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Kirsten Clark

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The CMB Blog 2015: 6 of Our Favorites

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Wed, Dec 30, 2015

chaos_vs_clarity_light_bulb.jpgWe run this blog a little differently than other corporate blogs. Instead of relying on a few resident bloggers, each of our employees writes at least one post a year. This means you get a variety of perspectives, experiences, and opinions on all aspects of market research, analytics, and strategy consulting from insights professionals doing some pretty cool work.

Before we blast into 2016, we wanted to reflect on our blog this past year by taking a second look at some of our favorite posts:

  1. This year, we launched a market research advice column—Dear Dr. Jay. Each month, our VP of Advanced Analytics, Jay Weiner, answers reader-submitted questions on everything from Predictive Analytics to Connected Cows. In the post that started it all, Dr. Jay discusses one of the hottest topics in consumer insights: mining big data.
  2. Research design and techniques are two of our favorite blog topics. A member of our Advanced Analytics team, Liz White, wrote a great piece this year about conjoint analysis. In her post, she shares the 3 most common pitfalls of using this technique and ways to get around them. Read it here.
  3. In June we launched EMPACTSM— our emotional impact analysis tool. In our introductory blog post to this new tool, CMB’s Erica Carranza discuss the best way to understand how your brand our product makes consumers feel and the role those feelings play in shaping consumers’ choices. Bonus: Superman makes a cameo. Check it out.
  4. Isn’t it great when you can take a topic like loyalty and apply it to your favorite television show? Heidi Hitchen did just that in her blog post this year. She broke down the 7 types of loyalty archetypes by applying each archetype to a character from popular book series A Song of Ice and Fire and hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones. Who’s a “True Loyal”? A “Captive Loyal”? Read to find out!
  5. Our Researcher in Residence series is one of our favorite blog features. A few times a year, we sit down with a client to talk about their work and the ideas about customer insights. Earlier this year, our own Judy Melanson sat down with Avis Budget Group’s Eric Smuda to talk about the customer experience, working with suppliers, and consumer insights. Check it out.
  6. We released a Consumer Pulse report earlier this year on mobile wallet use in the U.S. To deepen our insights, we analyzed unlinked passive mobile behavioral data alongside survey-based data. In this post, our VP of Technology and Telecom, Chris Neal, and Jay Weiner, teamed up to share some of the typical challenges you may face when working with passive mobile behavioral data, and some best practices for dealing with those challenges. Read it here.

What do you want us to cover in 2016? Tell us in the comments, and we look forward to talking with you next year!

Kirsten Clark is CMB’s Marketing Coordinator. She’ll be ringing in the New Year by winning her family’s annual game of Pictionary.

Topics: strategy consulting, advanced analytics, consumer insights

CMB Conference Recap: Hubspot’s INBOUND 2015

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Tue, Sep 15, 2015

Hubspot, INBOUND, marketing, CMB Conference RecapLast week, I attended Hubspot’s INBOUND conference to attend workshops, network with fellow marketers, and hear speakers as diverse as Chelsea Clinton, Aziz Ansari, and Daniel Pink present on topics like disruption, innovation, and how to really connect in an increasingly crowded landscape. Here are just 4 (of many) key takeaways:

1. Adapt to changing SEO. Bill King and Tyler Richer from Hubspot emphasized that keywords continue to lose influence as Google continues to become smarter and smarter. How can you get around this? Start by writing content that’s genuinely useful, and share your content on social media. Sharing it on social media doesn’t directly affect rank, but it does affect distribution (which can affect rank). Finally, remember that there should always be an element of empathy when creating an SEO plan. Searchers have experiences with brands when they search, and you want to make sure every experience with your brand is a great one.

2. Embrace social media ads. They’re here to stay. You might have noticed that Facebook’s organic reach has plummeted. Larry Kim, Founder and CTO of WordStream, pointed out that most of the content people put out on social networks is never seen, and that’s a missed opportunity since 28% of people’s online time is spent on social networks. Social media ads are a highly scalable vehicle for content promotion, so it’s time to embrace the inevitable and boost those posts!

