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Work experience

2013Present

Vice President, Senior Research Manager

M&T Bank
Oct 20062013

Vice President, Market Intelligence

Gelia

Leadership of the agency's market intelligence, marketing strategy and brand strategy development, based on the best practices of information-based strategic planning.  Direct all market research and competitive intelligence activities, including branding and strategic planning for agency clients domestically and internationally.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Built a custom market research division, attracting agency clients, such as Caterpillar, Dana, Eaton, Independent Health and TRICO, as well as non-agency clients, such as Seagram's, Labatt USA, Magic Hat Breweries and Publicis
  • Designed and oversaw the construction of a world-class focus group facility, widely regarded as "best-in-class"
  • Developed best practices for all market research and all information-based strategic planning - including qualitative and quantitative research methodologies
  • Led teams through a number of strategic planning initiatives, specializing in brand strategy development
  • Developed and introduced to the agency ethnographic evaluations, powerful for deeper dives into the understanding of consumer motivations
  • Developed a proprietary user experience testing methodology (digital and traditional) and a custom-designed methodology for conducting B2B concept evaluations quickly and efficiently
  • Developed a proprietary brand strategy development process and introduce it to the agency and all senior account managers.
  • Led the brand strategy development for many clients.
  • Spearheaded a strategic initiative to formalize best practices for developing integrated marketing communications and marketing intelligence plans for agency clients
  • Introduced global network of partners to the agency, powerfully expanding the agency's capabilities, allowing entry into key regions, such as Europe, China,India and Russia
  • New business development responsibility, including planning and pitching
  • Designed and executed hundreds of primary research programs, supporting virtually every conceivable marketing objective.  Led clients through brand equity measurement, brand positioning, attitude & usage research, concept evaluation, new product testing, ethnographic evaluations and user experience testing, as well as multiple data mining assignments, etc.
  • Recruited and mentored executive level and mid management level associates
  • P&L responsibility for my divisions - marketing intelligence, brand strategy and strategic planning.  Lead a 20-person staff, including three direct reports, and cultivated strong relationships for all outsourcing.
Feb 2002Oct 2006

President / Senior Moderator

Woelfel Research Partners

Founded company to satisfy my entrepreneurial spirit.  Provided executive level consultation to clients and worked synergistically with executive teams, client marketing teams and client advertising agencies.  Earned a role as a trusted consultant, often presenting to executive and board-level teams.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Developed best practice protocols for all market research (e.g., product evaluation, usage of projective techniques and probes for qualitative small group and IDI research 
  • Performed wide array of research for a variety of clients, including segmentation, positioning, new product concept evaluation, advertising/copy evaluation, loyalty, churn, attitude & usage, tracking, price elasticity, user experience, ROI, brand equity, and data mining, etc.
  • Created a brand strategy development process, based heavily on VOC data 
  • Designed a number of marketing intelligence plans for many clients
  • Performed a number of branding programs for key CPG client
  • Mentored clients through best practices using a variety of tracking data and brand health data, including Ipsos, IRI (now SymphonyIRI), Claritas and Experian (now Experian Simmons)
  • Drove 50% growth per year until selling business
  • Client acquisitions included HSBC Bank, Mentholatum (all brands), SUNY @ Buffalo, Hoyt’s Cinemas, Zippo, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Canisius College, Buffalo Public Schools, Kaleida, ECMC, GE Commercial Finance, GE Healthcare, Dana Corporation, and many advertising agencies, including Gelia.
19962002

Director of Research and Strategic Planning

Eric Mower & Associates

Directed the agency's market research and strategic planning function, and managed a staff of two.  Designed and directed all custom quantitative and qualitative research projects for all clients.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Led agency and client teams through re-branding efforts nationally and globally, including the repositioning and associated change for First Niagara Bank, Univera and Welch Allyn (global).
  • Formalized the best practices that would form the basis of my marketing, research and strategic planning models going forward
  • Developed research approaches to support marketing objectives for key clients, including Kodak, Fisher Price, HSBC, Ford Motors, Sorrento, among others

Senior Project Manager

Polaris Marketing Research

Designed and directed all research initiatives for flagship client, BellSouth.Strengthened client relationships and mined incremental business through higher, more strategic level of client engagement and consultation.

