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Josh Mendelsohn

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Guest Blog: Why Parenting a Toddler is Particularly Hard for the Modern Marketer

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Feb 10, 2014

Many of us aren't just researchers or marketers, we're parents too, which is why this blog from CMB Alum, Josh Mendelsohn really struck a chord. You can check out more of Josh's musings in his blog: Marketing in Real Life.

modern marketerAs a parent of a toddler boy, I've often found myself getting so frustrated, to a place I don't like, that I started doing some real self hard thinking about the causes (it’s the research background!). One of the major realizations I've had is that the frustration is in part because "working" with a toddler goes completely against how I spend most of my day as a marketer. And I know I'm not alone. In fact, I've seen lots of friends and colleagues who work with data struggle with toddler thinking.Don't get me wrong, parenting is obviously hard for everyone, but I wonder if it feels even harder for the modern marketer (or researcher) because of the way we are trained. We take pride in using data to identify what works and modifying what doesn’t.

Unfortunately, my little dude seems to fall outside the realm of data integrity.

Below are four things that are particularly confounding in our dual roles as parent and professional.

1) It's the journey, not the destination. At work we are taught that the outcome is what matters most. We look at the data and decide if something has worked or not, rarely taking joy in the process itself. Unfortunately, toddlers don't give a crap about the quality of the end result.  

Their goal isn't to make the best dinner, it's to make something together, spill ingredients all over the table, and potentially eat something completely different for their meal. And frankly, their version of quality is suspect at best. I mean, when I look at a drawing and say "that looks great buddy," I'm just thinking "I'm not sure that looks like a house with a dog and a monster. People will never get what you're trying to say!"

2) Total disregard for longitudinal data.  As marketers we love longitudinal data.  After all, history generally repeats itself and seasonality is essential to effective planning, right?  Sadly, toddlers can't even put together two weeks of data that makes sense. The journey from "I only want chicken nuggets for lunch" to "I don't want to ever eat chicken nuggets again" is extremely short lived.  When people ask me "what is he into to?" I just chuckle.  This week it's Yo Gabba Gabba, next week could be anything.  Not sure I have chartable trend line there!

3) Rules?  What rules.  Our boy loves playing board games. He just doesn't like playing them the way they were intended. He doesn't see chutes in Chutes and Ladders.  He doesn't believe in only flipping two cards in memory. And he certainly doesn't understand that you take turns in Connect Four.  

While I appreciate that he is figuring out how the world works, his inability to listen to the rules has me taking notes for his next performance review (when do we get to have those?).

4) Efficiency is frowned upon. As modern professionals (or at least hard-driving ones) we all want to get through as many tasks as well as possible every single day. High output = high value.  Dealing with a toddler is the complete opposite. I'd pay good money for an activity that lasted longer than 20 minutes so we're only doing three things on a Saturday instead of 23.   

So what am I doing about it? Other than going even more bald than before, I've been trying really really hard to slow down and leave my work brain at the office. I've found that there's really no fire to run to or from most of the time and that taking a few extra minutes here and there actually makes the day run smoother. (Note: Trying!!)

I was inspired by this blog post - and even attempting to live this way has dropped my stress level considerably. 

I'm not one to give unwelcome parenting advice to people outside of out family, but as they say on my boy's very temporary favorite show "try it, you might like it."

Josh is the VP of Marketing at DreamFund, Inc. You can find more of his commentary on the "world of marketing, market research, small business strategies, and social media based on real life experiences, not stuff you'd get in an MBA class" at his blog Marketing in Real Life.

 

Feb20webinar14Join CMB's Amy Modini on February 20th, at 12:30 pm ET, to learn how we use discrete choice to better position your brand in a complex changing market. Register here.

 

Topics: consumer insights

Selling to Small Businesses "The Educate First Challenge:" Guest Blog Post from Constant Contact

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Jun 20, 2011

There are 11 million small businesses with 20 or fewer employees in the US.constant contact chadwick martin bailey 

And while every small business owner has always had to be hyperaware of their expenditures, the instability of the economy over the past few years has made spending the right amount in the right way a constant struggle for those who want to compete and succeed.

The truth is that the drivers of small business success haven’t changed – great customer service, personal connections,  and high quality products and services that lead to positive word of mouth. Social Media Marketing has changed the landscape.

Some small businesses have been quick to adopt, while others are struggling to find the time and information they need to get started.  And for those companies selling social media and other online marketing tools to small businesses the questions have become not just “why should I buy it?” and “why should I buy from you?” but also, “what the heck are you guys even talking about?”

So while those of us at larger organizations are lucky enough to learn best practices from industry leaders at conferences, it has also become our responsibility to educate our potential customers about what social media marketing can do for small businesses.  We need to help them get started.  We need to help them be successful.  Then we need to help them do it better.

The truth is that even large businesses with dedicated teams and agencies face challenges and make mistakes. So for the little guys the challenges are even greater.

