March 2012
MRA large

Philadelphia Phlash  
MRA Philadelphia Newsletter
Spring 2012 
Spring VI

MIchael G.

Wow - a lot has happened since our last newsletter. We had two very successful events in a row starting with our post-holiday party at the chic Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Center City, followed by our Evening of Education with Margie Omero and her session on Political Polling and Data Collection. And it isn't over yet. As I'm writing this some of you are in Las Vegas at the CASRO Conference and later in March there is the PMRG Conference in Orlando. All nice warm climates for us snow bunnies in the NE; although we can't complain this year with the record low snow fall. And don't forget, we hope to see everyone at the Greater NY/Philadelphia Joint Chapter Conference April 19th & 20th. We're back in Atlantic City at the beautiful Borgata Hotel and Spa with a fantastic line up of speakers. And you can ask anyone who went last year what a wonderful time we had. To round out the season there is the MRA Annual Conference in San Diego CA June 4 - 6 that is sure to be a hit. Not only will there be a great line-up, but an opportunity to go to Sea World and see Shamu!   And during all of this, your board is busy planning the board/chapter succession. There are a few positions up for elections this year so if you haven't gotten your nominations in, please do. You can contact Natalie Dunn, our incoming President extraordinaire or any other superb board member with your nomination.

So keep on keeping on, we have a busy season ahead but summer is just around the corner.

Michael Georgianna
President, Philadelphia Chapter of the MRA


Event Review

Post Holiday MRA Philly Soiree


A perfect end to the hectic holiday season...


The Philadelphia MRA members and their guests enjoyed each other's company at this year's holiday gathering on January 12. The evening came together nicely at the posh boutique Hotel Palomar in Center City Philadelphia.


The chandeliers of the Burnham Ballroom glistened above the heads of the 33 in attendance while they noshed on all kinds of delectable delights. Some of the yummy dishes included Japanese yellow-tail with melon, California rolls, Beef Tenderloin with a horseradish aioli, as well as a full Mediterranean Table and pasta station.


As the night went on much mingling and laughter could be heard as well as a little networking and shop talk. During the event the Philadelphia Board members announced the chapter's new charitable partnerships with two very worthwhile organizations that help the underprivileged during their pursuit of a career. Once the members heard about these charities, Menzfit and The Career Wardrobe, they did not disappoint. As is usual with the Philly MRA our members opened their hearts and their wallets and donated over $150 in cash and clothing that will be matched by the chapter and forwarded to the organizations.


As is also often the case with our members, they closed the place down and could be heard chatting about looking forward to the next MRA event. Thanks to all who came out and enjoyed the evening.


Evening Education


The Philadelphia Chapter of the MRA was proud to present Margie Omero on February 9th at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia. Margie a political pollster gave a great presentation on the current standing in polling and the upcoming election. The topics discussed were re-districting/polling and data collection tools/uses in terms of Land vs Cell vs IVR as well as reviewing current trends and data points in our current atmosphere.


   Upcoming Events 

Look for more information on these up coming chapter events:
  • Thursday & Friday, April 19 & 20, 2012 - New York & Philadelphia MRA Joint Chapter Conference.  Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ. [Conference details]         
  • MRA 2012 Annual Conference - San Diego, June 4 - 6.  Click here for conference details.


In This Issue
Feature Article
Member Spotlight
Student Perspective
Review Corner
Recipe Box
2011-2012 Board Members
Michael Georgianna
(215) 981-0120
Past President
Meg Ryan. PRC
Survey Technology & Research

Project Management Institute
Omar Barque
Focus Pointe Global

Jason Eric Saylor
MAXimum Research


Social Networking
Carrie Skinner
Survey Technology & Research Group


Please take a look at the volunteer list to see where you can help the Philadelphia MRA.


Feature Article



The View from the Client's Side

By Scott Gingold, CEO of Powerfeedback



When I was asked to contribute an article for this publication, a number of topics came to mind about which I could pontificate with authority and credibility. As I pondered this, I realized that I wanted to take a very different approach with this submission by including the opinions of corporate market researchers.


Over my last 2+ decades in market research I have seen a number of changes in the field. All too often, when authors create articles they refer to past industry shifts in technology or methodology instead of current battle conditions from the corporate researcher's perspective.


Given that I helped to pioneer the advent of online surveys in the 1980s, as well as a number of other industry related innovations, this would have been an easy subject for me. Anyone who knows me, though, knows that I prefer to take the road less traveled.


