April 20, 2021

Media Decoder: Advertising Research Foundation Gets Its First Female Leader

The Advertising Research Foundation is naming a longtime research executive at General Mills as its next president and chief executive, making her the first woman to lead the organization.

Gayle Fuguitt, who will join the A.R.F. on April 15, is to be introduced to the organization’s members on Monday morning, during a session of its annual Re:think conference that is focused on marketing research.

Ms. Fuguitt succeeds Robert Barocci, who had been president and chief executive since September 2003. The organization said in December that he would retire once his successor was named and help with the transition through the end of 2013.

Ms. Fuguitt, who is 56, took early retirement last summer from General Mills, where she had worked for 32 years, most recently as vice president for global consumer insights. While at General Mills, the packaged-food giant in Golden Valley, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, Ms. Fuguitt was instrumental in rethinking its marketing research function and looking at marketing research as a way to gain insight into consumer behavior.

“I really believe in the role of the researcher as the voice of the consumer at the decision table,” Ms. Fuguitt said in a telephone interview on Friday.

And to preserve that role, she added, “the researcher of the future needs to be an entrepreneur, anticipating where consumers are going and providing solutions to respond to business problems.”

The researcher in coming years will have to provide chief executives and chief marketing officers with information that is “more like apps than translating a white paper,” Ms. Fuguitt said, and act as “a bridge from ‘big data’ to one-on-one conversations with consumers on social media.”

As for becoming the first woman to lead the A.R.F., she added, “a lot of consumers are women.”

“I’m humbled and challenged to be the first for any reason,” she said.

Ms. Fuguitt was familiar with the organization because she had served on its board and executive board for five years. She resigned when she left General Mills because, she explained, her serving was based on being an executive at a member company.

After leaving General Mills, Ms. Fuguitt “got on the keynote speaking circuit,” she said, and “those talks made me realize I still have a lot of passion for my role in the industry.”

According to Michael Heitner, senior vice president for member value at the organization, 87 people applied for Mr. Barocci’s post. He called Ms. Fuguitt “the first choice” among them.

Ms. Fuguitt said she planned to move to New York, where the A.R.F. is based, from Minneapolis.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/advertising-research-foundation-gets-its-first-female-leader/?partner=rss&emc=rss

With Graph Search, Facebook Bets on More Sharing

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook’s greatest triumph has been to persuade a seventh of the world’s population to share their personal lives online.

Now the social network is taking on its archrival, Google, with a search tool to mine that personal information, just as people are growing more cautious about sharing on the Internet and even occasionally removing what they have already put up.

Whether Facebook’s more than one billion users will continue to divulge even more private details will determine whether so-called social search is the next step in how we navigate the online world. It will also determine whether Facebook has found a business model that will make it a lot of money.

“There’s a big potential upside for both Facebook and users, but getting people to change their behaviors in relation to what they share will not be easy,” said Andrew T. Stephen, who teaches marketing at the University of Pittsburgh and studies consumer behavior on online social networks.

This week, Facebook unveiled its search tool, which it calls “graph search,” a reference to the network of friends its users have created. The company’s algorithms will filter search results for each person, ranking the friends and brands that it thinks a user would trust the most. At first, it will mine users’ interests, photos, check-ins and “likes,” but later it will search through other information, including status updates.

“While the usefulness of graph search increases as people share more about their favorite restaurants, music and other interests, the product doesn’t hinge on this,” a Facebook spokesman, Jonathan Thaw, said.

Nevertheless, the company engineers who created the tool — former Google employees — say that the project will not reach its full potential if Facebook data is “sparse,” as they call it. But the company is confident people will share more data, be it the movies they watch, the dentists they trust or the meals that make their mouths water.

The things people declare on Facebook will be useful, when someone searches for those interests, Tom Stocky, one of the creators of Facebook search, said in an interview this week. Conversely, by liking more things, he said, people will become more useful in the eyes of their friends.

“You might be inclined to ‘like’ what you like so when your friends search, they’ll find it,” he said. “I probably would never have liked my dentist on Facebook before, but now I do because it’s a way of letting my friends know.”

Mr. Stocky offered these examples of how more information may be desirable: A single man may want to be discovered when a friend of a friend is searching for eligible bachelors in San Francisco or a restaurant that stays open late may want to be found by a night owl.

“People have shared all this great stuff on Facebook,” Mr. Stocky said. “It’s latent value. We wanted a way to unlock that.”

