Executive on marketing, research

Last Wednesday, Rick Ruffolo joined visited Suffolk University to present “Using Marketing Research to Create Winning Products and Brands” as part of Suffolk’s speaker series. Ruffolo is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of experience providing growth and profit for top consumer brands at leading specialty retail and consumer goods companies.


Ruffolo is an expert on the essential elements of creating and optimizing innovation strategy and process to successfully launch brands. He was invited to Suffolk to share his marketing, marketing research, products and branding.


“All great marketing either leads to a program that fails or one that does really well,” he explained. “Marketing doesn’t do just average stuff, its either going to work or its not going to work. You’re going to return the investment you put into marketing or you’re not.”


Ruffolo opened his presentation mentioning how he was appreciative to have the opportunity to arrive early and visit the city. “It was nice to walk around and enjoy the city of Boston without my kids trailing behind me,” he joked. He also mentioned the excitement of having lunch and an ice cream sundae.


“Marketing is everywhere. You came to this speaker series, some how or another it was marketing that brought you here,” said Ruffolo.


Ruffolo continued his lecture with a slide show presentation bringing Suffolk students and staff along his journey through schooling and work experience. He talked about his career start in brand management while working for Procter & Gamble, being assigned the product Metamucil. Ruffolo has also worked with Crest toothpaste and Wonder Bread, along with senior brand director roles at SC Johnson Wax, Ralston Purina, Bath & Body Works, and most recently working with Yankee Candle.


“I Left Yankee Candle in February 2010 to begin consulting for marketing and special retail. Three or four weeks into it, sometime in March, I met with the folks from Crabtree in Woodstock, Connecticut and they had just come out of chapter 11 so they were looking for some help, and they asked me to come on board full time,” he explained. “So I ended up working and consulting for them for about 12 months and; I left in January and am now consulting again.”


Crabtree & Evelyn is an American retailer of skin care and home products, selling wholesale to places like Target, Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, along with gaining customers from their online web store. Ruffolo is the holder of several US patents, and has more than a decade of experience as an executive officer at Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle.


Ruffolo presented his journey through the world of marketing and branding, closing with a few inspirational messages and scented air fresheners from Yankee Candle for attendees to take home.


It doesn’t matter what your brand is, you always have a good opportunity to learn how to market,” he said.