May 2010Vol 2, Issue 1
Philadelphia Phlash
MRA Philadelphia News
 Spring 2010

Happy Summer to the Philadelphia Chapter!


Welcome to our Spring into Summer edition of the Chapter Newsletter! Within this edition, you will find the results of the member survey, Amber Jones Esco's article about Merrill Dubrow's keynote address at the Joint Conference and our Member Spotlight. 


Don't forget to vote!  The Nominating Committee sent out a call for volunteers on February 22, 2010 and you responded big time!  Check out the slate of nominees listed below in the newsletter and be sure to VOTE! 


We would also like to thank each and every person who volunteered to be part of the organization.  And remember, even if you are not able to serve as a board member, we still welcome your input as a volunteer on one of our committees.


Wishing you all a relaxing summer and look forward to seeing everyone at our year end party!  Keep an eye on your email for the date and location. 


 Warmest regards,


The 2009 - 2010 Board of Directors

2010 Chapter Post Holiday Party
by Doug Keith, Future Research Consulting
On January 21, 2010, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Philadelphia played host to the Philadelphia MRA chapter's annual holiday gathering (post holiday in this instance, due to an inordinate amount of December snow).  More than 45 market research professionals turned out for an evening of food and camaraderie, wrapping up a challenging 2009 and welcoming a bright new 2010! 
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In This Issue
12 Strategies
Joint Conference Recap
Member Spotlight
2010-2011 Board Nominations
Networking - Member Survey Results
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
"12 Strategies to Move Your Business Forward"
Observations by Amber Leila Jones Esco, Schlesinger Associates 
I think all people have experienced it; a favorite book you have read so many times the cover is considerably worn, that movie that no matter how many times you see it, you still cry during those certain scenes, or that song which never lets you down even when you have heard it for the hundredth time.  Well, there is a speaker that I know who fits into that category....Merrill Dubrow, CEO & President at M/A/R/C Research.
I have had the pleasure of listening to Merrill speak on more occasions than I can count on one hand and each time; I wonder " this the time I will be bored by him?"  And each time I find I am not.  On every occasion I find something new to take away and apply in my professional and even personal life.  For that, I am grateful.  And as if that wasn't enough, there are always the prizes; like many others I have won gifts and money from Merrill as a result of my participation in his sessions!
As the title of his presentation suggests, Merrill honed in on twelve key areas that one should be focused on in order to improve and compete during these fiercely competitive times.  I can share the titles of those 12 golden tickets, but to truly experience the power behind the titles, you will need to see Merrill live and in person...
  • Following the money
  • Negotiation
  • Minimizing your distractions
  • Lending a helping hand - not only to your colleagues, but to your industry
  • Watching your bottom line
  • Evaluating your talent (and then acting accordingly)
  • Staying connected (Merrill is a huge fan and avid user of LinkedIn.  I once threw down the gauntlet and challenged him to see who would reach 1,000 contacts first - regardless to say, he left me in the dust of the 700s)
  • Creating clients who are loyal to your brand
  • Getting and make Referrals
  • Taking care of your staff
  • Being Informed (beyond our industry, be informed about the world, about your clients, and about your competition.)
For each area Merrill carefully outlined ideas that he utilizes in his daily life.  Merrill also finds meaningful and on-key examples and scenarios from his daily life that we can all understand and upon which we can relate.  He shares to a spectacular degree and clearly defines a path to success for any reasonable person to adapt and utilize. 
During these difficult times one area that resonated with me is the idea of lending a helping hand. 
As Merrill astutely points out, many in our industry (like many in all industries) have fallen on difficult times or find themselves in difficult situations.  It is imperative to be a friend when needed to these colleagues; besides the obvious fact that it is the right thing to do and it feels good, it also comes back to that classic idea that you never know when or how your paths may cross again...the friend you help today could be the biggest client you have tomorrow. 
A special thank you to Merrill for gracing us with his wonderful and inspiring presentation and to Joyce Rachelson for coercing him to do so!  It is through great example that Merrill leads, and how fortunate I feel to witness it so frequently.
Philadelphia/New York MRA Joint Conference
2010 joint conf logo by Michael Georgianna, Reckner
There's no place like home ...or the MRA.  And home we were when the NY/Philadelphia chapters held their annual joint conference this past April at the Crown Plaza in Philadelphia PA.  This year's event was attended by more than 140 attendees.  With topics ranging from strategies moving your business forward to an inside look from the client's perspective, there was something for everyone.  Here is a recap of just a few of the presentations. 

The conference started off with a bang from Merrill Dubrow of M/A/R/C.  Merrill's energetic and engaging presentation outlined strategies to move business forward. Through cost cutting savings to expanding your network through on-line outlets such as Linked-In, companies can sustain, grow and save without cutting the most important asset of all - employees.  
The importance of networking sites was reiterated in Steve Levine's presentation "Back to the Future".  Steve explained how over the years we haven't changed what we do, but how we do it.  From door-to-door data collection to on-line networking sites and bulletin boards, data collection is moving in the direction of observational and real-time research on customized levels utilizing such technologies similar to GPS. 