Independent studies suggest that Facebook users are becoming more careful about how much they reveal online, especially since educators and employers typically scour Facebook profiles.

A Northwestern University survey of 500 young adults in the summer of 2012 found that the majority avoided posting status updates because they were concerned about who would see them. The study also found that many had deleted or blocked contacts from seeing their profiles and nearly two-thirds had untagged themselves from a photo, post or check-in.

“These behavioral patterns seem to suggest that many young adults are less keen on sharing at least certain details about their lives rather than more,” said Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern, who led the yet unpublished study among men and women aged 21 and 22.

Also last year, the Pew Internet Center found that social network users, including those on Facebook, were more aggressively pruning their profiles — untagging photos, removing friends and deleting comments.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/technology/with-graph-search-facebook-bets-on-more-sharing.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Mobile Deals Aimed at Black Friday Shoppers Stuck in Line

The Gilt Groupe, for example, which operates several Web sites, usually offers sales at noon. But on Friday, it will promote mobile exclusives at 6 a.m. — precisely when shoppers are expected to be crammed into checkout lines at some of its high-end competitors.

“We haven’t had the ability to compete effectively with Black Friday, and now we do,” said Andy Page, president of the Gilt Groupe, who predicted that poaching in-store shoppers would lead to Gilt’s best Black Friday ever.

The aggressive promotions by Gilt, Amazon, HSN and other online companies are creating a frenzy among traditional retailers, who have counted the Friday after Thanksgiving as the busiest shopping day of the year.

A few are fighting back. Best Buy, already acquainted with the sting of online price-comparison apps, declines to display standard bar codes on some products so they cannot be easily scanned by smartphones.

But online merchants have technology — and increasingly, consumer behavior — on their side. Almost 10 percent of e-commerce purchases made in October came through mobile devices, according to research from IBM Coremetrics, up from about 3 percent a year earlier. About 43 percent of Americans with cellphone service own smartphones, according to Nielsen. Amazon, the nation’s biggest e-commerce site, says that the number of American customers who shop Amazon via only their mobile device has nearly tripled since last year.

Not only can online merchants now offer a relatively annoyance-free alternative to shoppers stuck in crowded stores, but they can also even exploit the faster download speeds on free wireless networks promoted by retailers like Nordstrom and Macy’s. And most are throwing in free shipping.

“If we can take advantage of customers when they want to shop and they’re aggravated by a physical experience, it’s a real win-win,” said Ben Fischman, chief executive of Rue La La, a subscriber-based online merchant that will offer mobile deals on both Thursday and Friday at times that it expects people will be stuck in lines.

Last year, the online giants stole some of the Black Friday riches by offering early Web specials on Thanksgiving Day. But the move to mobile-only discounts — the specials will not be available on Web sites, in most cases — can lead to “a massive amount of share-stealing,” said Joel Bines, a managing director in the retail practice at the consultancy AlixPartners, “if I get just a small percentage to make a purchase standing in the store.”

And there is not much retailers can do to stop customers from checking out competitors, he said.

“If a retailer tried to block cellular connections, they would be absolutely vilified, though I’m sure it’s been discussed,” he said. Best Buy, for its part, “does not place manufacturers’ bar codes on the display products or signage and has never done so,” said a spokeswoman, Lisa Hawks, but it has added QR codes that take people to Best Buy’s mobile site.

Given the growing mobile market, the online retailers say this Black Friday is an ideal opportunity to encourage people already comfortable with mobile shopping to buy more, and to get others to at least consider it. The online retailers say they are marketing their Friday deals heavily, with online ads, mobile ads and e-mail, and not just to their established customers.

“We want to drive awareness of mobile and have it have its own raison d’être,” said Jill Braff, executive vice president for digital commerce at HSN.

HSN, formerly known as the Home Shopping Network, will start mobile sales at midday on Thanksgiving and sprinkle them throughout high-traffic store-shopping times on Thursday and Friday. Amazon last week issued an Android version of its price-check app, and will encourage shoppers to use it in stores on Friday. And at least one physical retailer is taking a cue from the online competition: Walgreens, not traditionally a hot destination on that Friday, will begin offering coupons just to users of its mobile app on that day.

Mandy Chan, of Las Vegas, says she has pretty much given up using her laptop for online shopping — her 2-year-old commandeers it for “Barney” viewings — and instead shops on her phone. Among others, she has a Gilt Groupe app set to alert her via text message for deals.

