Meet Bridget Bly
An independent contractor, Bridget Bly is a statistician and analyst who works hand in hand with the Zeldis research team. We thought you should know more about Bridget and the valuable experience and perspectives she brings to many of our client projects.
Bridget has a Ph.D. from Stanford University in research psychology, with an emphasis on experimental design and statistical analysis. She has spent the past 20 years in market research – fifteen in her own firm — and has extensive experience designing, reporting and analyzing a wide range of empirical studies.
How did you get into the market research field?
I became interested in applying experimental research techniques to market research while working at a friend’s firm. Market research, of course, is typically more survey-oriented because setting up control groups and experimental groups is expensive and time-consuming. In the process of learning that, however, I found a welcome challenge in satisfying the objectives and time constraints of our clients.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis on a project?
I do a lot of driver analyses and predictive modeling, where I’m trying to measure the strength of the relationships between outcome variables, like satisfaction with a supplier or client, and predictor variables, like value for the price. A lot of clients put their research dollars into making sure they’re pricing their product or service accurately and figuring out what combination of features will best attract their customers, whether those customers are insurance brokers, financial advisors, or end clients. The most complicated of these modeling projects involve discrete choice or other conjoint-type methodologies.
My niche is the combination of expertise in crunching numbers and the ability to communicate how the statistical results address the goals of the study. I think of myself as sitting in this little “join” between the numbers on one side, and those who need to know what the numbers say on the other side. To be successful, I have to translate the numbers into English so they can be communicated to someone who needs that big picture view of the business.
What’s the benefit to Zeldis and other firms to work with you as an independent statistician?
There are two advantages that an independent consultant brings to Zeldis and their clients. One is that I work across a range of industries, so I have exposure to a wide variety of business problems and how different companies address them. The concerns can be the same across businesses – broadening the customer base is one typical marketing objective — but different companies have different ways of drilling down on this. I maintain a Chinese wall between clients to protect each one’s proprietary data, but my seeing the differences and similarities in different industries can be useful in considering novel or emerging research techniques.
The second advantage is that I bring an unbiased view to the projects. Not that Zeldis managers don’t, but because I’m brought in from the outside, I can guarantee there is no vested interest in the results.
How does your work intersect with the Zeldis team?
I try to become part of the team. The Zeldis project managers often have worked with a client for a long time and understand the intricacy of their strategies. But I might see something interesting that I think we should follow up on, and we have a lot of back and forth up front. That kind of process yields better return on the client’s market research investment.
I am sometimes a tiny part of a project but my role is always interesting. For example, we might be working on a multi-year study for a client, comparing current to previous year results. What do you do if the measures have become slightly different or the questions have changed, or the client has changed the metrics they are most interested in? Together, we will have wide technical experience, in-depth industry knowledge, and we can find the best solution by putting our heads together as a team.
What do you like about working with Zeldis?
A market research firm’s expertise determines the success of the project. Working with Zeldis is fantastic because they really know what they’re doing. I don’t have to worry that they won’t ask the right questions or that they won’t collect the right data to address the study objectives. On a Zeldis project, I’m working with really smart, committed and highly competent people!