Selected Accomplishments

·Managed the development and rollout of proprietary research offerings, including system automation for providing regular feedback on sales and customer service reps

·Managed a staff of 12, with three direct reports

·Maximized revenues by increasing process efficiencies, which also strengthened customer service by decreasing turnaround times to the client

·Leveraged a variety syndicated data, including Claritas (segmentation), P$YCLE (part of Claritas), Experian and Millward Brown (for concept evaluations) to develop comprehensive segmentation models and supplement primary research

Director of Operations

Equifax, Inc.

Promoted to Operations Manager to stabilize the "Automated Products Center," a standalone service center experiencing declining sales and deteriorating morale as a result of a recent reorganization that consolidated five regional data centers into one, based in Atlanta.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Led a turnaround that increased sales from $500k to $2.5M within two years
  • Managed a staff of just less than 30 at its peak
  • Introduced operational and process improvements that increased efficiency by over 300%
  • Reduced customer churn rate by one-half through greater efficiency and improved customer service and actually reacquired a number of former clients

Research Analyst / Project Manager

Galileo Marketing Systems

Analyzed, reported and presented market research findings to key clients, including Unilever (Shedd's Spread), R.J. Reynolds (Winston, Camel, Sterling), General Motors (Pontiac), CBS Television, Domino's Pizza.  Managed all facets of projects, developed questionnaires, coded in SPSS and SAS, and excelled at statistical and multivariate analysis, metric multidimensional scaling and content analysis.  Provided detailed analysis of syndicated data, including NFO, IRI (now SymphonyIRI) and Neilsen.

Education

Sep 1992Jun 1996

Bachelor of Arts

University at Buffalo

Skills

Market Research
I have designed and developed research programs for over 20 years for some of the world's largest clients, including Caterpillar, Dana, General Motors (Pontiac), RJ Reynolds, Unilever, GE, among others.   I have moderated over 1,000 focus groups and IDIs and have performed countless quantitative projects, many of which required high-end statistical analyses, including discriminant analyses, regressions and metric multidimensional scaling.    
Strategic Planning
World class expertise in a number of areas: Market research, including segmentation, brand and product positioning, new product development, advertising concept evaluation, attitude & usage research, user experience testing, ethnographic experiential evaluation Branding and brand strategy development Strategic planning, including marketing strategy, marketing communications, sales strategy, lead generation and qualification International marketing research and vendor management, including global coordination of suppliers, management of fieldwork and development of protocols Customer satisfaction tracking and loyalty/advocacy assessment, including customer churn analysis Budgeting, planning and forecasting, management of entire product launch through complex stage/gate process Managing cross-functional teams to develop and introduce new products, develop new marketing communications or reposition brands

Leadership

Integrity is the foundation upon which leadership is built.  No person can claim to be a leader, or can be pointed to by others as a leader if they fail even one time to exhibit the trust and integrity a leader must have.  It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and one incident to destroy it.

If integrity is the foundation of leadership, then Excellence is it's core building block.  This is why the captain of most professional sports teams are typically that team's best player.  People WANT to follow excellence.

Much is made of leadership, and while many leadership "traits" can be learned, INTEGRITY and EXCELLENCE must be intrinsic in the individual in order to be widely recognized as a leader.

When you review my references, I believe that you will see that these two character traits will stand out the loudest and the clearest.

Case Studies

The Mentholatum Company, a subsidiary of Rohto, was introducing a brand of eye drops into the US.

