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Focusing in a World Full of Distractions

 

By Judy Melanson 

cmb, focus, communicationOur company’s Internet was down for a few hours earlier this week. While the IT team scrambled to identify and fix the problem, the project staff’s reaction to the news caused many of them (us!) to look like a deer caught in headlights: stunned. But because we, by nature, are problem solvers, the staff quickly sprang into action. The “work-arounds” were identified and shared, and people dispersed. Some, in the quest for free Wi-Fi, temporarily moved into Starbucks or the train station for a few hours. Others took the time to engage with colleagues in-person (!) to brainstorm, strategize, or simply catch up. It wasn’t long before the IT team got the company back online, but the service interruption has caused me to reflect on our work and purpose.

Years ago, in my M.B.A. capstone strategy course at Babson College, I competed in a strategy game with other teams in the class. The teams had to use the information available to make decisions and set the strategy for our pretend companies. We had to answer questions like: what markets should we conquer? What should the features and pricing structures be for our products? What investments should we make in research, advertising, and operations?

My team chose a simple strategy: world domination. We decided we could outmaneuver our competitors with a first-to-market strategy. We flew out of the gate, introduced our first generation product in multiple markets, and, over the course of several weeks. . . we failed in a dramatic fashion. The lesson I learned from the course is one I carry with me to this day: focus. The teams that performed best studied the market and adapted their products and pricing structures to reflect market needs. Only then did they proceed with a plan and a goal to execute their plan as well as they could. 

I’m celebrating my 22nd anniversary at Chadwick Martin Bailey this week, and one of the things that I love about what we do is helping our clients make decisions—particularly decisions that are complex and have some level of risk associated with them. The information we provide enables clients to focus on high potential opportunities across a range of areas: market segments, operational improvements, new products, digital marketing, high-value customers, and more. We help our clients determine which alternatives have potential (for growth, for profit, for brand extension) and provide insight into how they can tackle those high potential alternatives. Resources—like time and money—are limited everywhere. Deciding what to do and what to ignore is essential for business success, team focus, execution, and sanity.

The Internet interruption this week forced me to focus on what I had to do without distractions. It also, strangely enough, empowered me to choose how to spend my day instead of feeling like my job is to constantly respond to communications. At this very moment, I can be reached instantly via four phones, three social networks, two email addresses, and one online chat system. . . that’s ten communication channels. At this stage in my career, communication with clients, prospects, and team members is essential to my success, which is why I monitor and quickly respond to all ten communication channels.  But this week’s Internet interruption has caused me to challenge my use of these channels and to consider how I can be more effective and focused in a world of constant interruption. 

Anyone want to guess what my 2015 New Year’s Resolution will be? 

Judy is VP of CMB's Travel and Entertainment practice and loves collaborating with her clients. She's the mom of two college students and the wife of an oyster farmer. Follow Judy on Twitter at @Judy_LC.

WEBINAR: The New Hotel Path to Purchase: The Mobile, Social, and Online Journey – Listen to Judy in action as she talks about this study we did as part of CMB’s Consumer Pulse program. We asked 2,000 leisure travelers to share their journey from awareness to booking. This webinar will give you insight into the role of mobile, apps, customer reviews, and social media. 

Watch Now!


Ready, Set, GROW: CMB Gets Hairy for Mustache Movember

 

movember logoBy Kirsten Clark

Did you ever think we’d live in a world in which you could grow facial hair to promote a cause? Well, ladies and gents, that’s the concept of Movember in a nutshell. A few of the guys here at CMB have decided to grow out their mustaches this month in the name of men’s health. You’re probably asking yourself: what the heck does growing a mustache have to do with promoting men’s health? It’s a fun way to spread the word and get the conversation started. Plus, it keeps those upper lips warm against the November chill.

