Rory Ellender
Rory C. Ellender
Senior Strategist / Vice President, Research
 

 "I've always felt that curious people are restless people, always searching for new and better ways to do things. Every research project presents a unique puzzle, and thereby, an opportunity to look at things in a novel way and ask fresh questions. In the end, I simply enjoy trying to solve the puzzle."

According to Senior Strategist and Vice President, Research Rory Ellender, "most business strategy experts agree that, while there are one-time pivotal decisions, it's decision-making and execution over time that truly accounts for great outcomes. The key to achieving this sort of long-term consistency is having sound strategies based on cogent, up-to-date market intelligence. With this in mind, we have designed a wide-range of innovative research tools to ensure our clients have a comprehensive understanding of the forces at play in their specific markets."

Since joining AR&D in 1999, Rory has conducted over 300 media studies spanning a range of markets, media platforms and clients - including NHK World TV, Retirement Living Television (RLTV), MSNBC, Belo Interactive, and numerous local TV stations. He has done extensive data analysis and strategy development for both mature businesses (e.g. newspapers and broadcast television) and startup companies (e.g. new cable channels as well as Internet sites).  Rory has also applied his education and training to challenges outside of the media industry while working on projects for Garlique®, CareerColleges.com and several local cities and municipalities.

Education and Training

Rory has an extensive academic background that includes two degrees – a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociological Research from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Texas at Dallas.  In addition, he has completed graduate coursework in business strategy through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He began his training in sociological research design and analysis while at the University of Oklahoma. Much of Rory's work during this time focused on the field of Criminology where he studied the relationship between law and society - including law as an independent variable (i.e., as a mechanism for social change) and law as a dependent variable (i.e., how laws are created or changed by social pressure). "At Oklahoma, I spent a good deal of time working with large data sets collected over a number of years. Our goal was to analyze the information for trends and then forecast the impact of those trends on the future. It really was a great precursor to what I do now at AR&D."

Later during his graduate work, Rory applied his research experience to the realm of business strategy. The focus of the work was again predictive modeling. Using statistical techniques such as regression analysis and conjoint analysis, Rory sought to determine which of a number of potential strategies would have the most positive impact on a company's bottom line. AR&D Consultant Bob Kaplitz notes the value of this experience, "His MBA gives Rory keen insight into how stations can improve their ROI from the strategy we develop."

Current Endeavors

Currently, Rory is working with his colleagues Mark Petersen and Jerry Florence to rollout AR&D’s new Cross-Platform Studies of Local Media Consumers.  This innovative research protocol aims to empower local media companies by providing unparalleled insights into modern consumers of news and information – what mix of media (e.g. broadcast, cable, digital TV, newspapers, internet, mobile) are they actively using; what motivates them to actively seek news and information; what are the advantages, from the consumer perspective, of one media platform over another; how can local media companies more effectively engage consumers and capture a greater share of their attention.

Rory is also continuing his academic work through the study of Applied Information Economics (AIE), an emerging field that applies proven and practical scientific and mathematical methods to complex business decisions.  One main tenant of AIE is that measurement is for improving future decisions not for justifying past decisions.

Driven by Curiosity

Rory's passion for research stems largely from his boundless curiosity. "I've always felt that curious people are restless people, always searching for new and better ways to do things. Every research project presents a unique puzzle, and thereby, an opportunity to look at things in a novel way and ask fresh questions. In the end, I simply enjoy trying to solve the puzzle."

Personal

Outside of work, Rory is an avid sports enthusiast. He is a "weekend warrior" in several local leagues and prides himself on never missing an Oklahoma Sooners football game. Rory lives in Plano, Texas with his wife Shonda and their two wonderful children.

You can reach Rory Ellender at rellender@ar-d.com or 214.418.3452.