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Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Attention Researchers! A Quick Interview with Global Leaders by Guest Writer, Ed Sugar.

Monday, October 20th, 2014

This past summer, I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with two extraordinary individuals in today’s market research profession; Kara Mitchelmore, CEO at the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association of Canada and Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR. I thought it would be interesting to share with my fellow stateside researchers just a few of the issues these two leaders are facing as our industry continues to rapidly change and evolve.

Q. What is the one thing that differentiates Market Research in Canada/Europe from the United States?

  • Finn: Well, firstly, Size!! The US is the single largest MR market in the world, and the growth that it recorded in 2013 is the equivalent value of the total Canadian MR market!
    The other element which differentiates us from the US market is our attitude towards Privacy, and the enforcement of regulations relating to it. In the US, Privacy is (primarily) regulated by the FTC, as a kind of consumer right, whereas in Europe it is viewed and regulated as a fundamental human right, and so it is much more likely to be enshrined in law.

  • Kara: Yes, I would agree. The benefit of the FTC approach is that breaches and fines can be more quickly implemented, but the downside is that it will always be based more on interpretation, rather than on a prescriptive law. There is currently a debate going on in the Canadian Government regarding privacy, which could see a shift in how privacy will be regulated in the future.
    That said, the closer alignment between Canada and Europe on these matters, means that there is less misunderstanding of the requirements of the different countries in Europe, and allows us to facilitate our members global operations in a very streamlined way.

    Q: In your opinion, why should anyone join an Association these days?

  • Kara: This is a great question – and one which we (both) struggle with daily!
    Being a part of an association essentially offers members a way to distinguish themselves from others –through the multiple networking opportunities to meet your peers, the professional development opportunities to build your expertise and knowledge, and the adherence to recognized international standards. We need members and the industry at large to understand the importance in belonging to and working with Association members as it shows a commitment to quality and high standards.

  • Finn: Indeed! Bearing in mind that membership is a voluntary choice – and thus the adherence to standards (and the associated disciplinary systems in case of a breach) is also voluntary – is a clear signal to peers on both the supplier and buyer side that you are willing to invest more in your business (and the industry) to provide high quality work. From an ESOMAR perspective, we also try to connect international researchers, facilitate a global exchange of best practices, and with partners such as the MRIA in Canada and others elsewhere, provide a resource for formulating guidelines (be they on emerging methodologies or nascent legislation) that aid clients and agencies alike.

    Q: What is the biggest challenge to your association today?

  • Finn: In a catchphrase: “Future-proofing”….those who are current members, or who have had prior experience or exposure to what we do, know our value – but does the next generation? And are we “fit for purpose” for that next generation? This is true of both client-side and agency-side, and often times, our (extensive) “bite” is considerably less well known than our “bark” – yet it is this very “bite” which demonstrates to our members our association’s wish to enforce the standards we all sign up to, as well as our efforts to ensure those standards are current and topical.

  • Kara: That’s true – Remaining relevant to the industry is key, so that buyers of research recognize and require (insist?!) that their supplier MR professionals have membership, in order to qualify to respond to RFP’s. Membership for them should be an added “value” – an added insurance, if you like – that their supplier company operates to the highest standards, and has willingly invested in his/herself and their company, to demonstrate a true USP.

    • Do you have any questions for Kara or Finn regarding their organizations?
    • Any thought on global market research or the future of our profession?

    I look forward to reading your comments!

  • What Does This Mean to You?

    Monday, August 25th, 2014

    I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago and during an interview, one of the athletes said, “I am taking what I am given and I make the most of it”.

    I really like the way this was said and framed and I’m curious……

    • What does that statement mean to you?
    • Do you think most people follow this principle?

      I look forward to reading your comments!

    Read This Interview For Exciting Advice And Tips From Three Authors

    Monday, March 10th, 2008

    Have you ever thought about writing a book? What’s the process? How much time does it take? I have thought about that a few times and recently a few industry contacts have done that and I thought readers might enjoy getting a little more insight on the process.

    I hope you enjoy getting to know these three authors.

    What was your motivation for writing a book?

    Sherri Thomas (Author of Career Smart — 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand.)