From the client's perspective, we heard how the pharmaceutical industry is moving towards more customized medications and focusing on the public's longer life expectancy and quality of life.  It is now a multi-player audience of doctors, payers, and patients.  Some clients are looking more to smaller flexible research firms that can think outside the box while moving towards a less is more/quality vs. quantity attitude when it comes to market research. 

For the first time we heard from a food/service client - Joan Hoenninger from Wawa. Wawa, meaning goose, named after a town in Middleton Township, Delaware County PA is still a family run business.  Starting out in iron, it moved onto textiles, then to dairy and finally to what it is know for today, its convenience stores.  Joan walked us through a recent coffee research project in which she utilized all areas of market research from quantitative to qualitative to sensory research.  In the end it was the combined methodologies that helped Wawa understand their competition, product and customers. 

Like a good classic movie that gets better with time as it is exposed to new generations, so is the MRA and the NY/ Philadelphia Joint Chapter Conference.  The conference once again proved to be a learning ground for both the novice and experienced, a place to reconnect with old friends and make new...there's no place like home.
 joint conf 3          MRA Joint Conf 1             Joint Conf 2
                      joint conf 5              joint conf 6
Member Spotlight

In this issue we have chosen to Spotlight a long time member of the Philadelphia Chapter.  Dusten Lorenz Brennan has been active in the Chapter and was on the board for many years.  She's co-chaired the Joint Conference and volunteered behind the scenes as well.  Dusten recently married Brian Brennan and they are expecting their first child - Lily.  Congratulations to Dusten and Brian!!


Tell us a little bit about your company?

Biovid is a pharmaceutical market research firm based in Princeton, NJ. Created in 1998 by founder Andrew April, BioVid provides primary market research services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostics firms, worldwide.


How did you get involved with Market Research?

I started in high school as a recruiter at JRA (Reckner Healthcare), advanced within the company and found through college that I really enjoyed market research. Continued on my path for 13 years.


Why did you join the MRA?

I joined the MRA after attending some sessions & meeting Kim White & Bette Ann Champion. I really enjoyed the sessions & networking with individuals in the industry. I also like seeing the evolution of market research & understand the potential future of the industry.


What is your favorite MRA event?

The joint conference is one of my favorite events b/c it brings together two chapters that work together so well. Every little detail is thought about and is very similar to a national conference without the travel.


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

I just jumped in to volunteer when they needed people. It was easy and everyone makes you feel like you are part of the team.


Are you a Philadelphia native?

Yes, born and raised in Harleysville, PA (30 minutes outside of Philadelphia).


What is your favorite Philadelphia area/activity?

PhiladelphiaArt Museum by far, I love history ...My husband even proposed there.


What are you hobbies?

Hobbies.... Umm.. Hard to say now that I'm 8 months pregnant. I'd have to say sleep at this point.


Favorite Music?

Music? Anything. All music makes Lily move around so the more I can feel her the better I feel.

Philadelphia MRA Board Elections 2010 - 2011
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Networking, Networking, Networking!!!
by Meg Ryan, Online Survey Solution 

Networking is the number one reason members have joined the chapter and participate in events.  The members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the MRA were invited to participate in a member's survey.  The goal of the survey was to learn more about the needs of the members so we could schedule the appropriate events.  About 32% of the membership participated in the survey.


Although networking opportunities is a key driver to chapter membership and event attendance, educational opportunities are just as important.  Eight out of 10 respondents prefer a Speaker event with a networking opportunity over just a networking only event.  The topics most requested for conference and evening educational events are "New Trends in Research" (60.7%), "Social Networking as a resource for market research" (50%), "Current legal issues affecting data collection" (45%), "Topics and Issues surrounding Pharma and healthcare Research" (36%) and "International Topics" (29%).


Our educational events usually occur on a Tuesday or Thursday evening after work.  Although this is the preferred time for an event, 77% prefer 6-9pm as the event time; the most preferred days are Wednesday (30%) and Thursday (27%).


Each year the Philadelphia Chapter hosts a joint 2 day educational conference with the New York Chapter.  This year we had record breaking attendance with over 140 registered guests.  Among those responding to the member's survey only 68% have attended a joint conference in the past 3 years.  Among those who attended a conference "Networking opportunities" (58%) and "Educational format" (32%) were mentioned as the main reasons for attending.  Those who have not attended mentioned time constraints as the main deterrent. 


The location of the joint conference is debated each year.  Should it remain in Philadelphia, move to New York or possibly another city?  Half of the respondents (50%) would prefer the conference to be held in Philadelphia.  Atlantic City was the next most popular venue (29%).  New York was a preference for only 9%.


The majority of respondents (87%) have read the newsletter, but unfortunately a quarter of the respondents (27%) where not aware there was a chapter website.   Based on the survey results, in order to make these resources more useful we need to focus the content on Chapter events, Industry news, fun and entertaining articles and member spotlights. 


Thank you to everyone who participated in the member survey.  The information you provided will be used by the board to tailor events that will best fit the member needs.  This is a volunteer organization and so we appreciate your input and feedback.  If you did not get chance to participate in the member survey (or even if you did) and would like to offer suggestions or comments to help improve the chapter, please contact a board member.