Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    4–17–14 Coupeville Chamber members become engaged in sharing ideas 

    If you’ve read my Blogs, you know that one of my major themes is the value of collaboration.  In my experience, ideas and creativity flow more freely in a small group discussion than if someone is searching for inspiration on their own.

    This past Tuesday, I did my Marketing 101 presentation for about 15 members of the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce.  During the presentation, I asked people to share what marketing ideas have worked well for them, and I encouraged people to talk about what produced results for their business.

    At least half of my presentation consisted of listening to the wonderful ideas suggested by those who were there.  The members in the audience also responded to each other’s comments, and there were some lively, positive exchanges.

    It was obvious to me that energy was generated by people sharing with each other, and I could feel the camaraderie building as the meeting continued.

    At the end, I got a lot of compliments on my presentation, but I really felt like complimenting all who were there willing to share their ideas.


    4-10-14 Langley merchants are working together to learn more about customers and visitors coming to the community 

    I’m doing a project for the City of Langley that is a cooperative effort of the Mayor’s office, the Chamber of Commerce, the Langley Main Street Association, and over 25 businesses (so far) to learn more about the people who are coming into the businesses in Langley.

    Each of the participating businesses will be asking people who come into their stores if they would like to help the Langley merchants learn more about visitors to their community by completing a simple, self-administered half-page size questionnaire.  Since each business can mark their name on the questionnaires they distribute, those who do this will be able to have a tabulation of the results for their individual business. The business can also choose to give the questionnaire only to someone who makes a sale (customer) or to anyone who comes into the store (visitor).

    The questionnaire gets information about zip code, weekday vs. weekday customers, customers vs. visitors, why people are visiting Langley on this day, and how they learned about the particular business they are in.

    The results will provide information to guide future advertising and promotion for the greater Langley business community as well as the individual businesses that participate.

    This is a great example of members of a business community working together to get information that will benefit everyone.


    4-4-14 Three basic marketing ideas to help increase business

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the three ways I approach this:

     1)      It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have or have been referred to you by current customers; and

    3)      It is hardest to sell to new people about whom you have little information.

    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.

    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you….once they know who you are….and especially if they have heard good things about your from their friends.

    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.

    The wise ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers, and let your customers know how much you appreciate having them refer you to others.

    And, remember….a satisfied customer usually tells many people.  A dissatisfied customer tells everyone.


    3-27-14 A great example of collaboration in Coupeville: Vail Wine Shop & Tasting Room and the Oystercatcher Restaurant 

    One of my major marketing themes is the value of collaboration.

    Recently, I did stories for Whidbey Local that described the new owners of the Oystercatcher Restaurant ( and the move to a larger location for Vail Wine Shop & Tasting Room ( .

    The new location for Vail Wine Shop provided them with the opportunity to offer food service to accompany their glasses of wine and micro brews.  They formed a partnership with the Oystercatcher Restaurant to provide this food service.

    When I asked Patsy and Larry Vail to comment on their collaboration experience, here’s what they said:

    From Patsy: “Just like any great marriage or partnership... we are better together than apart! We are so grateful for our partnership with the Oystercatcher. Tyler and Sarah are passionate and talented and add so many good things to our little wine shop and to our little town! We are blessed!”

    From Larry: “We love the Oystercatcher and the people who are behind this great restaurant. We share a synergy that we believe not only helps promote each other but, also promotes the entire town of Coupeville; a wonderful working relationship!”

    And, here is what the Sara and Tyler Hansen had to say about their collaboration with Vail Wine Shop:

    From Sara: “Our businesses were at the perfect point to help each other grow, and we couldn't be more excited to have them as partners. It's great to be able to bounce ideas off each other. All of us bring our own set of skills to the table, which pushes all of us to be better. We want our town to have strong and healthy business environment, and this is helping to reach that goal.”

    From Tyler: “We are very grateful for the partnership with the Vail's. I think it is important for businesses in a small community such as ours to work together with the goal of growing as a whole.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Collaborations benefit each of the businesses that promote each other.


    3-20-14 What is a statistically valid survey?

    Self-selected surveys, as we have discussed in previous blogs, are valuable tools for learning more about the people who are most enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts - most often the most positive and the suggestions for improvements.

    A lot of non-reliable information is being passed off as a “survey.”  With Survey Monkey and other simple ways of sending out questionnaires available on line, it’s easy to believe that if you just send out a survey on the internet, it will produce reliable information.

    However, to be a “random sample” survey with a measurable degree of accuracy, the sample must be pre-selected using a random number system.  If someone chooses to respond to an on-line survey (like Survey Monkey), by definition this is not a statistically valid process.

    Telephone interview surveys are still considered to be the most cost-effective way of getting statistically valid information.  There is a margin of error, based upon the size of the sample (generally, a minimum sample of 200 is the industry standard for reliable data about any population segment).  Overall, random sample telephone interview surveys provide reasonably accurate information about the population from which the sample is drawn.

    With the advent of cell phones, I became concerned about what this means for the traditional method of doing random sample surveys.  I have discussed this with Don Morgan, the President of GMA Research, the company that has done most of the data collection for my surveys for several years.  It turns out that a survey firm, like GMA Research, can now purchase cell phone lists in the same way they have purchased land-line telephone lists, from which the random samples are drawn.  Although some do have cell phones with a prefix that is different from where they reside, most people have cell phones that have been issued in their region.

    So, be aware when you look at the results of a any "survey" if the study used a process for collecting statistically valid and projectable data, or if the results are from a self-selected survey where participants choose to respond.