    I’ve had an exciting and enriching career and learned how to successfully transition into the radio, TV, professional sports, finance, and high tech industries, as well as advance up the corporate ladder. But I’ve also had some bumps and bruises along the way. One of the mistakes I made was putting my career in the hands of a manager or a company, and that’s a career killer! I’ve learned some key career success strategies, which have also been very helpful to my clients in achieving their goals. I wrote the book because I wanted to teach other professionals about the importance of personal branding.

    (To see all of Sherri Thomas’ responses, click here)

    Sybil F. Stershic (Author of Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care)

    To share my passion for internal marketing as a way to create a better workplace committed to both employee and customer satisfaction.

    Here’s the back story to my book. Early in my career in services marketing, I became aware that the employees’ impact on customers (positive and negative) was an outcome of how employees themselves were treated. To ensure this impact was positive, I used marketing internally as a way to focus attention on employees — based on the premise that to effectively take care of customers, you had to first take care of employees.

    Although the workplace has changed significantly since I began working more than 30 years ago, the need for internal marketing still exists. I continue to meet managers who are hungry for guidance on how to better engage employees. In addition, too many companies still give "lip service" to employees as their most valuable asset.

    (To see all of Sybil Stershic’s responses, click here)

    Katya Andresen (Author of Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes)

    I wrote the book because I had something to say, and I felt passionately about it. I think that’s important, because most writers (at least me) don’t get a lot of external motivation — we aren’t going to make a fortune or appear on Oprah. So you need a lot of internal fire to fuel your project. I felt strongly that I wanted to help people with a cause to promote their issue far more effectively. Corporations shouldn’t be the only ones who are savvy about winning people’s hearts and minds. Charities should too. But we’re not always good at it. In the nonprofit sector, we think that because our cause is worthy, people will support us. We equate a mission statement to marketing. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We have to do less preaching and more promoting if we want people to support us.

    (To see all of Katya Andresen’s responses, click here)

    What was the hardest part about the experience?

    Sherri Thomas

    I was blessed to be in a position where I could take 8 weeks off to simply focus on writing the book. So I rented a corporate apartment in Dublin, Ireland and was able to spend each day writing. Since my main priority was writing the book, I had to be extremely disciplined and not go sight seeing or enjoy the pubs as much as I would have liked. 🙂

    Sybil F. Stershic

    Dealing with fear and time pressures. I’m one of those writers who is intimidated by the blank page, but am OK once I get started. As for time, I had to balance my client workload with taking the time to work on my book. It was a good news/bad news scenario — if business was up, I didn’t have time to focus on my book. If business was slow, I could work on my book, but I also had to make time available to fill the business development pipeline.

    Katya Andresen

    The hardest part, quite honestly, was getting up at 5am before work every day and facing down a blank computer screen. There were mornings I started rearranging my sock drawer — literally — when I was stuck. Fortunately, that task turned into one of my favorite chapters when I realized that Gold Toe socks provided a wonderful marketing analogy for my fourth chapter! When you’re writing, everything in your life becomes material for your work. The next hardest part was realizing that halfway through the manuscript, I’d finally found my voice. I threw out the entire first half of the book, and I wrote it again in the right voice, with the right tone, content and structure. That was painful but correct.

    How did you get a publisher?

    Sherri Thomas

    I talked to a couple of publishers and found out that it takes 1-2 years to get a book published, which was a much longer than what I wanted. I also realized that the royalties were quite low, and some of the publishers required that I sign a waiver handing over all of my rights to my content. I quickly determined that I did not want to go through a traditional book publisher. I remembered reading an article in the Oprah magazine about a writer who had a good experience with self publishing. So I checked out Oprah’s website and found 5 self publishing authors that Oprah’s team recommended. I researched each of them and determined that one met all of my criteria which were: low cost, high royalties, experience in publishing my book’s genre, and design services. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend it!

    My publisher was Booklocker.com. Angela Hoy and her team of book cover artists and publishing experts were fantastic!!

    Sybil F. Stershic

    Interestingly, I was fortunate to get a book contract offer on my first book proposal; although it didn’t pan out as we couldn’t agree on the book’s size. Not wanting to contribute to information overload, my goal was to write a compact, easily read book (around 150 pages), but the publisher was looking for a book twice that size.

    So I started over with other publishers and received several rejections. I considered self-publishing, but didn’t like the available online options — the books didn’t look professional to me. I was motivated to get back in the game by a friend who self-published a high quality book. She found a graphic artist to design the cover and page layout, registered for the book’s copyright and ISBN number, worked with a printer on production, and handled her own distribution & fulfillment. The process was way too overwhelming for me.

