How to Launch and Grow Your Podcast in 5 Easy Steps

Today, it is vital marketers help customers discover and adopt their products and services until they become the de facto solution. But customers are looking for a relationship with a brand, not a transaction.

A podcast is the perfect way to build a relationship with consumers to increase all stages of your funnel. Benefits include: 

  1. Extended audience visibility to prospects 
  2. Increased brand affinity
  3. Subject matter authority  
  4. SEO dominance

My goal today, is that you have at least one big idea on how you can leverage podcasts to build a deeper connection with your customers. My second goal is that you leave here with a tactical plan to execute your idea. 

By the end of this post, you’ll have a real tactical plan that you might even decide to execute. 

Already have a podcast? I’d love to hear from you! Please offer any feedback on the template and this blogpost to @jaminbrazil. I’ll also be happy to give you a shutout if you use find any value in this content. 

Biggest Problem with Podcasts

One of the biggest problems with podcasts is that it is hard to quantify the outcome. 

This puts podcasts into “branding” which is always less important than measured spend. 

But! There are ways to measure the impact which will help you justify the investment and help your company achieve their full potential.

The Podcast Template

I have put together a one-page worksheet designed to walk you through the process of creating and maintaining a podcast. 

What is brand?

Let’s start with the question, “What is a brand?” There are many different definitions. The most popular is, “a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. ‘a new brand of detergent.’” So, for example, Tide is one of many detergent brands. 

From my point of view, this definition is dated. It limits the brand to a problem and solution framework that ultimately degrades into a set of features such as power of cleaning, fresh smell, whiteness, sanitary, price, etc. In this framework brands frame themselves as commodities. 

Now let’s take a look at the modern definition. According to Ignyte Branding Agency, a brand is the way a product, company, or individual is perceived by those who experience it. This is about relationships. And, relationships transcend features including price. 

The job of marketers

Our job, as marketers, is to help customers discover and adopt our products and services until they become the de facto solution. Do you want to know who is doing this really well? Qualtrics. 

They are not selling a survey platform. They are selling an experience platform. Oh, BTW, it is really just a survey platform. But that isn’t how they think about it. 

Their intent on building the de facto solution manifests itself through everything they do. 

How Qualtics achieved market dominance through brand

At TMRE, back in 2018, Qualtrics announced their 26 new templated survey options. Now, these are just templated surveys. But to celebrate they started a “Dream Team” that would literally make your dreams come true. 

They gave you an email address and phone number to make your requests. People got in room dining, golf trips, messages, and job interviews. Qualtrics even had exotic cars at the event for people to drive along with professional drivers. 

Their marketing team connected unique and exotic experiences with their brand. Brilliant.

Podcasts can help do this too. 

But, to understand how podcasts can drive your brand, you need to understand the answer to this key question… 

The most important question we never ask

“Why do your customers choose you?”

There are many ways to get to the bottom of the mystery of why you vs. everyone else. For this, I’d recommend using the “Five Why” line of questioning. For those unfamiliar, the Five Whys are primarily used in problem solving. 

The questioning can be taken further to a sixth, seventh, or higher level, but five iterations of asking why is generally sufficient to get to a root cause.[3] The key is to encourage the trouble-shooter to avoid assumptions and remove layers of abstraction to understand what the root cause of the problem actually is. 

However, this works great for customer discover. Here is an example of what this looks like in practice… 

  • Why did you choose us? Because I had a project that you are a good fit for. 
  • Why are we a good fit? Because you are faster than your competitors.
  • Why is speed important? Because my boss measures my performance on how quickly and accurately I’m able to get to an answer. 

In just three questions, we identified that you are being chosen because the customer is making a career decision. So, what are your customers really buying? How does that matchup to what you are selling? 

This will help inform your meta. Marketing needs to be clear but it needs to address your customer’s “why.”

Action: We will spend the next 60-seconds doing a micro brainstorming session. Write down 3 customers you will interview. 

Outcomes of your podcast

There are many many benefits to having your own podcast. These are three that I think are huge. 


First, you can access anyone. Lets say I want to sell you a survey platform. My outbound rep or sales person will send LinkedIn DMs, cold emails sequences, and even phone calls. The whole thing is to try and get a meeting so you can pitch the customer. Well, there are five to 10 other companies doing the same thing to your prospective customer.

To combat this, we, being brilliant marketers, put webinars together or other interesting reports designed to grab the attention of your prospects. The problem is that your topic needs to be top-of-mind for your prospect at the exact moment you send the email. There is so much spray and play in marketing.

A podcast transcends this. Instead of trying to sell them on your value, you ask them to sell you on theirs. You offer them a platform for expressing and connecting and giving back. For them, it is a voice amplifier that they simply don’t have access to without you. 

Before starting my podcast, I was selling into middle management. Now I have access to pretty much anyone. For example, I connected with the head of insights from GoDaddy. She was a guest on the podcast. Then, I DMed GoDaddy’s CEO letting him know about the episode and he added me to his network. 


Podcasts are the perfect product placement. 


During 2020 I did two standout series: 

  • The role of diversity in your research team
  • The anatomy of a good research question 

Let me explain my format. I pick a specific topic that is trending or relevant in or around market research. I then identify experts among brands that I think would have a great POV and I do about five interviews. 

For diversity, I connected with Maya Kantak, head of insights for Disney Parks and Pepper Miller, founder of the Pepper Miller Group. For the anatomy of a good research question, I interviewed head of insights from the Gap and head of UX from Shopify. 

After these interviews are completed and produced (but not published) I do a capstone episode that is about 15 minutes long. It weaves excerpts from each interview into a story that is both informative and entertaining. 

We will talk more about format later. But, I know many of you have not listened to my show and we need to context so you can understand how you can feed your brand as “the authority.” In 2020 I had two colleges thank me for the show because they now use my capstone episodes in their curriculum. 

Where do podcasts fit in your customers’ journey?

Now lets look at the customer journey to see where podcasts can best be leveraged. 


We crave human connections above all else. Podcasts are perfect for that. When you think about your content, think about your audience. What do they care about? I have three types of listeners: 

  • Brands: They use the podcast to safely and discreetly curate prospective vendors. 
  • Sales People: They listen to brand interviews and use it as a foot in the door.
  • New Entrants to Market Research: They listen to deepen their understanding of the space and get to know key players.

So, I design my questions around each audience type. For example, anytime I interview a brand I ask, “What problem do you have right now that you wish someone would solve?” This is perfect for sales people. 

My point is, create content that is highly relevant to your target customer. 


Consideration stage in sales is when there is some dialogue (you may or may not know about it) happening within the customers’ walls about potentially choosing you. One of the best ways to improve your chances is by creating social proof and fear of missing out (fomo). As we’ve already discussed, these both come through brand association. 


The final stage in the sales funnel is purchase. What if you had some unique service or product specific content that was only available to customers? Would that help? The content should be highly curated around your customers’ “why.” For example, thinking about our customer who buys because speed improves their career advancement. What if you had an episode on exactly this point. Break down time savings, ROI, impact to gross margin, etc. Really illustrate how they are the tail that wags the dog of success because they are using you…but in a practical way. 


New customers are hard to get. So, love the ones you have. In fact, 80% of your organic growth should come from existing customers. Cultivate loyalty by having guests your customers want to hear from or by having them on the show. 

ACTION: What stage do you want to engage your audience?

We covered a highly simplified customer journey. At what sales stage do you want to engage your audience? 

Is it at the awareness stage? If so, think about trending topics that have marginal connections but are widely interesting to your target customer. 

Consideration stage? Maybe more subject matter expertise relative to your core offering. For example, if you are a focus group facility, do a series on, “What it is like for a participant post Covid.”

Loyalty? Consider interviewing existing customers or highlight work they are doing that is public. For example, the Gap’s commitment to carry extended sizes to help combat body image and support inclusion. 

Action: We will spend the next 30-seconds doing a micro brainstorming session. 

Step 1: Establish your Goals (OKRs)

There are at least a hundred reasons to do a podcast. Most of the time, when I ask, “Why are you doing a podcast?” I hear, “It is part of our marketing strategy,” or “It is another way to get in front of potential customers.” 

Both of these are good answers. But, be specific. Have a specific goal. I have listed three common ones here: 

  • Improve top of the funnel 
  • Gain an audience
  • Establish subject matter expertise

But there clearly are many others. Try and be specific with yours. Go ahead and write one down now. You can always change it later. 

Step 2: Define what to measure

Now that you know your Objective and Key Result (OKR) it is time to figure out how to measure it. Many years ago I had a board member tell me, “Document your objective so you get credit for achieving it and it just doesn’t look like an accident.” 

Have a clearly documented and simple to understand picture of what success looks like. It should directly drive your OKR.

Here are a few examples: 

  • Want to improve your lead volume? Use a referral code in your podcast. You’ve all heard it, “For a 20% discount, visit and enter 123.”
  • Building an audience? Measure downloads per month.
  • Establish your brand as subject matter experts? Measure number of interviews with relevant and respected guests.

There are many things to measure. The key is to pick just one and stick with it. 

Once you’ve established a baseline. Then it is time to establish a reporting cadence. 

Step 3: Establish your reporting cadence. 

As companies get bigger, it is harder and harder for everyone to know what marketing is up to. Podcasts can be a unique asset to the entire organization. 

They can be great for Project Managers to share with the people they service. They are great for Account Execs, sales, etc. etc. Literally everyone in the company that interacts with a customer can add value by talking about the podcast to the customer. 

I recommend having a one page very simple and lightweight PDF that is distributed to the entire company and highlights in your all hands meetings. 

By reporting on your OKR you are given a platform to talk about recent episodes, why customer care and how successful employees are leveraging the podcast to generate oversized returns. 

Step 4: Create a content calendar 

Every marketing division has its own content calendar. This is the blueprint for the entire calendar year. Here are a few things to include in your content calendar: 

  • If you are just starting, get five interviews in the bag before you publish your show. Then make a release schedule based on those interviews. Releasing episodes consistently is key.
  • Make use of time blocking. What is time blocking? Create specific calendar items for your work. Then, you will not give in to doing the tasks that will keep you from launching and growing your podcast. 
  • Take a look at our worksheet. The right-hand side has a time blocking strawman designed to help you set aside the right amount of time for a successful show. 

Honestly, if you are not investing in all three areas then you are reducing the impact your podcast will have by two thirds. 

How to build an audience? 

At the time of this quote, Edwin had helped create the largest Facebook Group. The topic was food. My question to him was, “How did you build the largest Facebook Group?” 

“It is easy. If you want to build an audience just go to where the people are and talk about what they want to talk about.”

Step 5: Show Format

Before you choose a format for your show, it helps to understand what everyone else is doing. While you don’t have to be like everyone else, there are good reasons that podcasters stick to the following popular podcast formats. 

Each has their own pros and cons. As you go through the following list, ask yourself which would be right for your show.

An interview style show features a host (or two) who interviews a new guest in each episode who brings their unique expertise and experience. 

After a brief guest introduction, the host takes over asking questions to guide the conversation around the episode’s topic working to unpack their stories and lessons. Since each guest is different, it’s best to stick to central them to keep your show cohesive.

Other popular show formats

The solo/monologue podcast format

This podcast format is fairly common. It’s used by people who have a specific kind of expertise they want to share. There isn’t much fanfare or setup. You simply talk into a microphone.  Many new podcasters start with this format because it’s so simple. All you need to get started is a microphone and some free editing software. 


