PROFILE

Ron Margulis

Managing Director, RAM Communications
Ronald Margulis is Managing Director of RAM Communications, a public relations firm based in Cranford, NJ. RAM Communications provides media relations counseling, trade marketing and communications support to clients in the retail, transportation, manufacturing and technology industries. Among the services offered are media relations, information sourcing, speech writing, issue research and analysis, editorial and design analysis, newsletter publishing, presentation and video scripting, marketing brochure and training manual production, focus groups and meeting planning.

With more than 1,000 articles published, Margulis is also an accredited journalist. His writings on the food, retail, tobacco, information technology and transportation industries have appeared in Canadian Business, Chicago Tribune, Cigar Magazine, Computerworld, Convenience Store News, Distribution Channels, Executive Technology, FT.com, Food Arts, Forbes, ID, Sales & Marketing, Shipping Digest, Supermarket News, Washington Times and several other newspapers and magazines. As an editor and reporter, he has interviewed more than 50 CEOs of leading global companies and dozens of government officials including four US Cabinet Secretaries, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Treasurer of Australia.

Margulis has won numerous awards for his writing, has written more than one dozen industry reports/white papers and is contributing editor of three professional reference books. He has been quoted in several leading newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer and Smart Money, on topics ranging from technology to crisis communications, and has been featured on Bloomberg Radio, Talk Canada, Westwood One and National Public Radio. He has spoken at numerous business and academic conferences, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Public Relations Society of America.

Margulis graduated with honors from George Washington University, earned an MBA in economics from New York University and studied journalism at University of London. The son and grandson of supermarket operators, he also completed a management training internship and meat cutter’s apprenticeship at Wakefern Food Corp. (Shop-Rite Supermarkets).

Margulis is married to Patricia Paul, an artist. They live in New Jersey with their daughter Elena. His recreational activities and hobbies include fencing (President, Westfield Fencing Club), hiking, skiing, reading, cooking and map collecting
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  • Posted on: 08/14/2018

    Aldi shoppers are getting curbside pickup, but do they want it?


    Aldi risks a lot for little potential payoff with curbside pickup and home delivery. Even as a deep discounter, a sizable portion of Aldi’s revenue comes from impulse buys and the studies I’ve seen show there are fewer impulse buys online, even with recommendation engines. Besides, the primary Aldi customer is looking for bargains and even with digital promos and other marketing there still is no replacement for in-store shopper engagement.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2018

    What’s the ideal soundtrack for grocery shopping?

    A few things here: First, more and more shoppers are grooving to their own soundtracks while shopping or they’re talking with friends and family as they walk the store. Having music playing too loud or discordant is only going to upset them. Second, the music playing is heard by the staff as well so there needs to be balance and most certainly a lack of repetition. I see this sorrow on employee faces every holiday season after they’ve heard Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree for the 200th time. Last, I gave this a lot of thought years ago when my dad asked me what types of music should be piped into his grocery stores. I suggested that the soundtrack should build over the course of the day -- classical in the morning, Jazz through lunch, pop in the afternoon and rock at night. He nixed the idea (he was partial to Herb Alpert and Dave Brubeck) but I still like it.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2018

    Are outsiders required to tackle disruption?

    This is a total crap shoot. Most of us remember the hatchet job Bob Nardelli did on Home Depot and then Chrysler after starting his career in the industrial sector at GE. Ron Johnson’s efforts at J.C. Penney failed miserably after he succeeded with running the Apple stores and at Target. I’m sure there are a few positive examples, but they don’t stick out like the bad ones.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2018

    Will in-home 3D scanner drive online clothing sales?

    This is a solution looking for a problem to solve. Ultimately, your smartphone will have the capability to do body scans on its own without a mirror or other device, but I don’t see the need or demand for this intermediary step.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2018

    Retailers use brand ads to help pay for free delivery

    Secondary packaging is just another piece of real estate for the retailer to sell. It will work better if the messaging is coordinated between the retailer and the advertiser. The last thing either party needs is something contradictory, like a retailer that wants to be perceived as discounter featuring an advertisement of a high-end sports car.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Will America win the trade war?

