ARF plans for interactive future with new leader

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The Advertising Research Foundation, under new President James Spaeth, plans to move deeper into interactive marketing.

"We are just now entering a new era in which the marketing paradigm is going to change," said Mr. Spaeth, formerly exec VP-ventures at ASI Market Research, responsible for ASI's interactive media research services.

"Interactive media can offer as significant changes as television did. There's a need for research in these early pioneering stages. Basic landmark learning has got to take place," said the 47-year-old executive, who on Oct. 1 succeeds longtime President Michael J. Naples. Mr. Naples will continue as a consultant.

Mr. Spaeth said ARF, an organization of market researchers that includes advertisers, agencies, media and research companies, also will explore effectiveness measurement of branding.

"We can measure short-term sales effects, like promotions, marketing with coupons and dropping prices. But we don't have very good long-term measures. In terms of branding, it's much harder to put the effects on paper," he said.

Mr. Spaeth also said he will push to protect the quality of research.

"We live in high-pressure times, but sometimes you just can't do the research for less because clients have pressure on them," he said. "By trying to drive the cost down, it will also drive down the value of the product."

Copyright August 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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