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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]


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:

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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


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. 

The Effects of Choice Presentation on Consumer Satisfaction


By Ramya Parameswaran 

cmb, choice presentationIf you’ve never lived in Boston, you might not understand the spectacle that is September 1st. It’s the day that most new leases start, which means it’s the day almost every person in the city moves into a different apartment. U-Hauls crowd the narrow streets, abandoned furniture sits on the sidewalks, and new neighbors begin to pack into the halls. 

This year, as I watched boxes being lugged around, I couldn’t help but feel relieved that I didn't have to move. While moving itself is a chore, apartment hunting is the more challenging part of the process—should I go in for a one bed or a two bed? Should I just pay another $150 per month and get additional square footage? Or should I stay firm and stick to my original budget? And this is the most agonizing question of all: if I let this apartment go, will I regret it? The process is exhausting, and even though you know you'd make the very same choices if you were to go through it again, there is no sense of triumph in the final decision made. Why is that? 

Think about it: what makes a house hunt different from the many other choices we’re faced with on a regular basis, such as buying a can of soup or a light bulb? Besides needing to deal with a real-estate agent, the key difference lies in how the choices are presented to us. In one situation, we are presented with choices sequentially (you see one house at a time), whereas in the other situation, we’re shown all the options at once (you choose a can of soup from an array of options at the store). So why does this matter? According to a study by Cassie Mogilner, Baba Shiv, and Sheena Iyengar, the way in which we are presented with choices has a considerable impact on how happy we are with the chosen option and how committed we are to that choice.

In one of the experiments conducted, researchers showed participants descriptions of five gourmet chocolates and asked them to choose the one they wanted to taste. One group of respondents (sequential choosers) was shown the chocolates one at a time, while the other group (simultaneous choosers) was shown the chocolates all at once. Once participants selected a chocolate and sampled it, they were each asked individually to complete a survey and indicate how satisfied they were with their choice.

The result? Participants who were presented with the options one at a time were less satisfied with their choice than the participants who considered all the options at once. More interestingly, “sequential choosers” were also more likely to switch to a different option when given the choice to swap for a randomly selected option about which they knew nothing, indicating lower levels of commitment among this group.

The reason? As you might expect, the regret of having passed up “better” options plays some role, but researchers found that this goes away once the chooser is allowed to pick from previously seen options. What really drives lower satisfaction among “sequential choosers” is the feeling of “hope.” According to the research, sequential choosers know that alternatives will become available in the future, so they tend to “imagine a better option, hoping it will become available.” This focus on other possible options leaves them less happy with their selection. In contrast, “simultaneous choosers” remain focused on the options in front of them, and, as a result, are more satisfied and ultimately more committed to their choice.

What does this mean for businesses? When deciding how to present your products to consumers, it is worth noting the impact that this could have on their commitment to the products. This research clearly shows that allowing consumers to evaluate all their options simultaneously (vs. one at a time) results in higher levels of satisfaction. This, in turn, impacts product returns/cancellations, customer loyalty, and advocacy for the brand.

What does this mean for market researchers? When designing concept test exercises, it is important to understand the impact that sequential vs. simultaneous presentation will have on consumer satisfaction and commitment ratings to the chosen option.

As for me, while I can’t change how options will be presented the next time I look for a house, I now understand the inherent limitation of the process. . . and that the “best one” may be the one I have in hand and not one yet to come.

Ramya Parameswaran is a Project Manager at CMB. She is passionate about consumer marketing and is always on the lookout for new insights on what drives consumer choice. 


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!

Big Data: We’ve Only Just Begun


By Jonah Lundberg 

big data, chadwick martin baileyData has existed in the modern business world for a long time (think manila folders in file cabinets in every office on every floor). Digitized data has been around for a while now, too (think virtual folders in hard drives connected to seemingly bottomless computer networks). So why, in just the past few years, have all of us become so excited about and actually engaged in data? We even decided to give it a new name—“big” data. Where did all this excitement come from? Why is it happening? If you asked Tom Breur, Cengage Learning’s VP of Analytics who spoke about big data at NEMRA’s Spring into Action event earlier this year, he would tell you that it’s because there has been a recent surge in data volume (mostly thanks to the emergence of machine-generated data and machine-to-machine communication). This surge led to an ever-expanding data surplus—a surplus that would not have had a home if it weren’t for subsequent innovations in the type of software that manages huge amounts of data and the innovations that led to much more efficient data warehousing capabilities.

Initially, large companies were the only ones who had any sort of big data capability (credit scores and fraud protection are two early examples), and until recently these companies were the only ones to leverage those capabilities to play the big data game when it came to predicting their customers’ behavior. But in their July-August issue, Inc. Magazine featured an article detailing how smaller companies are now allowed to play as well, thanks to decreasing technology costs and increasing user-friendliness of big data software.

All of this begs the question: will companies, big and small, no longer need market researchers? After all, big data solutions allow companies to learn about their customers and make more informed business decisions, and let’s not forget that the newest big data solutions are so user-friendly that companies can do all the consumer insights themselves. However, I don’t think market researchers will be replaced anytime soon. Big data may be able to tell you the “what,” but it can’t tell you the “why.”

