In 2009, a love of marketing, data, agencies and small business combined to produce a unique little research organization called Audience Audit.
I have experience in many areas of marketing, but my true love has always been for the magic and power of building a marketing program from the “audience up” — starting with the customer’s needs, and finding the most effective ways to speak to them about a solution.
While working in Fortune 500 companies during the 1990’s, I saw the power of research in action — quantitative data about prospects and customers driving smart marketing strategies.
Of course, at that time quantitative research was incredibly expensive to pull off — studies typically cost $250K or more and required many months to complete. This work was available to only the largest organizations.
But times changed, and with the introduction of internet-based applications for conducting survey research and the explosion in internet access across all demographic and geographic groups, online quantitive research became accessible to a much broader range of organizations and budgets.
After leaving my last job managing strategy and marketing for an agency in 2009, I was ready to do something new.
I’d received my MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing, which had reinforced the potential for small businesses to achieve great things when bolstered with good information and smart ideas.
I’d counseled small businesses on their marketing strategy, and had developed a deep respect and love for their grit and determination in the face of often aggressive competition from larger companies.
I’d never forgotten the energy, excitement and impact I’d found working in relatively small advertising agencies.
I’d brought the power of research to clients in my agency work, and seen the success it had delivered both for their marketing initiatives and their relationships with their agency.
So I decided it was time to bring these varied interests together.
- To give small agencies access to world-class quantitative audience insights.
- To help them understand their clients’ audiences as well as the big agencies could, but with much smaller budgets.
- To help organizations harness the power of attitudinal segmentation to radically reshape their understanding of their best audiences, and to help their agencies use that information to develop transformative marketing programs.
And Audience Audit was born.
"One of the Most Effective Marketing Minds I've Encountered"
Susan is one of the most effective marketing minds I’ve encountered. Her approach is one that focuses very clearly on what motivates consumers to act -- and it's not your tagline. She can take theory and apply it for companies in a way that actually generates transformational business results. Extremely easy to work with, and a delight to be around, you'll wish you'd met her long ago.
"I Thought I Knew Marketing"
I thought I knew about marketing until I met Susan. She totally transformed the way I think about ideal customers, and her work flows through everything I do now -- strategy, content development, new concept ideation, sales and customer interactions. I can't imagine creating marketing with any other framework.
The results of our studies were incredibly insightful and we've leveraged them across the organization to improve our marketing strategy, service offerings and more. Susan is delightful to work with.
"Changed the Entire Way We Think"
Susan changed not only the way we do business but the entire way we think. Our methodology is absolutely rooted in her approach. As a digital marketer, our lens of viewing everything from the customer's problems has become a competitive advantage. We often win deals against bigger competitors, and Susan's approach is a big reason why.
"Brings Research to Life"
Susan knows how to bring research to life and, most importantly, provides insights that are actionable. She involves the agency in every step of the process, ensuring that we and our clients feel comfortable with the process and that we understand the results. Beyond demographics, Audience Audit reveals the motivation behind each consumer and the segmentation process allows us, as marketers, to better target our messaging.
Susan’s expertise in constructing quantitative studies that effectively measure attitudes and behaviors contributed greatly to the overall success of our project. Also, her ability to present statistical analysis of results in a way that is thorough yet easily comprehensible has made Susan a truly invaluable partner of our company.
"Master of Audience Segmentation"
Easily one of the smartest people I've ever met, Susan is a master in the field of audience segmentation. Too many companies, large and small, build and develop marketing campaigns without ever really knowing their customers. Learn more about your various audience segments, what motivates them and what offers and messages will resonate with them. Audience segmentation is a marketing necessity. Susan's smarts, professionalism, and laugh are just icing on the cake.
We worked with Susan by subcontracting her to conduct a large, soup-to-nuts segmentation project for a for-profit university. The project went great, with the kind of "a-ha!" findings that she always manages to find and blow away the clients. We can't wait to work with her again! We recommend Susan to all of our clients that need segmentation work, which is most of them.
"A Blast to Work With"
I've had the pleasure of working with Susan on a few different projects for mutual clients. She's our "go to" person when we have a client who needs help identifying target segments and capturing actionable information about their customers' needs and expectations. She *always* finds something fascinating in the data. For this reason and others, she's a blast to work with.
Susan's methodology for delivering exceptional audience insight is the secret weapon everyone should know and be using. I've had the pleasure of working with Susan over the course of several years, and not only does she help you unleash your own inner data geek, but her depth of marketing/agency background helps each of her clients - and her clients' clients - become smarter for working with her.
