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How Triathlon Training Makes Me a Better Market Researcher

Posted by Shira Smith

Wed, Nov 28, 2018

triathlon

From training to crossing the finish line, competing in triathlons is one of my favorite hobbies. So far, I’ve completed four sprint races, each consisting of a short swim, a 10 to 15-mile bike ride, and a three-mile run. Not everyone would consider this "fun," but I love it.

When I'm not an training, I'm a market researcher who likes to draw parallels between my personal and professional life. Here are three ways training for a triathlon is like managing a research project:

Scheduling is key

Triathlons are long multievent races that require a ton of preparation and training. Months before race day, I map out a detailed training schedule that allots time for each event (e.g., swimming, biking, racing) to ensure I’m well-prepared.

Managing a research project also requires a rigorous plan. Before the onset of each project, I develop a meticulous schedule that outlines every step, due date, and expectation, from project kick off to final reporting and delivery. This keeps my team and me on track and hitting our goals.

I also share this schedule with my clients so our teams are always aligned on how the project is progressing. It sounds simple, but it's critical to be transparent and ensure everyone's on the same page.

Be flexible when plans change

Even the best laid plans can go awry. Despite my planned training schedule, sometimes things come up and I must adjust. If it's downpouring on a running day, for example, I could instead go for a swim. If the pool is unexpectedly closed, I'll hop on a bike. Whatever the obstacle, I always find an alternative that keeps me marching towards my goal.

Unforeseen events can happen in research, too. The important thing is to flex and stay nimble so surprises won’t derail the project. So long as I stay focused and proactive, my team and I can pivot, overcome challenges, and keep the project on track.

Data consistency is also key

I track data to measure and improve my race performance. With the help of a sports watch, I can analyze my pace, heart rate, distance, elevation, cadence, and more. Tracking these metrics helps me see my progression over time and can help identify variables that may be impacting my performance. For example, I often run in the morning, so external variables (e.g., traffic and temperatures) are more consistent. Since my running environment is consistent (as much as it can be) I can be more confident my tracked pace is real.

Consistently tracking data over time is critical in market research, too. In brand trackers, for example, we’ll measure the same dimensions so we can accurately compare results wave after wave. This helps ensure our clients can refine the most compelling positioning, optimize brand and market communication, and then track influence on behavior over time.

I'm glad I found a hobby that I love, and I’m even more excited that it connects in so many ways to my job as a market researcher. I’m looking forward to growing both as a triathlete and as a market researcher – and I know if I plan, stay flexible, and remain consistent, I’ll be successful at both!

Topics: data collection, research design, project management

CMBers Give Thanks This Holiday Season

Posted by Savannah House

Tue, Nov 20, 2018

Ham, lasagna, chicken broccoli ziti, and cornbread. That was the first helping. Seconds included pulled pork, mashed potatoes, and pineapple stuffing. Yes, pineapple stuffing.

Today we came together for the CMB Thanksgiving Luncheon—an annual holiday meal prepared and served by CMB leadership. It's one of our favorite holiday traditions that celebrates community, creativity, and hard work.

group being served

While the holiday luncheon is a chance to sample colleagues' culinary talents, more importantly, it's an opportunity for us to take a break from the busy season and practice gratitude.

Group eating at Thanksgiving

Thank you to our employees, clients, research partners, and friends who have helped make this an incredibly exciting year at CMB. 

We wish everyone a happy and safe start to the holiday season.

Topics: community, Chadwick Martin Bailey

CMB Welcomes Brenda Ng as VP of Strategy and Account Planning

Posted by Savannah House

Fri, Nov 16, 2018

We're pleased to welcome Brenda Ng as Vice President of Strategy and Account Planning. A high-impact marketing executive, Brenda joins CMB with over 20 years of management and activation experience delivering critical insights that drive product development, market strategy, and global corporate strategic planning for some of the world’s leading brands. Based in Seattle, Brenda will spearhead the development of CMB’s engagement solutions in partnership with CMB’s parent company, ITA Group.

“We’re thrilled to have Brenda join the CMB team,” says Jim Garrity, CEO of CMB, “Brenda’s expertise in strategic consulting, product development, and consumer insights in highly competitive categories will help guide the development of solutions that leverage both CMB’s and ITA Group’s core competencies.”

Prior to joining CMB, Brenda was the Founder and Principal of The Trio Group, a Seattle-based consulting firm, where she built strategic roadmaps to develop, launch, and sustain products and initiatives for clients like Amazon, Sonos, and Qualcomm. Brenda formerly led Customer Insights and Competitive Intelligence as an executive at T-Mobile and Microsoft, where she was a member of the original Xbox incubation team.

