Paul Hartley

About Paul Hartley

Paul Hartley is SVP, managing director of the Consumer & Retail Research, Technology and Telecommunications Research divisions at Market Strategies. He has more than 20 years of experience in the global tech and telecom sectors, with the last decade focused on the US market, where he has led large research projects with clients such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Google, Intel, Sprint, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, Cisco, Oracle and IBM. Over the course of his career, Paul has built up deep subject matter expertise in a number of areas, including wireless and wireline telecom, cloud computing, database, mobile development and virtual reality. He is particularly dedicated to ensuring that his team delivers the very highest levels of service to its clients, complete with actionable research insights that allow them to truly ‘move the needle’ when it comes to growing and improving their businesses. Paul lives in Atlanta and teases that his hobby is collecting children--he currently devotes all of his free time to five of them (17, 5, 4, 3, 2).

Nike Takes a Knee

Is Nike’s advertising deal with Colin Kaepernick a genius move or a PR disaster? 

Nike recently marked the 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” campaign by launching new ads featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernick, a move that instantly raised controversy online. Numerous notable sportspeople, such as LeBron James and Serena Williams, joined hundreds of thousands in supporting the advertising and Kaepernick’s broader cause. However, those opposed to Kaepernick and the practice of kneeling during the national anthem at football games reacted strongly as well, with many calling for a boycott of Nike, and some even taking to destroying their Nike gear.

While there is certainly much to debate regarding Kaepernick and his cause, and probably less so regarding the questionable logic of destroying merchandise that Nike has already collected revenue on, this article is not about that. As somebody who oversees millions of dollars of brand market research every year, my curiosity was piqued: Would this prove to be a genius move or PR disaster for the brand strategists at Nike? And so to answer this burning question, the consumer & retail research division of Market Strategies International went into field to survey public opinion.

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Measuring Sponsorship Value in a Changing Digital Landscape

It’s been three-plus years since I wrote an article on measuring the value of sponsorships, and to this day I still get regular emails and calls about it. Years ago I worked for a large, global CPG company that plowed tens of millions of dollars into high-profile sports sponsorships. While there, I developed a unique interest in the often-ignored measurement of ROI from these sponsorships. Whether it’s due to a lack of research funding because all available dollars were funneled into the campaign, or to potentially protect a pet project of an executive, the area of sponsorships is still often overlooked when organizations measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

The waters of sports sponsorship value are getting even muddier thanks to the changing digital landscape and the ways consumers are choosing, or not choosing, to view media. In 2018, one of the questions our clients most often ask is, “What is the future of sports sponsorships and where should we be spending our money over the next five to ten years?” Telecom providers, some of the largest sports sponsors, are particularly aware that the world is shifting from traditional television to web- and app-based media offerings. What does this shift mean as they look to position their brands in front of fans?

To get a better understanding of the value of sports sponsorship, the telecom research division of Market Strategies conducted an omnibus study of 2,000 consumers in the US. The study explored awareness of digital and stadium sports sponsorships and the impact they have on brand. Continue reading

Blue Apron’s Challenges Are Bigger Than Amazon

Market Strategies releases new data as the battle over meal kits intensifies   

Blue Apron (APRN) is having a really tough 2017. Just as the meal-kit delivery company went public at the end of June, Amazon (AMZN) announced its acquisition of Whole Foods, and the immediate threat of a new, much larger competitor to the Blue Apron brand emerged. Blue Apron slashed its planned issue price from $15 to $10, and as the drip-drip of Amazon/Whole Foods news continued into the fall, investors have fled and the company current trades at barely 50% of its issue price. Not surprisingly, experts are already proclaiming Blue Apron’s IPO as the worst of 2017.

It’s been downhill from there. In August, the company announced that it was cutting over 1,270 jobs at its New Jersey facility, representing nearly a quarter of total staff. And the latest chapter in the Blue Apron saga was a dismal earnings report for the second quarter of 2017, which showed that the company lost $31.6 million and 9% of its customer base. Blue Apron had to adjust its forecasts for the rest of the year, and announced that it would be significantly reducing its marketing spend in the back half of the year, which will have additional impact to the company’s top line growth and put further pressure on its stock price.

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Broken Guitars and Broken Promises

How Customer Service is Being Transformed by the Growth of Mobile Messaging   

The world watched in astonishment a few weeks ago as a video surfaced of a United Airlines passenger being physically dragged from a plane after he refused to give up his seat on an over-booked flight. The airline’s initial response was almost as catastrophic a PR disaster as the actual event, going into detail on the policies and procedures, but showing none of the human compassion that all of us would expect from a brand that purports to care about its customers.

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My Life of Fi

My Recent Experiences with Project Fi from Google

My Life of Fi

As your spring social calendar went from St. Patrick’s Day parties to the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, you might have overlooked another recent celebration in the telecommunications space. Project Fi (“Fi”), a very different wireless service from Google, recently celebrated its first birthday, and quietly went from being an invite-only beta to throwing open its doors to all US wireless subscribers.

Google launched Fi with minimal fanfare in the spring of 2015, positioning it as a new take on the traditional wireless model. Instead of relying on connectivity from cellular towers, smartphones on the Fi service will prioritize any available Wi-Fi connection for their voice and data traffic. Only on the occasions where Wi-Fi signals are weak or unavailable does the Fi service switch seamlessly over to the cellular networks of its partners—T-Mobile and Sprint—and then runs like a traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Google has long known that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours connected to Wi-Fi, and so is cleverly stringing together millions of hotspots as its “network” and only using cellular for a fraction of the average subscriber’s voice and data usage. In doing so, it is able to leverage existing free infrastructure and forego the massive network investments of traditional wireless providers, and subsequently can pass those savings on to its subscribers.