"Perfect Marketing Partner"
Susan is a pleasure to work with. Her ability to grasp differing categories is amazing. This along with her natural understanding of human behavior, makes her a perfect researcher and marketing partner.
I worked with Susan on a customer segmentation for one of our Gap Inc. brands and highly recommend her. She is professional, knowledgeable, creative, and a pleasure to work with. She brought her many years of experience to our project and we were extremely happy with the results.
"Our Go-To Partner"
Susan is one of my favorite partners to work with. Her energy, positive attitude and outstanding work product make working with her a delight. She is our go-to partner when we need detailed, quantified and in-depth insight into our clients' digital audiences.
Susan is a subject matter expert and a consummate professional of the highest order and delivered a segmentation study that far exceeded our expectations. Her knowledge, skills, and abilities are indispensable in the fast paced, dynamic marketing of today.
We believe that attitude matters.
Buyers want to love what they buy. The attitudes that drive them are more important than the demographics that describe them.
Our partner agencies love helping their clients succeed, and invest tremendous energy into that effort. Our work helps them do their best work.
Agency clients are often embarrassed at what they don’t know, and afraid they’re spending money on initiatives they’re not sure will work. Our research gives them the confidence to move forward knowing their decisions are supported with real data.
We want to do work that matters — work that helps agencies and their clients grow.
We believe that research is only worth doing if it’s done well.
The world is full of crappy research. Crappy research drives crappy marketing.
We believe research can be done ethically and with excellence without breaking the bank.
We’ve implemented a number of processes and tools that help us deliver our work quickly, reliably and accessibly.
But we’ve never taken a shortcut that diminishes the quality of the research — and we never will.
We don’t believe in dusty binders.
Every marketer has experience with research that was paid for but never used.
Research that didn’t answer the right questions, because the researchers didn’t understand the needs of the marketers who hired them.
Research that never got used because the marketers didn’t understand it well enough to incorporate it into making the decisions that had to be made.
Research that was delivered in 3-inch binders full of inscrutable charts and pages of text, and promptly went up on a shelf.
We share our findings in a live workshop with clients, reviewing the insights and implications of every question, so that no one leaves the room without understanding exactly how it impacts what they decide today, and tomorrow.
We believe in supporting our clients — and their clients.
Most of our agency clients aren’t experts in segmentation research — that’s why they hire us.
So we’re with them every step of the way when they’re recommending our work to their prospects and clients.
We do virtual screen-share presentations to show clients what the work looks like, how it differs from other research and what they can expect. We answer their questions.
We kick off projects with an in-depth discussion with the agency and their client, taking the lead on exploring the topics that are most important to incorporate in the research.
We work hand-in-hand with the agency to guide the client through the development of the survey, the strategy for inviting respondents, and the incorporation of an incentive that will appeal to the people we most want to hear from.
We manage all of the fielding requirements, including working with a panel company if we’re using one to get responses from people the client can’t reach themselves.
We update the agency and the client about the progress of the survey once it’s in the field.
When the research is complete, we review the results with the agency team in a 2-hour workshop using an interactive data visualization tool, so that they can understand the findings and discuss how to best incorporate them into the agency’s recommendations for the client.
We then conduct another live workshop, this time with the client team in addition to the agency, to walk through through the insights, answer questions and support the agency as they discuss how the results will be used.
We remain available to the agency after the project is over, to answer any additional questions that come up or to provide additional charts if needed.
Most of our agency clients have worked with us for multiple client engagements, and continue to promote us to new prospects and clients.
We believe in doing what we do best, and not doing anything else.
Research is a big field.
Even the subset of quantitive research has many practitioners, and many approaches.
We could do other types of research, but we don’t.
Attitudinal audience segmentation is all we do.
Every project is custom, but we’ve gotten our process streamlined so that we can continue to offer the work at a price our clients — small to mid-sized agencies — can afford.
Part of that efficiency comes from not veering off into other kinds of work that aren’t part of our core competency or involve contortions for our little firm to pull off.
We don’t do pricing research, and we don’t do user interface testing.
Our surveys are conducted only in English, and only online.
We don’t respond to RFP’s, because they’re a huge waste of time, and their structure is too restrictive to allow us to show how different our work is from that of other research firms.
We do one thing, and we do it well, and that’s enough for us.
We believe in the little guy.
Heck, we ARE the little guy.
We believe in the power of small businesses to change the world — or at least the worlds of the audiences they’re working to serve.
We feel a deep sense of satisfaction from knowing that we’re helping other small business owners grow their agencies, pay their employees, satisfy their clients, support their families and fulfill their dreams.
That’s what we’re doing, too. 🙂