Marketing Newsbytes: January 31, 2013


They Shopped and Retail Dropped

What is it? Blaming DC pols for poising consumers on the fiscal cliff and dulling holiday sales, the National Retail Federation predicts a meager 3.4% increase for retail sales in 2013, nearly a point off the 4.2% it had forecast for 2012 a year ago. It looks for a 9% to 12% rise in online sales, however. 

WIIFM? A consumer base with flagging confidence. The NRF looks for shoppers’ spirits to revive halfway through the year, but notes that they’re currently in the doldrums over modest income growth plus increased payroll taxes. 

Who’s talking? “While it’s too early to know the full effect of higher payroll taxes, there’s no question that many consumers will feel some kind of impact from the change in their paychecks,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

The Price of Lax Security

What is it? The Federal Trade Commission rules that Cbr Systems must establish an information security program and submit to audits every other year for the next 20 years. The provider of umbilical cord blood to the health care industry exposed Social Security and credit card numbers of nearly 300,000 consumers. 

WIIFM? The FTC is giving fair warning to marketers on maintaining privacy standards:  If you don’t do it, the agency will take pains to make sure you do. 

Who’s talking? “The FTC can and will take action to make sure that companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers,”  says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.  

Spending It as Fast as They Make It

What is it? A mere day after announcing a rise to $610 million in 2012 revenues based on double-digit sales growth, customer service provider Genesys announced its acquisition of UTOPY.

WIIFM? Current Genesys customers gain access to UTOPY’s speech and text analytics capabilities, which Genesys plans to offer in its new workforce optimization suite.

Who’s talking? “The combined power of UTOPY with Genesys’ interaction routing enables companies to accurately and efficiently identify customer issues and take immediate action to resolve them,” says Genesys President and CEO Paul Segre.


Hidden Codes

What is it? An invisible QR code from Visualead created by an image processing tool that merges it within any creative.

WIIFM? Direct marketers can forge a link to customers without having to muck up their color visuals with black-and-white digital tags.

 Who’s talking? The tool makes QR codes “completely unobtrusive and less disruptive to the design, to the point that they disappear behind images,” says CEO Nevo Alva.

Putting a Price on Perception

What is it? Online brand community manager Vision Critical teams with MicroStrategy on a Brand Equity Relationship Assessment platform that links consumer perceptions to drivers such as product design, pricing, and service. 

WIIFM? A way to use consumer input to calculate the financial implications and marketplace risks of new products, marketing concepts, and communications programs.

Who’s talking? “It was client enthusiasm at our recent summits that led to the launch of a solution that allows clients to connect their ongoing customer conversations to the current and future economic value of their brands,” says Vision Critical Group CEO Scott Miller.

Marketing Suite Sweetened

What is it? Vocus adds to its Marketing Suite of cloud software with options for social media and publicity monitoring, lead generation, and email marketing.

WIIFM? More branding and lead generation opportunities to attract and engage customers is the promise.  

Who’s talking? “The new Vocus Marketing Suite takes diverse marketing disciplines—social, publicity, search and email—and unifies them,” says SVP You Mon Tsang. 


Who it is: Beth Collins Ellard, named EVP of media at the Ad Council, the nonprofit producer of PSA campaigns.

What’s her role: She’ll work to secure donated media support and create partnerships with media and corporate sponsors.

Where was she prior: Ellard was most recently EVP and General Manager of DailyCandy, a women’s lifestyle digital property owned by NBCUniversal.

Why was she appointed: “In an effort to ensure continued success in the evolving media environment and place our campaigns strategically within the ever-expanding digital sphere, we sought out a seasoned executive to lead our talented media team,” says President and CEO Peggy Conlon.


Who it is: Sarita Bhatt, promoted to director of global strategy at Havas Worldwide.

What’s her role: She’ll work with the network’s global clients on strategic and creative solutions, focusing on the challenges of digital and social marketing.

Where was she prior: Bhatt was previously managing director of social platforms at Havas New York.

Why was she appointed: “Sarita’s appointment to the new director of global strategy role underscores our commitment to a digital-at-the-core strategy,” says CEO David Jones.


Who it is: Assaf Alster, named VP of operations at Medialets, an ad platform for mobile devices.

What’s his role: In this new position at the company, Alster is charged with optimizing processes to support Medialets’ ad serving technology.

Where was he prior: Alster formerly headed rich media services at Visible Measures and Google.

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