    Then I found the perfect solution: WME Books (www.wmebooks.com) — a new type of POD (print-on-demand) publisher who offered author support services (editing, layout, copyright permission, etc.) along with marketing support and fulfillment. WME Books offered me more control than a traditional publisher and, by using print-on-demand, I’m not sitting on any unused inventory. Yvonne DiVita, WME Books founder, is a well-known blogger and very knowledgeable about online marketing, where most business books are sold these days. It’s been a wonderful partnership with Yvonne and her team.

    Katya Andresen

    I got an agent first, then a publisher. I got the agent by getting a personal introduction from another writer and presenting the agent with a strong book proposal that sold the concept.

    What are the takeaways that you hope people get from reading your book?

    Sherri Thomas

    Those professionals who know how to showcase their strengths, talents, and accomplishments are the ones getting the bigger promotions, better clients, and higher salaries. By incorporating the 5 critical steps to attaining a strong personal brand you will stand above your competition, put yourself in high demand with clients, managers, and potential employers, and have a more gratifying and enriching career.

    Sybil F. Stershic

    1. The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel … and if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers!
    2. You don’t have to be a marketer to use internal marketing. It’s a blend of marketing, human resources, and management that includes any effort that recognizes the importance of customers AND the employees who serve them.
    3. If you are not in a position to apply internal marketing throughout your organization, you can still have an impact on a smaller level such as a department, division or business unit.

    Katya Andresen

    I think I’d be happy if people remembered just one thing: to succeed in marketing a cause, you have to stop trying to get people to value your work and start showing how your work relates to their existing values. It’s about connecting to the perspective of audience. It’s so powerful to listen to another person and then relate to their world view. We forget to do that so often in our work and in our relationships.

    What advice would you give a reader who was thinking about writing a book?

    Sherri Thomas

    Just do it! It’s been such an awesome experience. The process helped me crystallize several concepts and strategies, which helped me strengthen my writing skills and be more effective in my presentations, and even sessions with my clients.

    Sybil F. Stershic

    Regarding the book’s content, the subject has to be one you’re passionate about that is also of interest to others. As for getting your book published, I encourage you to consider print-on-demand publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing. Regardless of whether you decide to self-publish or work with a publisher, it’s important to understand that you need to spend as much time marketing the book as you do writing it. Once your book is in print, your work isn’t over … but the result is so rewarding!

    Katya Andresen

    For nonfiction, do the book proposal first — it will help ensure you have a book that the market needs, that has a keen focus, and that has a chance of seeing the light of day! A good proposal includes a pitch letter, a synopsis, an author platform showing why the writer is uniquely qualified to write and promote the book, a competitive analysis showing why this book stands apart, a table of contents, and a sample chapter. This exercise is very clarifying and gives you direction as you embark on the long, messy process of producing the final product.

    Sherri Thomas is President of Career Coaching 360, an international speaker on personal branding and career advancement strategies, and author of, Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand.


    Sybil F. Stershic is a marketing & organizational advisor with more than 30 years of experience helping service providers strengthen relationships with customers and employees. She is the author of the recently released book on internal marketing, Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care, published by WME books.

    A graduate of Lehigh University, Sybil began her career in bank marketing. (The banks she worked for were merged into oblivion.) She launched her own business, Quality Service Marketing, in 1988 specializing in internal marketing and marketing/strategic planning facilitation. Sybil also conducts marketing workshops nationwide for business and nonprofit professionals and is a frequent speaker at national conferences.

    Active in leadership and professional development, Sybil is a former Chairman of the American Marketing Association. She is also a member of BoardSource and the International Association of Facilitators.


    Katya Andresen develops and executes Network for Good’s marketing strategy, including consumer outreach, media relations and corporate partnerships. Before joining Network for Good, she was Senior Vice President of Sutton Group, a marketing and communications firm supporting non-profits, government agencies, and foundations working for the social good. As a marketing consultant overseas, Katya promoted causes ranging from civil society in Ukraine to ecotourism in Madagascar. She has trained dozens of causes in effective marketing and media relations, and her marketing materials for non-profits have won national and international awards. She is the author of the book, Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes.

    Katya traces her passion for good causes to the enormous social need she witnessed as a journalist prior to her work in the non-profit sector. She was a foreign correspondent for Reuters News and Television in Asia and for Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News in Africa. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Haverford College.

