Longtime P&G Digital Guru Joins ARF in Newly Created Role

Ted McConnell Known for 'Engagement' Drive, Outspoken Views on Social-Media Marketing

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Ted McConnell, the often outspoken general manager-interactive marketing and innovation of Procter & Gamble Co., is joining the Advertising Research Foundation in the newly created post of exec VP-digital.

Ted McConnell
Ted McConnell
Mr. McConnell, who's retiring from P&G after 32 years effective Sept. 30, will next month lead a new ARF program to identify new measurement initiatives to support and validate digital marketing, the organization said in a release. Mr. McConnell has spent the past 15 years working on digital innovation at P&G, spanning essentially the entire era since the web browser emerged.

"This is nothing short of a coup for the ARF," CEO Bob Barocci said in a statement. He said Mr. McConnell was a cornerstone of the industry's unfinished effort to create an engagement metric. "We now have a tremendous opportunity to tap into his world-class thinking and leadership on a more sustained basis."

Mr. McConnell was co-author of an industry manifesto on measurement titled "Blueprint for Holistic Measurement."

"Measurement drives digital marketing," Mr. McConnell said in a statement. "But measurement should endeavor to correlate the quality of attention, and the quality of context -- not just impressions. We also need to examine the balance between standards and proprietary methods and data if we are going for breakthrough, and I think we need to find ways to integrate behavioral segments and 'sense and respond' loops into broader planning approaches."

Of course, Mr. McConnell has also been known for engaging and provocative speeches, including a talk at Cincinnati's Digital Non-Conference in November 2008 in which he questioned the usefulness of Facebook and other social media for big marketers like P&G.

It was a time, of course, before P&G and most other big packaged-goods marketers had widely embraced marketing on Facebook and other social media, and before much of P&G's consumer base had joined the network. With several brand fan pages now drawing "likes" from hundreds of thousands or millions of people, many P&G and other CPG brands now have more "likers" on Facebook than monthly visits to their brand websites.

Those Facebook pages are taking on added duties, including e-commerce, with P&G's Pampers having recently added a "Shop Now" tab to its page, fulfilled through Amazon.com.

Mr. McConnell's appointment follows the appointment of IBM's former top researcher, Todd Powers, as chief research officer earlier this month after his predecessor, Joel Rubinson, left to launch a consulting practice.

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