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April 06, 2009

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C.B. Whittemore

Mary, you make a wonderful point about all of the other communication cues that SM doesn't fully capture, particularly for women and products connected with the most emotionally charged place in our lives: the home.

Toby, thanks again for this opportunity. I've been reliving the theme in multiple ways ever since contributing to this chapter.

Mary Dean

Listening is the most important step to establishing and maintaining a relevant and thriving brand. But to C.B.'s point, you have to tune in at many different posts to get the complete conversation. SM can give you some topics to delve into that might not come up during more "traditional" focus groups. On the other hand, when it comes to listening to women, there's a lot of value to SEEING what words don't say. For instance, if I wanted to hear women talk about carpet, I'd make sure to have in-home "girlfriend groups" rather than the old two-way mirror groups. Seeing how people decorate, interact, use carpet (or avoid the areas with it) and the body language that's used when topics are brought up often speaks volumes that you would never "hear" otherwise.

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