3. Stop storytelling. Start storymaking. David Berkowitz, CMO at MRY, discussed the shift from storytelling to storymaking. The phrase might sound jargony, but semantics aside, what Berkowitz is really asking us to do is make storytelling an interactive experience. Below are some of the differences between storytelling as a monologue and storymaking as an experience:

Hubspot, INBOUND, marketing, CMB Conference Recap, storytelling

To see an example of this in action, look no further than Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. You can find a bottle of Coca-Cola with your name on it in-store or create your own online. This has inspired a plethora of consumer created content, including this pregnancy announcement that has almost 4.5 million views on YouTube.

4. Be brave. During her keynote, Brené Brown stressed that the path to joy, love, and trust lies in vulnerability. Being vulnerable means being brave and being willing to show up and be seen when you have no control over the outcome. Each of us faces a choice between comfort and courage every day, and it’s about time we start choosing the latter in both our professional and personal lives. How? Don't say you're different—be different. Take a page out of Ben & Jerry's book and dare to be distinct.

Did you attend? Tell us your favorite takeaways in the comments.

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB. She also had the privilege of seeing the hysterical (no, really, there were tears) Amy Schumer at INBOUND. (Amy, if you’re reading this, please consider being my friend. I make excellent guacamole.)

Topics: storytelling, marketing strategy, social media, conference recap, brand health and positioning

Harry Potter and the Missing Segment

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Thu, Sep 03, 2015

harry potter, segmentation, branding, slytherinGryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin? Brave, loyal, wise, or ambitious. . .which one are you?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Harry Potter series, these are the 4 houses that make up Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When each young witch and wizard enters the school, a magical hat sorts them into one of four houses. Each house values certain attributes. Gryffindors value bravery and daring. Hufflepuffs value kindness and loyalty. Ravenclaws value knowledge and intelligence. Slytherins value ambition and cunning. The three main characters are Gryffindors (Harry, Ron, and Hermione), and most of the series’ villains come from one house in particular: Slytherin. Based on the rigorous questionnaire I completed on the Pottermore, I discovered I, too, am a Slytherin.

This past summer, I went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL to immerse myself in the whimsy and magic of J.K. Rowling's world. Let me start by saying that if you’re a Harry Potter fan, the theme park is definitely worth a visit. The attention to detail is incredible. However, I have a bone to pick. I went to this theme park eager and willing to spend money on paraphernalia that would let me proudly represent my house. . .but I couldn’t find a single shirt that I liked. I went into every shop multiple times and was astounded (and disappointed) at the lack of Slytherin branded items. Gryffindors, on the other hand, had an expansive array of shirts, blankets, and cardigans to choose from.

Let my disappointment serve as a perfect example of why segmentation is so important. Without a useful segmentation, you can miss out on extremely valuable customers. It’s also essential in learning how to market to different groups of target customers with different needs.

As is the case with many brands, it’s possible Hogwarts’ houses aren’t just separated by character values, but also by consumer values and shopping habits. Maybe Slytherins are more price sensitive (though the Malfoys would demonstrate otherwise) or perhaps they don’t like to advertise that they’re cunning individuals (because that would make it a bit harder to be cunning). It’s also possible that Slytherins only make up a very small percentage of Harry Potter fans (we are special, after all), which would justify the lack of money and space Universal spent on Slytherin merchandise. Of course, it’s also possible that the opposite of all of this is true. . .but it’s more than the Sorting Hat will be able to tell you.

I did end up buying a patch with my house crest, and I let J.K. Rowling know that it’s time for Slytherins to get the respect we deserve. She has yet to respond.

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB. Even though she’s a Slytherin, she closely identifies with Hermione Granger. In fact, in true Hermione fashion, she was once limited to asking only one question per day in elementary school.

The Sorting Hat might not be able to help you with segmentation, but we can. 