Ms. Chan plans to go to stores like Gap and Nordstrom on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and says any mobile-only deals will be entirely welcome. “I’m usually just browsing my phone while I’m waiting in line,” she said. And if they can beat the in-store prices, she will buy the item, even if it means returning home empty-handed.

“Even families that are middle-class, we are all still struggling, and if we can save even $5, $10, it makes it easier for us in the long run,” Ms. Chan said.

Mr. Bines, the retail consultant, predicted there would be plenty of shoppers willing to consider mobile purchases since the average Black Friday shopper is not “someone whose entire year is planned around circulars, hotel rooms and late-night shopping visits.”

“The vast majority of them are familiar with mobile,” he said, “but only a percentage of them have been dipping their toe in mobile shopping.”

Asked whether Nordstrom was worried about its shoppers checking rivals’ sites for deals, especially since it has added free wireless to its stores, a Nordstrom spokesman, Colin Johnson, said, “We’re not afraid to compete.”

“The shopping landscape is changing very rapidly, and so we want to evolve with our customers,” he said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/business/mobile-deals-aimed-at-black-friday-shoppers-stuck-in-line.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Stocks Open Higher in U.S.; Europe Up

At noon, all three of the main indexes were up more than 1 percent. Tthe Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 14.65 points, after dipping briefly into negative territory. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 187 points, and the Nasdaq rose 27.26.

If Friday’s gains are sustained, it could turn around the week’s overall trend, which had the broader market as measured by the S.P. 500 down by just over 2 percent at the end of trading Thursday.

American stock markets have been wildly volatile in the past four trading sessions, with alternating days of collapsing and then sharply rising prices. The mood has swung between speculation about worries over the economy and a renewed financial crisis, and confidence that banks are healthy and corporate profits strong.

As the week drew to a close, investors sifted through new data on the economy, including insights into consumer behavior, a crucial element in trying to gauge the pace of the recovery.

The Commerce Department said retail sales for July rose 0.5 percent. Without the volatile automobile and gas components, sales firmed 0.3 percent. The figures included several revisions, but they suggested there was some spending momentum in the second quarter and the beginning of the current quarter, at least.

But another piece of data that is indicative of where the market could swing was a survey by the University of Michigan that showed consumer sentiment dipped in August, registering 54.9 on its index, which was a reading lower than during the crisis of November 2008.

“Clearly, recent financial market turmoil has weighed heavily on sentiment, which was already under pressure from a dysfunctional political arena and the longer-term issue of an ailing labor market,” said Joshua Shapiro, the chief United States economist for MFR, in a research note.

Industrial stocks led the way on the S.P. 500, with General Electric up 2.55 percent. Financial stocks showed slight gains of less than half a percent.

The “fear” index, or VIX, which is a measure of volatility in the market, declined to 34.23, its lowest point so far this week.

United States benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were lower, to 2.25 percent from 2.34 percent on Thursday.The gain in stocks came well after investors had digested the latest economic data. Timothy A. Hoyle, director of research for Haverford Investments, said that the markets took a step down in early trading when the index report was released, but that the figure was not unexpected considering recent bad economic data and some of the developments in financial markets.

Speaking about the market on Friday, he said: “Everyone is suffering from volatility fatigue.”

“We are stuck in a trading range until we have a credible backstop in Europe,” he said. “The market is extremely cheap but there is a lack of confidence in forward earnings estimates.”American stocks picked up the pace from Europe, where markets got a lift from the imposition of temporary bans on negative bets against financial stocks in four countries. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of euro zone blue chips was up more than 4 percent, and the FTSE 100 index in London was up 3.04 percent. The CAC 40 index in Paris was also up 4.02 percent, and the DAX in Frankfurt was up 3.45 percent. Asian stocks had a lackluster trading day.

Bans on so-called short-selling of bank shares took effect in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium Friday, giving some relief to pressured bank shares. France, Italy and Spain said the bans would be in effect for 15 days, while Belgium did not set an expiration date. The Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index was up 2.8 percent in afternoon trading.

Germany said it supported the move by its neighbors and would push for other countries to adopt its own ban on so-called naked short-selling, which involves selling securities without having the underlying assets, in the hope of buying them back at a lower price.

“We are advocating a wide-reaching ban on naked short-selling of stocks, sovereign bonds, and credit default swaps,” a German Finance Ministry spokesman, Martin Kotthaus, told Reuters in Berlin. “Only this way can destructive speculation be countered convincingly.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/13/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss