A quick update

Hello all,

I trust this email finds you well.  I have made a personal commitment to stay better connected to my friends and colleges (whom I don't get to see face to face enough).  To further that goal, what follows is a brief update on what I'm up to personally and professionally.

Insights and Reflections
The recent crisis in the financial markets has us all talking, worrying, and generally confused about what it all means.  I know some people on this list have been directly affected by it... working for great companies that simply are no more.  For those of us lucky enough to still be working, we're spending a lot of time thinking about the near term, our pipelines (or potentially a lack there of), and what it means for the futures of our endeavors.  History tells that during times like these, opportunity abounds... but it requires bold moves.

At the very height of the Great Depression (1930-33) hardly any businesses did really well, and success was relative.

As usual in such circumstances it was the 'new' industries that tended to do best, in particular:

  • Movies. Almost every town of any size saw the opening of new and bigger cinemas. 'Talkies' added to the popularity of the cinema.
  • Radio. In the 1930s radio became widely available to better paid workers.
  • Mass produced automobiles. (Not really a new industry, but a 'young' industry).
  • Electrical industries. During the 1930s most houses that weren't yet on mains electricity were connected. A huge range of companies did well as a result - ranging from the manufacturers of cables and light switches to those producing electric carpet sweepers and so on.
  • At the luxury end of the market, air travel did well - but it was still generally expensive and only for the few.
  • The very low interest rates encouraged house building, especially when it was clear that prices had stopped falling.
  • In Europe, Germany and then Britain spent huge sum on rearmament from about 1934 onwards.
I fully expect companies with cash on the balance sheets to make bold moves.  Companies like Microsoft have the opportunity to reinvent themselves.

These are exciting times for Acxiom.  We are assembling a robust set of marketing technologies that will help marketers increase their customer intimacy and customer trust by leveraging the underlying science of marketing.  I am heading up the Global Scientific Marketing Consulting Practice.  Currently we are doing some great work pioneering how marketers integrate marketing channels and manage the business transformation from product centricity to customer centricity.  In addition we are building out a Media Performance Normative database that will help organizations assess how their campaigns are performing against the market and against their vertical markets on key metrics like cost per unit of media spend, historical response rates, conversion rates, and cost per acquisition.

Life is good.  James turned two in April and he and I just went camping and fishing.  We caught two fish and lost three lures.  Suzie and I expect our second baby in January who we affectionately call Scissors for now.  We are not going to find out the sex... one of life's few remaining surprises!  Let's hope the baby is on time as it is due one week before I start class at M.I.T.  I have been accepted the the Entrepreneurship Development Program at M.I.T. Sloan.  It is the first class of a professional certificate program.

The November 4th election will mark one year to the day that my brother was killed in Iraq.  Let's hope that this election and the next year brings better times for all.

I'm on Twitter and post updates as I travel to different cities.  Keep and eye out and let's get together for coffee or lunch.

I have some new contact information:

phone: 501-255-0123

Talk soon,


J. Patrick Bewley