Learn About Our Approach to Segmentation

Topics: travel and hospitality research, customer experience and loyalty, market strategy and segmentation

CMB Conference Recap: MRA's ISC

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Mon, Jun 15, 2015

insights and strategies conference, cmb conference recapLast week, a few of my colleagues and I headed down to San Diego to soak up all the sun, insights, and networking opportunities we could from the Marketing Research Association’s Insights and Strategies Conference (ISC). Here are my top 4 takeaways:

1. Stop thinking like a farmer. In Jeremy Gutsche’s opening keynote, he stressed the importance of learning how to adapt. Companies are able to identify market opportunities, but they’re often unable to fully capitalize on those opportunities. Here’s an example: Blockbuster had multiple chances to buy Netflix, but declined each time because the board thought Blockbuster should focus on retail. Why do companies fall into this trap? Because we have farming instincts that make us complacent and repetitive. In order to successfully adapt, we need to tap into our hunting instincts and (1) dedicate resources to opportunities that might fail, (2) constantly search for new opportunities, and (3) seize those opportunities.

2. Emotions matter. The whole conference was abuzz about emotions. It’s important to fully appreciate just how much influence they have over our daily decisions. People do not think emotions. They feel them, and, amazingly, emotions are universal—they’re hardwired into each of us, regardless of culture, age, gender, etc. This makes understanding emotions critical to fully understanding your customers’ experience. It’s that understanding that allows brands to implement strategies that will spark more of the right emotions and fewer of the wrong ones. Make sure you check out our latest webinar on our decision-focused approach to emotional measurement!

3. Sear your brand into long term memory. How can a brand sear themselves into consumers’ long-term memories? Samantha Moore and Ralph Blessing from Ameritest suggested that brands have to tap into all three long-term memory banks: the procedural (do), the semantic (think), and the episodic (feel). As an example, they showed us a photo of two chairs on a beach and asked us what brand was being represented. The whole room simultaneously answered “Corona.” This is a brand that has successfully tapped into all three of those memory banks. There is a ritual associated with Corona (adding the lime), which taps into the procedural. When we think of Corona, we associate it with the beach, which taps into the semantic and makes us feel relaxed, which taps into the episodic.

4. Presentations should be clear, insightful, and beautiful. When you’re creating a presentation do you: include any and every data point you can on a slide? repeat the same stat over and over? rival a novel with the amount of text you have on any given slide? keep your audience guessing with unnecessary chart builds? These are the most common traps market researchers fall into when creating a presentation, according to Kory Grushka from Work Design Group and Andrea Blingen from PepsiCo. How can you avoid falling into these traps? Keep in mind that color should be used strategically, simplicity is often best, and consistency keeps the focus on the story you’re telling. Each presentation can be evaluated by asking yourself these three questions: is it clear? is it insightful? is it beautiful?

If you were at the conference and have anything to add, please feel free to share your insights below!

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB. This was her first trip west of Texas, and it ultimately resulted in her first sunburn of the season. 

Put down the brain scans and learn how we use EMPACTour new decision-focused emotional measurement approach—to inform a range of business challenges—including marketing, customer experience, customer loyalty, and product development. 


Topics: emotional measurement, conference recap, brand health and positioning

Social Media? Scandal's Got It Handled.

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Thu, May 14, 2015

describe the imageDo you have plans tonight?

If you’re like me, you’ll be snuggled up on your couch with a glass of red wine in one hand and Twitter pulled up on your phone in the other, ready and waiting for tonight’s Scandal finale. I’ll admit it: I love all Shonda Rhimes’ shows. I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy since season 3 and How to Get Away with Murder after it premiered last fall. But as much as I love these two shows, I know I can DVR them and avoid spoilers. There’s one of Shonda’s shows, however, that I will move mountains to watch live because I just know that if I don’t, I will be spoiled the minute I go online. That show, ladies and gentlemen, is Scandal.