  • You don’t have to rely on anyone’s help or involvement. Everything happens on your own schedule and at your own pace.
  • Your audience comes to know you intimately. This is powerful for brand building. 
  • Editing one voice is much easier than editing multiple tracks.
  • If you don’t like how you said something, you can simply say it again and cut out the bad bits.

Conversational/co-hosted podcast format

This is another common podcast format. It involves two people having a straightforward conversation who generally have great chemistry together. Unlike an interview podcast format, however, these two people are both hosts.


  • You’re only responsible for half the conversation. You might also split up all the other tasks that come with producing and promoting a podcast.
  • Fans feel like they’re part of a club or group, especially when the hosts create an entertaining, friendly environment.
  • It’s easy to listen to an organic conversation rather than a prepared script.

Non-fictional storytelling podcast format

Non-fictional stories are podcast episodes about real life events. You might dive into a series of murders, chronicle an expedition up Mount Everest, or recreate a historical event. You can tell one story per episode or span your story across an entire series. Or you could simply report the news.


  • This podcast format is highly addictive for people who want to know more about a specific topic.
  • You can splice in other audio elements, like news broadcasts, movie clips, or environmental sounds to enhance the experience.
  • There are unlimited stories to choose from.  

Repurposed content podcast format

Repurposing content is when you take content that already exists and transform it in a way to get more value out of it. You might add to it, split it up, or transpose it to a new medium. Some bloggers simply take existing written content and repurpose it into a podcast for an audio experience.


  • Easy to produce this content because you already have it. You just have to do some editing to format it like a podcast.
  • Since you don’t have to make the content, you don’t need a big budget.

Step 6: Write a Script

To end, write your script. I write each intro and outro as well as have a discussion guide which is provided to the customer ahead of time. 

  1. Keep published episodes to a specific time that is ideal for your listeners. This will ensure your audience is getting to the end of your episodes as opposed to consistently listening to only the beginning.  
  2. Ask consistent questions across your interviews. This will allow you to write blogs about the consistency and differences of your guests and their POVs.
  3. Take the time to script your intro and outros. This will create consistency for your audience and add professionalism that will help attract new guests. 

Here is an example of my intro. I am very intentional to steer clear of adjectives when introducing my guests, their achievements, and their companies. However, that is my voice.

Establish your voice. I’d recommend spending five to 10 minutes documenting what you like about your favorite podcast host. Include their tone, word choices, and style that you want to emulate. And, stay consistent. 

If you do decide to do an interview format podcast, determine your ideal length of interview. I have found that containing a time constraint keeps the conversation moving along which might be a better outcome for the audience. 

Step 7: Convert your podcast episode into a Blog Post 

Discoverability is the key that will unlock access to your audience. One of the best ways to improve your discoverability is to have SEO that places you on the front page for keywords that are used by your audience when they are seeking content, entertainment, or knowledge that is covered in your podcast. 

The process around creating a blogpost is straightforward: 

  1. Get automated transcripts of your episode. Note, transcripts do not perform well for SEO because they are not consumable by humans which is a factor in Google’s page ranking algorithm. 
  2. Create headers for each question
  3. Reduce the conversation to brief bullet points.
  4. Keep your paragraphs to three lines of consecutive text OR LESS. You want to create white space to improve skimmability. 
  5. Add an audio player to the top of the page.
  6. Add graphics. You can easily create graphics using PowerPoint Smart Art.

There are volumes on the topic of writing a quality blog post that achieves first place SEO. Podcasts offer the perfect core content that you can use to create your 1st place blog post. 

Step 8: Promote your podcast

Three ways to get your podcast in front of your audience: 

  1. Post about your interviews on platforms where your target audience is already spending their time.
  2. Warning! Having a multi-channel strategy is beneficial but keep in mind the context of each platform will drive the messaging and creative which can quickly become too burdensome. For me, my audience is on LinkedIn. So, about 95% of my effort is there. 
  3. Always tag your podcast guests in your episode posts.

Final thoughts

If you plan to use any of these insights, I hope you’ll let me know. I’d love to have the opportunity to partner with you to help you achieve greater connection to your audience. 


How to Record a Podcast Remotely and get it Right the First Time

This article is originally published on and written by Chris Zaldúa.

Remote interviews are a fact of life for every podcaster, and in today’s era of social distancing, more so than ever. Since you rarely get the chance at an interview do-over, nailing down your remote recording workflow is essential. We’ll show you how to prepare for and record a remote interview, so you get it right the first time — with some additional tips along the way to make sure all your bases are covered. 

Choose the right remote recording setup for your podcast

The first step is to determine the remote recording setup that best suits the format and content of your podcast and your production and editing workflow.

In most cases, your best solution will involve recording remote interviews on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or a similar online conferencing service. This low-friction setup makes it easy for guests or co-hosts to contribute, but you’ll need to make sure you have the right software to record these interviews.

It’s also wise to make sure you can record phone calls. Phone interviews don’t offer great audio fidelity, but they make a great backup option in case of technical problems or schedule changes. Phone interviews probably won’t be your first choice, but it’s a good idea to be able to record a phone call just in case you need to.

If you’re recording with the same remote co-host on each episode of your podcast, consider a double-ender setup, in which you and your co-host record your own audio tracks locally and combine them in post-production. For most podcasters, this isn’t the most convenient solution, but it does translate into the highest audio fidelity for you and your co-host.

The best way to record an interview is to prepare for it

When it comes to interviewing — especially remote interviewing — a little preparation goes a long way.

Do some research into your guest’s background, expertise, and projects. Who are they? Why is their work notable? What do you (and in turn, your audience) hope to learn from them?

Putting together a rough outline of the questions you’d like to ask will come in very handy. Write down a handful of specific questions and key points, but keep your outline broad and high-level. That’ll allow you to more easily adapt to the flow of conversation.

Maintaining that conversational flow remotely can be substantially trickier than doing so person-to-person. Prime yourself to listen more than you speak — in particular, try not to interrupt your guest. Editing out awkward silences between speakers is much easier than dealing with too much crosstalk!

When it’s time to record the interview, take a couple final preparatory steps to ensure a clean recording. Close all unnecessary software and set your computer to “Do Not Disturb” mode to make sure unwanted distractions don’t pop up (or worse: end up in the recording).

How to record a Skype call, Zoom interview, or Google Hangout

For most remote recording situations, Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts are your platforms of choice. All three are easy to set up, simple for guests to use, and feature audio fidelity good enough for most podcasts. 

Both Zoom and Skype offer built-in call recording functionality, but Google Hangouts currently limits this offering to enterprise users. There’s an additional caveat: the file format (.MP4 or .M4A) that each platform outputs may not be what you want, depending on your podcast production and editing workflow.

For maximum control over your final product, you’re better off using third-party apps to record computer system audio directly into the recording software of your choice rather than relying on their recording functionality.

If you’re on a Mac, BlackHole is a great open-source tool that allows you to route audio between apps, which means you can record the audio output from Zoom (or Skype, or Google Hangouts) directly into your preferred recording software. On Windows, Virtual Audio Cable offers similar functionality. 

If you’re already using Descript to record, you won’t need to use additional audio routing software. When recording audio into Descript, open the Record panel, choose Add a Track, select your input, and choose “Computer audio.” Click the Record button whenever you’re ready, and audio from Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts will be piped into Descript. 

No matter which remote recording setup you use, make sure you test it — and test it again — with a friend or colleague before you’re actually recording your podcast. Troubleshooting when you should be interviewing ranks near the top of everyone’s Least Favorite Things To Deal With, so make sure everything is in order before your guest is on the line.

How to record a phone interview with Google Voice

Social distancing means nearly everyone has gotten used to handling calls and meetings on Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts. But maybe your podcast guest is really old-school, or their computer is on the fritz, or maybe they’re simply only able to access a phone during your scheduled call time. It’s likely phone interviews will never be your first choice, but being able to record an old-fashioned phone call will come in handy.

Recording phone calls can be tricky, but using Google Voice to make an outgoing phone call from your computer means you can use the same remote recording setup detailed above to record the call.

Follow Google’s instructions to set up Google Voice and then learn how to make an outgoing call. Once everything’s set up, you’ll be able to record phone calls with Google Voice just like you’d record an interview on Zoom or Skype. 

Again, make sure to test with a friend and then test again before your interview. 

If lossless audio quality is a must, record a “double-ender”

For most remote recording situations, Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts are your platforms of choice. All three are easy to set up, simple for guests to use, and feature audio fidelity good enough for most podcasts. 

But if you have a remote co-host that regularly appears on your podcast, and you want to maximize the quality of your audio, a “double-ender” is the way to go: Each host or guest records themselves locally, and audio tracks are combined in post-production. For an additional cost, you can use third-party recording platforms that simulate double-enders without each speaker managing their own recording software.

A traditional double-ender sees each speaker recording their own audio track using their recording software of choice (Descript, Audacity, Quicktime, etc.), and then the host or editor combines each speaker’s recording into a finished product. Each speaker should have a decent microphone — if they’re using a laptop microphone to record, you probably won’t hear a substantial advantage with a double-ender over a Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts recording.

Alternatively, you can simulate a double-ender by using a platform like SquadCast, Zencastr, or Cleanfeed. These services record lossless audio from each speaker, upload each track to the cloud, and combine them automatically. These platforms cost money, but they’re a great alternative to a double-ender when guests or co-hosts don’t have the time or wherewithal to fiddle with recording themselves locally. Again, make sure each speaker has a decent microphone — otherwise you won’t reap the full benefits of lossless audio.

Make remote recording hassles a thing of the past

Recording your podcast remotely isn’t painless, but once you get the hang of it — and nail down your workflow — it’ll become second nature.


Ways Companies are Using NPS to Grow Business

Guest Writer: Bhavika Sharma, Survey Designer at SurveySparrow

Customer is the king.

Your brand’s success is dependent on how the people consuming your brand see it, and that’s where Net Promoter Score (NPS) comes in.

The NPS is used to measure how happy customers are with a particular brand. NPS asks customers how likely they are to recommend a business to other people on a scale of 0 to 10. 

What is a Good NPS Score?

Customers are rated on a 10 point scale:
-Detractors are customers who give a score from 0 to 6. They might provide negative feedback about the brand.
-Passives are customers who score 7 or 8 who don’t have set views about the brand.
-Promoters are customers who score 9 or 10. These are satisfied clients who are likely to promote the brand through word of mouth advertising.

The NPS is the difference between the percentage of promoters and the percentage of detractors.

NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors

The best NPS score is 100 – but this is realistically impossible. Any positive number is considered to be a good NPS, while any number above 50 means your brand is being perceived very well by customers.

NPS can be a handy tool to use in your business in its various facets:

In Service and Operations
NPS scores can be used to gauge the service of the employees as the customers perceive it. Here’s a case study of how Taylor & Hart, a jeweler, customizing in bespoke engagement rings, used NPS to measure customer satisfaction of the services. The customer receives a ‘service NPS’ email survey where the customer has to rate their satisfaction with the level of services up to that point, and also add comments about it. 

Asking the customers about the NPS question just after the order is placed means the order is fresh in the customer’s mind. The answers help improve the level of service at Taylor and Hart. 

They also send an NPS survey 40 days after the purchase of jewelry from their website. Since the jewelry takes 22 days to be delivered to the customer, the customer can rate their satisfaction with the product after this period. 

In Human Resource Management
When an employee is happy with your brand, he will voluntarily become your spokesperson. 

