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Chadwick Martin Bailey

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CMB Spotlight: Lori Vellucci

Posted by Chadwick Martin Bailey

Mon, Oct 19, 2020

Spotlight Series Opener Lori

Lori brings more than two decades of insights experience to her work with leading brands—translating business challenges into action, providing the voice of the consumer for both strategic and tactical initiatives to build brand and drive business results. Lori delivers insights, and the ever-important “now what?” through a deep understanding of consumer behavior, that’s always translated through the lens of business needs and realities.

Lori earned a B.S. in Business Administration from University of Connecticut, is Synectics® trained in brainstorming facilitation, and is a recurring guest lecturer at Stonehill College on Practical Marketing Research Methods and Creative Brainstorming Facilitation.

1. You have a lot of experience in market research. What keeps you excited about your work?

I love being on the vendor side; it’s never boring. I like knowing my client’s business challenges but I also have a broader industry perspective that I can bring to bear. It enables me to better serve our clients because I’ve been able to apply industry insights to new business challenges, and connect those learnings in meaningful ways. The icing on the cake is when we’re able to incorporate consumer psychology frameworks into a project and really dive deep to understand motivations, engagement, and behavior. I also never get tired of hearing our clients share how they implemented our research and the impact on their business and customers.

2. What advice do you wish you received earlier on in your career?

I wish I tackled the art of presenting earlier. I used to be scared to death of it, but somewhere along the line that changed. I love presenting to my clients now and helping others to build that skillset. It pushes me to think on my feet. If you have a challenge or shortcoming like that, understand that it’s not forever. You’re going to grow. You’re going to learn. It can be addressed through time, effort, and help from others.

I also tell younger researchers to get as much broad experience as they can. Raise your hand, ask for challenges, and do projects that are a little bit out of your comfort zone. People will notice that you’re interest and motivated, and it will set you apart. That’s important early in your career, so be sure to find an environment that’s conducive for your growth.

3. Tell us about a project/initiative you’re particularly proud of. What about that experience helped you to adapt, innovate, and/or grow?

We recently sought to understand young investors—those in their 20s and 30s who haven’t invested yet—in a new way. The research included a multi-pronged approach including online and in-home qualitative research, as well as quantitative. It was fantastic, and we got a lot of good insights that can be used to build products and services and talk to consumers in specific ways that resonate and meet consumers wherever they are in their investment journey. One takeaway that was particularly impactful was being able to group like-minded young investors and predict how they will treat their finances moving forward. It’s valuable information to have to fully meet young investor needs and also provides a lens for future studies.

4. At CMB, we like to think ahead. What about this project can Financial Services brands take away from? How should they/we be evolving?

There are so many new offerings, and ways to manage finances—they keep expanding and exploding. Companies with a long history in this business are now competing with those who have been “born online.” Changing the way these organizations work, what they focus on, and how they compete is really important. It’s clear that the investors of tomorrow are going to invest in a different way than we did, and certainly different from our parents and grandparents. They desire social connection online, so their investment journey is starting online, and on newer platforms like Venmo and Mint. Established companies really need to pay attention to this sea change, especially as people are hyper-focused on their finances and investments thanks to COVID-19.

5. And what about market research? How should we be evolving?

Like our clients, a lot is shifting in our industry. But one thing remains the same: we need to talk to the right people, at the right time, to get the insights we need. To get to that, the researchers of tomorrow must be well-versed in using different tools, and ways of doing research, including online (that’s obviously not going away). More importantly, how to work with these new tools and approaches. Many of our clients are finding ways to do some of the research themselves, and that’s ok. It just makes it that much more important for us to translate these insights into actionable results. There will always be new platforms, ways of looking at data and data mining, etc., but someone will always need to be there pulling it all together and extracting the insights.

6. Sounds like another reason to have strong client relationships! What’s your secret to developing not just good but great client relationships?

It starts with delivering superior work. It’s trust; trust that what we’re recommending is the right direction; trust that what we’ll deliver will be insightful and meet their needs and objectives. From there, it’s about knowing their business. We spend a lot of time at CMB understanding the trends, and individual businesses at a macro and micro level. How does our project fit into some of the broader initiatives or challenges that our clients have?

Also, when it’s all said and done, it’s our job to make our clients look good to their own clients and stakeholders. We must deliver insights that help our clients position themselves, and the work, within the organization. It’s so important for market research to show that focused, practical value. For example, for segmentation work, we go the extra mile and do socialization and activation sessions, and provide dynamic and interactive deliverables than can live on within the organization. All of these are quite powerful in helping an organization fully embrace and utilize a new segmentation, making it the framework for all communication and product development.

