Leadership

Colin Valdiserri
Co-Founder & CEO

Colin is a specialist in quantitative applications in behavioral sciences, more specifically, consumer psychology and cognitive response to visual stimuli. For over 17 years, his area of expertise has centered on the science of consumer behavior and the integration of multivariate techniques for management decision making.

Before co-founding Informed Decisions Group, Inc., Colin was a Senior Researcher with Moen Incorporated and following that, part of the Marketing Sciences Group for one of the largest research firms in the U.S. Colin has also been a Consumer Scientist for The Calphalon Corporation, a division of Newell-Rubbermaid, and a Research Analyst for Cox Ohio Media. Academically, Colin has served as an Adjunct Professor for undergraduate Industrial/Organization Psychology and graduate courses including the Advanced Consumer Research Seminar and Field Research Methodologies at Cleveland State University’s Consumer-Industrial Research program.

His journal publications and conference presentations have spanned across the psychology and communications fields including Quirk’s Marketing Research Review, Journal of International Consumer Marketing, Technovation, Internet Research as well as presentations to the AMA, ICA and AEJMC. Colin received his B.A. in Psychology from Mount Union College and his M.A. in Consumer Psychology from Cleveland State University’s Consumer Industrial Research Program. Colin is a member of the American Marketing Association, Association for Consumer Research and Society for Consumer Psychology.

 

Susan  Johnston
VP, Business Development

Susan joined Informed Decisions Group, Inc. in 2008 as a Client Engagement Manager and has held progressive positions as IDG’s Director of Client Relations and VP of Business Development. With a B.A. in Marketing Communications from Cleveland State University, Susan has lead the aggressive growth of IDG’s clients focusing on shopper insights via proprietary behavioral methodologies.

She has been responsible for leading IDG’s initiative to develop our proprietary mobile eye-tracking system and has an extraordinary understanding of translating client goals into visual science research programs to understand shopper behavior and optimize shopper marketing strategies.

With over 19 years of experience, Susan has held progressive positions in the media and communications industries in account relations, field management and marketing with organizations including TV Max and Allstate Insurance.

Leading the engagement and relationships with IDG’s clients, she is dedicated to understanding needs and developing customized solutions for strategic improvements rather than forcing them into a “black box” offering.

 

Michael Zeman
Client Engagement Manager

Michael has over 21 years of insights experience on both the client and supplier side. His expertise in shopper insights has been extensive, working with a number of manufacturers and their respective key retail customers. Industries include CPG, OTC, consumer electronics, retail, home improvement, foodservice, and agencies. This experience provides a wealth of ideas to develop actionable solutions to create win/win scenarios. Outside of the US, he has worked on projects in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, UK, Germany, France, Spain, KSA, and Dubai.

Previous to IDG, Michael was a SVP of Client Services with SmartRevenue, Inc., a Senior Account Executive at Questar and a VP of Client Services at TNS (Sorensen).

His client service skills and extensive industry knowledge help him anticipate client and retailer needs in the ever changing omnichannel retail landscape. He received an MBA in marketing research from the University of Minnesota and a BA with honors in economics from the University of Chicago.

In his free time, he is using his knowledge as a former Master Gardener and can be found digging in the garden…Weeding therapy it’s called. During the winter months, he is tending the inside garden where he starts most perennials and annuals from seed.

 

Helen Thomas
Senior Qualitative Leader

Helen has over 30 years of experience and innovation in all forms of qualitative research. She specializes in Advanced Qualitative Research Techniques, including: “Stealth” Shop-Alongs (without store permission), Ethnography, Laddering, Focus Groups, and IDI’s across a broad range of industries. Her strong background concentrates in bathing and showering behavior, as well as concept and advertising evaluation, in-home and in-store ethnography, and brand development.

She received her B.A. in Psychology from Cleveland State University and was among the first in Northeast Ohio to offer and regularly conduct ethnographic research in all applicable contexts (in-home, in-store, in-office). Some of her awards and accomplishments include:

  • 2006 co-presenter at AMA Market Research Conference: “Viewing Ethnography From the Inside Out“
  • 2005 winner of Gold IDEA (International Design Excellence Award) in the Research Category
  • Personally trained in the technique of Laddering and Means-End Chain Theory by its co-developer, Dr. Jonathan Gutman
  • IRB Certified by the federal government to conduct sensitive topics research
  • Conducted focus groups inside the Artic Circle, in winter, and lived to tell about it

 

John Thomas
Senior Qualitative Leader

John has over 30 years of experience in all facets of qualitative and quantitative research driving product development and brand growth. His undergraduate studies focused on assessing and understanding animal and human behavior, resulting in a B.A. in the Social Sciences from Cleveland State University. John has held progressive positions as SVP & Director of Research & Brand Planning at regional advertising agencies, SVP Marketing/VP Customer Insights at KeyBank, Marketing Director, Construction Services Division at Owens Corning and a Contract Shopper Insights Executive at Sam’s Club.