A great case study for NPS used in human resource management is clothing company Zappos using it to gauge the satisfaction of their employees. A “Five Second Happiness Survey,” every month helped access the job satisfaction among the employees. The results were sent to employees, and the internal policies were amended taking into consideration these results. 

Zappos is now considered one of the best places to work, next to Google and Facebook. 

In Marketing Campaigns
Since marketing campaigns are about focusing on the aspect of your brand that attracts customers, NPS can be very useful. NPS can help understand if the brand’s customers will promote it via word of mouth.

Bill Macaitis, the CMO for Slack, a workplace messaging app, finds NPS very useful. Slack used NPS to figure out not just if customers will use the paid version of the work messaging app, but if they would recommend this tool to other people. 

In Sales
Customers who rank as promoters in your NPS scale are also more likely to come back for a purchase. Airbnb started using NPS in 2013. To test the effectiveness of NPS, Airbnb conducted a research study. The research involved feedback from guests who booked a stay with Airbnb. Out of the sample size, two-thirds of the guests who submitted the feedback were promoters who awarded Airbnb a score of 10, while only less than 5% were detractors. The research study found that promoters were statistically more likely to book a stay with Airbnb in the future. What was more surprising is that at least a quarter of the detractors were still promoters of Airbnb, they were just not satisfied with their particular stay. 

NPS can be really beneficial since it helps you get into the mind of the customer and gives you the exact information you need to make your brand more appealing. 


The Gear

Here is my list of items…which assumes 2 guests.


2 Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
4 XLR Microphone Cables per Mic 
2 Mic Activator per Mic:

5 Ways to Stay Fulfilled at Your Job, Even After Many Years

Guest Writer: Clara Therese

After so many years, if you’re still working for the same company, it might be because it offers an attractive compensation package, a great environment, and exceptional leadership, which all employees want. You might even feel fulfilled. But that same feeling of fulfillment can wane after 10 or so years. Thus, it begs the question: How can you stay fulfilled moving forward?

Find out what being happy means for you

It’s on you to figure out what being happy means. Company leadership advisor Annie McKee’s definition of happiness might help you out in this case: Happiness is a “deep and abiding enjoyment of daily activities fueled by a passion for a meaningful purpose, a hopeful view of the future and true friendships.” In other words, being happy is finding enjoyment in the performance of day-to-day tasks and in nourishing friendships along the way. Happiness is not experienced in a vacuum; rather, it is an ongoing experience that you can cultivate every single day.

Don’t be limited

Workplace expert Adam Poswolsky explains in ‘How to Fall in Love with Your Job’ that employees must not limit themselves to their job title. Neither should you. Instead, do as Poswolsky advises: “Think beyond your pay grade.” Be prepared to step up when the need arises and make the most out of opportunities. Learn on the fly, if necessary. Take the example of Jane in our post on the ’3 Ways to Get the Job You Want.’ She is, among other things, in charge of video production. She determined that it takes eight hours to make a video, then — on her own accord — figured out a way to slash two hours off the process. Impressed, her manager tasked her to train her peers. By constantly challenging yourself, you will stay motivated and fulfilled, and even be recognized by others. 

Be grateful — always

Psychologist Lisa Firestone explains in ‘The Healing Power of Gratitude’ that being grateful has plenty of benefits. She claims that gratitude “is perhaps the most important key to finding success and happiness in the modern day.” Being grateful for everything will put you in a positive frame of mind, and make you happier regardless of your situation. 

Become a mentor

Becoming a mentor, millennial career coach Jill Jacinto tells Fast Company, is a way to pay it forward to “remind yourself why you fell in love with your career.” It can be energizing and it’s a chance to learn from the younger generation. In particular, you’ll learn to be a leader through collaboration. Training Mag calls collaboration the new leadership, and it is based on positive interdependence. Its benefits, according to SPIKE—What Are You Great At? author René Carayol, include enhanced decision making, improved use of resources, and better customer experience. This new form of leadership is, thus, key to success, as Maryville University’s post for organizational leadership graduates discusses. It is especially critical to aspiring leaders, who must nurture a collaborative mindset to influences others’ behavior and to be agents of positive change. Seeing positive changes — a mentee rising through the ranks, for instance — can be very fulfilling, and will even encourage you to continue to better yourself.

Continue building your network

Building a network is extremely beneficial, explains personal branding expert Bianca Miller Cole. Among other things, expanding your network facilitates a continuous exchange of ideas that can enhance your creativity. It also allows you to build self-confidence via additional training in seminars and conferences. Best of all, building your network is a means to build lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial. So, attend conferences, go on business trips, and reach out to new employees — anything that’ll have you rubbing elbows with new people.


It’s normal to start feeling unfulfilled 10 or so years into your job. It can be tempting to jump ship when that happens. But don’t rush. Instead, try the above tips. They’ll have you feeling fulfilled, and wanting to go to work every day. 


Will Augmented Reality Impact Marketing in 2019?

Guest Writer: John Victor, Content Developer & Editor

Augmented reality is the latest thing that is taking over the world by storm, and it’s already present in most industries. It has the capability of significantly enhancing the user’s real-world experience by combining computer-based and real images and scenes to deliver an enhanced but unified view of the world.

The impact of AR on the world is already huge. The medical industry is already using AR for practical purposes, and technology will play a crucial role in the future of this industry.

The capabilities of AR will make complex surgeries simpler while offering the patients a safer experience and environment, significantly reducing any chances of complications arising in the post-surgery period.

AR is helping the development of handy medical devices that might revolutionize specific medical procedures. It is also a helpful tool for educating patients on their health.  

The Rise of AR  

The potential impact of market research is limitless. Marketing-wise, AR can do miracles to increase online sales conversion. If a customer can get a preview of a product in AR, there are 40% more chances that they will buy.

Since technological infrastructure is about to expand all over the world, the businesses that start using AR for marketing purposes will see revenue growth.

The most significant advantage that AR gives to businesses is the customer’s ability to personalize and customize their shopping experiences. AR is so useful that most consumers firmly believe that AR in marketing will significantly improve their customer and shopping experience.

The businesses that aren’t utilizing this technology for their marketing efforts will, therefore, see a decrease in customers. This means that the companies that are using AR to support their marketing efforts get a competitive advantage over those who aren’t providing an AR experience.

AR in Marketing

AR gives every business plenty of useful tools to keep their customers engaged. That is precisely why it’s expanding throughout industries such as education, astronomy, medicine, healthcare, and so on. Businesses can benefit from using AR in marketing as it helps:

Improve the customer experience – the brand that creates the best customer experience is the one to succeed. AR can be beneficial here because this technology is entirely user-centered. Most consumers are still clinging to the traditional shopping experience and old market research methods. Businesses need to surpass that and AR might be the right way.

Interactive selling – AR is making the entire shopping experience easy and exciting while also educating customers about the products, giving them more options, and so on. This helps build a bond between brands and customers.

Keep the audience engaged – AR is exceptionally effective at keeping users involved in the long run. Due to its inherently immersive nature, AR can capture customers’ attention instantly and keep them engaged. This is extremely helpful for brands that are looking to expand their customer base and increase their conversion rates. Market research companies continue to provide evidence to support this.

Storytelling – a brand can tell a quality story are the brands that delight, close, convert, and attract customers. That’s why storytelling is an essential part of every marketing communication.

AR helps storytelling come alive, allowing the customers to experience products in real life, which increases the chance to sell those products.

Create exciting marketing events – every marketing event needs some hype to succeed. To build hype, you need to make the attendees excited and intrigued, as that gets people talking.  This initial buzz can be transferred to social media, and that helps increase brand awareness. AR helps accomplish all of the above.

Getting Started with AR Marketing

The most advanced, innovative technologies are constantly changing the way brands approach both their existing customers and target audiences.

Most brands and industries are fully aware of how to use AR for their marketing purposes. But there is still much that people don’t understand when it comes to how AR can help their business and marketing objectives. Here are some useful steps to help your brand get started with AR marketing.

Explore AR and its Possibilities

AR allows customers to experience products and services by using all sorts of sensory experiences like sounds and visuals. It changes the reality as we know it without immersing consumers in a different world.

That’s why numerous brands are already incorporating AR into their products and services to allow their customers to experience those services and products in a new dimension or environment. By doing so, they create an entirely new and engaging customer experience.

Content Marketing – content marketing is critical today, and AR empowers customers to customize that content; however, they see fit. AR is a great way to allow your customers to not only interact with your content but upgrade it, and this is precisely what keeps them engaged with the content.

AR also allows customers to visually experience the products and services online before they make their purchases, making the content more accessible. AR can help enhance immersion and interaction between a brand and its customers. It can also assist companies in conveying their message.

By giving more control to the customers, the brands can build high-quality relationships with their consumers and ensure a loyal customer base. AR helps brands add value to their advertising campaigns and allow customers to personalize the entire process of making a purchase. This will result in customer satisfaction and increased revenues, which is the ultimate goal.

App Development – to make sure that your customers get a chance to interact with your business more directly, you can develop your AR app.

This depends on your budget as this takes time, effort, and resources. If you have the talent and budget, developing your AR apps is the next step in the evolution of AR marketing.

The rising popularity of AR will only see it implemented in every industry. It is a unique way to improve not only customer service but the entire customer journey.

For more information on market trends and informative research we invite you to contact Research Optimus (ROP). A leader among primary market research companies ROP delivers in-depth information at the most affordable rates.


Part 10 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 10: Survey Length

Keep your survey to 4 minutes. 

Why 4 minutes? 

How much of your life changes in 4 minutes? 

In the last 4 minutes of writing this post my baby climbed over me, my 11 year old showed me her iPhone game score, Toy Story crescendo-ed and I responded to a text from my best friend.

No alt text provided for this image

Literally the moment I referenced 🙂

This will force you to be crafty with your questions. Here is an example of what I mean…

Q10. Do you drink beer? 

  • Yes 
  • No

–page break–

[if yes, ask Q11]

Q11. Which beer do you use most often? 

  • Bud 
  • Coors 
  • Miller
  • Other, please specify

We can combine both Q10 and Q11…

Q11. Which beer do you use most often? 

  • I don’t drink beer <– was Q10
  • Bud 
  • Coors 
  • Miller
  • Other, please specify

Pro Tip: It takes a respondent about 1 minute to answer 3 questions. 3 questions per minute * 4 minutes = 12 questions


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 9 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 9: How to Word Your Questions

Questions are the absolutely hardest part of writing a survey and there are volumes on how to word questions so that you get the intended answer. I have been in more than a few board presentations where a board member wants to know the actual question that was asked of respondents.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” — Voltaire

Consider this question…

Would you be willing to pay a lot more for a Nike shoe endorsed by Michael Jordan vs the same Nike shoe w/o the endorsement? 

That was basically the question asked by researchers when Nike was deciding if Jordan’s endorsement was worth it. The answer they got back was, “No way would I pay more for a shoe just because it has someone’s name on it.”

In the second round of research they asked the same question with a twist…

Which of these two shoes would you purchase? The Nike Air Jordan’s for $68 or Nike for $30?

And that, my friends, was the right question. Instead of being directly asked about the value they were asked about the product. It might seem like a small difference but it has HUGE implications to your data.

“I’m sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right question.” — Dr. Lanning’s Hologram

For now, just keep in mind that words often times mean different things to each of us and it is important to make sure your question is crystal clear. I’ll frequently have my 11 year old read a survey to ensure it is addressing all angles.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 8 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 8: Profile

The easiest to understand but the hardest to get right. These questions almost always include gender, age, ethnicity, income and education to name a few.

