PROFILE

John McIndoe

Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, IRI

As senior vice president of marketing, John McIndoe is responsible for IRI’s marketing efforts, including corporate branding, communications strategy, thought leadership, events, media and analyst relations and marketing communications supporting the company’s ongoing transformation, innovation and growth initiatives.

McIndoe possesses more than 15 years of experience in achieving superior marketing results. He joined IRI to lead the company’s U.S.-based communications efforts and was later promoted to vice president of global media and analyst relations, and was then elevated to global vice president of corporate marketing.

Before joining IRI, McIndoe was with InstallShield Software Corporation, a leading enterprise software firm, where he helped the company transition from a world-renowned tools provider to that of a recognized enterprise-class software solutions company. Earlier in his career, he led communications and Internet development for FARGO Electronics, a Minnesota-based developer of specialized computer hardware equipment. At FARGO, he was part of the team that led the business expansion into the consumer space and launched the industry’s first digital color photo printer line, which created an entirely new space of printing. Prior to FARGO, he held marketing and communications positions in the high-tech agency sector with Ruder Finn, Inc. and Parallax Technology, Chicago-based public relations and integrated marketing firms, respectively. He worked with such clients as ACI, Ameritech, CCH (Wolters Kluwer), Challenger Gray & Christmas, Comdisco, Paul Stuart and Stouffer Foods (Nestle).

McIndoe earned his bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in business and marketing from Bradley University and is a member of the Marketing Executive’s Networking Group (MENG), the Business Marketing Association and Executives’ Club of Chicago.

As Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, John McIndoe is responsible for IRI’s corporate brand, corporate communications, and integrated marketing efforts. He drives the company’s corporate positioning, branding and identity, marketing campaigns, public relations, social media and field marketing programs to ensure strong connections with customers and constituents. As champion of IRI’s brand to employees and the community, he also oversees IRI’s internal communications and industry relations efforts. McIndoe possesses more than 20 years of experience in achieving superior marketing results. He joined IRI to lead the company’s U.S.-based communications efforts and was later promoted to vice president of global media and analyst relations, and was then elevated to global vice president of corporate marketing. Prior to being named chief marketing officer, he was senior vice president of marketing. Before joining IRI, McIndoe was with InstallShield Software Corporation, a leading enterprise software firm, where he helped the company transition from a world-renowned tools provider to that of a recognized enterprise-class software solutions company. Earlier in his career, he led communications and media development for Fargo Electronics, a Minnesota-based developer of specialized computer hardware equipment. During that time, he was part of the team that led the business expansion into the consumer space and launched the industry’s first digital color photo printer line, which created an entirely new space of printing. Prior to Fargo, he held senior marketing and communications positions in the high-tech agency sector with Ruder Finn, Inc. and Parallax Technology Group, Chicago-based public relations and integrated marketing firms, respectively. He worked with such clients as ACI, Ameritech, Wolters Kluwer, Challenger Gray & Christmas, Comdisco, Paul Stuart and Nestlé. McIndoe earned his bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in business and marketing from Bradley University and is a member of The CMO Club, the Marketing Executive’s Networking Group (MENG), the Business Marketing Association and Executives’ Club of Chicago.
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  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    Private label foods need work

    Growth in private label growth is outpacing national brands in many categories and among many shopper groups. A majority of consumers state their financial health is good, but fears of a recession are eroding their confidence. More than 99% of consumers buy private label today and millennials increased their spending by 10% in 2019 over 2018. That said, this shopper group is moving into higher income brackets, so retailers will need to adjust the value, quality and innovation of their offerings to keep these shoppers loyal. In addition, there is room for improvement in the packaging of private label products, and addressing this will create new opportunities for growth. More details are available in IRI’s new Q3 Consumer Connect report, released in early November.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    Slotting fees are and will continue to be part of the manufacturer-retailer relationship. However, it’s shoppers that control the purchase experience today and if they don’t see the products they want on the shelf – whether from a large brand or smaller one – they will go elsewhere, whether it’s to buy the brand online or directly from the manufacturer. As with so much of the CPG experience, manufacturers and retailers must continuously update their understanding of shopper wants and needs, and in this age of multi-channel competition, work hard to meet these needs, or someone else will.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will shoppers thank heaven for mobile checkout at 7-Eleven?