Project FiProject Fi: How it Works

At the heart of Project Fi is the concept of dynamic network selection—the service intelligently connects the subscriber to the best available network at their location, whether it’s Wi-Fi (the majority of the time) or one of either T-Mobile or Sprint’s 4G LTE networks.

Fi offers a single, no-contract plan. It’s $20 for the base service, which includes unlimited calls and text, and then $10 for each 1 GB of data. The novel part is that the subscriber only pays for the data that they actually use. So if you prepay for (say) 3 GB of data, but only end up using 2 GB, Fi refunds you $10 for the unused 1 GB. Similarly, if you have a 1 GB plan but end up using 3 GB after streaming that NBA playoff game, you’ll only get charged $20 for the extra 2 GB. No overage penalties or price escalations.

The plan also has an attractive international component. It includes free international texts, and for those who travel abroad and have been burnt by roaming charges in the past, there is comfort in knowing that the exact same data costs apply in over 120 countries.

The only catch is that Project Fi is currently limited to Google Nexus phones only. They currently sell the Nexus 6P (from Huawei) starting at $499 and the Nexus 5X (from LG) starting at $199.

In theory, it is a brilliant design, but how well does it work? Well, let’s find out.

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Hacking for Good

The day hackers became the ‘good guys’   


Our Technology Research and Telecom Research divisions at Market Strategies have done quite a bit of research into the burgeoning phenomenon of hacking, and a few months ago I penned an article about the dramatic growth of data breaches. In it, the hackers were clearly cast as the ‘bad guys’–the invisible criminals who are gaining illegal access to personal or proprietary data and exploiting it for their own benefit. You don’t need to run a survey to know that the average consumer is strongly against hacking, as none of us relish the prospect of our social security or credit card numbers falling into the hands of a criminal.

So we’re all agreed then. Hacking is bad. Or is it?

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Protecting Your Brand in an Era of Data Breaches

Protecting Your BrandMassive data breaks involving financial and personally identifying information are becoming commonplace, a frightening trend that is earning increased attention from consumers. Given the heightened media scrutiny and corresponding consumer angst: Which organizations do consumers now trust with their data? What do all of these data breaches mean for the health of your brand? We help answer these questions, drawing from our recently-completed study on consumer security perceptions.

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Measuring the Value of Sponsorships

The high impact but oft-forgotten area of brand research

Measuring the Value of SponsorshipsNearly 20 years ago, I worked with a global CPG corporation that owns some of the world’s most well-known liquor brands. In addition to maintaining one of the largest advertising budgets on the planet at the time, the organization also plowed tens of millions of dollars into high-profile sports sponsorships. Yet unlike the advertising spend, which was subjected to intense scrutiny to measure impact and return on investment, the sponsorships ran year after year with little or no measurement of their value or effectiveness.

When I, as a curious little whippersnapper, dared to ask why we only measured one side of the marketing mix, I received only terse replies that included “The brand is tied to the event, so why waste money measuring it when we know we have to do it anyway,” “Don’t be silly, there’s no proper way to measure sponsorships,” and “As long as the chairman can still walk 18 holes at St Andrews, we’ll be sponsoring golf tournaments, regardless.” I recall feeling quite disturbed at what I perceived to be not only a marketing blind spot but a gross oversight in corporate governance. Two decades on, I’m still amazed at how often the area of sponsorships is overlooked when organizations measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.  Continue reading

Gimme 5: What to Expect from 5G Wireless Networks

Rumbles from La Rambla

If you are even remotely associated with the telecom and tech industries, you will know that this is the week of Mobile World Congress (MWC). No time for gazing at Sagrada Familia or long strolls on La Rambla—all attention in Barcelona will be on the latest developments in telecom, with keynotes from some of the biggest names in the industry, plenty of new smartphone launches and perhaps even the opportunity to test the odd smart car or two.

What makes the 2015 event particularly notable is that this is the year that fifth generation (5G) wireless network technology will really gather momentum. Both the Next Generation Mobile Network alliance and the European Commission are revealing the details of their respective 5G white papers, and major equipment manufacturers such as Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE will all be discussing and demonstrating the results of their early forays into 5G. While the first commercial 5G networks are only anticipated to launch shortly before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the next five years will undoubtedly witness a growing frenzy of development and standardization, and that frenzy is kicking off now.

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Rise of the Machines: From Modems to Murder

Rise of the MachinesA few years ago, I was told the story of somebody who had walked out of a shopping mall to find that their car had been stolen. They did what any one of us would have done in that situation: called the police and reported the crime. But they were also inadvertently doing exactly what the criminals wanted—focusing on the ‘stolen’ vehicle, which wasn’t the real crime after all. For what the criminals had done was gotten into the car, fired up the satellite navigation, clicked Home and gone straight to the owner’s residence. Confident that the missing car would detain the owner for at least a few hours, the criminals used the electronic door opener in the vehicle to gain access to the house and ransacked the same for valuables. After all, it is easier to sell ‘hot’ electronics and jewelry than it is a current model SUV. Eventually the owner returned home to find their car parked safely in the driveway but most of their treasured possessions gone.

Despite the crime, I remember being quite astounded at the ingenuity of the criminals, and specifically how they had used a (then) cutting-edge piece of technology to spearhead their nefarious plot. I was equally surprised recently when I read that the Europol, the European policing agency, has published a threat assessment predicting that the first murder via “hacked internet-connected device” is likely to occur before the end of 2014. How is that even possible? Is this just a case of the Europeans getting panicky over nothing, or is there a genuine risk here? And if there is a risk, what does this mean for researchers, especially those of us that work so closely with the world’s leading tech and security firms? Continue reading