These add length to your survey and can be a distraction. Ask only the questions that are useful. How do you know which ones are useful and which are not? Easy. Can and will you target the customer based on the profile?

In my bar survey, I am not going to target females and males differently so we’ll leave out the gender question. In short, kill all “nice to have” questions.

Additional profile questions include:

  1. Behavioral: How frequently do you do X or visit Y. Basically, this set of questions are uncovering your product utilization to help understand channel usage.
  2. Firmographic: What demographics are to people, firmographics are to organizations. However, Webster (2005), suggested that the term “firmographics” is a combination of demographics and geographics.
  3. Phycographic: Interests, hobbies, opinions, etc.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 7 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 7: Diagnostics

These questions are the core of your survey as they directly answer your objectives.

For our example survey, I have already identified that my diagnostic questions will be based off the Van Westendorp’s Price Sensitivity Meter. So, my diagnostic questions will follow those guidelines.

The good news is that it is highly likely there is a published set of diagnostic questions you can tailor to fit your specific objective. SurveyMonkey is a great resource for free surveys that already have the diagnostic questions built for you.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 6 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 6: Screener: Quotas/Terms

What is a Screener? This is the part of the survey that screens respondents ensuring you are talking to the right person.

If you can define who you want to talk to then you can put everyone else in a bucket and terminate them!

No alt text provided for this image

Why would you want to terminate people? The most obvious reasons are because talking to your mom about Snapchat is dumb and, God forbid, if someone looks at the data that includes your mom’s view of Snapchat you are screwed.

This is an example of a screening question…

S1. What is your age? 






Your Mom @term

If you only want to talk to a certain type of person, be darn sure that is the only person in your sample.

Quotas are the final piece in your Screener. If there are several types of buyers then you’ll want to have quotas. In my above example, I may want to have the following quotas to ensure my sample is representative of the general population


13–19 N=50

20–29 N=50

30–39 N=50

Quotas can get pretty crazy. Let me know if you have specific questions about them. Here is a more detailed overview.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 5 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 5: Sample

Sample is the profile of your respondents and is often times referred to as “Sample Frame”:

Sample Frame                          N=200

 Male/Female                          50%/50%

 Have visited a bar in last 2 months  100%

 Use phone while at bar               N=80

Let’s decode our sample frame…

  1. Sample Frame N=200 means we are looking for a total of 200 respondents.
  2. Male/Female 50%/50% means we want an even split between gender.
  3. Have visited a bar in last 2 months 100% means that all qualified respondents are bar goers
  4. Use phone while at bar N=80 sets a minimum of 80 respondents who fit this criteria. Note, it is likely that the total pool of respondents who use a phone at bars is much higher…this is just setting a floor to ensure we have enough people in this bucket.

Have a minimum of 80 respondents in each segment you want to analyze. This gives you a big enough group to ensure you have a representative sample.

Pro Tip: Why percentage instead of set numbers? Because we may adjust our total N and this keeps things symmetrical.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 4 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 4: Survey Structure

All surveys have the same basic structure:

  1. Screener
  2. Diagnostics
  3. Profile

Sketch out your survey structure so that you know where to put certain types of questions.

How do you know what type of questions should be put together? I’ll cover this in a bit.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 3 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 3: Analytics Plan

Write your presentation prior to going live with your survey. 

You are going to have to do this work regardless, so it isn’t a waste. 🙂

By writing your presentation ahead of time you are forced to think through the practical implications of answering your objective which will help ensure you have the right profile, diagnostic, etc. questions. 

Here is an example from the survey I referenced above. I’m citing a few placeholder (###) stats which my research will need to address.

No alt text provided for this image

Additional Benefit: By creating this slide I recalled similar work I’ve done for Pepsi and Coke and realized we should measure drink purchases and length of stay.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 2 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

You can find the start of this series here. As you are going through this article, please 👍 and share if you find things useful. 

Tip 2: Stay on Point & Keep it Short

You may have heard the adage,

“Every dog has to pee on the tree.” 

I’ve personally programmed well over 2,000 surveys and authored at least a quarter of that. The single biggest and most common problem with surveys is scope creep.

Once you finish writing your survey you usually show it to stakeholders who, inevitably, have edits and additions. These additions are hard to push back on because, after all…

adding questions gives you additional data. 

But remember, a human being is on the other end of this survey. Taking a survey takes energy, focus and discipline.

Just think about the last long survey you took. At about 4 minutes, respondents start caring less about giving you correct answers and more about just finishing the survey. I’ve done tests on this with top brands where I take known transactional data like last item purchased and ask respondents,

What was the last item you purchased? 

Comparing stated response to their actual behavior we see respondents’ recall accuracy is over 90% at the start of a survey but falls to nearly 60% after minute 6.

So, how can you ensure your survey doesn’t suffer from question bloat? When writing your survey…

include the objective

 at the top of your survey. 

Below is an example of a survey I created yesterday…

Owner Survey Objective: Identify optimal product price for units and revenue

This creates clarity for you and your stakeholders. Every question asked will be viewed through this lens. If it doesn’t inform the objective then ruthlessly cut it. Remember, “nice to know” will compromise the quality of your findings.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat. 👇👇👇

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Part 1 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

After 2 decades in the consumer research space, I forget that writing a survey can be daunting for the first-timer. Over the next 10 days I’ll be writing 10 posts about survey writing best practices for market research and user experience pros. Each post will have one tip which will elevate your survey game regardless if you are writing your first, or your thousandth survey and ensure you get the best possible answers.

As you are going through this post, please 👍 or share if you find things useful. 😃Thanks!

Tip 1: Question Numbering

We think of surveys as this neat linear flow of questions and answers. Sadly, that simply isn’t the case. Writing a questionnaire is a very messy process…especially if it involves getting feedback from others.

Instead of using “question numbers” use “question labels”. Why? Because each question is a variable in your dataset and variables have labels. So, why is that important? Because, in the same way that during the survey writing phase you’ll want to reference your questions with their numbers, you’ll want to reference variables with their labels throughout the analysis and presentation phases. This way, your question label can be consistency referenced during the life of your project.

I use a basic naming convention where each question is referenced more like a variable. For example,

S1. What is your gender?

  • Male
  • Female

The “S1” is the label of the question and will stay with the question regardless of its location in the survey, e.g. it may get moved, removed and added back many times during the process. This permanent reference keeps data straight as well as removes confusion when people are referencing specific questions.

Always use a letter for the first character of your question label. You can use the same letter for questions that are similar in nature, like demographic questions start with the letter “D”, psychographic questions with “P”, screening questions with “S”, etc. This gives you a cheat sheet when looking at your survey and ties your data back to your questionnaire.

PRO TIP: If you label questions that you frequently use across other projects such as…

“What is your gender?” 

…with the same label, e.g. reserve S1 to always be your gender question OR simply label that question “gender“, you create comparability across projects giving your one-off research a long tail of value for research on research. This is especially helpful if you use a tool like KnowledgeHound for data visibility and accessibility over time.

..with the same label, e.g. reserve S1 to always be your gender question OR simply label that question “gender“, you create comparability across projects giving your one-off research a long tail of value for research on research. This is especially helpful if you use a tool like KnowledgeHound for data visibility and accessibility over time.


If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat.

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience


Live at #IIeX Austin, Key Learnings from 21 Interviews

The Happy Market Research Mafia…er…I mean Podcast was live onsite at IIeX Austin this year! Below is a quick recap of some of the onsite interviews along with my big takeaways…

Casey Bernard – Nimble Modern Radio

A fellow PODCASTER! Casey is defining a new frontier, Podcasts for Market Research firms and Brands. I spoke about this as well at IIeX. 

Why podcasts? 

1. The listener feels like friends

2. Insight consumption in any context, e.g. on a flight, commuting, jogging, etc. 

3. Content recall is much higher than written, presentation, or video


Instead of a topline report, you get a journalistic podcast deliverable. Casey incorporates the actual voices of the customers and can include additional media formats including an interactive website with videos and images. 

Honestly, this is such an effective way to communicate high level insights that engage the entire company in a regular cadence. Listen to this episode and think creatively about how you can apply the learning to grow your business. 

Learn More:

David Paull – Engagious & Dialsmith 

We talk about audience engagement and podcasting. One of the biggest challenges we, as the market research industry, face is how to effectively market ourselves. While we are brilliant at the research, we have a hard time punching through to the actual buyer. 

Learn More:

Adriana Rocha – eCGlobal Solutions 

Perspectives on being a women in context of also being a software engineer, entrepreneur, and CEO. Based in LATAM and experiencing rapid growth globally, HBO is one of their marquee customers. She applied several hacks to create a ton of value for her HBO: 

1- Create an invitation only HBO Go Panel

2- Leverage trending shows, like Game of Thrones, increasing engagement 

3- Using non traditional incentives, like badges, to certify community members as content experts

Learn More:

Andy Greenawalt – Odin Answers

Rebranded Odin Text. They pivoted from “what goes in” to “what goes out”. Odin Answers is the intersection between the text and segments that produces a just-in-time business insight. They specialize in servicing large Digital first companies. 

Learn More:

David Wolfe – Inguo

Brands are continuing to narrow their targeting communications to impact sales. Inguo is a spinout from the AI laboratory of NEC Corporation. The leading-edge research into advanced algorithms led to the breakthrough in data science to provide automated Causal Discovery and Causality Analysis – a first for the data science industry.

Learn More:

Forrest Sallee – Invoke

Invoke has built a consumer-driven decision making software platform. They offer a unique real-time digital testing option that gets you to data tables in under 90 minutes. Crazy!!! They use both closed and open ended questions and support both synchronous and asynchronous data approaches. 

We have an honest conversation about IIeX’s new US location in Austin. 

Learn More:

Hannibal Brooks – Olson Zaltman 

This is the first time attending a market research event. It is interesting to hear his take on Greenbook’s main event, “I love the presentations. Tons of new application of AI. Loved the presentation of AI analytics of CPGs.”

A little about Olson Zaltman. As a founder in the System 1 framework, Olson Zaltman goes beyond traditional research to reveal deeper insight into your business issues — which leads to bigger and better results.

Learn More:

James Norman – is all about understanding your audience and using that understanding to make better decisions in a video context. Anyone who is creating content and needs feedback in real-time… is a great fit. 

They have an innovative framework James calls “signal comprehension.” Respondents are exposed to any length of video from seconds to hours. Their feedback is automatically processed, analyzed and delivered to customers streamlining the creative process. 

Learn More:

Jennifer Lauture – TD Ameritrade 

I was able to hear Jennifer’s presentation at IIeX in Austin and was lucky enough to have a few minutes with her on the Happy Market Research Podcast. She uses this event as a way to prescreen prospective venders. Believe me, this is a common thread among the other brands I talked with. 

Learn More:

Joaquim Bretcha – Netquest & ESOMAR 

May 2nd, 2019, was the first day of Market Research & Insights institutionalized by the UN. Obviously, this day has passed but please add it to your google calendar. The hashtag is #celebrateMR. This is a huge opportunity for us as an industry to celebrate our success and importance of being a unified front to both brands and legislative bodies. Market Research stands for full respect for the respondents and the insights that serves as a rudder of the brands we serve. 

Learn More:

Kerry Edelstein – Research Narrative

Research Narrative is a full service research & insights agency. They offer services in custom market research, insights and analytics consulting, media & social impact evaluation, data journalism, and insights communication coaching for research and data-focused professionals. 