With this in mind, I decided to engage 10 corporate market researchers to better understand the changes and shifts from their perspective. I started out with six basic questions, though I could have easily posed another 25! Knowing how busy these professionals are, I reconsidered that idea. So I asked these six questions:


  1. What is your biggest internal challenge with market research?
  2. What is your biggest external (vendor) challenge with market research?
  3. Do you feel your company values market research?
  4. What is your outlook for market research over the next 3 to 5 years on the corporate side?
  5. What do you seek in potential new vendors?
  6. What is the biggest mistake your current vendors make?


Though each response was different, I must say that the general theme from all of them was the same!


In the case of question number one, lack of management support was the consistent response, as well as a general lack of understanding, or interest, in how market research works. There was also a sense that the findings mirrored what management supposedly knew prior to the studies being conducted.


Like question number one, question two showed consistency in the responses. Vendors approached nearly every situation with a predetermined out-of-the-box solution. Respondents hoped for creative thinking, and all but one had not experienced this. I also heard that all too often vendors were not consistent in their communication with the client.



Does your company value the market research function? To say that I got mixed responses to this question would be a dramatic understatement! I was amazed by how many people felt that market research was like fashion. In other words, what's in vogue today is out of style tomorrow. As this audience undoubtedly knows, management change is frequent in the management area that supervises the market research department. Very often, the corporate market researcher finds himself/herself having to wait for the next manager to appreciate and support their role and initiatives.



Overall, the consensus was positive for the short-term (3 to 5 year) future of market research on the corporate side. As I have preached for many years, intuition alone is not enough on which to risk large sums of capital. Executives in the "C" level suite understand this concept more and more. The main reason for this revelation is the notable failing of sizable brands where obvious lack of market sizing, opinion, and needs were garnered prior to launch and/or during the lifetime of the products or services that they offered.


As with question number two, ingenuity is paramount. All too often vendors "punch in" like it's a job. While the corporate researcher typically likes to see vendors complement in-house knowledge, they covet inventiveness if done with reverence and a true desire to achieve better results.


It was hard to pin down my respondents on the "biggest mistake" made by vendors, as I received a long laundry list of common and big mistakes! I would say that there was a consistent complaint about vendors taking the businesses that they deal with for granted and becoming complacent with their role, as well as frequent staff turnover on the vendor side, especially with larger market research vendors.



One of my biggest takeaways from this writing experience echoed what I have observed firsthand over the last several years. While corporate market researchers are very skilled and competent in their field, they are frequently deficient in internal marketing. In other words these professionals need to better "sell" what they do to management, and clearly illustrate how they, in fact, make a positive contribution to the bottom line. As we all know, market research is often regarded as an expense item on the P&L instead of a profit center. Many of Powerfeedback's clients ask us to also engage the Finance Department and sometimes the Chief Financial Officer in the scope process to actually demonstrate how our research will garner increased sales and enhance worker productivity.



We in the market research field truly are the engine that powers change and opportunity. We all know that information is power and that those with more information are far more successful. Picking the right vendors and focusing on the business need versus the process are sure-fire ways to be even more successful.


I thank the Philadelphia Marketing Research Association for allowing me the privilege of submitting this article. I welcome feedback and questions.




Scott Gingold is the CEO of Powerfeedback ( headquartered in Easton, Pennsylvania. Scott has founded and built four highly successful companies over the last 20 years. He is frequently interviewed by national and international media outlets for his expertise and opinion. Scott can be reached via email ( or phone (888-441-2637, extension 703) for any questions or comments.

Member Spotlight - Mike DeLia 

Interview with Mike DeLia, Executive Director, Focus Forward, LLCMike D. 


Tell us a little bit about your company?

Founded in 2003, Focus Forward and Panel Direct Online are comprised of three divisions:

Nationwide Recruiting - Medical, B2B and consumer. We specialize in recruiting for online boards/web chats, phone interviews, in-person, ethnos, juries, and more.

Transcription - English transcription, multi-language translation/transcription, notes, fast turnaround, high volume, experts in every accent and topic.

Panel Direct Online - B2B, B2C, Patients, SBO's, ITDM's. Our US-based panel offering hundreds of detailed data points.

All of our divisions are anchored by an excellent, experienced project management staff, offering quality and customer service that is second to none.


How did you get involved with Market Research?

As with many others in the field, I somewhat fell into the industry. I began at Focus Forward in 2004, as a telephone recruiter working during my summer break from the University of Delaware. After discovering more about the inner works of market research, I became very interested in the different types of research and methodologies used. The way people think is quite interesting to me, and in this line of work, I literally learn something new every day. Eventually, I combined my love of market research, technology and writing into my current role as the operations head of our transcription department.


