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Savannah House

Savannah House is a Marketing Manager at CMB.

Recent Posts

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: strategy consulting, news and announcements

TMRE 2018: Gen Z, AI, and Ferraris

Posted by Savannah House

Mon, Oct 22, 2018

This article was cowritten by Savannah House, Julie Kurd, and Megan McManaman.

TMRE 2018 recap cover-1

Last week we headed to the Arizonan desert for TMRE 2018. Amid the cacti, snakes, and breathtaking desert sunsets, TMRE was bigger and better than ever as insights leaders challenged us to embrace innovation, inspire change, and push the industry forward.

If you couldn’t make it to TMRE 2018 or just want to relive the magic,  here are some highlights:

Marrying MR with data science. Market research and data science offer parallel tracks to answer critical questions—but all too often they are completely siloed. Members of Viacom’s very cool Content Innovation Analytics team, including Thomas Grayman, Tetiana Nosach Quignon, and Bingqing Ge, gave a fantastically meaty presentation with examples of how they integrate market research and data science techniques to leverage the best of both worlds and offer deeper insights to fuel program development and market strategy than relying on just one approach.

Staying focused in a $500B business. Linda Vytlacil, PhD, and Salome Aguilar of Walmart introduced us to the company’s $500 billion revenue line through the lens of insights. Researchers at Walmart have a maniacal focus on business objectives (e.g., to make every day easier for busy families) that serve as guide posts for their work—they marry transactional and survey data together for a multidimensional approach to understanding the customer and delivering value.

Vytlacil and Aguilar remind us to:

  • Keep the main goal (“easier”) the primary focus
  • Identify and remove unexpected friction points
  • Never underestimate the power of extreme ownership because transparency and accountability lifts everyone’s game
  • Invest in relationships with your consumers

Walmart customers aren’t necessarily seeking great stores with easy pickup, ship to store, scan and go, etc. Instead, they’re focused on living connected and happy lives with family, friends, purpose and community. As researchers, we need to connect with the main goal.

Research that inspires change. Yoni Karpen of Airbnb believes his research doesn’t matter unless it informs or inspires decisions. His goal isn’t to tell people what to do or how to think, but to provide structure to a chaotic and ambiguous world. For example, Airbnb strives to help hosts be better hosts—to master the art of hospitality. To do this, Yoni’s team explored various dimensions between high and low performing hosts—their focus, motivations, effort, responsibility, self-perception, etc. By understanding the nuances between these distinct groups (e.g., high performing hosts are motivated by pride and passion for hospitality while low performing hosts are motivated by money), he introduced a framework for hospitality that his stakeholders can leverage to move hosts up the ladder. Yoni’s research doesn’t exist in a vacuum—it’s used across the organization to help drive Airbnb forward.

Yoni at TMRE

Yoni Karpen of Airbnb highlights the stark differences between high and low-performing hosts.

Will AI replace market researchers? It’s a question many of us likely think about as AI continues to shape and reshape the industry. In an Oxford style debate, experts from both sides shared their thoughts. David Ginsberg of Facebook argued AI will not replace market researchers. In fact, as Facebook continues to leverage AI, his research team has grown because no machine can uncover the intimate details—the why. Similarly, Marina Kosten of 20th Century Fox’s team interrogates data produced by AI. She admits, yes, AI will continue to get better and better, but only humans can take this data and turn it into meaningful insights through storytelling. On the other side of the debate, Anthony Lambrou of Pfizer posits AI might not eradicate the need for researchers entirely, but will change the traditional role of market researchers. AI systems will take on some tactic responsibilities like data collection, leaving more time for  researchers to focus on digesting and turning the data into a story.

Are you ready for Gen Z? Sheila Dreyer Van Buskirk of Synchrony and Lori Vellucci of CMB took the audience through an immersive and in-depth look at Gen Z. With over $44 billion in collecting purchasing power, Gen Z is on track to be the most disruptive generation yet—upending all industries from financial services to travel and hospitality. We may be a little biased because this was our presentation, but as researchers, it’s critical to stay ahead of these emerging generational trends so we can work with stakeholders to provide services and experiences that excite and resonate.

Connections and serendipity are often underrated at conferences. While of course it’s critical to attend as many sessions as possible, it’s also important to spend time at the sponsor booths. You’ll expand your knowledge (and your network) while learning about the latest and greatest market research innovations—you also might get a chance to ride in a Ferrari like Julie did with the Qualtrics team.

Want to learn how Synchrony ditched PowerPoint and created a dynamic and compelling research report that excited and engaged stakeholders? Reach out to learn more!

How SoulCycle Stays in the Saddle of Customer Loyalty and Consideration

Posted by Savannah House

Wed, Sep 12, 2018

spin class-1

Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see ads from every conceivable fitness craze—from trampolining and aerial yoga to infrared saunas.

What’s “hot” today (seriously, check out these saunas) might not be tomorrow, and because apps like ClassPass make it easy to try new workouts, it’s an even tougher market for upstarts to break through and survive.

That’s why I am a huge admirer of indoor cycling studio SoulCycle, and how it’s managed to survive and thrive despite the rise and fall of other fitness fads (is water aerobics still a thing?)

Last week at INBOUND 2018, Julie Rice, co-founder of SoulCycle, shared how she built a fitness empire. In just over 10 years, she grew a single studio in Manhattan (Rice herself working the front desk) into a multimillion dollar pop culture phenomenon with a cult-like following.