    Interview with Bob Lederer

    Monday, October 22nd, 2007

    Have you ever thought about interviewing the interviewer? Well a few weeks back I got the chance. Today’s research spotlight is Bob Lederer, President of RFL Communications. His newsletters are a must read for me month after month. I have known Bob for a number of years and he is one of the rare individuals that I learn from with every interaction I have with him.

    I hope you enjoy getting to know Bob a little bit.

    What advice would you give entry level market researchers?

    They should tap into as many individuals and reliable sources (sorry to be self-serving, but like our newsletters) as possible. Every time I speak with a recent graduate, I hear validation that their perceptions of the industry while they were in school were so far from the reality they face on the job. Alumni from two of the MR grad school programs have purchased our newsletters for the program to help the students get better in touch with the facts.

    It also appears undeniable that even if you want to work on the client-side that starting your career on the vendor/agency side is preferable for the pure learning experiences they offer.

    I’d also strongly encourage them to think big. I think the MR industry is one of the most fascinating businesses to be in, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in several. The business world is brimming with new opportunities, but you have to discover one or more that resonate with you, and then set on the long and challenging journey to live your dream and reach your goal.

    Continue reading “Interview with Bob Lederer” »

    A Presidential Point of View (Part One)

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

    The market research industry consists of thousands of companies. Within those companies there is always a president–some type of leader at the top. Each of these people is different. They can be different in style, strategy, background and how they approach different situations.

    Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting some very talented people. Some of which I have served on national boards with and have seen first hand how intelligent, creative and how successful these people are.

    Today’s blog is the first of a two-part series that will introduce you to seven market research presidents and will explore their habits, practices and leadership style.

    I hope you enjoy getting to know seven presidents and finding out a little bit of what they do and how they do it.

    As President of your organization what does an average day look like?

    Carl Iseman is President of Assistance in Marketing, Inc
    (To see all of Carl Iseman’s responses, click here)

    An average day: I start every day with 1 hour of exercise since I truly believe that a healthy body generates a healthy mind. Once getting to the office, I first check on all of my projects in the field and then recruiting productivity of each of my facilities. Next review current receivables and payables…the morning is spent with the numbers. Afternoons are spent working on new revenue generating ideas, business improvements, checking on the competition and following up with those I need to respond to…..a lot of this follow up to insure that we met and hopefully exceeded our clients expectations…many calls to moderators and other clients. In the evening I check on projects in the field just to make sure my clients are getting the service they expect, wherever they are.

    Ken Roberts is President of Cooper Roberts
    (To see all of Ken Roberts’ responses, click here)Morning: checking mail, voice mail, phone calls, study status, sales activity. Mid-day: client calls, proposal writing, project advise, time at the gym, quick lunch at my desk. Afternoon: mostly client contact, proposals/pricing, any company financials/operations issues, prepping for the next day, out the door around 6:30 or 7:00. Evenings: Check calendar/email, light correspondence right before going to bed.

    Morning: checking mail, voice mail, phone calls, study status, sales activity. Mid-day: client calls, proposal writing, project advise, time at the gym, quick lunch at my desk. Afternoon: mostly client contact, proposals/pricing, any company financials/operations issues, prepping for the next day, out the door around 6:30 or 7:00. Evenings: Check calendar/email, light correspondence right before going to bed. Michael Halberstam is President of ISA America
    (To see all of Michael Halberstam’s responses, click here)

    My average day begins by logging on to the office from home at around 6:15 AM. I respond to clients, work on bids, set up meetings for the day and look at reports. I also check on the sports stories and box score for the previous day.

    While I have items on my calendar for each day there are issues that are business related, such as financial, strategic, industry and legal issues, to deal with. Typically, I will meet with our COO daily and touch based 2-3 times a week with our HR director. I also get reports from, and communicate regularly with, each of our office locations around the world.

    Peggy O’Connor President of On-Line Communication
    (To see all of Peggy O’Connor’s responses, click here)

    An average day is like lying on a beautiful tropical beach with barb wire and a hand grenade.