Why did you join the MRA?


Since I have been working at Focus Forward, and prior to joining the MRA, I frequented several of the events the group holds, including the 2010 Joint Chapter Conference in Philadelphia. I found that the individuals who attended these events were friendly, knowledgeable and passionate. I learned that the connections I was making at these events were invaluable, in terms of shared knowledge and networking. As several of my co-workers have been very active in the organization, I decided it was in my best interest to join them.


What is your favorite MRA event?

It would have to be the Joint Chapter Conference. It was a lot of fun! I made several professional contacts, and a few friends as well. I found it very exciting to hear industry leaders give their insights into some of the hot button topics of the day.


Where would you recommend MRA National hold one of its annual conferences?

Philadelphia, of course! It's a beautiful city, with a great nightlife and tons of activities. Plus, it's a central location to several other major metropolitan areas.


Are you a Philadelphia native?

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in Blue Bell. There's been a growth explosion there since my childhood, when it wasn't uncommon to see people riding horses along the side of the street.


What is your favorite Philadelphia area/activity?

I enjoy going to music events, mostly in the city. Some of the venues I like to go to include the Trocadero, J.C. Dobbs and the Electric Factory. I also enjoy going to parks in the area like Wissahickon Valley.


What are you hobbies?

In my spare time, I enjoy writing and playing music, both solo and with my band, Imbala. I play guitar and bass. I'm a bit of a geek as well. I own quite a few electronic gadgets and am a long-time gamer. Reading is also a frequent pastime of mine. The Hunger Games has, admittedly, had me hooked recently.



Favorite Music?

My taste in music is rather eclectic. Some of my favorite bands are Radiohead and the jazz fusion group Return to Forever. I enjoy everything from the classics, like Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, to electronic music, such as Aphex Twin and Daft Punk. Over the last couple of years, I've also been getting into some modern metal, including Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage and Irepress.

Student Perspective
The Importance of Internships
by Rebecca Johnson, Temple University School of Communication & Theater
As a college student approaching diploma date, it can be daunting to peer over the edge of your campus and into the job market (which often seems a dark and dismal place).  Luckily, colleges and universities are making this extraordinary transition easier by advising student to begin as interns.  I learned many valuable lessons at my own internship, but the most helpful tip was this:  don't ever stop learning.  In a time where myriads of information are available at your fingertips, we as advertising and marketing people are required to be on top of the business game and always should have a desire to learn the newest techniques and methodologies.  Companies are realizing that young people who are passionate and motivated are extremely important for a company to grow and function.  In a recent talk with a CEO of a major market research firm in Philadelphia, I was told "You don't have to know everything there is to know.  That's our job, to teach you those things.  What you are required to have as you start your career however, is a never-ending passion to learn from everyone."  At my internship I worked with creative people, strategic people, and in-between people.  Each of them taught me a new skill or allowed me to expand on current knowledge.  it is with this mindset that I enter the job search; allowing myself to learn from each interview despite the outcome.
Review Corner

Each newsletter will feature a review from a member.  If you recently visited a restaurant, museum, saw a movie or play, etc. and would like to write a review please contact  This newsletter features Meg Ryan's review of the Van Gogh exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum. 


Book and a Museum
by Meg Ryan
Survey Technology & Research


My book club and I recently read "Sunflowers" by Sheramy Bundrick. The book was a beautiful love story and a great precursor to the Van Gogh - Up Close exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Van Gogh - Up Close exhibit is currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 6th. Although the book is fiction it does follow along with the time line of Van Gogh's from 1886 to his death in 1890. The story tells of a love affair he had with a girl name Rachel (this is the fiction part of the story). The story gives the reader a wonderful look into Van Gogh's character and passion for painting. The author brilliantly draws on fact to weave in Van Gogh's life and his paintings while telling a beautiful and captivating love story.


The book was a fun exposure to Van Gogh's life and enhanced the Museum of Art exhibit. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the exhibit and would strongly recommend it. The exhibit provides a wonderful in depth look into the artist's gift. It shows his connection to nature and how it inspired his paintings. Van Gogh was introduced to impressionist painting in the mid 1880s and his style is unique and inspiring. The exhibit starts with "Sunflowers" and gets better with every turn. One of my favorites was a painting of a field which felt more like a painting of the wind. Experiencing Van Gogh's wonderful use of color is a perfect start to Spring.

Recipe Box
The recipe for the spring newsletter is for Slow Cooker Ribs and was sent in by Terry Salat.  Click here to get recipe.

If you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with us in the next newsletter, please send it to
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