Yankelovich Inc.

Straight Talk: J. Walker Smith—Consumer Whisperer
July 1, 2004

With Paul Barbagallo Described by Fortune magazine as one of America's leading marketing analysts, J. Walker Smith, Ph.D., president of branding and marketing consultancy Yankelovich, has built a career on tapping into the complex mind-set of consumers. At the recent American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) Conference in Miami, Smith presented a new Yankelovich study that indicates consumer skepticism is at an all-time high. He now pauses to reflect on the study, the adverse effects of spam, and the desperate need for campaign relevance and precision. PB: In your estimation, is the current resistance from consumers more related to privacy issues or the growing

The Smarts of the Next Generation
January 1, 2004

Today's College Student Sports a New Face and More Power By J. Walker Smith Today's 15 million undergraduates are nothing like the generations before them. Not that young people have ever been just like their parents, but the differences today are more profound—three differences in particular: a self-inventive sense of empowerment; a culture and demography of multiracialism and multiethnicity; and a new position of command and influence in the buying decisions of all consumers. Mainstream marketers can't ignore college students just because they aren't yet on their radar screens as the kind of young and middle-aged householders who have long been the traditional underpinning

Editor's Note: Time for Some Home Improvements
January 1, 2004

By Hallie Mummert One of the most important lessons to come out of the lean times endured by direct marketers in the past two or three years is the need for innovation. Many companies have learned that while there is no substitute for the basic principles of good direct marketing, you also can't keep running the exact same program and expect it to work forever. For one, competition no longer means you versus the handful of companies that provide the same type of product or service to the same market; now, you also compete with all companies in the mind of the customer, who

DNC Registry Fuels Online Market Research
December 1, 2003

By Paul Barbagallo Even though market research firms are exempt from new do-not-call rules, many consumers are still reluctant to participate in phone surveys. Much to the chagrin of the teleservices industry and market research firms, this increasing number of consumer refusals may invalidate research studies that rely on broad and consistent participation. As such, many market researchers are seeking alternative means to compile studies. "The explosive growth of online research is clearly one of the dominant trends in the market research industry," notes J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich. According to the most recent Marketing Research Industry Report, in 2003, more

Response at What Price?
July 1, 2003

By Hallie Mummert Because direct mail offers marketers the ability to conduct tests of new ideas in relative secrecy, it often reflects shifts in marketing trends long before they become mainstream. We're noticing what could be the beginning of a movement away from voucher packages and professional discount offers, which could signal a reluctance on the part of direct marketers to base their selling propositions so heavily on price (see the write-up on the new and amazingly fresh control from People magazine on page 7). After all, prices in the retail sector keep plummeting to entice shoppers into the stores. It seems these days

The Real War is at Home
April 1, 2003

By Hallie Mummert "It's the economy, stupid!" —infamous slogan on a sign in James Carville's office during the Clinton-Gore election campaign of 1992 "It's the offer, stupid!" —a favorite saying of Bob Hacker, founder of direct marketing agency The Hacker Group These two quotes have more in common than their structure: Both were said by colorful characters whose style of getting to the point in a fun but take-no-prisoners way earns them much respect and success. The most important trait they share, though, is that they are highly applicable to the current marketing environment. In a recent teleconference, "In the Event

Seven Key Trends for 2003
February 1, 2003

By J. Walker Smith Last year was a tough year for business. The slump continued on Wall Street. Spotty consumer confidence led to the worst fall retail season in recent memory. Worries worsened about jobs, terrorism, war, and a double-dip recession. And business scandals kept turning up, one after another. What made last year especially hard was that we started the year with high expectations. There were early signs of a possible turnaround and business fundamentals seemed sound. We were winning the war on terrorism. Indeed, by historical standards, it was time for a strong recovery. So, we got our hopes up. But

Motivating Gen Y to Buy: Trickier than It Looks
January 1, 2003

By Melissa Sepos Not reaching the 13- to 25-year-old market? You might be trying too hard. Unlike Generation X, Generation Y seems to be motivated by individuality and lifestyle. American Demographics has aptly described this group's buying habits: "To understand Gen Y's spending priorities, think personal appearance and fun." This group, whose ages span more than 13 years, is difficult to market to. They have been bombarded with marketing on every level. While they pay attention to the message, they also see through the veneer. What is important, marketers and researchers say, is to remove the spin and make your message consistent

Celebrating 25 Years of Change
May 1, 2002

By Alicia Orr Suman Spring 1978. The first issue of ZIP magazine hit the mail. And on the cover of that predecessor to this magazine were the faces of men and women—"Some Leaders in the Direct Marketing Field," stated the headline. The features listed in the Table of Contents of that premier issue (right) have an eerie resemblance to the subjects we now cover 25 years later: • What Is the Future of the Postal Service? • Personal Privacy in an Information Society • Facsimile Machines, For the Office of the Future • Computer Networks: The New Information Robots • Alternate Delivery: Post-Mortem for