Let’s take a look at some facts:

  • The average life expectancy for men in the U.S. is almost 5 years less than women
  • 50% of men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
  • Men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year
  • Of those Americans who died by suicide in 2012, 78.3% were male
  • 12.1% of men ages 18+ are in fair or poor health

So, men: it’s time to take action. Visit the doctor when you’re not feeling well. Go get checked for prostate and testicular cancer. Understand the importance of spreading awareness. And, ladies, you’re not off the hook either. Become a Mo Sista by telling the men in your life about the risks they face and by challenging them to join the movement.

What else can you do to help? Well, you can join us late in the game and start growing out your ‘stache or you can simply donate to our team’s page. Every dollar raised goes to help fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental illness.

Check out CMB’s Movember team in various stages of the ‘stache growing process: 

describe the image

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB. She's a self-proclaimed champion for men's health and always enjoys a good mustache (Tom Selleck, anyone?). 

The Origins of Marketing Research

 

By Matt Skobe

cmb, marketing researchHave you ever considered the origins of marketing research? Recently I’ve been pondering this. Some professions, such as construction, have been in existence since the dawn of civilization, meeting the basic human need of shelter. The (relatively) recent rise of the computer programmer marks its starting point in the early 1980s with the advent of the personal computer. But what about market research?

I did some digging in order to answer my question, which led me to a book entitled A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research by Douglas Ward. This book focuses on Charles Coolidge Parlin (1872-1942), who is recognized today as the “Father of Marketing Research.” Parlin worked for Curtis Publishing Company, which was one of the most successful and influential American publishing companies of the early 20th century.

The pivotal moment for creating formalized marketing research was when Curtis Publishing made a principle-driven choice to ban medical, cosmetic, financial, and cigarette advertisements—and thus their accompanying revenue—from its magazines. To make up for this lost revenue, the company adopted a smarter business approach that focused only on the company’s existing clients, which would allow Curtis Publishing to become experts in its clients’ businesses. This novel idea went as follows: if Curtis Publishing could better serve its clients, those clients could in turn benefit Curtis Publishing with increased advertising revenue. In order to do this, the company sought to learn as much as possible about each client’s profit margins, territories, possibilities for expansion, and competition. In short, Curtis Publishing needed a clear view of each client’s marketplace.

With this impetus, Curtis Publishing created the Division of Commercial Research (1911) right here in Boston in what was formally known as Pemberton Square and is now known as Government Center. This was the first marketing research organization in the United States. The company had the notion to move forward on logical and statistical rule rather than intuition, and it strived to gauge public sentiment, evaluate changes in consumer tastes, and turn consumer wants into corporate profits. This newly founded “market research” would eventually become "the rudder on the ship of modern corporate capitalism.”

Parlin’s studies at Curtis Publishing led him to remarkable conclusions that were not readily apparent otherwise. For instance, Parlin calculated the strong influence that women had over family automobile purchases and foresaw that the automobile industry needed to reduce the number of models offered. Insights such as these eventually led to increased—and smarter—advertising as companies attempted to stay ahead of the curve.          

Interestingly, marketing research has the same purpose today as it did back then—it provides a way to improve marketing and business decision making. Parlin’s studies were typically hundreds of pages long with hand drawn charts, maps, and graphs bound in black or red leather with gold embossed lettering, and while we might do things a little differently now, we still need to create an informative narrative backed with charts and graphs aimed at getting to the heart of business decision making. Ever increasing amounts of information are available today, but distilling the most interesting and the most useful facts remains the ultimate challenge. I think Charles Parlin would agree, don’t you?

Matt Skobe is a Senior Data Manager at CMB. His passions include spending time with his wife and kids and mountain biking (day and night).

Want to help us craft the future of market research? Join our team!

Open Positions

Stitch Fix’s Fixation on the Customer Experience

 

By Amy Modini 

iStock 000004343641SmallHow many of you are always looking for another minute in the day? Or perhaps some of you want something new, but don’t have time to get to a store? And how many others of you just simply hate going to brick and mortar stores? 

Stitch Fix, an online personal shopping stylist, is a service in which you set up a profile and pay a $20 styling fee to have five items shipped to your door. The styling fee is applied to the items you keep, and anything you don’t want has to be sent back within three days (in the pre-paid postage package provided). The service appeals to those busy women needing convenience. 

