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Meet the Team

About Michele Zwillinger, Founder of Zwillinger Research

From journalist to criminologist to researcher—what’s the difference? The journey.

Michele started out as the little kid always asking, “Why?” That often grating habit led to her interest in journalism—writing for Burr Facts (Junior High), the Fairfax Gazette (High School), the Hollywood Citizen News, and UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian. Academically she took a sidetrack into criminology to find answers to her “why” questions. But the politics of academia were not for her, so the search for a career where she could search for and find answers began.

Stumbling onto market research while working for Audience Studies Inc. (ASI), she found the perfect industry to stimulate her curiosity, provide her need for variety, and stoke her passion for answering the “Why” questions; while taking pride in helping her client’s businesses thrive.

Corporate Experiences

Prior to founding Zwillinger Research, Michele held senior research positions working for corporations and advertising agencies, where she was able to hone her skills,develop a broad repertoire of research techniques, and see first hand the benefits her clients in industries from auto racing to movie development achieved from investing in her research and implementing her suggestions.

Among her research industry experience, Michele worked for Vivitar as the consumer research manager. Her achievements include research for developing the first consumer-oriented underwater camera, the first darkroom product for developing photographs at home, and the first mass-marketed pocket camera—a precursor to today’s digital cameras. Her research results also provided sales assistance to help transition Vivitar from a supplier of specialty professional and hobbyist photographic equipment to a mass-market manufacturer and distributor of cameras and accessories.

As Research Director at New Products Network, she helped support Fortune 500 expansion by identifying and developing new products and services. By being directly involved in the early-stages of the product development process, Michele was able to provide research data and creative input that made a critical impact on her clients’ success. Products on which she collaborated include Dole fresh produce and frozen specialty items, Bumblebee Tuna, Hershey’s Grain Division products, and Levi Strauss.

Michele oversaw the expansion of the Agency’s Western Region for Wells, Rich, Greene, the eighth largest Ad Agency in the world—helping to establish and provide research support for Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Seattle and Phoenix offices, as well as serving as research consultant for many of the advertising agency’s clients.

With her internal knowledge and client-side success working with ad agencies, Michele continues to provide support during the research and development phase for advertising campaigns. Michele assists ad agencies—identifying consumer hot buttons and developing related strategies. She was the muse for blowing up the Jack-in-the-Box clown as well as for major creative initiatives for Sebastian International, Hormel’s Stagg Chili and Noah’s Bagels.

Active Contributor to the Research Industry

PrintDubbed “a researcher’s researcher,” Michele is a sought-after speaker, sharing her expertise and experience with corporate and entrepreneurial organizations, colleagues and students in the fields of research, marketing, consumer products and advertising. Among other related topics, she speaks on the use of market research in the product planning process, in using market research to gain a competitive edge, and the best use of various research methodologies.

Dedicated to serving her community, Michele has been active in numerous marketing and research associations and business groups, as well as community, government and educational organizations. She founded the Southern California Chapter of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA), and is an active member in the international QRCA organization. A recognized expert in the field, Michele was chosen to represent North American qualitative researchers in the first QRCA Symposium on Excellence in Qualitative Research.

Well-Educated and Able to Apply Relevant Skills

prc_logoMichele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelors’ degree in sociology and a masters’ degree in criminology. She polished her research skills when she was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health Intern Fellowship for independent research. Additionally, she stays on top of the latest techniques through teaching and attending webinars, seminars, conferences and classes; and has earned the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) from the Marketing Research Association (MRA) continuously over the last decade.

Says Michele, “My social-psychology background augmented by the journalistic experience and criminology education really set the stage for me as a researcher. I have a psychologist’s instinct for understanding human behavior and a detective’s drive for finding relevant and repeatable patterns behind those behaviors. Consumer research allows me to use advanced techniques, creative strategies and a dash of intuition to help clients know where they’re headed and how to get there in the most economical and advantageous way. Most of all, I help them avoid costly mistakes so they can sleep at night!”

Our Associates

Zwillinger Research, based in the greater Los Angeles area, collaborates with international marketing researchers and maintains strategic alliances with online research companies, management and marketing companies to expand offerings to clients. We are now affiliated with WAC Insights & Strategy to more efficiently serve our clients’ on and offline quantitative needs. As a result of this alliance, we have access to all their proprietary techniques, including the ability to mine and then model data from clients’ large scale quantitative studies to identify and predict marketplace potential for prospective new or repositioned brands.

With an impressive client list spanning multiple industries worldwide, Michele remains hands-on, even when she brings in colleagues from related fields for the client’s benefit. Zwillinger Research projects are expertly managed with superior attention to detail, giving clients maximum results and confidence in risky business decision making.

Additionally, working with Zwillinger Research provides our clients with access to associates in strategic planning, marketing, advertising, packaging and promotions. Michele works only with those companies who can add value to her client activities, and stays involved to the extent that she can help interpret the research findings and provide her associates with guidance for their services to better serve her clients.

Kudos from People Served

An Invaluable Asset

Michele Zwillinger has proven to be an invaluable asset to our agency and to our clients in every stage of the marketing and advertising process. She has helped us lay foundations for effective campaigns with exceptionally thorough and complete target audience and key issues identification that makes our creative much more precise and impactful. Her research and evaluation into the effects of ongoing campaigns are insightful and easily understood even by those with no marketing background.

~ Suzanne Marks, Owner, Pasadena Advertising

Intellectual Generosity

Has anyone told you today how wonderful you are? Thanks for the brainstorming info. …Your info has started to get my creative juices flowing … not to mention my confidence. Warm regards and thanks for your intellectual generosity.

~Karen Zimmerman, Zimmerman Associates

Rely on a Pro

Michele is truly a ‘qualitative researcher’s consultant.’ She is a frequent leader in conference and other teaching activities. Many people look to her for her opinion and refer difficult projects to her, knowing that we can rely on a pro. I’ve watched her moderate and was impressed by the gentle and non-threatening way she could repeatedly probe and go after elusive information.

~ George Silverman, President & Founder, Market Navigation, Inc., Decision Acceleration and Word of Mouth Marketing Consultant

Interested in leveraging our market research expertise to improve your business?

Contact Michele at or 1-818-906-7562 to get started.

Why Zwillinger Research?

We do more than just conduct research and hand you the results. Our ultimate goal is to enable you to make confident business decisions and that means helping you make sense of the results.
Learn more.

Your Success is our Success

“All aspects make you A+ in my book…I really appreciate your hard work, the way you think and your thoughtfulness. You are a great partner!” ~M.M.

Read more of what our clients have to say.

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