As a strategic partner to Mentholatum, I developed the methodology and led the planning process, which included:

  1. A quantitative brand positioning study in which I defined the US eye drop category, outlining the areas of greatest need and potential.
  2. A product concept evaluation, including qualitative assessments (focus groups) and in-home use tests where I was able to identify the competitive advantages for the Rohto brand, including naming architecture and brand strategy development.
  3. A quantitative packaging evaluation that allowed us to assure on-point creative expression of the brand
  4. Marketing communications evaluation that assured on-point branding, positioning and messaging.
  5. Market tracking evaluation, including customer satisfaction  and purchase intent assessments

Per the Director of Marketing for Mentholatum, the US introduction of the Rohto brand was the fastest growing product in the entire Rohto portfolio, and the fastest growing brand of eye drops in the US. 

As a result, all global business units were directed to utilize the methodology approach that I developed for Rohto for all new product introductions.

Case Studies

After years of pushing an expansion strategy, Lockport Savings Bank determined that they had outgrown their name and image.

I was hired to develop the re-branding model, supporting it with relevant market intelligence.

The market intelligence methodology I developed included:

  1. Brand positioning research in which I mapped out the market position that Lockport Savings Bank occupied, relative to HSBC, M&T, Key, and a host of smaller competitors.
  2. Internal qualitative research with executives, management and front line associates, in which I explored the essence of the brand, in comparison to primary competitors and an "ideal" bank, using cutting edge projective techniques, and other proprietary planning exercises.
  3. External qualitative research, in which I validate internal beliefs about the brand with specific segments of the target audience.
  4. Development and qualitative evaluation of the creative expression, including a new name for the bank, along with a new logo, new color schemes, new marketing communications materials, etc.
  5. Post mortem, evaluation, in which I assessed the transfer of brand equity from the former Lockport Savings Bank to the current First Niagara Bank.

All market evaluations match internal sales levels and all anecdotal evidence that proves the re-branding was a spectacular success.

Summary

Visionary, strategically-focused marketing executive with significant national and global brand experience and an impressive track record of cross-functional marketing leadership. Innovative, creative-thinking change-agent, expert at leveraging market data to develop broad-based strategic plans. Passionate about identifying strategic marketing implications and developing on-point marketing solutions designed to strengthen brands and organizations. Generalist, capable of operating easily across categories, but with intense experience in consumer packaged goods, healthcare, financial services, B2B industries and telecommunication technology. Widely recognized as an expert and thought leader in all primary research methodologies - qualitative,  quantitative and ethnographic.

Technologically advanced, operating on the cutting edge of research methodologies and marketing strategy.  Son of the world renowned Dr. Joseph Woelfel, the leading pioneer in the development of cognitive measurement. Co-developer of the Galileo System and CatPac, an advanced cognitive measurement system, with software placed on Universities around the world.

Accomplished focus group moderator, with over 1,000 focus groups and IDIs conducted. An unmatched ability to connect with focus group participants, gaining their trust in order to be able to elicit great depth of emotional responses. Developed proprietary techniques for ethnographic exercises and projective techniques.

Skilled at performing high-end statistical analyses, including linear and multiple regression, discriminant analysis, factor analysis, cluster analysis, conjoint and metric multidimensional scaling.

Specialties

Strategic planning and brand strategy development New product introduction / product positioning Market research / consumer insights Marketing communications and message strategy development

Interest

Separate from my career in marketing I enjoy a number of interests.

My family has always come first.  As a result, I've chosen a life of stability for my family, spending the past 15 years in Buffalo, New York.

I am passionate about rare and antiquarian books, collecting and reading classic literature, philosophy and theology.  Archeology, ancient Egypt, Greece and Israel offer exceptionally fascinating histories, and I look forward to the day I can spend significant time exploring the ruins in these countries.

Learning is a lifelong endeavor, one that I have embraced almost to a fault.  I share this passion with kids, having coached youth baseball, basketball and soccer, and volunteering my time working with the Buffalo Public Schools, where I perform literacy assessments as part of team that is attempting to increase the literacy levels in Buffalo.  I also teach at a local University and lecture at virtually all the major Universities in Western New York.

I have a lifelong passion for competitive athletics, and am fortunate to still be able to compete at a high level, and win.  I play football, basketball, softball and golf.  One day I hope to be competitive at golf.