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Innovation from Consumer Insights: How my career found me

By Jim Alexander

I was fascinated by media competition in high school, always watching, listening, reading and wondering why TV and radio programs ranked as they did.  My passion for rating victories and how to use insights based strategies started when I chose a successful mentor.  In high school I watched as Fred Jacobs was twice tapped as an executive at a major-market radio station WRIF and both times watched the station rocket back to first place in ratings, once as the head of research and then as the programming chief.  In each case it was programming, talent, promotions and branding innovation and strategy that made the difference.   I sought out and met Fred who taught me the art of using consumer insights to lead these areas.

I later became a leader and expert in the discipline of research, leveraging the optimal and most innovative tools and sources to uncover insights.  I always feel more comfortable going above and beyound to pose new hypothesis, ask more questions, and propose new alternatives.  My forte is in continuously defining, redefining and articulating the yet to be found opportunity or ways to leverage challenges in order to generate revenue, more viewing, product purchase or adoption.

Developing strategy is one of my most enjoyable and valuable contributions.  I’ve developed an ability (intuition, vision) to see opportunity in the changing world consumers live in.   I help develop winning strategies proactively; and I clearly articulate objective, actionable insights.  Two key tool in doing this are audience measurement and marketing research.  The HLN SportsTicker idea came at a time when there were no news tickers on TV. It is an example successful strategy that occured to me by observing consumer behavior, understanding needs, and applying it to a couple of newly developed technologies.  I have been blessed that my passion and forte are greatly valued by executives who enjoy working with me.

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