Valentine’s Day – An obligation

We were curious how our friends, family and clients planned to spend their Valentine’s Day. So we did a quick informal poll with a little bit of humor. Remember this is not science and while we completed 150 interviews we won’t even discuss the inevitable margin of error.

So here are some of the highlights of our quick little poll…

“I do it for her,” probably not surprising, men are much more likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day solely to keep their partner happy. This may explain why women are more likely to claim “Oh is this Valentine’s day week.”


Older folks were more likely to state they actually look forward to this day. Assuming age is an indicator of longer relationships – this suggests that familiarity does not breed contempt.


Many of our followers are traditionalists – they celebrated by flowers, candy and other types of gifts followed by a dinner out yesterday. There was some time shifting to weekend celebrations.

Romance beyond the living room didn’t appear to be on the agenda yesterday. Men clearly see an opportunity to share a good bottle of wine with their partners, but there was little indication of amorous activities from men or women. At least no one admitted getting tipsy and seeing what panned out. Further, only 1% participant indicated a romantic getaway was in order.

V_day_getawayWe should note that reading 50 Shades of Grey either alone or with your partner was ignored by all. We’re not sure but this may be an indication of the literary sophistication of our audiences.



Candies and Flowers or Die Hard Movies – How will you spend Valentine’s Day?

Valentine's_dayWe were sitting around earlier this week talking about our plans for Valentine’s Day. MSI’s plans ran the gamut from the full blown traditional flowers, candies and dinner out to the “I hate hallmark holidays”. So we wondered what other people were planning to do on the eve of this occasion (one which some of us love while the rest of us – well you get the point).

So in our continuing efforts to have a little fun in the “This is not science” area of our Beer Bloggles, we decided to ask our friends, families and followers to tell us what their plans are. We have put together a very short (and somewhat humorous) survey on your plans for Valentine’s Day. So take a moment and let us know your thoughts.

The survey is available at and will be available through tomorrow evening.

And check back on Friday when we publish the results.



Big Data Scientists – Fact or Fiction An Interview with Dr. Mark Hayward, University of Texas

Big_Data_MSIRecently I have read a number of articles about Big Data Scientists. Actually, they have been about Scientists, Analysts, Researchers, etc. Nobody knows what to call them, so I’ll use the term “Scientists.”

And similarly, no one seems to agree on where they come from (or where they should come from). The arguments range from IT, Business Analysts and Statisticians to Social Scientists. As I read these debates, my gut reaction was to believe the best data scientists will come from the social sciences.

Super Bowl 2013: Year of The Big Bang Ad Theory

Superbowl_TV_CommercialBased on a light traffic commute to work and an abundance of parking spaces available in the office park, a feeling permeated that Super Bowl 2013 had been widely viewed. Based on one’s gut, this is a logical conclusion since the day which follows Super Bowl Sunday is the single most called out sick day of the year by workers. In fact, a petition has been sent to the attention of the Federal Government to consider letting hundreds of thousands of Super Bowl viewers take the following Monday off.

As marketing research professionals, one yearns for more tangible evidence. To meet that end, old school secondary research was attainable in the form of TV viewership data. Would U.S. ratings for Super Bowl 2013 be larger than classic finales such as MASH, Dallas (aka Who Shot J.R.) or Cheers? Could Super Bowl 2013 surpass other highly rated Super Bowls or sports events like the Olympics? Is it possible that more people watched Super Bowl 2013 than Michael Jackson talking to Oprah, Gone with the Wind, Roots or even the Bob Hope Christmas Special? Super Bowl 2013 might be big but could it be larger than the aforementioned events?

Introducing Beer Bloggles


As part of our continuing blogging efforts we decided we wanted to have a little more fun with some of our blogs. But we couldn’t exactly figure out how to generate some fun yet interesting topics. Steve Levine suggested we go out every couple of weeks and brainstorm over a drink and some noshes. We tried it and Beer Bloggles was born.

So MSI will start a series of rather lighthearted but topical/interesting blogs under the name Beer Bloggles. This weekend we’ll start with a quick Super Bowl survey. I mean we’re all in marketing right? So let’s match wits. Vote on the most recalled brand and the best brand advertising. Let’s see if we agree.