What is it about a 45-minute spin class that catapulted SoulCycle into the ranks of brands like CrossFit and Nike? A brand that successfully fulfills the functional, emotional and social identity needs of its target customer.

SoulCycle’s workout lives up to its promise

This goes without saying, but SoulCycle is one heck of a workout. It’s more than riding a bike. Riders clip into stationary bikes and pedal to the beat of the music—following the lead instructor by adjusting speed and resistance based on the song.

From a customer experience perspective, SoulCycle delivers on the promise of an intense workout. Having been to a few classes myself, I can attest to how physically demanding their classes are—leaving you sweaty and physically drained (but accomplished).

This, in a sense, is the most tangible and functional benefit SoulCycle provides its customers—presumably the biggest reason why riders pay $36 per class.

But, there are other reasons why riders love SoulCycle beyond the solid workout.

SoulCycle sends riders on an emotional journey

As Rice explained last week at INBOUND, SoulCycle was always intended to be as much an emotional experience as it is physical. Twelve years later, that still holds true.

Words like “athlete”, “legend” and “warrior” adorn the SoulCycle studios. When the studio lights are off, these words are illuminated in white as vibrant reminders of how riding at SoulCycle is supposed to make you feel.

It’s emotionally transcending to be in a dark room with music blasting, pedaling in unison with 30+ other riders, while the words “LEGEND” and “WARRIOR” (and of course the instructor) scream at you to keep pushing. It’s empowering. You feel like a bad ass each time to dig your foot into the pedal.

At the end of the workout, you’re left feeling lifted, encouraged, and powerful. Few fitness brands can achieve this level of emotional connection with their customers—a force that drives riders into the saddle week after week.

The SoulCycle community

A good workout and emotional connectivity are integral to the SoulCycle experience. But perhaps what’s most compelling about SoulCycle is its masterful way of tapping into the social identity of its riders.

SoulCycle has strategically cultivated an “in” community that riders can’t get enough of. Both in the studio and out on the streets, riders gladly sport SoulCycle swag as badge of membership to this close-knit community.

A recent study by Harvard Divinity School researcher, Casper ter Kuile, underscores the importance of community in choosing fitness brands. People are drawn to fitness classes like SoulCycle because they “long for relationships that have meaning and the experience of belonging rather than just surface level relationships,” he continues, “Going through an experience that tests you to your limits…there’s an inevitable bonding that comes from experiencing hardship together.”

SoulCycle is about riding as a pack… and more importantly, being part of that pack.

It’s this feeling of inclusion and being part of a group of likeminded athletes that drives its unprecedented tribal following—a loyalty rivaled only by CrossFit.

And for SoulCycle in particular, maybe it’s the exclusivity—being a member of not just any community, but THIS community—that makes SoulCycle so alluring.

The Final Sprint

In 2011, Rice and business partner Elizabeth Cutler sold SoulCycle to national luxury fitness gym Equinox—forming a united front between the elite brands.

This partnership represents the continued success of SoulCycle as a leading fitness and lifestyle brand—one whose customer loyalty has continued over the years.

Fitness brands (all brands, for that matter) can learn a lot from SoulCycle in terms of what it takes to truly delight and retain customers. Of course, it’s necessary to provide a superior customer experience (a solid workout, in this case) and establish an emotional connection with customers. But, brands cannot forget about the critical role social identity and community play in maintaining customer loyalty.

As markets continue to be disrupted by technology, innovation and new entrants, brands must leverage functional, emotional, and identity benefits to stay in the metaphorical saddle of customer consideration and loyalty.

Savannah House is a marketing manager who is slowly but surely ticking different fitness classes off her bucket list. 

Topics: customer experience and loyalty, Identity, BrandFx

Celebrating our First Year as Part of the ITA Group Family!

Posted by Savannah House

Wed, Sep 05, 2018

Yesterday afternoon we celebrated our one-year anniversary  as a member of the  ITA Group family!

anni1It's been an incredibly busy and exciting year but we took some time to celebrate our success, shared values, and deep commitment to delivering world-class solutions to leading brands. 

We're thrilled to work with, and be a part of, the best in the business in the world of engagement!

Thanks to all of our hard-working and dedicated colleagues and incredible clients for such a successful year. 

Want to join a winning team? We're growing! Learn more about our open positions here:

Open Roles

Topics: CMB Careers, news and announcements, ITA Group

Lobster Served with a Side of Gratitude to CMB Employees

Posted by Savannah House

Wed, Aug 08, 2018

Last Friday we took a break to celebrate our team’s hard work at the annual CMB Summer Party. It was a hot and humid day—even for New England’s standards—but that didn’t stop us from coming out to celebrate the summer season with a good old fashioned New England clambake.

The Summer Party is one of our favorite days of the year because it brings Boston-based and remote CMBers together for a fun day of good food, conversation, and relaxation. Nothing says team bonding like matching lobster bibs! 

CMB Summer Party 2018 (1)

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Call it cliché, but at CMB, it’s true. CMBers are the company’s most valuable resources, and whether it’s at the Summer Party, one of the many CMB Social Committee-sponsored events, or our internal CMBU training program, we continually strive to recognize employees’ hard work, foster creativity, provide flexibility, and encourage professional growth.

CMB Summer Party 2018 (6)

Interested in joining the CMB team? We’re always looking for smart, curious, and experienced market research professionals. Check out our latest openings below:

Open Roles

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, CMB Careers, professional development