December 2009 Vol 1, Issue 4
Philadelphia Phlash
MRA Philadelphia News
Winter 2009
Dear Philadelphia Chapter MRA Friends & Colleagues

  Chapter Challenge 


It's the most wonderful time of the year! 


While the year maybe winding down, we're still moving forward with new events for the Philadelphia Chapter members.  


On January 21st we will be hosting a Post-Holiday Cocktail party at the Ritz Carlton downtown.  With all of the Holiday activity in December, the board decided to have the Post-Holiday party to help beat the winter blues.  Be sure to join us for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres!


Margaret Roth of Group Dynamics and Paul Posluszny of Marketing Systems Group are working hard planning the 2010 Philadelphia-Greater New York Joint Conference.   The Conference is scheduled for April 22nd and 23rd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 18th and Market in CenterCity.  This year's theme is "Healthcare & Privacy & Economics, Oh My!"  Speakers will be announced soon but please see below for information on registering and the hotel.


We would like to thank Joyce Rachelson, Fee Sepahi, Steve Burda and Gloria Bell for providing the expertise on Social Networking at our November event.  Again, we had a great turnout and were able to provide our members with information on using the various social networks to their business advantage. 


The "Member Needs Assessment" will be sent out within the next few weeks.  We are looking to you for ideas on what we should be focusing on for the rest of this Board year and going forward.  Please see below for more info on the survey.


The board wishes everyone a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2010!


Warmest Regards,





The 2008 - 2009 Board of Directors

Philadelphia Chapter of the MRA


2009-2010 Board
2009-2010 Board Members

Beth Carey, PRC
Integrated Marketing Services
Past President
Amber Leila Jones. PRC
Schlesinger Associates, Inc.
President Elect
Meg Ryan, PRC
Online Survey Solutions
A Division of M/A/R/C Research
Becky Harrison
Focus Forward
215.367.4000 (231)
Michael Georgianna
Reckner Facilities
Directors at Large

Robin Kaplan, PRC
Group Dynamics, in Focus
Conal Murray
Events Liaison
Liz Granahan
Focus Forward
215.367.4000 (244)
Natalie Dunn
Schlesinger Associates, Inc.
215.564.7300 (117)
Student Outreach
Patrice Barnes
National Analysts Worldwide
 I Got Connected  

By David Walters,                                                                                 

Temple University

On Wednesday, November 11th members of Temple University's Collegiate Chapter of AMA were invited to attend the Philadelphia chapter MRA's social network event, in hopes of gaining insight into the marketing research industry and developing an extended professional network. Because I have always been interested in marketing research I was very excited to be able to talk with business professionals who understand how marketing research is used in today's business environment.  

The topic for the night, using social media to improve networking, was an intriguing subject; before that night I had always seen myself as being up-to-date on current social media and all the advantages and disadvantages that went along with these tools. However, the event let me see how little I really knew about both Linked-in and Twitter. I certainly had a basic understanding on how they each worked, but never realized how important and beneficial these could be for professional networking.
I was especially impressed with what I learned about the options and challenges offered by Linked-in and how networking can be done by modification of your profile. I was so convinced of the importance and effectiveness of these tools that, as I got home, I got online to create my Linked-in account.  It was also interesting to learn how many companies are using Twitter to advertise, announce the release of products, and communicate with their customers without spending much money.

I am pleased (and impressed) with how beneficial and informative the subject and conversations at the event were for me. It was great to talk to everyone there who was in the research industry, and each and every MRA member was quick to answer all my questions and share about their experiences and knowledge. I would just like to thank the MRA for inviting students, like myself, to come and participate in the event. It was an enjoyable experience that I found very valuable.

            Chapter Challenge     Chapter Challenge    Chapter Challenge
Chapter Challenge   Chapter Challenge   Chapter Challenge
Member Need Assesment Survey 

We are looking for your input, your opinions, your direction to help the Philadelphia Chapter better meet your needs.


In early January you will be receiving an invitation to participate in the Chapter Needs Assessment survey.  You participation is vital to the success of the Chapter. The results of the survey will provide us with a direction for the Chapter.  The survey helps us plan upcoming events, design and update the website with information you want to see and let us know what changes we can make so that you get the most from your membership. 


In addition to improving the Chapter, your participation will enter you in a chance to win some great prizes, a $75 AMEX gift Card or a $25 Itunes card or the grand prize of a Joint Chapter Conference registration.


Thank you in advance for your participation. 

        Winter Holiday Party


The MRA Philadelphia Chapter invites you to start 2010 off right

 and join us for our: 


Winter Holiday Party

January 21st

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Ritz CarltonPhiladelphia


10 Avenue of the Arts
Philadelphia, PA19102

Members -$55 in advance, $65 at the door

Non-members - $65 for non members and $75 at the door


Please R.S.V.P. by January 18th to
Becky Harrison at or
(215) 367-4000 ext. 231

Facility Faux Pas and Fantastic Finds

By Gwyn Gibbs,


As a Qualitative Moderator coming off of a 24 city tour, visiting 24 facilities in under 3 months(!), I saw the great, the bad, AND the ugly in research facilities across the country.  Below are some do's that will really help your facility to outperform all others.



