Mary Ruth Clarke


Freelance Services for Qualitative Researchers

Increase the amount of high quality research you can do. From mining to refining.

Category Audit
Secondary research: I'll mine whatever it takes. Using my experience in the worlds of theater, art, literature, history, pop culture and trend spotting to help generate understanding about a category.
Brand Audit
I'll be Watson to your Sherlock Holmes. Competition check-out: Comparison and analysis from advertising through product use. Reviewing previous brand data (focus groups, etc.)
Field Support
I'll be your extra set of eyes and ears. On site, during post interview debriefs. I will write up ethnographic summaries, pull quotes for presentations. If need be, I can moderate or interview.
Divergence into Convergence
I'll support you throughout the process. I'll help you process complex masses of disparate information and find the connections, the story, and bring the findings home for more insightful learnings and a more actionable future for your client.

How I've supported qualitative researchers:

A deep dive into the anxieties of female consumers during a shaky economy led to a cosmetics company making the leap to telling it like it is and focusing more on value, less on luxury and glamour

A review of recent focus groups, listening to the respondent reactions to ad concepts as well as listening to stories of their own personal life caching, led to the notion that a fashion company would best be served by focusing less on the brand story and more on assisting customers in telling their own stories

Using character analysis, a deep dive into the emotional drive, aspirations, and unmet needs of the small business owner led to a financial institution revamping their offerings for this target

An historical overview of coffee provided a rich context for a new coffee company to differentiate its stores in a glutted marketplace.

A close examination of the building of the Interstate Highway System and its profound impact on inspired a probe into what it means to be an American. This led to the repositioning of car advertising directed towards the Boomer segment.

Why Work With Me?

I bring a unique perspective, contributing previously unexplored dimensions to help generate understanding about the environment and culture of the category/brand.

You have more time to spend on the findings and spend less energy and time on tracking down data.

I provide valuable debrief insights that will strengthen your reputation as a quality research provider.

You use only the services you need when you need them, increasing the flexibilities of your organization and your responsiveness to clients.

My freelance costs are lower than the fully-loaded costs associated with full-time employees.

My Soft Skills

Background and Experience

I have been freelancing in the worlds of qualitative research and strategic ideation for 22 years. The majority of my career has been servicing independent and in-house moderators and facilitators. I have ghost-written reports and ethnographic summaries. I am a playwright/actor and have taught acting/improv workshops to QRCA moderators, operated as a contrarian-respondent plant in a series of focus groups for a political party, named a theme park, a restaurant, a new electronic device, and my own screenplay: Meet The Parents.

I will be happy to supply references upon request.