    Given that 80 percent of convenience stores also sell gas, most consumers want to gas up, buy a snack and be on their way. Mobile checkout makes that quick and easy. Mobile checkout offers three other benefits to convenience stores (or any other type of retail): Retailers can communicate with shoppers through the mobile app they must download to make mobile checkout work, it frees up valuable floor space for additional aisles and displays, and it enables employees to focus on helping shoppers or maintaining the space. All of that said, it will be important to test mobile checkout for acceptance among their shoppers. It is possible there will be resistance, perhaps from shoppers who are less comfortable or unable to use apps.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Is technology really making stores more like the web?

    In CPG, it’s less about trying to make the online experience more like the in-store experience or vice versa. It’s more about redefining the role of each in the overall strategy to engage with shoppers with the goal of spurring growth, market share and shopper loyalty. Yes, there are certainly more digital displays coming to stores and technologies that recognize the shopper and push offers based on past purchases. But the real goal is to integrate the online and in-store experience to create the optimal shopping experience. This integration may look different in different regions of the country or even in different store clusters within a region. I believe that is and should be the focus of retailers trying to engage more deeply with their shoppers.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    Are store robots cute, creepy – or nearly useless?

    There is a lot to like about the Marty project. I like that it has started out with a limited scope to gain insights as to what performance characteristics of Marty work and which need rethinking. I like that there is an expansion plan in place to increase Marty’s role to include important activities such as planogram compliance and out of stocks. And, I like the attempt at innovation. Will Marty pencil out over the long term? That’s hard to say, but if this iteration of Marty does not, I’m confident a future innovation will.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2019

    When does marketing cross an ethical line?

    Unlike so much of marketing for consumer products, the answer to this question is relatively straightforward. Would marketers want their spouses, parents, children, pets and other relevant audiences to use a product based on the information they are disseminating versus the information they know about the product? If the answer is no, but they continue to market the product, then their practices are unethical and they are unethical marketers.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2019

    What companies need to know before using AI

    Most retailers are proceeding cautiously with the testing and deployment advanced of AI along with machine learning (ML), as they should. Stephen Hawking summed up the power of AI with his comment, “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last.” The good news is there are high-quality AI/ML solutions available that are both powerful and easy to deploy. To maximize the impact of these solutions, retailers should ensure they are working with superior quality data sets and creating the ability to rapidly and effectively act on the insights the analytics generate. Effective preparation will go a long way to ensuring retailers are able to address AI-related questions.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2019

    Retailers still haven’t solved last mile challenges for fresh foods

    Our friends in the telecommunications sector went through a similar “last mile” issue about 10 years ago, as fiber optic cable became a viable upgrade to copper wire. However, carriers quickly learned that the cost of extending fiber to rural areas and even “to the home” in suburban areas was punishingly expensive. Food and beverage retailers attempting to deliver fresh have added challenges: the consumer must be on premise or the food quickly spoils, the configuration of multi-unit buildings complicates delivery, and only a small percentage of shoppers are willing to pay for home delivery – to name just three. Solutions for the future will require new levels of innovation or technologies not yet on the market, such as Walmart’s testing of a self-driving car shuttle service that brings online shoppers to pick up grocery orders.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2019

    Kellogg pilots virtual reality merchandising solution

    VR and eye-tracking are just one of the arsenal of new technologies available to help brands and retailers better understand shopper behavior. That said, I believe VR and eye-tracking are better indicators of top-of-funnel introduction and awareness, versus bottom-of-the funnel closing a sale. When viewed in that content, marketers should continue to explore it further.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2019

    Will the ‘c’ in c-stores soon stand for cannabis?

