Market Research Council Newsletter


President’s Message

MRC will be holding our first members’ networking event on June 12th at the ARF, 5:30-7:30 pm. Wine, cheese, networking and a conversation about the future you would like to see for the MRC. Details to follow. We promise to make it fun!

As the oldest professional association of researchers in the world we have a mission to carry forward the wisdom of the past while embracing the promise of the future. What will enable us to maintain our relevance and value to each of you?

Just like the way we view our profession, we want to carry forward the core values the MRC has provided our members for over 90 years, while embracing new ways of working. Is lunch at the Yale Club once a month the beginning and the end of MRC’s member value proposition? That’s a conversation we need to have. The MRC is still vital. We have about 100 members and find 50-60 members or guests at our luncheons each month. But our world is changing. Our business is no longer exclusively New York centric. Our profession’s skill sets are expanding. There’s some resistance to Friday luncheons in New York.

Looking forward to seeing you,


Upcoming Meetings.

Our newsletter is published 2-3 times per year. This issue covers events through the end of 2018.

Members are encouraged to attend and bring guests to as many of these luncheon meetings as possible.

April 26th (“Big Data and Consumer Privacy …Is There Common Ground, Or Will Regulation Change Everything?”)

May 17th (“What State is the Marketing Research Business?”)

June 21st (Hall of Fame awards)

In Memorium

Long-time member of MRC and a giant in the market research field, Bill Moran, passed away in November. Eulogies and other words from his colleagues appear at the end of this edition.

Monthly Presentations

Here is a recap of our three most recent meetings.

December 14, 2018


o Larry Allen, VP Ad Innovation & Programmatic, Turner
o Ken Burns, SVP, Managing Director, Horizon Media WHY Team
o Carol Sue Haney, Head Research and Data Scientist, Qualtrics


o Mike Bloxham, SVP Global Media and Entertainment, Magid

“Two Technologies That Will Transform How We Do Business in 2019. What are the Implications for Marketers and Researchers?”

At this last meeting of 2018, the panel was charged with discussing two hot technologies, namely 5G (5th Generation of wireless technology) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

                Mike Bloxham                                Larry Allen

Ken and Larry touched on how much faster data will be transmitted when 5G becomes commonplace. It will impact all videos and broadcasting. Clearly the substantial decrease in the time needed to download music, movies and other forms of media will have a huge impact on what marketers will deliver to consumers as well as how and when consumers will spend their time viewing content. There is some speculation that 5G will not only transform mobile services, but also challenge broadband for media services to the home.

It was suggested that AI is now where smartphones were in 2011, or just at the beginning of widespread use and acceptance. (Note: consider the “applications of AI to all industries much as “apps” have mushroomed for smart devices).

AI will also play a role in how marketers analyze media and create new types of advertising. The use of AI in programmatic media scheduling and placement has already begun and will only accelerate.

                 Carol Sue Haney                                 Ken Burns

The amount of passive data collected will grow exponentially (e.g. from pixel tags) that data will simply become “the exhaust”.

Carol Sue provided an example of how AI was being used in the auto industry. She talked about the information being collected by BMW in terms of the buying experience --- from the showroom all the way through the moment the buyer drives away from the dealership.

Other points included:
* Big data has the ability to capture behavioral aspects rather than the reasons why decisions are made.
* Automatic translation and text analytics can be used to examine and analyze open ends on a global basis.
* Attitudes and opinions are harder to predict with AI since they change over time.
* Humans are still needed to turn findings into actions.
* Privacy is less of an issue since consumers get more in return for their responses.

Looking ahead, market research will again need to adapt to the ever-changing internet, and increased use of mobile devices in lieu of more traditional devices, i.e. time spent with computers, tablets and TV screens may continue to be replaced by smartphones.

November 16, 2018


o Anthony Salvanto, Director of Elections, CBS News
o Cliff Young, President, US Public Affairs, IPSOS


o Jim Donius, Principal, Marketplace Measurement Worldwide and Director, Fishlinger Center For Public Policy Research
o Sarah Dutton, President, Rockland Dutton Research & Consulting and former Director of Surveys, CBS News

“The 2018 Elections: From Russia with Love? What Happened? What are the Implications for Marketers and Researchers?”