    John Heakin is President North American Insights
    (To see all of John Heakin’s responses, click here)

    I wake at 5:30, make some coffee, look at the paper, check some headlines on CNN, CNBC, and The Weather Channel. At 7:00, I log on and look at email that came in overnight. By 7:15, I know where we stand on every job in every city and start sending remarks to my managers. I get to work at 9, reply to customers and vendors, and phone mailers. Depending on the day of the week, week of the month, and our payroll and mall rental payment cycles, I’m checking our cash flow. Everyday, there are adjustments to be made in billing and clients who are late paying. I approve vendor invoices. Throughout the day I sneak a peak at our job log to see who has been added, how many cities, and the size of the project. I have to remind managers to get invoices in. I am constantly on the lookout for new customers, and more and better employees. At times, I am involved in charitable activities, MRA committees, and Southern Illinois University alumni activities. Since I work most Saturdays, and check into our progress online on Sundays, I have no problem doing outside things in the office. When I get home between 6-7 pm, I check my email first thing, and then again at 10 as I get ready to turn in for the night.

    Merrill Shugoll is President of Shugoll Research
    (To see all of Merrill Shugoll’s responses, click here)

    • Meeting with appropriate staff regarding one or more of the following:
      • Business strategy
      • Quality practices
      • Facility improvements
      • Business development
      • Staff Development
      • Technology
      • Finance
      • Client feedback
      • Employee feedback
    • In person meetings or conference calls with one or more outside advisors, research partners or job candidates – Accountant
      • Corporate or HR attorney
      • Banker
      • Insurance broker
      • Architect/Interior Designer/Real Estate Agent
      • Travel consultant
      • Research partner
      • Job candidate
    • Lunch and/or meeting with a client, a prospect or other colleague
    • Meeting with Senior Vice President of Field Operations
    • Review of or consult on key deliverables for highly valued clients (e.g., proposals, final reports, etc.)
    • Review of or consult on key documents or contracts from clients and research partners
    • Preparation of study materials on projects I’m directing for highly valued clients
    • Conference calls and completion of tasks related to my professional and community involvement activities (e.g., Board of MRA, Committee involvement for QRCA, Board involvement for Signature Theatre, speaking engagements)

    Ann Tancredi-Brown is President of Gazelle Global
    (To see all of Ann Tancredi-Brown’s responses, click here)

    I leave the house at 7:30; return at 7:30PM. In between I take B to school/ and or pick her up 2-3 times a week. I glance at my email on the train. Once in the office, I read my email including RFP’s. I attend scheduling/status meetings at 11:45. I attend job related meetings/conference calls and business planning meetings, work with our bookkeeper on accounting related issues, sign checks, wire transfer documents, review invoices and billing.

    Continue reading “A Presidential Point of View (Part One)” »

    Interview with Steve Sherrill and Michael Mitrano

    Friday, September 28th, 2007

    Are you a research executive? Have you ever thought about acquiring a company? Have you thought about the exit strategy for your company? If you answered yes, you will want to read on for sure.

    Steve Sherrill and Michael Mitrano are specialists in this area. They help executives and companies guide their way through mergers and acquisitions. Both of them have a great thought process and are able to easily explain and simplify complicated issues.

    Not all acquisitions are perfect fits – based on your experience when does it really work out?

    We believe the key to victory is when there is solid chemistry between the people who will be working together. This would include “research” chemistry (mutual understanding and respect about what research talent each side brings to the table) as well as “personal” chemistry.

    In your opinion how long does it usually take to integrate an acquired company?

    We think it usually takes two years for a smooth and complete integration.

    How long does it take for a company to be sold?

    The entire process from inception to closing often takes about a year.

    Are most companies able to keep key staff after a company is acquired?

    In our experience, one of the key drivers behind acquisition is to get a new cache of talented researchers. Quality staff is very short in this industry, and in most cases all or nearly all of the key people stay on. If buyers don’t think the people are going to stay, they generally won’t buy.

    What advice would you give owners of companies who are thinking about selling their companies?

    Begin planning for the process 4-5 years from when you think you would like to be out of the business, since there are often employment requirements for 2-3 years following a sale. When the time comes, get professional support from advisors with transactional experience. They can help you navigate the process and obtain the most leverage in a sale.

    What is the current trend with mergers and acquisitions?

    We see an increase in the types of interested buyers recently. The research industry has been attractive to various investors including private equity firms and newly formed public companies. In addition, other types of public companies have recently acquired marketing research companies. (For example, McGraw Hill purchased J.D. Power and infoUSA purchased both ORC/MACRO and Guideline).