    I have a somewhat different prediction from many in this group. I expect retailers will be quite slow to adopt cannabis and related products for some time, for three reasons. First, regulations in each state are evolving and while that continues, cannabis will not earn sufficient margins for retailers to make it worthwhile to continuously adapt to changing rules. Next, there are and will be issues with how to conduct banking activities. Banks are managed by the federal government and cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Finally, in a strange twist, the illegal supply for cannabis is much better developed than the legal one. That, combined with the fact that taxes on cannabis sales can make legal cannabis twice as expensive as illegal cannabis, means that it is very easy for people to purchase cannabis on the street corner as they did when it was illegal for much less than through legal channels.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2018

    Will Dollar General’s DGX concept be a hit with urban Millennials?

    With smaller footprint stores, DGX will have to remain acutely focused on optimizing assortments and store layouts. “Optimizing” doesn’t necessarily mean stocking only high-margin products, but analyzing different shopper cohorts’ baskets. If a shopper has to make an extra trip to another store because DGX doesn’t carry his favorite detergent brand, that shopper might very well go elsewhere. And, DGX must remember that two stores close to each other may serve very different shoppers. They will need to organize store clusters based on similarity of shoppers’ needs, not geographic proximity. These are tall orders, but are two of the secrets to success.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2018

    Will displaying produce by season set a new grocery concept apart from rivals?

    Any experimentation in how retailers display vegetables can provide valuable insights as to what different shopper groups favor, which has the potential to boost revenue and market share. Personally, I have been sometimes baffled by the location of different vegetables at my local markets. Why are the purple carrots next to the purple turnips – because they’re both purple? And how did carrots get to be purple anyway? Adjusting the layout of vegetables is a valuable exercise. In some areas, creating a section of locally-produced vegetables will generate interest, in other areas, organizing a section of “good value” vegetables may spur greater sales. In other areas still, perhaps a “non-GMO” section will curry favor with shoppers.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    Perhaps more than any other CPG retail environment, convenience store management teams have the opportunity to ask and answer the question of what business are they really in. Younger consumers more focused on “good for me” snacking are less likely to reach for the chips and candy prominently displayed in convenience stores today and more likely to look for fresh fruit and kombucha. Electric cars with longer charge times than traditional cars create the opportunity to shift from QSR to fast casual environments. Whether consumers will give convenience stores “brand permission” to offer expanded service is one of the many debates that will take place. It is positive to see Choice Market experimenting with new formats and strategies.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2018

    Are big box retailers going too small with new store concepts?

    I see three related and significant challenges when big box retailers open small format stores. First, the retailer must understand in forensic detail the needs of the shopper and continuously monitor how those needs evolve. This is not just what products they want, but information such as what type of trip do they plan to complete. Is it a "fill in" or a "stock up," for example. Second, they must get the assortments right to satisfy these shoppers. Getting it "right" doesn't necessarily mean stocking the shelves with the highest margin products; indeed, if shoppers can't complete their trip missions with everything they need and must head to another store, they will likely not put up with that very long. Finally, retailers must get the technology right, whether it's Click and Collect, enabling shoppers to order items not on the shelf from their apps in store, or an AmazonGo check out concept. There are many other challenges, of course, but I believe these are the three most significant ones.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2018

    Grab and go and yadda-yadda

    I think that many retailers are hesitating to offer grab and go style foods due to this fact alone – it’s very difficult to anticipate what needs to be prepared and when. There’s a lot of planning that needs to go on when it comes to prepared food stations. What are we going to offer? What days/times will we offer that food? How much time do we need to prepare that food? And so on. However, there are ways to combat these daunting questions. One would be providing shoppers with a fixed menu. Over the first few weeks of those offerings, retailers should have a good idea of which items are more popular and which they can cut back on producing. Another would be to have a whole team dedicated to the prepared food section, where they not only plan and organize the offerings, but also actually cook or prepare the food. As extra time in our day seems to shrink more and more, the desire for prepared foods will only increase. Those retailers that implement these grab and go options, and do them right, will have a leg up on their competition.

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