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Nielsen VP touts research value to business owners

econ-deve-forumCheryl Pearson-McNeil, Nielsen's senior vice president for Communications, can be a reference or a resource in just about any conversation that involves trends.

With more than 21 years of public relations, communications and writing experience, Pearson-McNeil's background includes advertising, television, public affairs, the non-profit sector and government. In a world where most everything can be measured by television time, time spent online and what we buy, she is an information treasure.

There are more than 200 million television viewers. Today those viewers have a greater opportunity to be entertained. There are more than 100 options to choose from in terms of television channels.There are many more ways we can actually get those channels: online, NetFlix, YouTube and more. In all we spend nearly 80 hours a week watching television in any given household.

Those are just a few of the statistics Pearson-McNeil has readily available to share. Nielsen provides this type of research and more.

Cheryl-p-mPearson-McNeil was the luncheon speaker Wednesday at the 2012 Economic Development Forum hosted by the Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. The three-day affair was a bonanza for "minority" businesses eager for growth opportunities.

Pearson-McNeil, whose National Newspaper Publishing Association columns appear in The New Tri-State Defender, explained why small businesses need the research she often has at her fingertips, how the research helps and where to find it. Nielsen's consumer research helps small business owners know the trends that affect their industries and helps them know who to market to in a changing world, she said.

One of the biggest challenges is that a lot of minority businesses are not using the data that does exist, said Pearson-McNeil.

"I don't think they know that it's available to them or where to get it. I think if they had access to it they would take it on," she said. "That's why we did the State of the African American Consumer Report so that everyday consumers and business owners would have access to it."

Business owners who have such research at their disposal are more prepared to be competitive, Pearson-McNeil said.

Fear, she said, often hinders minority businesses from growing and also hinders corporations from embracing diversity.

(Download the State of the African American Consumer Report at www.nielsens.com.)

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