MSI will launch a little survey site on Sunday evening after the Super Bowl. We’ll have both MSI staff and you (our social connections) complete a quick two minute survey.  Look for the link on our social sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and we’ll publish the results by Monday afternoon.

Enjoy the weekend,

25 Years (and Counting)

ImpressionThis September MSI International will celebrate our 25th anniversary. Hard to believe that we’ve been helping clients for that long. Or as we said at our 10 year anniversary – 10 years of asking better questions. When I started the company I had one goal in mind. That was to create a work environment where we could do great work for our clients and have fun doing it. I think we achieved our mission.

But seriously, 25 years is really a long time. Just to put this in perspective I looked into what else was going on when I founded the company.  Some of this you may find amusing, but it definitely puts the 25 years in perspective.

  • A first class stamp cost $.22.
  • Bobby McFerrin won song of the year with “Don’t worry be happy”.
  • Both the winter and summer Olympics were held in the same year.
  • Popular films included Rain Man, Big, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Die Hard (the first) and my favorite – A Fish Called Wanda.
  • Median price of a new home : $91,600.
  • The democratic convention nominated Michael Dukakis as the presidential candidate. George Bush and Dan Quayle were the winning candidates from the Republican Party (spelling aside).
  • The (first) Iraq war ended.
  • Pan AM flight explodes over Lockerbie Scotland (our first real experience with terrorism).

I don’t know about you, but these events feel like they occurred decades ago, and I guess they did.

I’ve included an article that was in the Philadelphia Daily News just prior to me starting the company.  Look at how young I was (and check out the doo – my hair wasn’t even gray let alone the white it is today). That’s 25 years staring you down right there.


In those 25 years MSI as a company has grown and we’ve grown with each other.  We’ve laughed together and cried together. And we’ve also worked many a late night and weekend together – far too many bad pizzas to count.

And as I reflect on the past 25 years, probably the best testament to what we’ve accomplished is the longevity of our staff. Currently on staff we have:

  • Seven co-workers with over 20 years tenure.
  • And another nine with more than 10 years’ experience.

So as we approach this milestone I thought this would be the perfect time to say thanks. Thanks to our staff who worked so hard for our success, thanks to our families who tolerated our late nights and weekends and thanks to our many clients and friends who have supported us through these 25 years. You don’t achieve 25 years on your own, we did it together.

Corporate Responsibility Continued

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about mid-size corporate citizenship and MSI’s yearlong program go to give back to the community. Since then we completed Movember. MSI raised over $9000 dollars for Prostate and Testicular Cancer. Also our employees adopted a local family and provided a complete holiday experience for them – gifts, clothes and holiday meal. I should add that they did this entirely on their own – sometimes these efforts are far more gratifying than our planned corporate efforts.

This holiday season MSI will again support global children charities. However, we need your input into which charities we should support. You may be receiving a card from us with a QR code and web address where our clients and friends can vote on which charities we should support. Please take a moment to vote on your favorite charity. Or, you can go to and vote now.

And on behalf of MSI, MSI-ACI and all of our employees I wish the very best to you and your families this holiday season and look forward to working with you in the coming year.


Shopper Insights: The New Black Friday

As I had expressed in a previous post, given Webster Dictionary definitions of evolution and revolution, we are in a state of social media evolution. The continuous change we have been experiencing is not limited solely to the social sphere; we are experiencing a similar pace of change in everything from listening to the music to shopping.

Respondent Respect

We’re now the elders. We’ve been in the field so long we raise the average age of attendees around a conference room table. Our experience dates back to when Marketing Research required actual maps for sampling. Marketing Research has evolved considerably so is what we learned so very long ago still meaningful?

Do you ‘Like’ it?

While I’ve had a Facebook account for a while, it’s only recently that I’ve started to pay a bit more attention to some of the behaviors of my friends and family. (That’s what happens when your youngest goes off to school and your use of Facebook picks up to see what he’s up to – or to stalk him, depending on your perspective.)

One area that I’ve questioned is the behavior to “Like” a business or product or famous personality. When you do, your “Like” is then advertised to your network. But why?