John helps businesses to identify and remove barriers along the path to purchase, understand how people really use products and services and how to recognize unmet needs/opportunities in order to leapfrog the competition. His areas of specialization for B2B and B2C Qualitative Research include Ethnography, Shopper Insights, IDIs, Mobile Eye-Tracking, Laddering and User Experience Research.

Quantitatively, John’s expertise focuses on Brand Positioning, Pre/Post Tracking, Segmentation, Conjoint/Trade-Off Studies, CRM Assessments and Concept/New Product Tests. As a Strategic Marketing Consultant, he assists B2B and B2C businesses with Product & Service Development, Cross Selling, Retail Environment Enhancements and ROI Tracking.

 

J. Clark “JC” Houghton
Director of Virtual Technologies

JC formally joined Informed Decisions Group, Inc. in 2017 after a long client/provider relationship that helped facilitate some of IDG’s advanced shopper and virtual methodologies.

He has an extensive technical background; that rages from design and installation of ultra-high resolution visual display systems through service and support of R&D/ Quality Control equipment. He came with a unique expertise in providing large scale visualization services to the market research industry.

The adaptability and resourcefulness that were required as a project manager in the tech sector have been incredibly beneficial when designing and executing new and unique research strategies. Furthermore, these skills have been invaluable when adapting strategies to international markets.

He is enthusiastic about new technologies and the opportunities they have to provide clients with insights that may have been cost prohibitive in the past, if available at all.

 

Iwan “Ivan” Bondarenko
Study Director

Iwan is an executive with over 20 years of experience in market research aligning insight-forward practices and methodologies with business objectives to drive growth. His experience spans across multiple industries including FMCG, durables, luxury brands, QSRs, tools/hardware, financial products, pharmaceuticals, Internet and motor sports.

He has benefited from being on both the client and vendor sides of market research including director-level positions with Precision Sample and Accelerant Research in addition to being a project manager with Market Tools and IRi. Iwan’s client-side experience includes being a senior manager of global consumer insights with Newell-Rubbermaid and a consumer insights & strategy manager with Kraft/Nabisco.

His areas of expertise include business/new product development, social media, consumer & shopper insights, price optimization, marketing mix, packaging research, brand equity/positioning and category management. He is bilingual (English/Spanish) and has international experience in EMEA, APAC, LA & NA.

Iwan has worked with a number of retail clients including big box, grocery, mass, drug, c-store, and specialty channels. He received his B.S. in business administration & marketing from State University of New York at Buffalo.

 

Jennifer Keller-White
Research Analyst

Jennifer became a part of IDG’s team in 2015 as a field manager and quickly grew into key personnel with her project management and analytical skills. As a crucial member to our field group and visual sciences team, her expertise in shopper and eye-tracking research has grown leading to increased efficiencies and quicker turnarounds for our clients.

Her background in behavioral sciences with a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Duquesne University has widened IDG’s diverse team with her emphasis on existential phenomenology and how this ontological view impacts consumer behavior theories. Jennifer’s training helps her challenge the modern tendency to interpret behavior through a narrow technological lens. Her existential approach helps to deepen our clients’ understanding of how their consumers behave in everyday circumstances and the psychological meanings of consumers’ experiences and actions.

She continues to help advance our understanding of human behavior and in-turn provides new dimensions of insights for our clients. Additionally, she is part of the leadership on merging biometric applications to visual sciences for improved shopper, user experience and advertising research.

 

Jennifer Martineau
Team Leader Visual Coding & Analysis

Jennifer joined IDG in 2012 and leads the visual data processing and coding group. After expressing protocols to improve the delivery time and accuracy for eye-tracking projects, she was moved to the coding & analysis team for mobile eye-tracking projects. Her insights have lead to faster turn-arounds internally for project managers, shorter timelines and lower costs for our clients. As a result of her work leading the coding & analysis team, mobile eye-tracking projects have become much more feasible for our clients by fitting into tighter timelines and smaller budgets.

She received her B.A. in Business Administration/Marketing at The Ohio State University and previous to IDG, has focused her efforts on marketing initiatives with non-profit organizations. She continues to help innovate our eye-tracking protocols and implementing additional methodologies such as neuro-measurement, multi-level coding, visual response segmentation approaches and shopper path mapping.

 

Jennifer Kargakos
Team Leader Visual Coding & Analysis

Jennifer has 15 years of experience previously working with corporate investigative firms, conducting pre-employment screenings for over 100 corporate clients, which include Nestle, Baker & Hostetler, Disney, Alliance Bernstein and Coca-Cola, among others. Her role in developing and cultivating those relationships through research and problem solving translated to an invaluable asset to IDG’s analytical team.

Previously, as a Senior Investigator she has been responsible for training new employees and creating training materials for divisions as well as for clients. As a research analyst at IDG, Jennifer is involved with data processing and analytics for survey research and mobile eye-tracking. She also manages field teams for in-store shopper research and is a lead team member ensuring client relations and analytic teams work with perfect synergy.

Jennifer has a BA in Psychology from Kent State University as well as additional coursework at the graduate level focusing on counseling psychology.