I ordered my first “fix” last December and loved it. Like the 70% of customers, I returned for a second time. Not only is this service convenient (after setting up your profile, you literally click a button to order your next fix and select a date), but it offers fairly reasonable prices. I get excited every time Stitch Fix sends me a box, and that excitement quickly accelerates or disappears after I see what’s inside. While I loved every piece in my first fix, I’ve since had mixed results, loving and hating certain pieces.

Since launching in 2011, Stitch Fix has done several things right as it continues to build its brand and enhance the customer experience. Here are a few:

1. Knowing the target audience.  

Stitch Fix does this well. Even though the company states that its customers range from teenagers to senior citizens, it realizes that busy women in their late twenties to thirties are its primary audience. This is why convenience is at the company’s core. For busy women, the experience needs to be quick, easy, and stress-free, and Stitch Fix has been able to do just that. The company is also appealing to those women who take fashion risks, dislike brick and mortar shopping, look for the latest and greatest trends, and are perhaps less price sensitive than others. 

2. Leveraging word of mouth and building advocates.  

An integral part of this service is its referral code system. The referral codes allow customers to earn $25 toward another fix if a friend uses the referral code for her first fix. I have seen countless friends post about Stitch Fix online. Even I have told some friends about the service—especially when I receive a compliment on one of my Stitch Fix pieces—so it doesn’t surprise me that word of mouth referrals account for 95% of Stitch Fix’s new customers.

3. Listening customers and making adjustments.

    Several months ago, Stich Fix began to get a lot of publicity. Thus, demand increased and wait times became significantly longer. The company quickly realized that this resulted in a not-so-positive customer experience, so it expanded its team of stylists and shipment centers, which ultimately reduced wait times. Stitch Fix’s goal is to provide the best possible “fix” for each customer, so it continues to encourage customers to communicate through a variety of ways such as writing notes to stylists, setting up a Pinterest board to show pieces you like, and sending specific feedback on the clothing pieces you receive.

    It’s not difficult to see that Stitch Fix has no shortage of data to analyze or algorithms to apply when determining which pieces customers will enjoy, but it doesn’t rely solely on the data. It takes the data and combines it with the expertise of a stylist. In the market research world, I see this as the delicate blend of art and science.

    It’s been a few months since I’ve gotten a fix, and with the season change, it’s about time I click that button to order my next one! 

    Amy is an Account Director and a mother of two small kids, which makes her an ideal target for this service. She’s willing to give her Stitch Fix referral code to anyone who wants to try it.

    NEW WEBINAR 11/12 AT 12:30 PM EST

    The New Hotel Path to Purchase: The Mobile, Social, and Online Journey – As part of CMB’s Consumer Pulse program, we asked 2,000 leisure travelers to share their journey from awareness to booking. This webinar will give insight into the role of mobile, apps, customer reviews, and social media. 

    Register Today!

    Halloween Is for Statisticians

     

    By Dr. Jay Weiner 

    halloween, cmbHalloween always makes me think about probability. For example, even though you won’t see me standing in line and fighting over the hottest costume since my kids are too old to trick-or-treat, I bet I can still predict the ones you’ll see the most this year. It’s easy: all you have to do is look at the year’s movie box office hits. Sure, there are always the traditional favorites: a skeleton, ghost, witch, or pirate, but my predictions for the most popular costumes this year include Captain American and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as Anna and Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen. You might even see someone dressing up as Olaf the snowman (again, from Frozen), but I’ll bet parents have trouble making that one. In fact, I often wonder if I could predict the ticket sales for these movies based on the number of costumes I see on my front porch at Halloween. Of course, I do know that success at the box office has created the desire for kid’s costumes, which is nothing new. Think: Capitan Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003, The Joker from The Dark Knight in 2008, or superheroes from The Avengers in 2012.