A visiting Market Research guest lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Brenda’s multinational and cross-industry experience leveraging insights to drive innovation are an excellent fit for CMB and will be a tremendous asset as the company continues to grow.

Topics: news and announcements, strategy consulting

Why Standing up for the Census Still Counts

Posted by Athena Rodriguez

Wed, Nov 07, 2018

busy city street

Over a year ago, I wrote about the critical state of the U.S. Census. To recap: to stay within budget, the US Census Bureau planned to add online and phone data collection to the traditional mail and face-to-face fielding. As any good researchers would, they planned to test this new mix of methodologies using a series a field tests and an end-to-end test. 

After cancelling several field tests earlier this year, last month the bureau completed an end-to-end test in Providence County, RI, and are “ready to transition from a paper-based census to one where people can respond online using personal computers or mobile devices, by telephone through our questionnaire assistance centers or by using the traditional paper-response option.” Click here for an infographic with all the details.

Whew, right?  Not so fast—there’s still another problem. A big one.

Against the recommendation of the Census Bureau, the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, is fighting to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

In a memo sent to the DOJ, the bureau’s Chief Scientist and Associate Director for Research and Methodology, John Abowd, wrote the inclusion of a citizenship question would be "very costly, harms the quality of the census count, and would use substantially less accurate citizenship status data than are available from administrative sources.”

In response, opponents of the question, including the state of California, New York, and the American Civil Liberties Union, have filed lawsuits against the Federal Government—echoing Abowd’s fears that the citizen question would discourage participation and compromise the integrity of the census.

Despite a request by the Federal Government to postpone, the trial began on Monday, November 5, in New York City, and is expected to last two weeks.

As I wrote in my earlier blog, the US Census is critical to market research. It serves as the foundation for things like sampling plans, weighting data, sizing audiences, and determining who to target.

If the citizen question goes through, it may deter non-citizens from participating. This would seriously harm the quality of the data and pose a threat to the integrity of our industry—not to mention impact federal budgeting and the number of House seats.

As market researchers, it’s our duty to preserve the integrity of the US Census. Whether you support or oppose the citizenship question, I encourage you to pay close attention to how the decision plays out. We’re still a year away from the census, but what’s decided now could have far-reaching ramifications for our industry and country.

Athena is a Project Director at CMB who really hopes the next time she blogs it will be about a satisfactory resolution to this ongoing issue.

Topics: Market research, data collection

The 5 P's of ITA Group: A recipe for success

Posted by Heather Magaw

Wed, Oct 31, 2018

 

The 5 P's of ITA Group (3)

You might be familiar with the 5 P’s of marketing (product, price, place, promotion, and people), but last week at the ITA Group annual sales kickoff meeting, I was introduced to another powerful set of P’s: The 5 P’s of ITA Group.

While the 5 P’s of ITA Group are guiding principles that knit together the ITA Group Family (which includes CMB), they’ll also resonate with any business committed to providing world-class service to clients and customers

It all starts with PASSION, an intrinsic motivation to do right by our clients and colleagues while being true to ourselves. While the drivers of passion may vary between individuals, the collective force of a passionate group of employee owners is a powerful one.

The second P is PRIDE. There’s tremendous individual and shared pride in the vision, mission, and values of our organizations, as well as in the value of the products and services that we provide. The strong history of excellence of all these organizations and the combined strength of their current offerings also contributes to a palatable sense of pride.

PARTNERSHIP is another key element that all members of the ITA Group value. We partner with one another to leverage the strongest possible talent to deliver the highest quality experience for our clients, as well as their employees, business partners, and customers. We also value partnership with our clients to ensure their experiences working with ITA Group organizations is extraordinary.

The fourth P, PERSEVERANCE, is a key underpinning of the equation. Change is inevitable, as is the unexpected. Yet, perseverance and strategic problem-solving are critical for successfully navigating complex programs and projects, as well as competitive pressures and disruption. Time and time again at the sales meeting, I heard stories about teams and individuals overcoming significant obstacles to meet or exceed client expectations.

The final—and arguably most important—P is PEOPLE. ITA Group, CMB, and Hartmann Studios (newest member of the ITA Group Family) are in the business of engaging with people, whether it’s engaging people with the brands, products, and services they use or partnering with clients, employees, channel partners, advocates, community, friends and family.

Whether you’re a large F100 or a small B2B startup, the 5 P’s of ITA Group—Passion, Pride, Partnership, Perseverance, and People—can be a powerful formula for success.

Heather Magaw is the VP of Client Service at CMB. She had a great time last week on her first trip ever to Iowa engaging with a passionate group of proud, ITA Group employee owners.

Topics: ITA Group