Enter the story of the widely-covered 2013 Google Flu Trends “Epidemic.” By running algorithms based on flu-related Google searches and searchers’ locations, Google Flu Trends had been historically accurate in predicting how much of the U.S. population had the flu. However, in 2013, it inaccurately predicted the number. In fact, it predicted twice the number reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention! How did this happen? The widespread media coverage of the severe flu season in the U.S. spread like a virus throughout social media, which led to an increase in flu-related Google searches. Many of these searches were from people who thought they might have the flu—“I’m sniffling! I’m sneezing!”—but didn’t. Since Google Flu Trends didn’t consider the context and wasn’t able to ask Googlers why they were Googling flu-like symptoms, it thought 11% of the U.S. population had the flu when the actual number was closer to 6%.

Mark Hansen of Columbia University summed it up best when he said, “Data is not a magic force in society; it’s an extension of us.” Can you believe it? Big data is actually quite human. It tells a story about people because it comes from people, and it’s simply a new medium through which people are telling stories about themselves. It’s like collaborative storytelling. Remember those stories that your teachers would have you start and then make other kids add to? It’s similar, but with a simple twist: big data is collaborative non-fiction. But the authors are still people, which brings it back to market researchers. As market researchers, we not only ask people questions about how they feel or what they do, but we also ask why. We’re able to apply the context that, as evidenced by the Google Flu Trends Epidemic, big data is not able to accomplish alone.

Even though we’re not being replaced, we still have to adapt. For example, there is a great opportunity in synthesizing what we do with the data our research partners have in-house. By combining our knowledge of the “why” with a research partner’s “what,” we can identify the error in what would have otherwise been our research partner’s version of the Google Flu Trends Epidemic if they had not been appropriately focused on why the data looked the way it did. For a company attempting to adjust its product offerings, this could be the difference between abandoning its most loyal customers and maintaining those loyal customers by keeping them happy, all while successfully gaining new customers in the process.

The number of success stories that result from combining the best of both worlds—the what and the why—seems to be ever-expanding. Here at CMB, we have had the pleasure of co-authoring a few of those success stories. For market research, big data is a good thing and worth adapting for. Company by company, the market research industry should adapt in order to set itself up not only for survival, but also for leadership in the next century of consumer insights so we can continue to play the role of co-author in a story that has only just begun.

Jonah is a Senior Associate Research at CMB. He enjoys traveling with his friends and family, and he can't wait for the hockey season to start up again.

Join us at The Market Research Event in October! Use the code CMB2014 and receive 25% off your registration. 

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Going to CRC? Come See Us!


CRC, corporate researchers conferenceLater this week, we’re packing our bags and jetting off to the Windy City for the Corporate Research Conference! There, you’ll find us sharing insights, networking, catching up with our fantastic clients, and sneaking a piece of Chicago-style pizza.

While you’re there, don’t miss a presentation from our very own Chris Neal and Research Now’s Melanie Courtright on an industry hot topic: mobile! Their presentation, entitled Modularized Research Design for a Mobile World, will discuss the collaboration between CMB and Research Now that allowed us to modularize a traditional purchasing survey, which will enable researchers to reach mobile shoppers en masse. They will also review sampling and weighting best practices and study design considerations as well as what works—and what doesn’t work—to impute and/or to “data-stitch” the resulting data file together for different types of variables to work with a “whole” data set that minimizes error. You can catch them on Thursday, September 18 at 4PM at the Research Now Genius Lab.

Make sure to use hashtag #CRC2014 to join the conversation and the excitement. We can’t wait to see you!

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The Lessons of Market Basket and the Rewards of a Strong Company Culture

By Anne Bailey Berman market basket, cmb, employee satisfaction, company culture

Our readers who aren’t from New England might be surprised by the topic that dominated our news this summer. It wasn’t the state of the Middle East. It wasn’t even our upcoming gubernatorial race. No, the story that got the most space in the Boston Globe was a fight over ownership of a family-owned regional supermarket—Market Basket. A fight that closed dozens of stores and sent customers and employees into the streets to protest. 

market basket, cmb, company culture, employee satisfaction

The family drama between CEO Arthur T. Demoulas (“Artie T.”) and his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas is over now. “Artie T.” bought out his cousin, loyal customers are thrilled, striking workers are getting back to work, and the store shelves are being refilled. So if it’s all over, why is the Market Basket saga still on my mind? 

I shopped at Market Basket last Friday and immediately realized how much I missed it. The experience at Market Basket is truly different from shopping at the other stores I used during the shut-down. Employees were actually thanking us for coming in, and their gratitude seemed genuine. 

These employees across 71 Market Basket stores did the unthinkable by collectively refusing to work after the dismissal of their president. Yes, loyalty was involved—in fact, “Artie T.” knew their birthdays and attended their weddings—but their actions hold a deeper lesson for businesses everywhere. In a time when many businesses emphasize short term profits, and when stockholders are always more important than employees, this episode of family feud showed what employees valued and how powerful they could be. 

The employees were loyal to “Artie T.” Their risky and enduring work stoppage was motivated by Market Basket’s management’s understanding that employees are important players in the organization, which is demonstrated by their unusual decision to give employees middle class salaries instead of minimum wage. This strong company culture is reflected in the long tenure of many employees and in the customer experience.

As the gap between the haves and have-nots widen in the United States, this is an example of the power of treating employees well. For me, it was a reinforcement of the brand experience that I immediately recognized.  Many business leaders should appreciate this and ask themselves whether their employees would do the same for them if faced with the same situation. When it comes to CMB, I truly believe a large part of our success and the incredible value we bring to our clients is based on our company culture and our exceptional employees.

Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family, and spending time in her vegetable garden.

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