    Costumes and the probability of seeing Elsa or Anna are really just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended). Let’s talk candy. This is the most puzzling question for me each Halloween: what is the probability that candy manufacturers produce the same number of each color in the package? For example, when you open a package of M&Ms, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, or any other candy that comes in a variety of colors, don’t you wonder if each color has the same probability of showing up in the package? You probably don’t, but I’m sure it makes you feel better knowing that this keeps CMB’s analytics team up at night.

    For years, I even tried convincing my kids to test whether Mars produced the same number of red M&Ms as blue ones. I figured what kid wouldn’t want to open 200 packages of candy, count every piece, and then eat them in the process of creating a dataset to perform the analysis? Of course, this is the response I would get: “Dad, that’s just stupid.” Personally, I think it’s one of life’s greatest mysteries. I Googled it, and sure enough, teachers are using M&Ms to teach kids about probability. 

    So this Halloween, if you find yourself thinking about probability when you see a mini-Elsa walking down the street or when counting colored M&Ms with your kids, know that you’re not alone. Here at CMB, our minds always go straight to the numbers…even on a night like Halloween.

    Dr. Jay Weiner is the top digit-head at CMB. He’ll likely be dressed up as an outlier this Halloween.  [+/- 7 sigma]

    NEW WEBINAR 11/12 AT 12:30 PM EST

    The New Hotel Path to Purchase: The Mobile, Social, and Online Journey – As part of CMB’s Consumer Pulse program, we asked 2,000 leisure travelers to share their journey from awareness to booking. This webinar will give insight into the role of mobile, apps, customer reviews, and social media. 

    Register Here!

    Be Aware When Conducting Research Among Mobile Respondents

     

    mobile, cmb

    By Julie Kurd 

    Are you conducting research among mobile respondents yet? Autumn is conference season, and 1,000 of us just returned from IIR’s The Market Research Event (TMRE) conference where we learned, among other things, about research among mobile survey takers. Currently, only about 5% of the market research industry spend is for research conducted on a smartphone, 80% is online, and 15% is everything else (telephone and paper-based). Because mobile research is projected to be 20% of the industry spend in the coming years, we all need to understand the risks and opportunities of using mobile surveys.  

    Below, you’ll find three recent conference presentations that discussed new and fresh approaches to mobile research as well as some things to watch out for if you decide to go the mobile route. 

    1. At IIR TMRE, Anisha Hundiwal, the Director of U.S. Consumer and Business Insights for McDonald’s, and Jim Lane from Directions Research Inc. (DRI) did not disappoint. They co-presented the research they had done to understand the strengths of half a dozen national and regional coffee brands, including Newman’s Coffee (the coffee that McDonald’s serves), around 48 brand attributes. While they did share some compelling results, Anisha and Jim’s presentation primarily focused on the methodology they used. Here is my paraphrase of the approach they took:

    • They used a traditional 25 minute, full-length online study among traditional computer/laptop respondents who met the screening criteria (U.S. and Europe, age, gender, etc.), measuring a half dozen brands and approximately 48 brand attributes. They then analyzed results of the full-length study and conducted a key driver analysis.
    • Next, they administered the study using a mobile app for mobile survey takers among similar respondents who met the same screening criteria. They also dropped the survey length to 10 minutes, tested a narrower set of brands (3 instead of 6), and winnowed the attributes from ~48 to ~14. They made informed choices about which attributes to include based on their key driver analysis (key drivers to overall equity, and I believe I heard them say they added in some attributes that were highly polarizing).

    Then, they compared mobile respondent results to the traditional online survey results. Anisha and Jim discussed key challenges we all face as we begin to adapt to smartphone respondent research. For example, they tinkered with rating scales and slide bars by setting the bar on the far left at 0 on a 0-100 rating scale for some respondents and then setting it at the mid-point for others to see if results would be different. While the overall brand results were about the same, the sections of the rating scales respondents used differed. Further, they reported that it was hard to compare detailed results for online and mobile because different parts of the rating scales were used in general. Finally, they reported that the winnowed attribute and brand lists made insights less rich than the online survey results.