Kerry has a positive vibe that just pulls you in. Her deliverable is a combination of insights and storytelling. 

Learn More:

Laura Drews Freund – Cranbrook Search Consultants 

With all the consolidation over the past year, there are a ton of you who may be looking for someone to help you find your next big thing. Laura offers a deep network for both brands and prospective employees. 

Learn More:

Manish Mittal – Course5

I’ve known Manish for years. Course5 was initially known as CrossTabs. Course5 has evolved to include 3 pillars: 

1- Research AI 

2- Digital analytics 

3- Market intelligence

They have been a major player who has navigated the major pivots to stay relevant and help their customers find the key insights that move the organization closer to the customer.

Learn More:

Marc Macellaio – Fuel Cycle 

Fuel Cycle’s Market Research Cloud is the first insights platform to combine online communities, product exchanges, panels, and more to power real-time business decisions. They have been around for a long time and have a deep connection with SurveyGizmo (darn those guys…didn’t get on the show!). 🙁

Learn More:

Patricia Houston –

A startup within MMR Research in Atlanta. Their focus is on improving consumer experience and future proofing research. Here is the core question,

“How long until panel is no more and getting people to take a survey is too much?” 

This is a very important question for us to answer as we continue to see email open rates drop and consumer attention getting shorter. 

Learn More:

Ray Fischer – Aha! Online Research 

First off, he is the best voice in market research. For those that don’t know, Aha! Online is a Qual Platform used by many large brands to understand video. They support an asynchronous data collection approach including digital ethnography.  

Learn More:

Rick Kelly – Fuel Cycle

Founded as Passenger. Now Fuel Cycle is a research cloud that has their own set of qual and quant solutions in addition to integrating external tools. 

Learn More:

Rob Benson – Dwindle

“Dwindling it down” 

They are a new entrant into the market research space. For those of us who have been around the space a long time…don’t forget, learning market research is a lot like learning a new language and culture. Rob and his partner are doing a great job of helping designers A/B test in realtime. 

Learn More:

Sheila Akinnusi – Nedbank

A senior market research manager for one of the largest banks in Africa. She attended the IIeX event with the intent to find out what the rest of the world is doing and bring home best practices. One of my favorite parts of this interview was her assertion that the Market Research is an open community that welcomes all people and groups. 

Learn More:

Steve Mast – Methodify

These guys CRUSHED the event! Here are some trade show tips I learned from them: 

1 – Stickers are cool even for professionals 

2 – Have fun to maximize attraction 

3 – The big opportunity for us is to embed Market Research tech into MarTech

Learn More:

Tim Lawton – SightX

Solid company. This firm has the best UX for analytics of consumer data that I’ve seen. Their designers stay close to the customers ensuring their are getting from data collection to insights as fast as possible. 

Learn More:

Tom Anderson – Odin Answers 

This guy is the pioneer of text analytics. I’ve been a huge fan of his and his company. We even co-presented a few years ago at the CEO Summit. 

In this episode he talks about how important it is to triangulate truth through multiple data sources while including the customer voice. 

Learn More:

Vignesh Krishnan – SampleChain

SampleChain is a young startup. Vignesh brings a breath of relevant expertise to market research and technology. He was an early employee at Lucid. After leaving he started a DMP (Data Management Platform) that has tentacles into different parts of the industry including technology and sample with the intent of helping participants understand sample sources improving transparency and quality. 

Learn More:


I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s IIeX in Austin. Thank you Greenbook along with my fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

You can hear the full interviews at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #MRx #podcast #IIeX #userexperience


Power the Future of Insight Automation at MRMW

MRMW was a fun, informative and well attended show this year. Located in the heart of CPG land, Cincinnati Ohio, the speaker line up was amazing as were the exhibitors. The venue and space between speakers created a unique opportunities to have deep connections with partners. Dan Foreman (Zappi; Dalia; Bakamo; Veylinx; eYeka; MindProber; Haystack; Course5i; Voxpopme; Borderless Access; MRSS) & Baileigh Allen (ZigZag Research & Insights; Haystack, MindProber) kept things on track and fun!

The speaker lineup was among the best I’ve experienced. MRMW started with Kirti Singh, P&G’s Chief Analytics & Insights Officer and Gayle Fuguitt, Foursquare’s Chief of Customer Insight and Innovation who both gave inspirational and informative talks about the current and future state of the market research industry. Some of the other speakers included:

  • Jeffrey Hamilton, BMW
  • Rama Mallika, PayPal
  • David ludica, Facebook
  • Hetal Thaker Patel, iHeartMedia
  • Tia Maurer, Procter & Gamble

As the official podcast of MRMW, Happy Market Research had the honor of doing onsite interviews. Here are 14 of my favorite…

1. Brian Lamar, EMI Research Solutions 

For those that don’t know Brian is the best kind of people…fun, smart and humble. In this interview we talk about the role podcasting should play in your businesses along with the genius of my friend David Buttler’s recent creation, the viral Mars video:

Have a listen to Intellicast, Brian and Adam Jolley’s podcast, which offers a fresh perspective on the market research industry, sports, life and joviality.

2. Carol Shea, Olivetree Insights

In my conversation with Carol Shea, Olivetree Insights, we discussed one of today’s most important topics, “How can research move from a support function to a growth function?” The place to start is to understand what your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) will be for the research as it is often hard (*cough* impossible) to track to Revenue. For example, a KPI could be,

“How many times is the voice of the customer integrated into the business plan?” 

We also discuss tips and techniques for managing our next generation of researchers:

  1. Context vs checkbox management styles
  2. Collaboration 
  3. Get to the “Why” of the research 

You can find more information about Olive Tree Insights at

3. Courtney Akel, Georgia Pacific

Take the time to listen to this episode. Courtney talks about how market research is evolving and how that impacts us all in two ways: 

Firstly, partnerships are evolving. For example, instead of a wholesale outsource of the entire project, brands may opt to program the survey internally and then use their partners for the analytics.

Over the last 23 years in the space, we’ve seen in times of economic retraction that firms will move their cost basis outside. Over times of economic growth, firms invest internally on systems and people. The good news is regardless of the economic state, partnerships play a key role in delivering and activating insights. 

Secondly, we need to stay current with our skills. This is something I continue to hear as we are seeing more and more emphasis on data science. For her, this means learning both… 

  1. Python
  2. R

Learning to program is a lot like learning a new language. The good news is there are a ton of resources to help you. Courtney is using Codecademy

4. Gus Valen – Curator Video 

Research is a continuous process vs an event. This is picked up straight away by Gus in this insightful interview. His point of view of how market research is moving along w/the evolving customer journey is refreshing. We have all felt the tension between Observation vs Stated behavior. While Stated is easier to get, Observed can be more accurate outcome. But, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Curator Video is an end-to-end video management technology. If you have not seen them, I’d highly recommend checking them out.

5. Guy White – Catalyx

Founder Market Fit is a real thing and exactly how I started Decipher. Guy walks us through his founder journey and provides tips for early stage firms. With a background at P&G, Guy fell in love with the pain not the solution. This is key to successful innovation. If you are a technology looking for a problem…you will fail. 

Catalyx helps brands persuade more consumers to buy more, more often. They sit right in the middle of the innovation process. Find out more at

6. Jill Kushner Bishop – Multilingual Connections 

Think translation and transcription are not innovating? Think again! Jill founded Multilingual Connections and has been applying technology to streamline internal work flows for faster and better deliverables. Jill tackles her business from the point of view of a seasoned expert in the field. 

Find them online at:

7. Justin Coates – Eastman Chemical Company 

Justin has been doing consumer research for over a decade and was recruited by Eastman to build the consumer insights function. As a manufacturer of chemicals, consumer insights is a new function that sits in corporate innovation.

Most of the industry is looking at the Qualtric’s acquisition by SAP for $8B as an insane multiplier. But! I’d think we are at the beginning of the J curve. Why?

When you look at the top performers in the SMP 500, you see Consumer Insights playing a key role in the decision-making process. Conversely, under performers don’t.  

The impact? As companies seek to become consumer centric, our industry is poised to crush it! Eastman Chemical Company is a perfect example of a massive firm that has historically done little to no consumer research but is right now making the shift.

8. Ludovic Depoortere – Haystack 

Ludovic had the best presentation of all time! Sorry to everyone else. 🙂

Ludovic did an experiment with the entire audience where we ate chocolate while listening to different types of music and how the music set a mood which impacted the taste. I hope he links the deck in the comment section. 

So, what does Haystack do? It is a multi-sensory research consultancy that focuses on multi-sensory, implicit, emotive, and contextual research. Creating an emotional connection to your brand is paramount. Haystack can help.

Check them out!

9. Maryana Stepanova – Borderless Access

A vet of MRMW, I couldn’t agree more with her about the value MRMW gives to participants and speakers. Maryana’s company is a full-service agency that has a proprietary invite only panel in 34 countries that validates respondents via social media. 

Yup! They have a website too:

10. Nihal Advani – QualSights 

Getting to “why” is vital. I believe we are at the beginning of a new era in market research where qualitative will play an increasingly dominant role in the insights function. 

Why? Research is basically a conversation at scale. You really don’t need to do quantitative research when you are a small firm…because you are already talking to your customers. But, as you grow that just isn’t feasible. 

With the rise of AI and Machine Learning, now qualitative tools like QualSights and Remesh give researchers the opportunity to have a conversation at scale… 

…which provides the quant perspective you’d get from a survey, e.g. “This is bigger than that” along with understanding the consumer’s “Why”. 

For more information on QualSights, please visit

11. Niklas Anzinger – Dalia Research 

Dalia is a primary research firm with a proprietary mobile technology that emphasizes quality and depth of data. They uniquely enable organizations to feel the pulse of people around the world specializing in highly niche sub groups. 

As brands continue to tailor communication to niche customer segments and even to individuals, Dalia helps firms understand and successfully connect to their targets. 

Find out more:

12. Rob Pascale – MAi Research

MAi Research develops custom market research solutions to address important challenges. They focus on 4 areas. Our chat centered more around their Text analytics platform which delivers broad concepts vs straight definitions. They uncover the true product and service consumption drivers. 

As an example, Rob talked about diapers (a topic I can relate to having 5 kids)… 

“People didn’t just care about leak protection but also absorbent jell. This pivoted the brand’s communication to protection from diaper rash yielding an oversized return for the company.”  

This is something every brand should checkout:

13. Rudy Bublitz – Digital Taxonomy

Digital Taxonomy has created an application that combines AI and human judgement to transform unstructured text into actionable insights. Their app is uniquely designed to be usable by literally anyone in the consumer insights ecosystem. They also have a set of open APIs. This is a neat company that is in the hyper growth stage.

Find them at:

14. Will Krieger – Research America

Will has been a long-standing employee with Research America. He talks about how they have successfully managed their M&A strategy (16 acquisitions in 5 years). It all starts with employee “Fit”. For Research America, they have collaboration & integrity that helps them mesh together as a team. So rarely do you hear this from acquired firms…tons of positive energy in this episode.

Research America focuses on delivering high touch solutions to their customers for consistently delivering best in class consumer insights. 

And, finally:


I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s MRMW NA. Thank you Merlien Institute along with the fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

You can hear the full interviews at As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #MRx #podcast #MRMW


8 Essential Tips For CEOs in 2019

All CEOs face significant challenges regardless of their tenure in the post. As the market evolves, so too does our objectives along w/our methodology.

Here are some tips to remember if you’re a CEO or someone responsible for a product or book of business.