Have great recruiting with respondents who show up and who show up on time.

Without respondents, and without respondents who arrive on time to get signed in and hear all of the introductions, we do not have ANY research.

Idea:  One facility held an 'early bird' raffle to encourage early arrival.  Participants who arrived early had their names put in a jar and a winner received a small reward when their name was chosen.

Idea:  One facility over-recruits by one respondent and does not charge the client for the extra effort.

Hint:  Do take the extra time to go over directions, traffic patterns, and parking with respondents when calling to confirm.



Know all the hotels in your area.

Most moderators have no idea where they are or how far you are from their hotel or the airport.

Idea: One facility offered to send a cab to the hotel to pick me up.

Hint: Anyone answering the phone should be able to give directions from all hotels and the airport.



Have a designated Qualitative Assistant

Moderators usually make all of the room adjustments, paperwork requests, copies needed, and answer the all-important dinner questions, right away. The hallways at facilities are especially long to provide quiet and confidentiality to research rooms; however, this makes for a lot of time and foot travel when I'm trying to find someone to help me.

Hint: Introduce the Qualitative Assistant and plan on them shadowing the Moderator for the first 15 minutes after the moderator settles in.  It's a great help to have that person at the ready to answer questions and pitch in...and then the Moderator can then grab a breather or meet with a client.



Make it easy to get from the interview room and back room to the restroom, front desk, and respondent waiting area. 

Some facilities are one big maze and although you may know exactly where you are, the moderator, other clients, and the respondents are in foreign territory.

Hint: Wall signs pointing to important locations can be very useful when things get busy.




Stock focus room-friendly supplies. 

Because research minutes are very expensive, once the group starts there's no leaving the room for the moderator.

Hint: Have a LARGE faced desk clock (our eyes are OLD !), WORKING flip chart markers, NON-sticky flip chart paper (their sticky cousins don't travel well), a pad and pen, WATER, TISSUES and HAND SANITIZER.



Have cost- and health-minded back room amenities.

With cost-conscious clients, it is best to keep the food to a minimum to assist them in maintaining strict budgets.  During cold and flu season, it is best to keep wrapped snacks around, rather than open bowls which can encourage germ passing.

Idea:  One facility has a water cooler which is much more eco-friendly than the 10 bottles of water I can drink in a research day, not to mention other clients or respondents.

Idea:  One facility baked a small batch of homemade cookies, the cost was minimal and the experience...well, priceless.

Hint:  Wrapped granola bars and packaged nuts/dried fruit are great for healthier-minded, protein-wanting clients, and they are more sanitary than their open-bowled counterparts.



Have something available to assist the moderator is transporting materials which are often taken in-hand by the weary moderator en route to the hotel or the airport. 

Hint:  A recyclable bag with handles (AND with your logo) is great for carrying flip chart notes, screener lists, research stimuli, and bottled water.  These are just a few of the items that may be in tow late in the evening.



Partner with a great transportation service.

Research often ends in the dark hours of the evening and moderators (often traveling alone) are getting into unfamiliar cabs in unknown cities.

Idea:  One facility had partnered with a car service: the Escalade arrived (yes, I said Escalade!) and was charged to the facility (to be billed later).  Another great feature was that the driver was VERY customer service oriented because they wanted the facility business. What a great LAST impression!



Get feedback from your Moderator about the service of your facility.

However, handing out those customer service surveys as the moderator is leaving is problematic.  At this time this ole gal is wiped out and the last thing I want to do is to fill out a questionnaire about someone who is standing in front of me.

Idea:  One facility put the questionnaire in a small, lightweight goodie pack with a self addressed stamped envelope to return to the facility.  


You all do such an amazing job, and as you can see it's the little things that make or break the experience.

I have 24 additional cities to go in the 1st quarter! I'm hoping to see you in 2010!
Healthcare & Privacy & Economics - Oh My!                           

ruby slippersSave the date for the New York and Philadelphia

Joint Chapter Conference


Dorothy didn't have a clue how tricky it can be in the forest of issues we call Marketing Research.


We'll give you the courage of convictions, get to the heart of what matters and fill your brains with actionable information. New location with great pricing to make it affordable for all. There's no place like the MRA for networking and education.


