Deb McDonald founded SayWhat Consumer Research in 2001. Her talent for listening and observing, coupled with her ability to synthesize qualitative data, are at the core of her success. Her creative approach to designing methods that precisely fit each project is a hallmark of her style. She does not hesitate to invent a new method or technique if a traditional one does not support the research objectives.
In addition to pioneering methods for usability testing in the late 1990’s when online retail took-off, she was also early to develop online communities, an outgrowth of the crowd sourcing movement of 2007. In 2010 she was at the forefront of consumer research on the iPad.
As a strategic director at Cheskin Research, Deb distinguished herself as a researcher and co-authored, Trust in the Wired Americas, an international study of web trust in North and South America. She was also the principal researcher and author of a study on Women Entrepreneurs published in January, 2000.
She conducted extensive qualitative fieldwork at Tattoo Brand Consulting as the Director of Consumer Contact.
Deb’s consistent focus on consumers was nurtured by her academic work in social science research at UC Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master’s in Social Welfare, Management and Planning. After completing her graduate studies, she worked in the field of public health research, specifically the epidemiology of substance abuse.
Qualitative Research Partner
Sarah is passionate about drawing out and understanding the rich contexts that inform consumer experiences. Through this she helps to develop more insightful company strategies. A recent transplant to the Bay Area, Sarah spent the better part of the past decade in Scandinavia as a qualitative researcher in academia and industry with the Mistra Future of Fashion research consortium and Deloitte’s sustainability consulting group. She was also university lecturer on consumer culture and qualitative research techniques. Sarah’s Master’s thesis utilized the emerging research field of “netnography” – an online ethnographic research methodology. Her findings were recently published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies.
Early in her professional career, Sarah worked in brand communications with a boutique PR agency and with retail giant Target. It was through these experiences that Sarah became convinced consumer understanding is integral to good strategy. Currently, Sarah is a trend researcher and writer for Iconoculture and a qualitative research partner at SayWhat Consumer Research. She recently authored articles for SayWhat Consumer Research about Social Media Listening Tools and Sustainable Brands about Sustainable Fashion.
Digital Communities & Social Platform Strategy Partner
Carole has 15 years experience building some of the largest and most successful communities on the Web, including Yahoo! Groups and BabyCenter. She’s led multidisciplinary teams to create traditional Web as well as mobile community platforms.
She is equally at home working with startups as she is with multinational corporations. Her expertise includes product management, marketing communication, community management, analytics and reporting. Carole has a Master’s in Education with an emphasis on Educational Technology from the University of San Francisco.
Read Carole’s blog posts for SayWhat.
Consumer Insights, Qualitative & Quantative Partner
Fred has delivered strategic insights that drive informed business decisions for more than 20 years. He is seasoned in using all phases of quantitative market research techniques including sample selection, data collection, and data analysis. Fred is equally at home pouring over heaps of data as he is diving deep into the motivations of consumers and decision makers in a qualitative setting.
Fred is an intuitive and highly skilled moderator and over the course of his career, he has moderated hundreds of focus groups, triads, dyads, and in-depth interviews with diverse consumer, business-to-business, and C-level audiences.
While his work spans a wide range of topics, his current areas of focus are visitor experience, brand and messaging evaluation, new product testing and user experience research. He is adept at developing personas and finding ways to uncover the customer journey.
Quantitative & Strategy Partner
Carla founded the Internet Research Group in 1997. She has over fifteen years of experience in marketing research and has a wide background in both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Previously, she held research management positions at NBC and HBO, where she directed research aimed at the development and positioning of original programming. At Chilton Research Services, she initiated one of the first panels for web-based data collection. She holds a doctorate from The Annenberg School for Communication at The University of Pennsylvania.
Marketing Strategy Partner
Polly is a marketing strategist with more than 20 years of experience creating compelling businesses and products for consumers around the world. For the past 10 years, she has focused on Internet product and service creation for leading companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Technorati, Flickr, Levi Strauss & Co., Starbucks, Fortune Brands (Day-Timers, Gravis, Kensington), IDG Corporation, Knowledge Universe, and others. Polly is also a gifted photographer. Her work is featured on the homepage of this website.
Consumer Insights, Strategic Branding, Media Partner
Terry’s 30 years of experience in the successful design and application of consumer insights across a myriad of categories (health, fashion, home, travel, luxury, food, beauty, auto,tech,
entertainment) provides her clients with a uniquely holistic perspective of their consumers and the fast evolving culture that profoundly impacts brand strategy and ultimate success.
In her positions at Chesebrough Pond’s, Tambrands, and Conde Nast Media she designed and successfully implemented hundreds of qualitative and quantitative state of the art research initiatives in support of new product development, brand positioning, advertising/sales support and media planning. She has a proven and respected track record for unearthing new ways to rethink and reinvent how we see consumers and the important role products play in their lives, all the while providing an engaging, enriching, and fun experience for her clients.
Terry holds a BS degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Qualitative and Strategy Partner
Harriet is the founding partner of Mayeri Research, which has been in business for over 30 years. Her expertise spans all segments of consumer, professional and executive populations, and covers the full spectrum of qualitative research applications. Prior to Mayeri Research, Harriet managed the Advertising Research and Special Projects group at Young & Rubicam and directed Consumer Research for the New Ventures Exploratory Group at DDB Needham. Harriet holds a B.A. in psychology from New York University, and her graduate training in Social Psychology as a National Institute of Health Fellow at Columbia University focused on group dynamics, attitude measurement/change and research methodology.
SayWhat also maintains relationships with an extended network including:
Usability lab facilities
Data and content analysts