    2. At the MRA Corporate Researcher’s conference in September, Ryan Backer, Global Insights for Emerging Tech at General Mills, also very clearly articulated several early learnings in the emerging category of mobile surveys. He said that 80% of General Mills’ research team has conducted at least one smartphone respondent study. (Think about that and wonder out loud, “should I at least dip my toe into this smartphone research?”) He provides a laundry list of the challenges they faced and, like all true innovators, he was willing to share his challenges because it helps him continue to innovate.  You can read a full synopsis here.

    3. Chadwick Martin Bailey was a finalist for the NGMR Disruptive Innovation Award at the IIR TMRE conference.  We partnered with Research Now for a presentation on modularizing surveys for mobile respondents at an earlier IIR conference and then turned the presentation into a webinar. CMB used a modularized technique in which a 20 minute survey was deconstructed into 3 partial surveys with key overlaps. After fielding the research among mobile survey takers, CMB used some designer analytics (warning, probably don’t do this without a resident PhD) to ‘stitch’ and ‘impute’ the results. In this conference presentation turned webinar, CMB talks about the pros and cons of this approach.

    Conferences are a great way to connect with early adopters of new research methods. So, when you’re considering adopting new research methods such as mobile surveys, allocate time to see what those who have gone before you have learned!

    Julie blogs for GreenBook, ResearchAccess, and CMB.  She’s an inspired participant, amplifier, socializer, and spotter in the twitter #mrx community so talk research with her @julie1research.

    Fighting to the Death with a Zombie: 3 Important Lessons on Teamwork

     

    By Jordan Evangelista 

    cmb, teamworkNever in my life did I think I would be running away from a zombie, but that’s exactly what I did on a recent adventure. I embarked on this journey with eleven of my coworkers and friends. We went to the Room Escape Adventures studio in Charlestown, Massachusetts where we were assigned a complicated task: escape a room with a hungry zombie in it. The zombie was chained to the wall; however, every five minutes, the chain extended, and the zombie got closer and closer with the intent of having us for a full-course dinner. In order to escape the room in one hour, we were left no choice—our survival depended on us working together to follow the clues and solve the puzzles for the key that would lead us to freedom.

    Failed Flesh or Triumphant Team?

    I’m proud to say that we successfully worked together to find the key and escape the room before the hour ended. Mind you, only one-third of the teams who have participated in this challenge have escaped the zombie’s clutches.

    What made us a high performing team?

    1. We worked together with one common goal. It was clear that none of us wanted to be the zombie’s dinner, so we quickly regrouped, adapted to the environment, and worked together to achieve a superior result. While we don’t have zombies chasing us here at CMB, the need to work toward a common goal as a group is the same. Our common goal is simple—help our clients achieve success in their markets and potential markets—and we do this through getting our clients to focus on specific business decisions when scoping out research, which ensures superior results are achieved.
    2. We trusted each other and kept the lines of communication open. This challenge allowed us to really think outside of the box, and while some crazy ideas worked, some didn’t. The important thing is that we kept communicating, and we trusted each other enough to try everyone’s outlandish plans, which eventually led us to the key. We value similar things here at CMB—trust, teamwork, and open communication are paramount, and those are the values that drive the rock solid execution for all of our client projects.
    3. We let our passion and talent shine through. My team eagerly went straight to work figuring out the first clue. Each of us has a distinct personality and a diverse set of strengths, so we each found ourselves playing different roles in the effort to escape the room. For example, one of my friends put her organizational skills to work by keeping track of each clue we solved in case past clues were needed again. At CMB, we do the same thing. We work on projects we’re passionate about, and each of us brings our own unique set of skills to the table. This allows us to do world-class research with clients from a variety of industries.

    The zombie went home hungry, but the experience reminded me about the importance of teamwork and how these three factors can contribute to a team’s success. At the end of the day, I’m just happy my flesh is intact.

    Jordan is an Associate Researcher at CMB. You can catch him at any of the Boston music venues for a concert, lounging on the Jamaica Pond, or actively avoiding the walking dead.