    Other than calling Transition Strategies are there any books or websites that you feel that would be good resources for executives wanting to learn a little bit more about mergers and acquisitions?

    We had one client who liked Robert Bergeth’s “12 Secrets to Cashing Out.” It takes a DYI approach and does not focus on the special needs of professional services firms, but it’s a good read.


    About my guests:

    Steve Sherrill founded Transition Strategies Corporation in 1993. Since its inception, Transition Strategies has represented more than 50 companies. Mr. Sherrill has worked with over 300 research companies. Before forming his own firm, Mr. Sherrill spent 10 years as Chief Financial Officer of Market Measures, a full-service healthcare research firm in Livingston, NJ. In that capacity, Mr. Sherrill engineered the sale of two Market Measures subsidiaries, as well as the sale and IPO of Market Measures itself to the U.K.-based MIL Research Group. In his subsequent role of M&A specialist for MIL Research, he managed the acquisition of Goldring Research and the merger of RH Bruskin Research with Goldring. Mr. Sherrill served for two years on the Financial and Compensation Committee of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), the trade association of the U.S. full-service survey research industry. He has been an Adjunct Accounting Department Faculty member at William Patterson College, served on several tax committees of the NJ Society of CPAs, and served on the board of the NJ Chapter of Accountants for the Public Interest. Mr. Sherrill is a CPA licensed in New Jersey and a member of the AICPA. He holds an MS in Taxation from Pace University and a BS in Accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Michael Mitrano joined Transition Strategies in 1999. He has served as an M&A advisor or management consultant to over thirty research companies. Before joining Transition Strategies, Mr. Mitrano was Executive Vice President and a principal at Response Analysis Corporation in Princeton, NJ, where he worked for 14 years. He directed finance, operations, technology, and human resources at the company, which is now part of GfK. He also handled two of the company’s largest accounts. In 1988, he was part of the leadership group that negotiated an ESOP-based leveraged buyout of Response Analysis from its founders. He obtained financing and oversaw legal work for the transaction. After leaving Response Analysis and before joining Transition Strategies, Mr. Mitrano served as CFO for The Chauncey Group International, Ltd. He restructured the corporation’s debt, established subsidiaries in the Netherlands and France, and acquired a French business. Mr. Mitrano has been Treasurer and served on the Board of Directors of CASRO. He has spoken at CASRO, MRA, MRIA, and ESOMAR events. Mr. Mitrano holds an MBA from New York University, and a BA cum laude and with General Honors from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Interview with Roseanne Luth

    Friday, September 14th, 2007

    Since 1984 I have met literally thousands of people in this great industry. During that time I have come to admire lots of those people. I love being around people with a strong passion for life, for our industry, who are business executives and are very successful. For me you can check all four boxes for Roseanne Luth and in the “other” category you can add the word classy. I hope you enjoy getting to know Roseanne Luth.

    I look forward to your comments.

    What advice would you give entry level market researchers?

    Get a good range of training. Don’t stick with one skill set. Learn from the perspective of a respondent who participates in market research all the way to the client who uses the data.

    What changes would you like the market research industry to make over the next 3 years?

    I would like to see the mid-level market research companies be more adept at adding value and information. The information offered by sites like Yahoo and Google will make them more of an information company which will erode or displace the information from the market research industry. Also, more mid-size companies need to be gathering and using data from various sources like the very large companies who are overlapping and merging data sources within their own companies.

    Continue reading “Interview with Roseanne Luth” »

    Interview with Bill Neal

    Monday, July 30th, 2007

    Think of a research author, think of a great research presenter, think of a great researcher. And now think about someone who has given so much to this great industry. For me, when I do that exercise I have a list of four people. Included in that list is Bill Neal. In the eighties I remember going to a few conferences and seeing Bill present. I was mesmerized and frankly intimidated with his presentation style, depth of knowledge and big smile. I remember saying to myself that I hope that I can be half of the presenter that Bill Neal is – from the second he walked in a conference room he had total command of the group and had the respect from every attendee in the room.

    It is with great pleasure and an honor that today’s interview is with Bill Neal.

    You have been in the market research industry for about 35 years. How did you first get started?