    Straight from the Heritage Foundation. Some Americans will be badly hurt by the President’s plan to jack up the price of steel and aluminum by imposing tariffs on those imports. A new report utilizing the same economic model as the Commerce Department found that the net job losses caused by the proposed tariffs will be 146,000 jobs. Engaging in free trade with other countries is not a zero-sum activity. Winners from free trade vastly outnumber the losers both in and outside the United States. To this I will add what my grad school advisor, Dr. Larry Ritter, head of the Economics Department at NYU, told us in his International Economics class 30 years ago -- free trade is required for a healthy international banking and monetary system. Anything that staunches (he liked that word) free trade will ultimately staunch the flow of capital and that in turn will cause economic contraction in the offending countries.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Analyst: Prime perk could eventually double customers at Whole Foods

    Quick story -- I went to find a nice piece of fish for dinner last weekend. Started at King’s, a regional upscale player here in New Jersey. I could find what I wanted but noticed that Bing cherries were on sale for $5.99. I went to Whole Foods next and still couldn’t find the fish I wanted, but noticed that Bing cherries were on sale for $4.99 Ended up at ShopRite, where I did find the fish I wanted and noticed that Bing cherries were on sale for $3.99. That’s the challenge Whole Foods is facing and a 5 percent discount with Prime membership won’t cover it for a lot of shoppers.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2018

    Home Depot to make same- or next-day deliveries virtually everywhere

    At some point in the not-too-distant future, several retailers will band together to jointly offer daily home delivery. I suspect Home Depot, one or more major supermarkets, a drug store chain, a series of restaurants and a few specialty stores will be in one group. Lowe’s, one or more major supermarkets, the other drug store chain, a series of restaurants and a few specialty stores will be in the other group. This is a definite step in that direction.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2018

    Are retailers short-changing national grocery brands?

    Coming from a national brand sales and marketing agency, this study comes across as more than a little self-serving. Still, it’s revealing in what is not covered. A cursory review of the research shows little attention paid to the perimeter, where most of the action is. Granted, fresh foods haven’t traditionally been the strong suit for national brands (and sales agencies). But that is where the future is for them, so the lack of coverage in the report suggests their efforts aren’t as strong as they hope or private label lines are keeping stride with them.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Publix pulls political funding amid anti-gun protests

    There is a rule in this type of crisis communications – the longer you wait to admit culpability and address the situation honestly and sincerely, the longer your penance in the court of public opinion. I’ve been a gun-owner who has enjoyed target shooting and plinking for more than 40 years, and I believe that Publix did the right thing and did it quickly.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2018

    Kroger to become meal kit force with Home Chef deal

    I wonder if this and the Ocado move aren’t acts of desperation on Kroger’s part. Executives in Cincinnati see what’s happening between Amazon and Walmart and believe the only way to remain relevant in front of customers and, perhaps more importantly, investors is to buy their way into the digital/complete serve business. It would likely be more effective to innovate internally or maybe with the help of consultants. Another thought is what this means for dunnhumby. After all, shouldn’t the shopper data analyzed be the service offered to Kroger to determine the best way to engage the customer? Or maybe the numbers just said to go out and buy a meal solutions company and partner with a last-mile delivery solution…
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Whole Foods to become a Prime perk for Amazon’s customers

    I’m very surprised that a major retailer hasn’t teamed up with another e-commerce platform like eBay to offer services similar to the Amazon-Whole Foods combo. Costco members get a small discount for eBay purchases and vice versa. Also on a smaller scale with ancillary categories like Overstock or Wayfair with a food retailer. This cross-marketing strategy will help both groups reach more customers and has the potential stir up some good shopper engagement.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    Costco’s initial annual membership fee was $25 back in the early 1980s. They’ve increased the amount by $5 about every five years, resulting in the current Gold Star membership fee of $55 per year. We don’t hear about much pushback when Costco announces increases, why would there be any for Amazon?
  • Posted on: 04/26/2018

    Are syndicated product reviews good for retailers?

    In a world of “alternative facts” and similar issues, how can anyone not be cynical about what they read online or anywhere? Soon will come the day when AI addresses this challenge by verifying each review, but retailers and brands need to institute policies and processes that prove they can be trusted in the meantime.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Honoring women

    It all starts with the acceptance that women and men are the same. The fact is that except for the Y chromosome men have, all humans are basically equivalent. From there, individuals and organizations must be blind to gender. I’m not suggesting co-ed restroom facilities, but just about everything short of that. The key is constant promotion and reward for a neutral gender stance on all business decisions and the simultaneous punishment for any hint of gender bias. The bottom line is that, woman or man, we’re all very far from perfect and we all need to work harder to ensure equal pay for equal work, workplaces that are free from gender (and race!) bias and a world where performance and the display of personal ethics trumps all other considerations.

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