Selling to small businesses has never been easy, and with the help of some of Chadwick Martin Bailey's research, we’re taking on the “educate first” challenge.  Join us for a short webinar on June 29th at 12:00 EST to hear about some of what we’ve learned and how CMB has helped us get smart so we can get our customers and prospects smarter.

describe the imageJoin us for a webinar with Constant Contact to learn more:
Wednesday June 29th
12:00 to 12:30

Learn how Chadwick Martin Bailey helped Constant Contact understand what small businesses need when it comes to social media marketing. Register today

 

Guest post by Josh Mendelsohn at Constant Contact. Josh is a Senior Product Marketing Manager, Social Media Marketing at Constant Contact.  He loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.


Topics: marketing strategy, webinar

Wrapping up 2010: What People Love About CMB [Video]

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Wed, Dec 22, 2010


cmb holiday wishesAs we come to the end of a great year here at CMB and move ahead into 2011, we recognize that we are very lucky to have such great clients, great partners, and most importantly great employees who make this company a dynamic environment that produces excellent work.    We know that our people are the biggest asset we have to offer to each other and to the people who hire us. 

So, thanks to everyone who has made this year a success and we are looking forward to a great 2011.  Happy holidays from everyone here at CMB!

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, our people

Market Research in 2011: Don't throw out the baby with the bath water

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Fri, Dec 17, 2010

As a new parent, I can’t imagine how the expression “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water” ever really came into existence.  But as with parenting, this idea is essential in business and critical right now for market research as an industry.  

It is easy (and justifiable) to get excited about many of the new tools and techniques that continue to enter the market research world.  Many of these technology driven, shiny new toys have huge potential to change the way we work and conduct measurement.  But used improperly, these new tools and techniques can do more damage than good and lead to inaccurate data and poor business decisions. 

So, how do you make sure this doesn’t happen?  Remind yourself and your team of the basic fundamentals.Three places to start:

1)      Defining research objectives:  A well thought out research project is often the difference between one deemed a success and a failure.  By answering a few questions up front, you’ll ensure success regardless of what tools you use.  Who is using the findings?  How will they be used to make decisions?  Are there trade-offs we need to make on our methodology?  How will we communicate the findings once we have them? Do we need a mix of qualitative and quantitative?

2)      Choosing the right methodology:  It has always been important to think about your audience of customers and potential customers and the topic of the project when designing a research project, but with the continued growth of sampling and data collection options, it is now more important than ever to design a project for the people you are engaging.  Are they members of online panels?  Do they need interactive questions?  Will they understand the types of questions we are asking?  Can the directly evaluate a product/concept or should you use  a trade-off design?  It is no longer as simple as picking phone v. mail. v. online.

3)      Designing questionnaires:  While many non-researchers may not believe it, there is a reason that questions are worded in specific ways and placed in a certain order within a questionnaire.  Make sure those using DIY tools or driving research initiatives understand the impact of questionnaire design on the data and the respondent experience, and offer guidance to ensure mistakes are not made.

To sum up, there are lots of great new ways to conduct market research as we enter 2011, but you can’t forget to apply the same diligence as you did with traditional techniques.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Topics: methodology, research design

Four Easy Steps to Improve Your Company's Social Strategy

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Dec 06, 2010

putting the social pieces togetherIn some ways, this is one of the easiest posts I have ever written.  It takes simple marketing tenets and applies them to the world of social media.  This should be obvious, but for some reason the social media world gained momentum and adoption without fitting itself into the same processes that have been driving marketing for decades.  So, as you work through your marketing and social media plans for 2011, here are four things to keep in mind that should make your social strategy more effective.

  • Understand your customers and their use of social media:  Developing any strategy without knowing how your customers and prospects want to interact with you and what they are interested in is nearly impossible.    Whether you choose to conduct a full blown study of your target audience or just some simple research to understand why people fan or follow you, these insights are essential to developing a successful strategy.
  • Set realistic goals:  It is easy to look at brands with humongous followings and set your eyes on achieving the same levels of “success.”  But success for your social strategy should be defined by meaningful and measurable outcomes that can actually impact your business.  Setting goals related to engaging “the right people” in “the right way” and setting up a system for follow up will more directly impact your business.
  • Invest against your goals: Just because most social media tools do not require large financial investments does not mean that they don’t require dedicated resources.  Make sure your plan includes staffing and specific expectations so that your social activities are consistent, ongoing, and impactful.
  • Measure progress and be prepared to adapt: Like any marketing channel, not every social media initiative is going to breed instant success.   By building check points against your defined goals at certain timeframes, you can see how well your social strategy is doing and adapt as necessary.

Want to learn more about social media and the new purchase process?  Check out our MRA Webinar on Wednesday December 8th with South Street Strategy’s Mark Carr.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

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Topics: marketing strategy, social media, Consumer Pulse