    That’s really a long story. But here’s the short version. When I graduated from Drexel in 1966, I was planning on a career in the military. After my second combat tour in Vietnam, to my utter surprise, the Army sent me to graduate school at Georgia Tech. The inside joke is that the Army probably felt I wasn’t ducking bullets too well, so maybe they could educate me. After two years at Tech, I found out that building statistical models and doing marketing research was a lot more fun then getting shot at. So another grad student and I started SDR. A year or so later, a third grad student, Dave Feldman, joined us, and Dave and I have been at it ever since.

    Continue reading “Interview with Bill Neal” »

    Interview with Jim Dawson

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

    I remember going to my first American Marketing Association (AMA) meeting way back in 1992. I walked into the hotel, checked in and was greeted with a big “Hello! How are you doing?” The person I was speaking with was Jim Dawson, the President of the Boston Chapter of the AMA. He basically single handedly turned around a struggling chapter (the 5th largest chapter with over 700 members). He always had tremendous energy and passion for the AMA. For some crazy reason he asked me to volunteer, and a few years later I followed in his footsteps as President of the Boston AMA.

    A lot has happened since 1992. I have moved around a little bit and ended up in a small town in Texas. As I was getting acclimated I went to a local chapter meeting of the AMA, and lo and behold I am greeted with a big “hello” mixed in with a “ya’ll” and I am surprised to see who else but Jim Dawson, the president-elect of the AMA Dallas Chapter. Although I agreed to help, I was a little smarter this time and won’t be following in his footsteps and becoming President.

    This story is just another example of how we live in a small world.

    Jim is a professional marketer. He is very client service oriented and is always willing to help out in any way possible.

    I hope you enjoy this interview with Jim Dawson.

    You have been in the industry for 20+ years. How did you first get started?

    After being a journalism major in college and working at the Boston Globe, I decided the long, irregular hours of the newspaper business were not for me. I accepted an advertising position with Liberty Mutual Insurance where I wrote ad copy, assisted on the TV show, Outdoors with Liberty Mutual, helped plan special events for the company’s top clients and handled public relations for the Liberty Mutual Research Center and their tractor-trailer training school.

    What is the funniest experience you have ever had as a marketer?

    On a Friday afternoon, having a client, the CEO of a major corporation, ask me in our meeting how he would know when “the moment was right” to engage in a physical relationship with his “lady friend” over the upcoming weekend. Or running a major event for 5000 attendees at a major resort and not realizing there was a second “Jim Dawson” at the property at the same time. He was stunned when fruit baskets, wine and cheese, models calling about what to wear, asking about rehearsal times and more kept calling his room. We eventually met each other purely by accident when we got into the same elevator, at the same time, and the people I was with happened to mention my name.

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    Interview with Toby Bloomberg

    Friday, May 18th, 2007

    1993 was a very special year in my life. That was the year I was President-Elect of the American Marketing Association (AMA) Boston Chapter and was fortunate to attend a number of strategy sessions with other chapters who had the same number of AMA members as Boston. As I have written in a prior post that group of President-Elects was very special. A number of close relationships were formed, including one with Toby Bloomberg. Toby is one of the most talented, grounded and warm-spirited people I have ever met. Over the years with each conversation or meeting, I have become even more impressed.

    When our internal team was discussing the possibility of entering into the blogosphere – it was “red rover, red rover send Toby over!” She did a wonderful presentation to the entire company and gave us invaluable guidance as we embarked on our current journey! She is one of the real experts on blogs, having started her own bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/ years ago.

    Toby, thank you for everything you have done for us and for everything you do for the industry.

    I hope you enjoy getting to know Toby a little bit – she is one special lady!

    You were one of the early pioneers on blogs and have had your own for years. What excites you about blogs?

    I launched Diva Marketing (Blog) in the spring of 2004, however, I suppose in ‘blog years’ that does make it one of the pioneering business blogs. What was true three years ago remains so today. In a world that spins too fast for us to often know our nextdoor neighbor, let alone understand the individual needs of a growing and often geographically dispersed customer base, blogs help recreate the old fashioned corner grocery store relationship.

    It seems the more high tech infiltrates our lives the more high touch our customers long for in terms of service and attention. Part of what we lost when we became a global economy was the ability to develop personal connections with customers and other stakeholders. The green grocer and baker knew their customers’ preferences and responded to their immediate concerns. Through on-going conversations, blogs provide the opportunity to speak to and with customers in ways that go beyond traditional marketing. For me, blogs, as well as other social media tactics, swing open the door that encourages not only customer loyalty but company loyalty to our customers.

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