MRC had four of America’s leading experts to help us understand and come to terms with what was revealed on Election Day (Joe Lenski, EVP, Edison Research was to have been the third panelist but had been affected by the previous day’s surprise snowstorm).

                                                     Sarah Dutton

Sarah and Jim did an excellent job of co-moderating the agenda and demonstrated that a panel format makes for a nice change of pace discussion. On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, the American people voted to elect

• 435 Congress people,
• 35 Senators,
• 36 governors,
• and scores of local legislators.

However, although this luncheon presentation was 10 days later, there were still several hotly contested and controversial races (e.g. in Arizona, Florida and Georgia). Despite the fact that many citizens tried to vote but couldn’t, and that many absentee ballots were not received or counted in time, the overall turnout was at a record level.

                            Jim Donius, Cliff Young, Anthony Salvanto

Cliff Young presented first and told the audience that whoever leads on major issues (e.g. economy, unemployment, and healthcare) going into an election ultimately wins 85% of the time.

                                                       Cliff Young

Also, in line with the outcome, the historical average number of congressional seats gained by the out-of-power party has been 33. Thus the results of the 2018 midterms were in line with those of the past. He claimed that this year, only 8 out of 508 national races were a surprise and that five select states posed polling challenges.

Lessons from 2016:

• More than in many prior elections, polarization, a lack of trust, and “nativism” (an anti-immigration trend in Europe as well as in the U.S.) can be significant factors.
• Pollsters should use multiple indicators and triangulate forecasts using a variety of sources of information and types of analysis. In the future, social media, bot trackers and campaign donations will be used more.
• There needs to be a focus on ensuring coverage and representation in survey samples.

Anthony Salvanto felt that his role was not just to forecast or predict, but more to explain what is happening in political races.

                                                 Anthony Salvanto

He stated the need to oversample in overly competitive races, sometimes taking an estimate across the U.S. (e.g. Hispanic or college educated percents in the country) to lower errors in a local area.

Anthony noted the gender gap between the two major parties and cited the example of white women decreasing for the Republicans. He also mentioned the level of anger expressed when the other party wins, and the difference in how the Central American caravan was perceived as a threat.

When asked about the (Supreme Court Justice) “Kavanaugh effect’, Anthony was not sure yet while Cliff thought it had not much impact overall, in large part due to the fact that we have become more of a tribalized society in which people’s minds are made up.

In future polling, better technology and the use of such tools as machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) will help in predicting election outcomes.

The impact of social media (Facebook in particular) will need to be better monitored and controlled as will the role of gerrymandering and the “one vote per person” concept of determining final winners.

October 19, 2018

Peter D. Hart, Founder, Hart Research

“Red Trump or Blue Triumph? An Analysis of the 2018 Election”

This presentation was just a few weeks before the midterm elections and thus is interesting to look at in hindsight in terms of its predictions.

Peter’s polls suggested that there would be a record voter turnout due to Donald Trump – both from his supporters as well as from those opposed to him.

“What’s it about?” For many, the answer was that it would be about “their world” (environment, the ‘me too’ movement, etc.) as well as wanting to be heard (in other words, “listen to me!”).

“Us versus Them” would be an important element in the decision-making process, either as a way to support current policies or to check the president. Among the highlights, Peter found that the interest level rated at 9 or 10 was about the same for democrats (65%) and republicans (61%) but lower for independents (37%).

Millennials were perceived to be a key voting group. Despite the finding that 26% had registered to vote, only 18% indicated that they were actually likely to vote.

Peter then went through Congressional party preferences by education and gender, the impact of suburbs on certain House elections, and possible scenarios for Senate races. His opinion was that the Gubernatorial election would be the ‘gateway’ to the 2020 Presidential election and that outcomes in nine key states would be most meaningful. He stressed the importance of ‘TURNOUT’ in just about every race.

When asked about response rate in his polls (the only methodological question raised), Peter admitted that it was close to 9%, but that all pollsters faced a challenge in this regard.

His suggestion was that political researchers ‘need to listen’ more and conduct qualitative work to supplement ‘the numbers’ from traditional polls.

The deck from Peter’s presentation is available on the MRC website ( at the Archived Presentation tab.