Since its premiere in 2012, Scandal has positioned itself as “event television”—the kind of can’t-miss show that needs to be watched live to get the full experience— which, if you think about it, is a pretty amazing feat. Just a few years ago, event television was thought to be dead with few exceptions (award shows, sporting events, etc.), but Scandal has resurrected it. How? Through cliffhangers, top secret plots, and brilliant marketing campaigns. But none of these have contributed more to this positioning than the show’s masterful use of Twitter.

describe the image

The community the show has built on Twitter has been key to Scandal’s success, and this success story has a lesson that all brands should remember: loyalty and engagement are key. So, how has Scandal been able to do this? Through an immersive campaign that integrates organic fan-generated content with participation from cast and crew members. Each Thursday night, I am one of the #Gladiators scrolling through Twitter to read live tweets from fellow fans as well as cast members. The actors on the show are not the only people participating—fans can chat with Scandal’s writers (@ScandalWriters), prop master (@scandalprops), makeup department (@ScandalMakeup), and others.

In addition to live tweeting, Scandal has also brilliantly incorporated hashtags into its social media strategy. For instance, in 2012, the show was one of the first programs to advertise on Twitter and to feature a promoted hashtag (#WhoShotFitz) in advertising. The show uses a variety of hashtags for different purposes. For example, the show used #ScandalRecruitment during one month in season three to attract new viewers, and it often promotes #AskScandal, which viewers can use to ask a cast or crew member a question about the show.

All of this has culminated in a massive social media following. The show’s fans send out over 350,000 tweets per episode and, until recently, Scandal had the highest average tweets per episode during live airings of any broadcast drama this season. The show that beat Scandal? Newcomer Empire, which has based its social media strategy (live tweeting, promoted hashtags, etc.) off the success of Scandal’s strategy.

You’re probably asking yourself: why does this matter? First of all, after watching Olivia Pope shut someone down with a scene-stealing speech, is there anything more exciting than getting to directly interact with Kerry Washington about that exact scene? (The answer is no, people.) More importantly, Twitter released a study last May which found that after seeing TV-related tweets, 90% of people take “subsequent action such as watching a show they’ve never watched before, resuming a show that they’d previously stopped watching, and/or searching for more information about the show online.” Let this be a lesson to all brands (not just television shows): building a passionate fan base on Twitter generates loyalty and engagement, which in turn generates increased revenue.

So, fellow Gladiators, cancel your plans and settle in, because tonight promises to be another adventure—both on-screen and on your Twitter feed.

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB who one day aspires to be like Olivia Pope. . .except without all torture, murders, and Presidential affairs.

Topics: marketing strategy, social media, television, customer experience and loyalty, digital media and entertainment research

CMB Blog 2014: 6 of our Favorite Posts

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Tue, Dec 23, 2014

blog, cmbOur blog is special. We don’t just have one or two bloggers. All of our employees contribute to our blog, which produces a wide array of perspectives on all aspects of market research including analytics, loyalty, segmentation, and more! This is the perfect time of year to reflect, so before we embark on 2015, let’s take a look at a few of our favorite blogs from 2014:

1. Keeping brand trackers fresh can often be challenging. Caitlin Dailey delves into how we keep our trackers interesting in a blog entitled “Keeping Trackers Fresh: Finding that ‘Special Something.'

2. Here’s another one of my favorite things about our blog: we’re able to take aspects of popular culture and talk about how it connects back to market research. In a blog entitled “A Perfect Match? Tinder and Mobile Ethnographies,” our Director of Qualitative Research, Anne Hooper, does just that by relating popular dating app Tinder to mobile ethnographies.

3. A Colorado Symphony concert show series was sponsored by the cannabis industry? This is just one of the odd sponsorships that Kate Zilla- dives into in her blog post entitled “Sponsorship Advertising: Odd Couples That May Succeed.”

4. This year, we had the privilege of being honored as one of the “Top 100 Women Led Businesses in Massachusetts.” Take a look at what our President and CEO had to say about the honor in this blog post.

