultimately, the margins in the ad business are huge and Walmart will have to move into that space in a big way and will be very successful -- potentially forming a top five that will include Netflix (but that's a prediction for another day and topic!)
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    Is Walmart just starting to hit its stride?

    Let's be clear -- a 43 percent increase in e-commerce sales can be looked at two ways; they are still only one-tenth of Amazon online, or they have lots of room for growth. Also, they are way behind Amazon for ad sales (will be $10 billion this year at 50 percent margins) when Walmart should be ahead. Glass half full or half empty?
  • Posted on: 02/19/2019

    Influencer marketing produces a fuzzy ROI

    Influencer marketing is different than word of mouth. The latter is free and the former costs A LOT! I hear celebrities can get up to $1 million for promoting something to their followers. Even more affordable influencers charge at least five figures. In some industries it is thought to be critical so must be done but how to measure -- surveys? Matching lists? There's really no great roadmap yet.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2019

    Did Gillette’s rant against toxic masculinity go too far?

    Do you really think that using a spokesperson who kneels for the National Anthem is not taking a political stand? Do you think Vets see it that way?
  • Posted on: 01/21/2019

    Did Gillette’s rant against toxic masculinity go too far?

    There are three prominent brands who have made political statements and personally, I agree with Steve ... stay away from polarizing statements.

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