Please contact the 2010 Co-chairs regarding sponsorship and volunteer opportunities:

Paul Posluszny of Marketing Systems Group at Margaret Roth of Group Dynamics at

Full Conference Costs            Cut off Date                   Member Cost     Non-Member Cost
Early Registration                 March 25, 2010                       $310                   $350
Standard Registration          April 15, 2010                          $350                   $390
On-Site Registration             April 22 & 23, 2010                  $400                   $440             

Hotel Accommodations: Hotel rate is $169 per night. April 6th cut off for special rate. Book today. To book a room, contact the CrownePlaza at 1-866-618-0410 and reference MRA Spring Conference.


We are looking forward to another successful conference in 2010!

Evolution or Revolution - European Pharmaceutical Market Research Assoc.


By Jennifer Fisher, Reckner Healthcare

This past year, Jeffrey Histand, Susan Phillippe and Jennifer Fisher of Reckner Healthcare attended the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association (otherwise known as EphMRA) conference in Paris, France. 

The conference was well attended with over 400 pilgrims from 25 countries around the world journeying to be a part of this annual event.  Here, representatives from pharmaceutical, full service market research and data collection companies gathered to gain new insights, learn and be inspired.

The theme of the conference this year was Evolution or Revolution.  The title suggests that we have a choice in how we handle the current shifts in the pharmaceutical industry.  Changes will happen.  We can seek to understand these changes and adapt, or be overtaken by a revolution that we are not prepared for.  Several learning sessions served to inform and prepare attendees!

Below is a brief synopsis of two of the most interesting sessions we attended:

"Surviving the Storm," British Maritime Explorer Dom Mee.  A fascinating look at the adventures and perils of a fearless former Royal Marine Commando who throughout his life has managed to narrowly escape death by polar bear, ice, and starvation among other things.   While our work may not require fighting off ferocious animals, the ever evolving pharmaceutical industry and a fragile economy has presented us with frightening challenges.  Mr. Mee's message is one that can be applied to any aspect of life.  And that is, even the most terrifying of obstacles can be overcome with courage, hard work, smarts, and most importantly,team work.  

"The Great Leap Forward:  How being consumer-centric can revolutionize pharmaceutical marketing," Janet Winkler, In-Sync.   Ms. Winkler's talk focused on the need to understand the consumer at a deeper level in pharmaceutical market research, which may be contrary to how it has been approached in the past.  The audience was presented with case studies of the success of marketing plans that speak to the person at an emotional level, rather than simply at the surface.  Ms. Winkler showed that this approach doesn't need to be confined to consumer products market research; it has a place in pharmaceutical market research as well.  Indeed, if it doesn't, then perhaps it should.  The talk summed up 3 points: 1) Think human first.  2)  Make meaningful connections.  3)  Expand your research method. 

The year 2010 is fast approaching.  It offers us the opportunity to start fresh with new energy and renewed optimism for what's to come.  The EphMRA conference provided great reminders of what we can achieve if we inform ourselves and think innovatively.  All things are possible for those who believe.

Member Spotlight - Paul Posluszny                                                                  

Chapter Challenge


Tell us a little bit about your company:

Marketing Systems Group has 3 main product lines - ARCS IVR system PRO-T-S Predictive Dialer and GENESYS sampling systems a full service sample provider for mail, telephone and on-line sample.


How did you get involved with Market Research?

I kind of fell into it.  I applied to MSG right out of college because it was close to home. 11+ years later and I still love it here.


Why did you join the MRA?

I joined the MRA for networking, but soon found that it is a great resource for education as well.


What is your favorite MRA event?

The Philly/NY is my favorite chapter event of the year (especially this year!).  It is always very well attended and is a great networking and educational event.


How did you get involved with the Philly/NY Joint Conference?

Brendan Sammon asked me to help out with the promotions a few years ago.  Ever since I have helped out with the AV and compiling all of the sponsor slides and speaker presentations.


Are you a Philadelphia native?

Sort of.  My parents are from Roxborough, but I was born in Reading, PA.  We moved back to the Philly area when I was 4.


What is your favorite Philadelphia area/activity?

I love Big 5 basketball games and Phillies games.  And the Jersey shore during the summer is my favorite place to be.


What are you hobbies?

I am a huge Philly sports fan.  I also love to spend time with my family and friends.


Favorite Music

I will listen to just about anything.

Become A Volunteer

Dear Philadelphia MRA Member,


The success of the Philadelphia Chapter is due to the volunteer efforts of its members.  We would like to invite you to become a volunteer.  The time commitment is minimal and the benefits are huge.  As a volunteer you meet new people and have a direct influence on the chapter, its events and direction.  This is your association, become an active participant so you achieve the most benefits from your membership. 


There are many committees that require volunteers, such as Membership, Hospitality, Newsletter, Program/Site Selection, Registration/Reservation, Student Outreach and many others.  We can discuss with you where you would prefer to volunteer your time. 


If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities or becoming a volunteer, please contact me at or by phone at 610.544.0690. 


We look forward to hearing from you.


Best regards,

Meg Ryan