5. We do a variety of events in the community throughout the year, but our favorite event is the annual Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). In this blog post, Catherine Shannon talks about how our involvement started.

6. Jessica Chavez segments the parents at the tumble gym and discusses how to make segmentation studies relevant, meaningful, and actionable in this blog post.

Is there anything you’d like us to cover in 2015? Tell us in the comments, and we look forward to talking with you next year!

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB who’s also pursuing a M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Emerson College. She looks forward to ringing in the New Year by watching all 6 Star Wars movies back-to-back. 

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey

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

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

movember logo

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?). 

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, our people

Going to QRCA Conference or TMRE? Come See Us!

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Tue, Oct 14, 2014

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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Topics: conference recap

Going to CRC? Come See Us!

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Mon, Sep 15, 2014

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!

Want the latest scoop on webinars, conferences, and insights? Click the button below to subscribe to our monthly eZine!

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Topics: conference recap

The Clear Writing Solution to Critical Insights

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Wed, Jul 30, 2014

clear writing, cmb, insights,

A few weeks ago, thirty of my colleagues and I attended a clear writing workshop. When I first got the calendar notification for this workshop, I thought, “Oh, God, not another one.” As a recent college graduate and a current graduate student, I can’t tell you how many writing workshops I’ve attended over the years. And each time, I find myself walking away thinking that my time could have been much better spent.However, this workshop was different.I actually learned something! And, even better, it relates to how we, as market researchers, can tell the story of our insights in the most effective way.

At this workshop, our instructor insisted we abandon fancy phrases and just say and write what we mean. Instead of focusing on the words, we should focus on the ideas. Our instructor even suggested we practice not looking at our screens. This allows us to focus on expressing our thoughts and ideas rather than on the words we use to articulate them. Sounds like a simple premise, right? Maybe in theory.

I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who will sit and stare at a computer screen until the right word or phrase comes to mind. Instead of focusing on what I need to say, I find myself caught up in how I want to say it—which is exactly the problem our instructor wanted us to address. We all use unnecessary language from time-to-time to make our writing seem more intelligent or more “professional.” However, that’s when our writing runs the risk of being unclear.

Unclear language in market research can cause a lot of problems. For example, a convoluted report can lead to problems interpreting the data or results. Our writing impacts the validity of the work we do, and when that writing is compromised, we could have a lack of buy-in from stakeholders, waste research dollars, and so forth. We need to always make sure we’re answering the right questions, which often boil down to:

  1. Who wins here? And how do we make sure they know it?
  2. Who loses here? And how do we help them win somewhere else?

We shouldn’t be asking, “What do I want to say?” Instead, we should be asking, “What do I want this person to learn?” When you think about it, these are two totally separate concepts. I might want to tell you about how awesome Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s concert was, but does that help you in any way? Probably not. Furthermore, we need to ask ourselves (1) whether it’s worth the reader’s time and effort and (2) what will the reader get out of it. This is where those “right” questions above come into play. Those are the questions we should be answering for our clients. Those are the questions that will allow us to demonstrate what we want them to learn. Those are the questions worth answering.

So, here are my answers to those questions as they relate to this blog post:

  • What do I want you to learn? Communicating clearly and effectively by keeping your reader in mind is critical. At CMB, we’re constantly thinking not just about what we need to say but about what we want our clients to learn—information that will empower them to make meaningful decisions. 
  • Was this worth your time? Did you get anything out of it? Let me know! What do you think makes an excellent report? What makes recommendations useful? Tell me in the comments!

Bonus answer:

  • Was that Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert really as awesome as you say? It truly, truly was.

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate who’s also pursuing a M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Emerson College. As a lover of the English language, she’s thrilled by all the possibilities present when writing. She also has a deep, unconditional love for Beyoncé.

Check out our new case study to see how we helped a top 25 global bank develop a new value proposition and evaluate perceptions of various service channels and transactions.


Topics: storytelling, consumer insights