We already know that our success is predicated on the success of our team. But, how do you give staff just the right amount of responsibility?

Michael J Vigeant, CEO of GreatBlue Research, has this practical advice…

I ask my staff this question, “When do I get in your way and how can I get out of your way?”

These simple questions put both autonomy and accountability squarely on the shoulders of your team.

By asking, “When do I get in your way?”, you are removing any outcome-based excuses. And by asking, “How can I get out of your way?”, you are creating a solutions-oriented conversation that requires any performance-based issues or blind spots to be addressed.

This will create a clear set of steps towards transferring work from you to them.


If you are playing the long game, add value. It is as simple as that. Founded in 1998, Cint was the first player in the sample market place. Mike Misel, SVP of Americas says,

“It is our job to make our customers’ lives easier. We think about ourselves as in the supply chain management space. We are adding value by taking their antiquated processes and bringing them into a modern place.”

By viewing your product or service through the eyes of your customer you will do 2 things:

  1. Understand their real pain points
  2. See how your solution helps them

This framework gives you a clear basis for doing business and changes the conversation from one of sales to helping. And, we all like helping a heck of a lot more than salesing.


As pricing pressures drive down overall sample costs, we have to understand that this impacts how much a sample company can spend on their people and service. This principle holds true for any industry.

Given the enormous pricing pressures among publicly traded companies, sample (people that take surveys) has taken the brunt of the pressure resulting in an increase of concern around data quality.

Meanwhile, under Mendy’s leadership, Prodege continues to have a thriving sample business. Why?

“The market appreciates our high level of transparency.”

There are many different brands of cars. Some are cheap and some are expensive. Why the variance? They each attract and contribute to a different set of needs. The motivation around buying a BMW is different than a Teslsa…which is different than a Civic.

By understanding the market and your customer, you know where you win and where you don’t. In the same way you wouldn’t try and sell a Civic buyer a BMW; you need to know your target customer and focus your solutions to their needs.

I call this the “Right Shoe for the Right Foot” principle.


Anne’s husband was one of the Freedom Riders (a civil rights activist who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional).

Anne is vocal about issues around diversity,

“How is diversity going to play into the lives of our future leaders?”

CEOs have a huge opportunity to support underrepresented and suppressed groups. One of my favorite examples of this is AT&T’s multi-year commitment to The Trevor Project and $1 million donation.

Know who you are and stand by that. If you try and maintain relevancy to everyone, you’ll wind up being relevant to no one.

PS I love her website.


As a leader, we will all experience breakthrough revenue quarters along with periods of retraction. Don’t be fooled by periods of prolonged prosperity. Merrill has a saying, “Profits hide problems.” Be constantly humble.

“What type of a leader do I need to become. Take a good hard look at the resources available. Pull from many different inspirations so you have a solid foundation to build upon. For me, Founder’s Mentality is one of those inspirations.”

If you are humble, then you’ll look outside yourself which creates inspiration and maintains relevancy. As Tim explained in his talk, when he applied this self-reflection he became the leader Quester needed. As a result, 2019 will be the best growth year they have ever seen (that is my prediction based off some data and my gut).


In the early days of Decipher, I tried to sell my first accounts access to our DIY survey tool. This was met with, “I’d rather someone else program my surveys.” So, we pivoted to offer services. Over time the market evolved to adopt our DIY platform, but services always played a linchpin role in all our enterprise level deals.

Anders nailed this point in our interview,

“End clients in North America are more interested in software enabled services…but services are still part of it.”

All too often, technology is seen as the Unique Selling Proposition. But, it isn’t. What doeswin is your connection with your customers at a human to human level. That is why I’m bullish on Microsoft’s recent announcement of moving from AI to Human Augmented Intelligence.

Wrap services around your customers and you’ll expedite corporate adoption and shorten sales times.


We’ve likely all been guilty of making an announcement in an All Hands meeting about some new policy or strategic direction and expected everyone to jump right in line. Of course we know what happens…as soon as you are done speaking, people forgot and get back to doing things the same way.

My rule of thumb is that every change you introduce will take 3 months before your team can get on board. And, if you layer in an additional change before the full adoption of your first change then you are undoing any work done to date and likely will loose credibility with your team.

Camille has experienced consistent growth at Gongos. One of the reasons she gave for their success was their application of “urgent patience“,

“The Art of Urgent Patience. As the CEO, I know where we want to go. I can see it. But you’ve got to meet people where they are.”

I have never heard of the concept before…but she just nailed it. Patience isn’t passive. It is active and creates focus. Successful CEOs know change is necessary so you better get to the grind so you can move to the next big thing.


The adage, “It’s lonely at the top” is 100% true and the bigger your organization, the higher the mountain…thinner air…colder…more isolation…scarier.

I loved my conversation with Rob Volpe, CEO of Ignite 360,

“It’s very difficult being the CEO of a company and you don’t have easy or frequent access to other CEOs. This conference is great for meeting other CEOs and hearing their struggles, wins and tactics.”

Rob is exactly right. I’ll end this bit on another old adage, “You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most.” Actively seek to level up your peer group.


I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s CEO Summit. Thank you Insights Association along with the fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

You can hear the full interviews here on As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.


2 Trends in Market Research from 31 Interviews at IIeX

On February 18th and 19th, Greenbook hosted the 5th annual IIeX in Amsterdam. While the venue was among the best I’ve ever seen, there was an overriding theme that surfaced, research empowerment

After doing over 80 interviews on the Happy Market Research Podcast among some of today’s top minds in market research, a theme is coming into focus: Research Empowerment

There were a ton of great talks and exhibitors a this year’s IIeX Amsterdam. Here are my 2 big takeaways from: 

1. Regardless of where you sit in your organization, consumer experience is part of your job. 

It used to be the case that doing a survey or one-on-one was hard. Those days are long gone. Today there are a host of tools including SurveyMonkey and that facilitate nearly instant access to consumers. 

Today’s tools are easy enough for even my mom to use but robust enough for most professional researchers. But that doesn’t mean research rigor is in place.

Most people who need the consumers’ point of view to inform their work have the ability to do a survey. For example, about 10 years ago a colleague told me there was a study done by Oracle on what tools their staff used to conduct research. They were surprised to learn that there were about 5,000 individual subscriptions to SurveyMonkey! 

Each person who has to make a decision about design that impacts the customer journey, al needs the customers’ point of view in near real-time. Tools make getting this point of view easy. But is that good?


The problem with the democratization of research is that non-researchers often don’t understand the basics. Jake’s tweet on the right talks about many issues facing modern researchers. But show that list to non-researchers and see how much they actually understand.

The question isn’t,

“How do I get untrained researchers that are not in my department to stop doing research?” 

The question is,

“How do I empower them to get quality insights?” 

2. Insight Automation is a tool, not the answer. 

Research Automation as a value proposition has come into full bloom in market research. It addresses the conundrum, 

“Quality. Timing. Cost. Pick 2.”  

By automating the logistics function of research, we can spend more time on the “Now what and so what” of research. The real value prop is “Quality, Timing, and Cost…now you get all 3.”

Leveraging research automation can make hard things like adding external behavior data from your firms data lake become easy…even automated. This leaves you time to build a journalistic narrative that moves the company to change.

But, if Research Managers democratize insights as opposed to trying to centralize them, there must be an approval process. For example, in a recent chat with a P&G exec…they are concerned about research findings from different studies being compared over time.

“There is a lot that can change between studies including market conditions. With out setting the context or understanding what the business has done, you may misunderstand the drivers of of change.” 

Across your organization, people are doing research. This is why you have such a significant rise in data scientists and user experience researchers. Both of those job functions usually sit outside the purview of Market Research and are leveraged heavily because they have integrated insights into the daily tasks and workflows of designers and developers. 


Where and how should researchers deploy research empowerment? To answer this, I have simplified things…maybe too much…into two types of research: 

  1. Macro: These are commissioned by executives and have strategic implications for the business. Researchers must always be involved, if not outright in charge, of this type of work. 
  2. Micro: These spawn when there is a question like, “Which graphic is better?” or “What would the customer want to see here?” or “Is there a missing feature?” These are numerous and made through the organization. While they are not mission critical, the right choice has impact; so we want the person to have the tools and knowledge to incorporate the customer into their thinking. 

Most research that is done outside of the market research function is stuff we’ve been doing for decades: Satisfaction, Usability, Conjoint, Segmentation, etc. This is where we, as market researchers, can pull ahead and offer…

  1. Research automation tools such as Zappi or PureSpectrum offer firms the opportunity to standardize common methodologies and question types. This takes much of the risk out of the research. Additionally, by employing a research knowledge management system like KnowledgeHound you can create visibility on active and past projects ensuring presentations are inline with findings. This is a hell of a lot better than pretending research isn’t being done.
  2. Guidance: Once a month, a colleague of mine creates a SlideShare and then hosts a lunch-and-learn for the User Experience team where they cover a methodology, best practices, new tech, research tips, and Q&A. 

The technology should centralize the research putting research as the principle of insights and allows the organization to become better at getting and understanding the consumer voice.


So, what is the role of the corporate researcher? In part,


We need to establish best practices and guide the use of the right tools for the right jobs to ensure the implications from the customer views is accurate and impactful. 

As always, it would mean the world if you’d share this article on Twitter or LinkedIn. I wish you all success and happiness!

Shameless Plug

PureSpectrum has a lot to offer on this front. By partnering with existing automation solutions or by building them from the ground up, you can help improve your velocity of insights while saving money. Let me know if you’d like to talk:


3 Ways the Detroit Pistons are Using Data to Activate Fans & Sponsors

In my recent interview on the Happy Market Research Podcast with Shelly Bouren, Head of Research for the Detroit Pistons, she gave a transparent view of how the Detroit Pistons are using market research to engage both Fans and Sponsors. 

While relatively new to the world of market research, Bouren has a strong background in analytics from her experience in banking. This unorthodox background gives her a unique view of how and where insights should be integrated into the business to improve outcomes for both customers and owners. Her approach to research is both accessible and practical for us all. 

As part of, and an industry-leading, data & analytics department, Bouren manages research for all of the Detroit Pistons’ business departments; including operations/guest experience, marketing, entertainment, ticket sales, and sponsorship sales. 


This moniker is the hallmark of modern researchers. However, Bouren, takes this to a whole new level. On the walls of the office you’ll find signs like this,

Bouren says,

“Without context, the amount of data that is generated each season can be overwhelming. When current results were shared, there was a lot of head-nodding, and not a lot of action being taken.” 

By clearly and publicly articulating the rubric of research, you create a self-policing culture of action. It also creates a constant reminder to executives that, “We use research” to make decisions. This supports a culture of data driven decisions and supports the continued investment in research when budget time comes around.


Having worked with hundreds of companies, this is harder in some and easier in others. It all depends on the transparency of the organization and degree of access you have to executive staff.

Bouren has designed her research around 6 questions which gives the Detroit Pistons clarity and opportunity to improve. She displays each question as a cog. If the machine of business is going to run efficiently, then we must invest in insights:

“Who are our customers?”

“Are we reaching them?”

The adage, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” is vital when it comes to maximizing your Ad spend. 

  • TV/Radio Ratings
  • Social Measures
  • Media Monitoring

One trend I’ve heard over the last 50 interviews is that top firms are measuring not just the topline returns but also measuring at the individual level. For example, if you are selling in a B2B environment, LinkedIn now has a Social Selling solution which gives you a view of a target company’s org chart and the ability to be notified when buyers post or interact.