    Speaking of teamwork, we would love to have YOU on our team! Check out our open positions:

    Open Positions

    Tablet Purchase Journey Relies Heavily on Mobile Web

     

    consumer pulse, tabletsWe all know the consumer purchase journey has changed dramatically since the “mobile web” explosion and continues to evolve rapidly. In order to understand the current state of this evolving journey, CMB surveyed 2,000 recent buyers of tablets in the U.S. We confirmed several things that we expected to see, but we also busted a few myths along the way: 

    1. TRUE: “Online media and advertising are now essential to influence consumers.”

    • Reading about tablets online and online advertisements are the top ways in which consumers learn about new brands or products. [Tweet this.]
    • Nearly everyone we surveyed does some type of research and evaluation online before buying—most commonly using online-only shopping sites (e.g., Amazon, eBay, etc.), general web searches, consumer electronics store websites, review websites (e.g., CNET, Engadget, etc.), or tablet manufacturer websites.

    2. TRUE: “The mobile web is becoming more important in the consumer purchase journey.”

    • Over half of buyers use the mobile web during the research and evaluation phase, and nearly 40% of buyers do so as a part of the final purchase decision (although very few people actually purchase a tablet using a mobile device). [Tweet this.]

    3. FALSE: Mobile applications are becoming very important in the consumer purchase journey.”

    • Although the mobile web is now highly influential, very little purchase journey activity actually happens from within a mobile application per se. This could be because tablet purchasing isn’t something that happens frequently for more individual consumers (high-frequency activities lend themselves better to a dedicated app to expedite and track them). [Tweet this.]

    4. FALSE: “Social Media is becoming very important in the consumer purchase journey.”

    • The purchase journey for tablets is indeed very “social” (i.e., word-of-mouth and consumer reviews are hugely influential), but precious little of this socialization actually happens on social media platforms in the case of U.S. tablet buyers. [Tweet this.]

    5. FALSE: “The Brick and Mortar Retail Store is Dead.”

    • The rise of all things online does not spell the death of brick and mortar retail in the consumer electronics category. In-store experiences (including speaking with retail sales associated and doing hands-on demos of tablets) were one of the top sources of influence during the research and evaluation phase, regardless of whether they ultimately bought their tablet in a physical store. 
    • Next to ads, in-store experiences were the top source of awareness for new tablet brands and models. 41% of those who learned about new makes/models during the process did so inside of a physical retail store. [Tweet this.]
    • Half of all buyers surveyed actually bought their tablet in a physical retail store. [Tweet this.]

    6. TRUE: The line between “online” and “offline” purchase journeys is becoming blurred.

    • Most people use both online and offline sources during their purchase journey, and they typically influence one another. People doing research online may discover that a tablet model they are interested in is on sale at a particular retailer. At the same time, something a retail sales associate recommends to a shopper in a store may spur an online search in order to read other consumer reviews and see where they can get the recommended model the cheapest and fastest. Smartphone-based activities from within a retail store are just as common as interacting with an actual salesperson face-to-face at this point. 

    The mobile web is undoubtedly here to stay, and how consumers go about making various different buying decisions will continue to evolve along with future changes in the mobile web. Here at CMB, we will continue to help companies and brands adapt to these shifts.

    Download the full report. 

    For more on our mobile stitching methodology, please see CMB's Chris Neal's webinar with Research Now: Watch the Webinar

    Chris leads CMB’s Tech Practice. He enjoys spending time with his two kids and rock climbing.

    Going to QRCA Conference or TMRE? Come See Us!