7. What does “The CMB Difference” mean to you?

It’s our culture and the way that we engage our employees. CMB strikes a good balance between using processes that work throughout the organization, without constricting growth, collaboration, or flexibility. For example, I recently had a proposal draft that I asked my colleagues to look at. Having that freedom to bring in colleagues who aren’t on my business unit because of their expertise is helpful. We delivered a proposal that didn’t miss a beat because of everyone’s ability to stretch into a different job that day and bring their skills to the table. CMB brings great minds from different disciplines to ensure that what we’re delivering is fantastic and insightful. Our clients always have a team working together on their behalf.

8. Tell us something we may not know about you. How does this make you a better insights leader?
My house is full of non-immediate family members. I foster cats, and mentor kids in foster care. These kids tend to be teens who’ve aged out of foster care, and sometimes end up living with me for a period of time. Currently, I have a young woman living with me whom I’ve been mentoring for about seven years, and some very hiss-y kittens.

My interest in fostering started in high school. I was interested in social work, but ultimately chose to pursue marketing. But that desire to help has never left me. About 10 years ago, I told myself “it’s now or never.” Fostering is about patience and perseverance. These are individuals and animals with challenges, and you have to find a way to help. It’s always different; there’s not one formula.

Spicy kittens


Lori VellucciLearn more about Lori here.

CMB's Spotlight Series brings to life the CMB Difference through our people and clients. Read all of our spotlights here.

Follow CMB on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.


Topics: our people, CMB Spotlight Series

CMB Spotlight: Courtnie Hallendy

Posted by Chadwick Martin Bailey

Tue, Sep 22, 2020

Spotlight Series Opener Courtnie

For over 15 years, Courtnie has been a strategic consultant for some of the world’s leading brands. She brings a deep research expertise and a truly collaborative approach to her work with clients including Chase and Fidelity. She earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State and an MBA from Oakland University.

1. What brought you to work at/in Market Research?

I always knew I needed to do something with math, but I also wanted something creative, which is exactly what this career allows me to do. As I’ve grown, I’ve realized just how much I enjoy the strategic side of the business: pushing myself to think five steps ahead, anticipate challenges, and help clients creatively and proactively problem solve.

2. What’s the secret to developing not just good but great client relationships?

To drive client relationships forward, you need honesty, integrity, and mutual respect. Developing a deep level of trust takes time, and effort. Sometimes it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. Don’t give up. If it doesn’t work at first, I will try new communication styles and approaches to create that relationship. It’s that tenacity and commitment that speaks volumes to even the toughest critics.

3. Who has been a major influence in your career?

The strongest mentors (I believe you should always have more than one!) in my life are outside of the industry, which I think is important so that you can have a neutral person to confide in, give advice, and act as a source of inspiration of what you can bring to your own industry. It can be harder to find the right one and to start those relationships, but you’ll be surprised at how willing others are to help and invest in your personal and professional development if you just ask.

4. We talk about “The CMB Difference” a lot to clients. What does it mean to you?

When you’re in a professional services industry, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself, but it’s really important. CMB is as committed to its employees as we are to our clients. Our culture is supportive, transparent, and engaging, which shows in our relationships with one other, our clients, and our work. I feel like I’ve always been here.

5. Tell us about a project/initiative you’re particularly proud of. What about that experience helped you to adapt, innovate, and/or grow?

One project that stands out was when I was working at Toyota Financial Services. I was developing its online community, with the goal of engaging with our tough-to-reach demographic. In launching this relatively new format, I was faced with an increasingly restrictive budget (remember the financial crisis of 2008/2009?!), and securing executive buy-in all while trying to think innovatively and creatively, as well as challenge myself to structure research in a sustainable way. This experience affirmed my ability to push myself outside the norm, tackle large initiatives, and be ok with uncertainty, which is critical to growth and innovation.

I’ve applied the lessons I learned at Toyota since. Currently, I am leading a team at CMB to support a major financial services brand developing a system and process for getting research insights on a quick and consistent schedule. We have had to innovate and grow as individuals and as a company to ensure that we are able to execute this important initiative with the high-value and quality research that CMB is known for. It’s exciting to be a part of.

6. If you could have any superpower what would it be/What’s your superpower?

Fly. My husband and I love to travel (in fact, his first Christmas present to me was getting his first passport so we could travel together). It would be great to save that time and money on transportation and get to explore my destination more.

And in the time of COVID-19, I think everyone’s superpower is the ability to just hold it all together (whatever that means for you and your family). Taking that a step further, being the guide and the calm for my teammates and clients is something I really try to strive for every day and would like to say is a superpower. I always try to be a duck: calm above the water, no matter how quickly my feet are peddling below. Maintaining that balance is that’s what having great mentors and managers are for.

7. Show us what a typical day in the life of Courtnie looks like.

Spotlight Day in the Life_Courtnie 2020-1


Courtnie HallendyTo learn more, reach out to Courtnie here.

CMB's Spotlight Series brings to life the CMB Difference through our people and clients. Read all of our spotlights here.

Follow CMB on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Topics: our people, financial services research, CMB Spotlight Series, financial services