HACK: If you want to sell to P&G, start interacting with the buyers on social. This helps build a non-threatening relationship, informs you about who they are and what they care about (both professionally and socially), and will make your first meeting feel a lot more like a meeting among friends.

“What do they think of us?”

Don’t have your finger on the pulse of the consumer? SAP’s CEO, Bill McDermott, feels it is so important they paid $8 billion for Qualtrics on a $400 million-dollar gross revenue. Honestly, there simply isn’t anything more important that knowing how your customers are feeling about you.

  • Fans: Brand Health Study
  • Attendees: Pistons Gameday Survey; Secret Shoppers; NBA Game Experience Study
  • Members: Fan Loyalty Tracker; Rewards Survey
  • Groups: NBA Group Leader Survey; Group Planning Surveys
  • Partners: Sponsor Satisfaction Study

HACK: Social listening is so important and easy to implement. If you say, “but I’m not on social,” you and your firm are in trouble. According to Edwin Wong, head of insights for Buzzfeed, “We created the largest Facebook group by simply going where the people are and talking about what they care about.” Your customers are on social and they are talking. Be there and engage…your competition is. 

“Do sponsorships benefit them?”

Havas Media improved their win rate by 50% by incorporating data into their pitches.

Brand Amplification Study; Sponsor Lift/Eval Study; Sponsor Recaps; Asset Valuations

“How can we grow?”

The rate of innovation is by no means slowing down. Voice, AI, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, etc. are changing the way consumers interact with the world. By allocating resources here, the organization is ensuring it is well prepared for these changes and whatever else might come up.

Prospecting Surveys; Campaign Support; Marketing Concept Testing

“What is our culture?”

Bouren put this cog at the bottom of the slide. In fact, it really isn’t number 6. It is the underpinnings of the whole machine. Being customer focused is not enough. You must have an engaged workforce.

Employee Survey; Pulse Surveys

HACK: Every company that is adding or subtracting headcount should do a pulse survey. For me, this was a weekly survey sent every Thursday at 3pm PT. The sooner you start tracking, then the sooner your baseline will come into focus; and you can start measuring things like the impact of 401ks or acquisitions or benefit changes or major company wins or major losses or…. Keep it short, 2 questions: NPS surrogate and an open-ended question. Best part is, you can do it for free using SurveyMonkey.


“The insights process dashboard has helped the organization understand how research can answer the questions that drive business and growth each season. It provides the framework for monthly executive level meetings, and has been a great communication tool to increase the reach and influence of our insights. With the increased exposure and understanding, I have been included in more strategic and planning conversations and am able to guide more data-driven decisions.“ 


AGENCY: If you sell into the market research industry, Bouren has given us one of the greatest gifts, a glimpse of how she frames and uses research. It is a clear roadmap of where you can add value and create clarity around your offerings, so they add value to your customers. 

BRAND: If you are inside the walls of a brand, Bouren has given us a comprehensive way to frame what we do day-to-day that will keep us managing up and ensuring our brands are acting with data.

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As always, it would mean the world if you’d share this article on Twitter or LinkedIn. I wish you all success and happiness!


3 Ways to Get the Job You Want!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee will change jobs every 3.8 years. Put another way, over a 40-year career that is 11 transitions. Why? LinkedIn recently released a study which shows that “opportunity for advancement” is the number one reason exceeding even “poor management”. 


Value will always win, and success will always follow.  

In the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes. 

Last year, at the Insights Association’s CEO Summit I met a remarkable young CEO, Colson Steber. He was facing many challenges including pressure on sales, operational issues, and rising debt service. After my presentation Colson grabbed me and we worked through a 30,000-foot tactical plan that would help turn the business around. Colson did the hard work and took our conversation to the next level created an amazing 2018 outcome: 

  • Stabilized the business 
  • Revenue up by 30%
  • Established an engaging culture
  • Raised employee pay
  • Improved his Gross Margin 
  • Grew Net Income

At this year’s CEO Summit, Colson gave a presentation in front of the 80 CEOs about our conversation and how he implemented it. He literally leveled up my brand. 

The advice I was giving him was the culmination of nearly 20 years as a leader. It would have been easy for me to frame our discussion in a consulting agreement, so I totally skipped over the monetization opportunity and we went to work. 

Never miss an opportunity to help someone in need. It is ok to stay late, answer questions or just help clean up. Please know that people will take advantage of you from time to time…but if your motivation if their success…who cares.

In addition to capitalizing on spontaneous opportunities, go out of your way to ask your boss and peers, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Kindness and hard work are strong differentiators and are core to the type of person any high-performance culture wants to employ. 


Find an aspect of your job that you can quantify and then do it. Why? Because this data will give your performance a benchmark that you can use to quantify the impact of changes you make. 

Why is this useful? Using data in your life will…

Before you say, “This is impossible.” consider this example:

Jane does video production in addition to a heap of other things. Currently, videos take 8 hours to create. She monitors how much time each video takes for the next few months. This creates a performance benchmark, e.g. 8 hours. 

This leads Jane to ask herself,

“How can I get it to 7 hours?” 

She thinks, maybe I can leverage existing assets to save some time and it will not jeopardize the quality. 

She uses Adobe Stock Images and BOOM…2 hours are saved on the next video. “Hrm”, Jane thinks. “I wonder if the performance of the videos is the same?” She looks at that data also. 

During her 1 on 1 with her manager, she tells the story and quantifies her improvement. Jane’s boss is impressed and even has Jane do a training with her peers. 

Now, imagine she is applying for a new job? “Over 2 months, I improved video production by 25% across my company.” It is easy to see the outcome of that job interview. 


Brand is performance over time.  

LinkedIn as a platform is evolving. More and more of us are using it as a place to find current content, see what is trending, and connect with peers and influencers. 

Putting yourself out there may seem scary. Don’t worry. We all have bags under our eyes, pimples, and stumble over our words. Just get out there. The key is to be authentic. One of my favorite examples of this is Ryan Berry. Just checkout his feed to see what I mean. 

What content should you post? Pick a lane and stay on point for a few months. Here are some tips…

  1. Write a blog post. Break it up into a 4 parter. This will give your voice shape so people know what to expect and start positioning you as a thought leader. 
  2. Don’t like to write? That is fine, post a video. Just use your phone. Quality is something you can worry about once you get better at the craft. 
  3. Start a podcast and start interviewing people. This is a fantastic way to extend your reach and, if you are like me, gets you out of the spotlight. 

Pick your medium and outline your first few topics then shoot your video, write your blog, or line up your podcast interviews. The key is to just start.


This is going to take time.  

One of my employees who recently joined Twitter said, “I’ve never had anyone interact with my tweets so just dismissed the platform.” When you first start, it is going to be slow going. That is just part of it. Consistency is 80% of the game. The best part is: by doing you will hone your craft and quality along with building an audience. 

As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you the best. 

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on Twitter!


2 Tips For Turning Customers into Brand Champions

The end of 2018 was marked by Customer Experience being named King. With the acquisition of Qualtrics by SAP for $8b to be completed in Q1 ’19, Customer Experience is on track to have an incredible global era for the next decade, and we are just starting.

Everyday there are brands impacted by customer experience through the use of online ratings and social media. Consider this…

  1. According to a study done by Nielsen, over 65% of consumers prefer other customer recommendations over any other sources when choosing a product or service.
  2. Additionally, Sprout Data showed, “Two out of three (66 percent) respondents said posts from brands rarely or never influence their opinions.”

In this article, I give advice on how to grow your business (this especially applies to Market Research companies) by creating and capitalizing on amazing customer experiences based on my recent interview with Kantar’s Ann Green and Stephen DiMarco.


Consider the last time you had a hot date. You likely picked a fancy place for dinner and everyone would have been excited. But then you showed up and the parking lot was full, and you had to walk half a mile from the parking garage in the pouring rain with no umbrella. Your experience had to have been downgraded. Does the restaurant owner own the parking lot? Most likely no. Do they own the experience? 100% yes!

During the interview Ann Green used the example of Delta Airlines, “Delta used to be a means to get from one place to another. It was a flight. Now it is an experience. It is everything from onboard services to ordering a drink at the gate.” She went on to say,

“People are spending more on experiences than they are on things or products. So, marketers have to spend a lot more time and money getting to know their customer, so they impact not just the exact product but also the time and area around that consumption.”

To create a successful experience, we have to view the experience through the eyes of the consumer. In short, the context of the experience is just as important as the food, flight, insights report, or whatever else you are delivering.


Technology enabled data collection through Software as a Service is employed across most large companies in the same way that they have CRMs like But you still need professional services.

How? These are some tips from Kantar:

  1. Partner: Start with an investment with clients on discovery that creates a shared point of view of the customer pain points. Ideally, these pain points are unfilled by competitors.
  2. Listen: You have to use the right shoe for the right foot. There is no one size fits all here. Sometimes you’ll need an ethnography, IDI, Focus Group, Survey, Diary, or all the above. No matter what you employ, be open minded…this came up in many of the interviews of 2018. Check your assumptions at the door and get ready to learn.
  3. Delivery: Data tables, PowerPoints, Dashboards…these don’t get consumed by the organization. Consumer insights must facilitate a conversation that concludes with, “What is the action?”
  4. Prioritize: Action Over Answers

But to help the brand recreate the brand promise, research needs to identify an unmet need and extend to the operational plan to meet that need. This is why Kantar is finding purchase in Professional Services that take the data to the next level.

Basically, current CX solutions are great but need a lot of contextualization around them to be useful and brands need help with the specialized expertise to ensure decisions are driving successful business outcomes. 

As researchers and business owners, once we recognize that software is just part of the solution, then we can see the opportunity to shine for our clients.

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6 Keys to Grow Your Business Through LinkedIn Articles & Posts

Trying to grow an audience on LinkedIn? Me too! But the analytics around Articles and Posts has had me vexed.

In this first article I introduce the benefits and best practices around both Articles and Posts so you can bring the right tool to the job.


I’ve been all in on LinkedIn from the beginning. In fact, for over 8 years, LinkedIn was one of my largest users of the Consumer Survey Platform I built. Sadly, I continue to be frustrated with the way my Articles are performing in comparison to my Posts.


For example, below is the analytics from my best performing Article we see 135 views, 37 likes and 6 comments.

Compare this well performing Post which had over 12k views, 100 likes and 20 comments…


There was no paid ad spend on either the LinkedIn Article or the Post. My hourly rate is much higher but, for this work, $100 an hour felt right.

The economics is very obviously in favor of the Post. Here is why:

  1. They require less time, money and energy to produce.
  2. Seem to get way more currency of choice, #attention.

Engagement is my attempt to create a measure of impact per post and consists of Likes + Comments. Physiologically, Views has some important impact on me. So, the emotional lens created by views and the larger Engagement supported an “all in” effort on posts.


I reviewed over 20 blogs, articles and had many discussions with other LinkedIn influencers to better understand their experience. I also joined the Writing on LinkedIn Group (which produced way too much spam).

Let’s start with views. According to LinkedIn’s FAQ, not all views are equal. The difference between the number of views on a post, video or an article…

  1. Articles – Someone has clicked on and opened your article in their browser or on the LinkedIn mobile app. Note: Clicking into and viewing your own article also counts towards the number of views for that article.
  2. Posts – Someone saw your post on their LinkedIn homepage feed.
  3. Videos – Someone has viewed your video in their LinkedIn homepage feed, or by clicking on the video.

The huge distinction here is between Articles and Posts. In my example post, we have a 9:1 ratio of Post:Article views.

