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Interviewing The New ARF President: Changing Media Habits & Rules For Brand Building



By Joel Rubinson

On June 10th and 11th, The ARF will hold its Audience Measurement conference in NYC. It is a “don’t miss” event. New media behaviors, such as the degree to which people can pull information at point of purchase from their smart phones, are irreversible but they are just the first wave of sea changes that marketers and media companies will face.

I have arranged with my former ARF colleagues to offer a discount for this event to my readers.  Go to and use the promo code JOEL.

To fully grasp the Sea Change that we are facing and why this event is so critical, I interviewed Gayle Fuguitt, new President of the ARF.

Joel: How do you hope this conference will change attendees’ thinking about media and about brand building?

Gayle:  We’ll address the biggest challenges facing our member companies today:   How to grow, How to allocate resources, How to course correct in real time, and how to get ahead of the curve… Attendees will go home ready to be smarter, faster, and mobilize mobile, social, cross platform, big data and the researcher of the future.

Joel:  What are the biggest gaps, the biggest unknowns about changing media behaviors that advertisers and media companies need to get a handle on?

Gayle: The biggest gaps we see are: enhancing marketing mix,   connecting disparate data  for quick insights to drive better decisions, new measurement solutions for new media,  cross platform learning. The biggest gaps facing us today are:

1. The growth gap:   We need to face our CEO’s and deliver insights, drive growth, experiment to learn and then scale, vs. trying to create perfect measurement systems. The world is changing so quickly that our perfect systems will be obsolete by the time we finish them.

2. The simplicity gap:   we have a great opportunity to simplify as insight leaders and to synthesize data into keen insights for decision timed impact

3. The leadership gap:  this conference will provide experiential learning, peer networking, access to mentors and thought leaders, and plenty of interactive opportunity

Joel: How would you advise marketers to go about creating a plan for how fast they should move into digital and how they should do it…paid digital, social, mobile, etc.

Gayle: Marketer and insight-ers should just get out there and try things in an experimental mode, that’s what we’re doing at the conference…we’re having a mobile meet-up for the first time with our Young Pros, we’re having table top interactives on Day 1 about pressing topics of today:  including mobile , social, and  big data. We’re closing with “research unplugged” and offering a “concierge service” to customize conference tracks to attendee business questions.


Editor’s Note: We’re honored that Gayle will be speaking at IIeX as well and that Joel will be blogging from the event too. Don’t miss out!

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4 responses to “Interviewing The New ARF President: Changing Media Habits & Rules For Brand Building

  1. Is this another one of those “disruptive” blogs that turn out to be .. well, just like marketing has always been, evolving with new media. Maybe I missed the “sea change” part? Honestly you guys need to find a new theme. This one has been beaten to submission. Try “Nothing Really New After All”, or “Big Data, Big Nothing”, or “Old Hands Same Old” or .. well I think you get the point.

    1. Ah Chris, I am glad your business seems to be “future proof”; unfortunately the vast majority of others in this space are NOT in that position and they are feeling it keenly, and will only feel it more over the next 2-3 years as MR is disrupted by the 4 Horseman of Tech, Culture, Client Need & Price. We’ll stop beating the horse when the industry reaches the finish line of transforming itself for success in the future.

  2. Well we ain’t seen a lot of disruption yet. All I keep hearing is how disappointing are the results. I am yet to see any industry support for mobile advertising as a successful vehicle. P&G and Coke have given it a good shot and the results have been disappointing. We are already seeing signs of declining participation in mainstream social media and growing concerns about sharing location data. The whole social media thing is no more than TV was a disrupter – and look where that is now. Market Research adapts and uses what is valuable and ultimately what delivers validity. It has always been that way and always will. The barriers to entry in this whole sphere are so minimal that hardly anyone needs to feel left behind. You can buy very sophisticated big data analytical tools online for a small sum, so where is the sea change that is going to threaten MR and put a whole lot of us out of business? Culture? Client needs and Price? It always has been these factors that drive methodology, so what is new there?

    1. As you said @Chris, the barriers to entry are low so many new companies are entering the fray and client budgets are shifting to them. Look at IIeX; that agenda and the types of companies on there (especially new ones) is reflective of client requests. I spoke this morning with one of the largest MR suppliers in the world trying to recruit me for a global board role tasked with migrating their business to digital. Another of the largest providers in the world is losing business left and right due to their failure to innovate sooner. Nielsen is facing massive disruption in their core business due to many new technology applications. The sea has changed; just because you are not seeing it and/or because it’s still in flux as folks figure out how to navigate it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. That said, you bring up a great point and that is that we can’t lose sight of validity and rigor and that we have adapted before. I am confident that we’ll adapt this time as well.

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