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September 2012

Cropped 2011 head shotHere We Go Again


It's the start of a new "season." Schools, organizations, and some fiscal years begin their activities in September, so we're off again, with the memories of summer vacations or staycations at hand.


At ADM, we're waiting [im]patiently for some projects and activities to begin; if you need some help, we have the time right now!


Moving At Light Speed      


The Talmud says: "All beginnings are difficult." Seems like a blinding flash of the obvious, and it is particularly true when it comes to technology. I've gotten comfortable with lots of software and even Windows 7 (tho I don't like it much), but now I hear that it's all about tablets. Even this photo of a mouse may become a museum piece in 6 months or so. I realize this is an old story, but it has really hit home, recently.


As a user, the half-life of these work tools is annoying. Tutorials and training seem to take up too much time. As a marketer, it feels like we are all techno-addicts, foaming at the mouth for each new device, app, or "solution" (talk about marketing-speak!). The new "can you top this" is all about how techno-savvy we are.


Here are some things to keep in mind, so that you can keep your sanity when it comes to technology.

  • Know what you want to accomplish. Do you need to actually compute? Do you need to enter data? Or are you more interested in reading and searching for information and products?
  • Know your most effective work style. Do you need to print things out, or is reading sufficient? Do you need to expand the font to read it more comfortably?
  • Know the capabilities of each device. Why have more than one device that satisfies your needs? There may, in fact be a good reason for that (portable vs. not so portable), but give it some thought.
  • Know your budget. How many devices do you need and want? Can you afford them?
  • Know how you can learn to use the new devices/apps/  software. Don't buy the latest device, only to use part of it.

Readers of my ramblings know how important education is to me. Staying current, staying fresh is vital to maintaining (and improving) relevance in this fast-paced environment. There are lots of workshops and programs to help you transition from an older technology to newer ones--find one or two and go. The cost will undoubtedly be worth it.


Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." So get moving!

Secondary Research

Helpful, But Not A Cheap Alternative


Speaking of technology, the photo at the right is practically a museum piece, but it does represent the most basic kind of research: looking to see what has already been published about a certain topic. It is often the best way to begin your knowledge journey.


Secondary research specialists and corporate librarians search online databases including newspapers and magazines, specialty publications, academic databases, scientific and engineering databases, and things like the US Census (the font of tons of knowledge) to get background information, summaries of industrial stats, and answers to questions about companies, people, demographics, and brands. When I worked at FIND/SVP (now part of Opinion Research Corporation), they had access to arcane publications like "Blood" (a hematology journal) and "Garbage" (a publication for the waste management industry)--two of my favorite titles! The scope and depth of information that was obtainable was truly impressive.


Secondary research can be very helpful and cost-effective when you are entering a new market (either a geographical or product market), or when you want to collect data on a particular industry or demographic. It can also be helpful in illuminating issues to be quantified in a follow-up survey or clarified in qualitative research. You can also learn who has been covering a particular industry, and see what those writers can add to their articles.


Not everything is available online--hence primary research: surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.  Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering secondary research.

  • You can certainly start with a Google search--or searching within a specific industry resource--but Google is often just the tip of the iceberg. If you want something that drills down a fair distance, you will need to hire a professional.
  • Be as specific as possible with what you want to know and how you want to use the information. Nobody likes surprises.
  • Let the researcher know what you've already found so as not to waste her time--and your money!
  • If you are aware of an industry publication or resource, let him know about it--this will also save time and money.
  • Look over the results and if there are gaps, find out if it is worth another search.

As with any research effort, know your objectives and how you want to use the results. These factors will drive you to choose the best method.




Upcoming Events
September 19, 11:30am-1:30pm


IABC/LI opens its 2012-13 "season" with a program on "Google Plus: The New Facebook," presented by Craig Yaris of Esquire Tech Solutions. This important program is a fine example of my previous comments about staying fresh, and keeping up with new technology. The meeting will be at FOUR Food Studios; click here for more information and registration. You can also sign up at and pay at the door.
September 19, 7:30am-9:30am 


If you are in New York, and cannot attend the luncheon meeting on Long Island, go to IABC/NY for breakfast. This intriguing program, "Mad Men vs. Crazy Clients:An Insider's View of The Agency/Corporate Dynamic" will clarify the two sides of this communications partnership. The meeting will be held at Affect, 989 Avenue of the Americas, 6th floor. Click here to register. 



September 20, 6:00-8:00pm 


Ever think of becoming an entrepreneur? New York Women In Communications (WICI) is holding a "Cocktails and Conversation" event so you can learn what you need to know to make the decision. It is being held at Dermalogica Soho, 110 Grand Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street).  Click here to register. 
This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:

Ann Middleman