However, the quality of the view for an Article is much…much higher. 

But, why?

Observe your behavior when consuming your feed on LinkedIn. You are likely swiping up until something catches your eye. This gives each post a “view” count even though you didn’t really see it. This view also has competition from ads. The below screen has a yellow overlay over the ad areas on that screen (excluding promoted posts):

Conversely, a view in an Article is counted when someone clicks the Article that they discover in their feed which creates a much lower outcome. BUT, the value of that view is HUGE! Why? You have a captured (engaged) audience…and no yellow. 

Now that we know not all views are created equal, what about the difference between Likes, Comments and Shares?


From my experience, comments offer the highest value opportunity across the View, Like, Comment and Share indicators. Why?

Shares yield views (top of the funnel) but Comments yield opportunity. 

I created the below image to show the order of performance vs my overall Key Performance Indicator (KPI) which is Comments. This is where Paid becomes a critical component for your LinkedIn social strategy. By placing a few ad dollars against an Article, you’ll greatly improve your top of the communication funnel; and if you are adding value and your creative connects, you’ll see the trickle down effects.


Take the time to produce quality articles that add value to your target audience. To this end, I will be producing 3 articles per week this year.

  1. Ensure all content you produce, especially Articles, add value.
  2. Spend the time with creative. Given the ease of use introduced by Canva to create amazing social graphics, there are simply no excuses for subpar creative.


I’ll be continuing this series based on my findings over the coming months. Here are some of the other items I’ll be exploring:

  1. Why do people Like vs Comment on LinkedIn & How to Drive Comments?
  2. What is the long tail of Posts vs Articles?
  3. If boosted, would Articles out perform Posts? If so, how much money to hit the tipping point? I’ll likely build a calculator for this so you can test and see if the market is going to yield an adequate return.

What else should I be paying attention to or would you like me to investigate?

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5 Things every Researcher should know about how Buzzfeed uses consumer insights

Today I had the privilege of interviewing Edwin Wong from Buzzfeed. We chatted about how his research background at Yahoo and Pinterest informs Buzzfeed. We also discussed what he looks for in suppliers and his advice for recently minted marketing researchers.

These notes are just my big takeaways and should not be taken as the complete picture. For that, you’ll need to listen to the interview and come to your own conclusions.


Edwin’s entry into research came from being part of the first few hires at a then small startup, Hall & Partners, which works with top brands to unlock new opportunities to co-invent the future. While at Hall & Partners, he was part of it’s ascension into the stratosphere of brand consulting.

My key takeaways

Walk alongside your customer and win

Prior to the interview Edwin and I were laughing about a particularly difficult project which required us to work over Christmas break and into New Years.

“There’s no such thing as vendor, client, whatever; it’s really partnerships.” 

I still recall the strain of that project. We had screwed something up in the survey programming and the sample simply wasn’t coming in at the rate promised. The customer had to have the data directly after the holiday break so that the company executives could make a strategic shift. Pressure was mounting daily and peoples’ careers were literally on the line.

No matter how late, no matter how early, weekend, holiday, vacation, at the bar with a few drinks in…we picked up the phone if a customer needed us.

This is something that is hard to quantify in collateral, websites and in sales decks. But each of us, yeah, I mean you and me, has a similar warchest of stories to pull from. When you are talking to prospective customers try telling them the story of how your team came through for another firm when the odds were stacked against you. I promise, the company you are pitching has plenty of examples when a trusted vender didn’t pickup the phone until Monday.

Take the full view

Context is one of the easiest things to loose when doing research. Why? We isolate our data from outside influences such as current events, where the respondents are coming from and their motivations. By incorporating external data such as purchase behavior, macro trends and media consumption we offer a fuller view of what is driving a consumer insight.

Edwin gave us a brilliant quote from Buzzfeed’s founder, Jonah Peretti,

“We are data full, not data rich.” 

That is exactly correct. Despite the rise in the volume of data, brands simply don’t know how to apply it to self-reported quantitative and qualitative research data. But it can be very easy to apply it…even if you have no technology. For example, if you are using a customer supplied list get a few other relevant variables besides contact information and combine that into your analysis. This extra step will help inform your findings, add value to the study and make you standout from your peers.

Research logistics are less important than Why

Today’s technology is making it easier and easier for brands to do research themselves saving time and money without compromising quality. However, pattern recognition continues to be a point of massive value.

“Gaining an understanding of what the consumer is doing is actually quite easy. But the why is what’s important.” 


“As we start to look at some of these newer platforms, the reason why I think they’re taking off is because they are aligning the digital experience with what’s core to being human. Part of Buzzfeed’s success is being able to dissect what the experience actually means to the consumer.” 

Seeing the same story play out in other clients and in other industries will help you put together a clear view on market trends so that your research findings uncover the why in the numbers.

Story trumps numbers

Long gone are the days where you present a 30 page powerpoint showing charts and tables. Today is the day of the story.

“Numbers matter less than the story. Methodology is absolutely critical, [because] the stories we tell each other are the stories that move the business.” 

It isn’t enough to have a data backed position. You have to craft a story which can be discussed at the water-cooler. Our research needs to connect to the organization through its employees so they can affect the change necessary to ensure its long-term success.

Advice to young market researchers

I see this a lot with eager researchers. They pop down in a chair next to some company subject matter expert of 20 years and start challenging. The reality is that, as a researcher, we are never as up to date on the business as the executives and we are never as close the the customer as sales. So, listen and then apply the insights in the context that they provide.

“We are hardly ever the smartest person in the room… be the best listener.” 

If you are a good listener, you will see how the dots connect into your insights and be able to tell a story that is supported instead of dismissed.

I recall a sales pitch I gave in Seattle about 5 years ago. It was for a very large piece of business. The pitch started with a slide that was titled, “Objectives & Client State”. Then the 2nd slide had in big bold letters, “What’s Changed?”. When the 2nd slide came on the overhead the client burst out laughing and said, “Thank God you asked…”. She proceeded to tell me over the last week they were going through a series of layoffs and had completely different buy motivations. If I hadn’t asked she likely would have likely patiently sat through my presentation and then smiled me to the door. Instead, I walked out with a signed contract.

In Conclusion

I was blown away with the level of detail Mr. Wong provided the research community. It is clear the value brands are looking for is shifting more and more away from the gathering of the insights and more towards what those insights mean to inform business decisions. 

Happy Market Research exists to facilitate a conversation between insights professionals and the brands they serve. I hope you found this useful and that you’ll keep tuning in.

Have a great day! 


4 Ways to Add Value to your Insights by Microsoft’s Director of Research

Today, Customer Experience is driving corporate decision making. In my recent interview with Marian Anderson, Director of Research at Microsoft, she outlined how Microsoft is using data to drive business decisions. 

Here are some of the highlights from our talk: 

1. Customer Empathy Wins Long Term 

In a recent talk I heard from Matt Cahill of McDonalds, he spoke about how they are improving sales by partnering with customers to maximize the consumer’s value. This is netting long term value and loyalty. 

Marian nailed this point, 

“We are intent on operating on behalf of the customer as opposed to building stuff they will buy.” 

Compare that to many of my experiences where “Share of Wallet” was the Key Performance Indicator (KPI). This KPI would be represented as a pie chart with the intent of gaining as much as possible. 

By partnering with consumers to make the right choices for themselves and their household, you create brand advocates which are far more valuable than the short-term impact model. 

2. Customer Centricity is the hallmark of a successful business. Establish it as a core value and back it up with data. 

Customer centricity is a core value of Microsoft and that value is set from the top. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has established this imperative in their DNA. 

The implication here is you must have voice of the customer, 

“You have to have data at the center of decision.” 

The good news is that core values self-police inside organizations, but the shift takes time. By humanizing our products, we will continue to set the customer as our North Star. 

3. Setting your findings in Context by leveraging other data adds value and impact to your research. 

Marian outlined a material problem for large corporations around their massive amounts of data. Here are a few that she mentioned they use regularly:

  1. Ethnographic 
  2. Quantitative  
  3. Internal telemetry
  4. External telemetry
  5. Motivation in social 
  6. Connection between satisfaction and revenue 
  7. Micro experience measurement 

This data must be leveraged because it sets a better context for the research. While this is hard, Marian says, 

“There is a relationship between hard and value. We never want to learn from one point of data in isolation.” 

4. Bring your research to life with NPR like story telling. 

Becoming expert in multivariate analysis is a skill that many of us researchers develop over time. Similarly, cultivating soft skills that enable you to guide a group discussion that uncovers hidden truths can be a lifelong endeavor. We have to treat storytelling as a similar skill to be studied and honed over our career. 

Remember the last time you listened to NPR? Regardless of your politics, you must admit their reporters do an amazing job of taking a combination of various data types and weaving them into a human story that connects to the audience. Marian says, 

“Influence requires a point of view communicated through story.”

The better your story, the bigger the lever you give your research data to impact the company. 


What are brand researchers struggling with? Marian said it best, 

“Combination of multiple data sources and decisions needing to get made in speed.” 

By partnering with your customer to understand their needs and then developing a path forward, you will align your offerings and attitudes towards creating mutual long-term success. So…do that.

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I wish you all success and happiness!


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The Top 5 Market Research Podcasts

I started a podcast because I loved listening to podcasts. Here is a list of my favorite shows that focus on Market Research.

Data Gurus by Sima Vasa

This market research podcast, hosted by Paradigm Sample’s Sima Vasa, explores trends in data science, methodologies, and analytics. This podcast is highly relevant to market research professionals, and is a great way to hear from thought leaders on the latest developments in the data collection industry and how they relate to market research. The host, Sima Vasa, is the co-founder of Paradigm Sample, data collection company and Infinity Squared Ventures, an advisory accelerator.

Stories of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast

Another great market research podcast, hosted by Duncan McGregor, takes the approach of highlighting great storytellers in the market research industry. Insightrix is mindful of the fact that good market researchers must be good storytellers, and effectively combines their own expertise as storytellers with interesting anecdotes and interviews with market researchers. Duncan McGregor is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Insightrix and brings his own experience in market research and storytelling to the table as the host of this market research podcast.

QRCA VIEWS Podcast by Foster Winter

The QRCA Views podcast series plays a key role in their vision for the QRCA VIEWS magazine. This is an ongoing podcast series of interviews with a variety of personalities likely to be of interest to our readership. Some of the interviews will be with authors featured in the print version of VIEWS and others may be with major figures outside our organization. Inasmuch as VIEWS is quarterly, the plan is to post one or more such interviews each quarter.

Engagious Podcast by David Paull

DialSmith and Engagious CEO David Paull has done a great job creating this market research podcast. With industry star-studded interviews with some of the biggest thought leaders and influencers in market research, and great insights from David’s experience as a market researcher, this podcast is definitely worth the listen.

MRXplorer by Zontziry Johnson

And last but not least, my good friend and super fun podcaster, Z Johnson’s #MRXplorer. This podcast offers a unique view into complex topics from Big Data, to Blockchain, to “There is way too much snow in Seattle”. Tune into this one…episodes are fun and to the point. It is perfect for that morning commute.

The Happy Market Research Podcast by Jamin Brazil

We of course had to give our very own market research podcast an honorable mention. The Happy Market Research Podcast focuses on understanding the changes the market research industry is experiencing, and providing the perspective and insights needed to adapt. Our guests range from Fortune 50 execs on the client-side, to CEO’s of major market research agencies, to founders of startup market research technology firms.

It would mean the world if you’d share this article on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I wish you all success and happiness!