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Abbott Research

Customer insight powers growth and competitive advantage

The best insights come from understanding the world of your customer.

It’s all about context. We can’t expect customers to solve our problems, or create the next great product innovation. But if you immerse yourself in their world, they will help you see those solutions and innovations.

For decades, asking people the direct question was thought to be acceptable.

Now we know better. We know that any human being can come up with a rational reason for anything at all, and may even believe it.

Everyone is marketing savvy now, especially young people. To get powerful insights today, we have to get past this barrier. We do that with better research design, and constant innovation in our own methods and approaches.

You, the client, need the insights in your head, not in ours.

The magic of insight comes from creating settings where you can learn without asking very many direct questions. Tools like mobile self-ethnography can make this happen.

We like to bring clients directly into the room through co-creation labs. We run immediate debriefs. Our reports and presentations are easy to digest. You won’t put them on a shelf, you’ll put them into action.

The secret client list

You aren’t going to find a big client list here, even though we are proud of the brands and organizations we have worked with. We signed an NDA and we honor that. You’d recognize most of the names. We’d love to have your organization on this list. And we will keep your secrets, too.

We’re passionate about our clients and about helping them succeed in a challenging marketplace.

We try to add value from the first contact to well after the last invoice. To see what that feels like, let’s start a conversation.

Susan Abbott, president

Susan Abbott

Brief Bio

Susan Abbott is a specialist in customer insight and creative problem solving.

Prior to forming Abbott Research & Consulting in 2001, Susan led the marketing-research practice at a boutique consulting firm. She is also a former vice-president of the TD Bank Financial Group, one of North America’s leading financial services firms, where she held diverse general management positions.

Considered a leader by her peers, Susan was twice elected to two-year terms as a board member of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association.

Think Global Qualitative

Susan is the co-founder of Think Global Qualitative, a global alliance of senior qualitative specialists. Through this alliance, we can provide clients with expert coverage of any major global market.

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The blah, blah, blah

Her educational background includes an MBA from Ivey at the University of Western Ontario, the Certified Marketing Research Professional designation, Myers-Briggs accreditation, and Advanced Creative Problem Solving training, and a bunch of other stuff.

Susan’s a learning junkie who spends her free time at conferences, frequently speaking, always staying current.


“Thank you for doing such a brilliant job on this project. We were impressed with your work, your presence and your presentation skills. A great concise presentation which flowed perfectly and logically. Honest and very approachable in the way you delivered the facts.”
Fraser MacDonald, Marketing Consultant

“Throughout our project Susan always provided timely, creative and pragmatic advice. Her approach was creative but also demonstrated
a clear understanding of our organization. I would not hesitate in recommending Susan for any future projects.”
Will Christensen, Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touche – National Team Lead,
Campus Talent Acquisition

Selected Publications

What is Customer Insight? An interview with David Bain at Digital Marketing Radio, Feb. 3, 2015

New Metrics To Compare Qualitative Method Options, Alert!, Marketing Research Association, Fourth Quarter, 2014

Qual-Online: The Essential Guide. What Every Researcher Needs to Know About Conducting and Moderating Interviews Via the Web. By Jennifer Dale and Susan Abbott, October 2014

Make It Fun and Stop Calling it Gamification, Vue, October 2013, (PDF download)

Revisiting Maslow: What Models Can We Use to Understand and Explain Consumption Behavior? Views, 2011

Don’t Blame The Focus Group For Leaders’ Shortcomings, GreenBook, 2011

Author of The Innovative Organization in partnership with Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University in 2007. (Out of print)


Co-create an experience that customers value, by Susan Hash, Contact Center Pipeline, July 2013 (PDF download)

Connect with Susan

Susan on Twitter: @susanabbott
Find Susan on LinkedIn
Phone:  1-416-481-7409
Email Susan

Does your researcher's plan make sense? Get the free guide.


When you review a discussion guide, do you know what to look for? Learn what the pros consider in this brief insider guide, How to Review a Focus Group Discussion Guide. It's yours, free, to help you in any project.


Guerrilla Marketing Research: How to Find Information on a Budget

Dart board with bullseye

My regular workout buddy is an outsourced marketing consultant. As we sweat it out in the cardio area we yak it up about many things. A frequent topic is the desire of her small business and start-up clients to get some kind of marketing research insights on essentially no budget.

Recently, she was telling me about a start-up who wants to get 30 interviews done across North America with various types of business owners – and has a budget of $5,000 for the whole thing. As you can imagine, a range of expressions crossed my face when asked for advice on how to do this.

But it’s a common problem and I’m not unsympathetic.