     

    We’ve been gearing up all season for two conferences later this month, and the time has almost come. Will you be at the QRCA conference or TMRE? If so, you should check out our presentations!

    qrca conferenceAnne Hooper, our Director of Qualitative Services, is headed down to the one and only New Orleans, Louisiana for the QRCA Conference! She’ll be enjoying the warmer weather, experiencing Cajun food, and giving a presentation entitled Get More Business by Partnering with a Full Service MR Firm. Her presentation will explain how QRCs get on our radar and what is required within the vetting process when working with a full service firm such as Chadwick Martin Bailey. Attendees will also obtain insight into how CMB chooses our partners at the outset (RFP stage) and/or after a project has been won. This presentation will address the logistics of working together from multiple points of view (i.e., sales, project management, accounting)—focusing on what works (or doesn’t work!) for CMB in this context. The session will conclude by addressing what a QRC can do to keep the relationship moving forward, thus increasing the chances of getting more work from full service firms on an ongoing basis. You can see her present on tomorrow—Wednesday, October 15 at 2:30PM.

    newgen tmreNext week, we’ll be heading down to sunny Florida for TMRE! We’ll spend our time catching up with our wonderful clients, sharing insights, networking, and hopefully catching a glimpse of that bright Florida sun. If you’ll be there, you should check out a presentation from our own SVP of the Financial Services Practice, Jim Garrity, and Aflac’s Senior Market Research Manager, Kelly Bowie. Their presentation, entitled Quacking the Code of Customer Loyalty: An Aflac Case Study, will discuss why old benchmarks are no longer as meaningful for companies tracking customer satisfaction. In this presentation, you’ll learn how Aflac has adapted its customer loyalty program by leveraging dynamic benchmarking and other storytelling components to ensure that it drives the change necessary to maintain a strong market position. You can catch them in the Brand Insights & Engagement track on Tuesday, October 21 at 11:30AM.

    We can’t wait to see you!

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    Light the Night: Our Story

     

    By Catherine Shannon

    ltn

    In February of 2008, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That year, my coworkers formed a Light the Night team as a way to rally around me and show their support as I began my two year journey to kick cancer’s butt! The Light the Night Walk is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) annual fundraising event. The walk starts at dusk and everyone carries a lantern that is lit from within. There are three different types of lanterns: a red lantern shows support, a white lantern represents a survivor, and a gold lantern represents the memory of a lost loved one. It pays tribute to those who have fallen to this terrible disease and brings hope to those still battling cancer. This Thursday, CMB will be participating and walking as a team for the seventh year in a row. 

    Since we started the walk, we have raised over $65,000 for LLS. And, in true CMB fashion, we had fun doing it. In the weeks leading up to the walk, we do a variety of events to excite and inform CMBers about LLS and their mission. For example, every year we sell tickets to a lunch courtesy of our resident champion BBQ master, Jared Huizenga. During the lunch, we also hold a silent auction and the items up for sale—homemade lunches, handmade scarves, photo editing sessions, etc.— give my coworkers a chance to showcase their diverse talents.  

    As a cancer survivor, it means so much to me that something as negative as a cancer diagnosis could result in such a positive movement by CMB. Their participation with the Light the Night Walk is just one example of how my work family helped me through a very difficult time. There were many others: the daily visits from coworkers to help me countdown to the end of chemo and the easy acceptance of my wig, my scarf, or my bald head—whichever I chose to wear that day. 

    LLS funds research with the goal of curing blood cancers. It provides support to patients and their families, and I (as well as countless others) have personally benefited from this research. Due in no small part to the advances made from this very research, I will celebrate five years in remission next May. I was the recipient of a lifesaving stem cell transplant and proton radiation therapy…and these are just two examples of the advanced therapies now available because of LLS. Thanks to them, I will be holding my white lantern high this Thursday.

    From the LLS website:  When LLS was founded in 1949, a blood cancer diagnosis was almost always fatal. Thanks in part to innovative research funded by LLS, survival rates have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled for blood cancer patients. Today, cancer research in one area helps across all types of cancers. One example of this is the approval of the revolutionary drug Gleevac. The 10-year survival rate for certain blood cancer patients improved from 1 in 10 to nearly 9 in 10. 

    We’re a small company trying to make a big difference. If you’d like to join us in the fight against cancer, please donate here or join us on Thursday at 5PM in the Boston Common.

    Catherine Shannon is the Director of Finance at CMB. She’s a two time cancer survivor who is happy to say that she’ll celebrate five years in remission next May, and she looks forward to Light the Night tomorrow. 

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