Reminder #1 …

Executive Committee for 2018-2019

If you have any questions or input, these are the people and their roles.
• Jim Spaeth, President
• Ellen Sills-Levy, VP and Programming Chair
• Josh Chasin, Secretary-Treasurer and Membership Chair
• Donna Sabino, Member at Large and 2019 Hall of Fame Chair
• Terry Kent, Immediate Past President and 2019 Nominations Chair

Reminder #2 …

MRC Website
You can visit to find…
• Calendar of upcoming events
• Executive Committee members
• Archives and prior newsletters
• Resources
• … and more

In Memorium (continued)

Remembering Bill Moran in December 2018

Bill Moran was a man of many strengths. So let me start by telling you about the day when I first discovered a limitation. Bill and I had a meeting scheduled with Larry Light, when he was leading the Coalition for Brand Equity. Larry was known to be a very willful guy, so Bill and I agreed we should be careful to draft a well-considered agenda in advance of the meeting. Without mentioning this to Larry, I started by asking what Larry thought our agenda should be. To my pleasant surprise, Larry quickly proposing a list of items that was virtually identical to what Bill and I had drafted. Almost the same words, and even in the same order.

We proceeded to have a very productive meeting. Then on our drive back to our office, Bill could hardly wait to ask me why I hadn’t disclosed to Larry that we had crafted essentially the same agenda as Larry had. I chuckled, and asked Bill what he thought of the meeting. He said it was a great meeting. So I told Bill that I felt one reason it was such a good meeting was that we were being very responsive to “Larry’s” agenda. And if we had even implied for a moment that Larry’s meeting planning skills were actually redundant, there was no way the meeting would have gone so well. Bill’s response to my explanation: “Ooh, I like that!”

So Bill was as mystified by standard issue office politics as the rest of us were by canonical correlation! But Bill could overcome anything that the rest of us might consider a limitation. For example, for many, many years, Bill played tennis multiple times per week, and he absolutely loved it. Then, during one game when he was still playing well into his 80s, Bill fell and broke his right arm… a real particularly serious problem because he was right-handled. So where was Bill the following week? Even with a cast on his right arm, Bill was out on the court playing tennis left-handed!

When we heard the sad news about Bill’s passing last month, Leslie Wood and I shared the news with people throughout a couple of industry organizations who knew Bill well, and then we were able to share some of the many kind words we got back, with Bill’s son Dick Moran. With Bill and Judith leading his gene pool, and then his parenting, the fact that Dick is a professor at Harvard shouldn’t surprise anyone.

So here are the names of some of the people throughout our industry who had the opportunity to know and then reflect on Bill over the years, and just a few of the wonderful words that they offered up, about Bill:

From Doss Struse: Bill was one of the giants, as well as a wonderful person.
From Walker Smith: A great mind for our profession.
From Jim Masterson: A wonderful man, always a gentleman, and always had time for you.
From Tony Adams: A giant in marketing research, and a great human being.
From Josh McQueen: Bill loved it when I brought Simon Broadbent to the US. He and Simon were fellow math geniuses.
From John Forsyth: Bill always had really insightful perspectives on any number of marketing issues.
From Scott McDonald: Bill was an inspiring guy, always insightful and incisive, always collegial and supportive.
From Jim Nyce: We should all aspire to a life as well lived.
From Leslie Wood: Bill was an amazing, brilliant, kind, generous man who will be deeply missed.
From Donna Neal: Bill Moran was one of the kindest, smartest, humblest, and most engaged people I have ever known.
From Bill Harvey: A fine person as well as a genius.
Many fond memories from people like Ian Lewis and others who worked on Bill’s teams at places like Y&R and Lever. For example…
From Joel Rubinson: I overlapped with Bill at Lever Brothers for a year, and that year changed my life. He taught me how to think about marketing.
Yes, that was the Bill Moran that so many of us knew well. And oh, how lucky we were to have Bill Moran in our lives.

Respectfully and humbly offered in memory of our friend Bill Moran.

Bill Moult

And these words from Monica Wood:
Bill was a thought leader in the market research industry.
He is was always one of the nicest folks in the industry.
Bill could party until the wee hours, which we did on quite a few occasions, play a mean game of tennis and still have time to write great research papers that are of significant value even today.
I am lucky to crossed paths with Bill and even luckier to be able to call him a friend.

Newsletter Contributions

If you have any content to submit for the next newsletter, e.g. professional news, honors, major life events, publications, presentations, interesting photos, please contact:

Ira Schloss at and/or
Monica Wood at

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