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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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    1-25-18 Why do a survey?

    It seems like I get a Survey Monkey, or some similar kind of email survey, at least a couple of times a month.  As someone who has written hundreds of marketing research surveys in my professional life, I am often bemused at the lack of focus and the inhibiting types of possible responses I see.  The maverick in me often wants to provide an answer that’s different than what I’m offered.

    The major question I always ask myself is “What is the purpose of this survey?”  In other words, what will be done with the information that is gathered, and how accurate will the material be that is collected?

    The most common purpose for doing a survey is a need to gather information about a group of people – often customers or potential customers – that will impact how you market your product.  If the responses to a question do not fit this purpose, they should not be included. 

    And, if you do not have a clear purpose for doing a survey in the first place, why waste the time and energy.

    Next week, I’ll talk about the difference between a statistically valid random sample survey and the typical on-line surveys where the respondent chooses to participate.



    1-18-18 Blogging about Blogs

    I’m not sure when blogging began. First, we had computers, then websites, emails and Facebook….and I don’t know which came first: the chicken or the egg, as we have all heard. I just know there are blogs everywhere about every subject. Some blogs have thousands of followers and some, like mine, are read by a few loyal, local folks.

    The beauty of most blogs, as I see it, is that they are totally owned by the individual. No one tells me what to write in my blog. I describe this particular blog as a “marketing blog.” But, if you are one of my loyal readers, you know that I generally write about subjects related to marketing, but often they reflect what I observe in the world around me.

    For anyone who writes a blog, there is a great sense of freedom in being able to write from your heart, from you own point of view, and reflecting your own interests. The only one who tells me what to write in my blog is some little critic buried in my brain.

    I’m having fun with my blogging. Please let me know if there is anything relating to marketing, our local business scene, or anything else where you think I can contribute something


    1-11-18 Non-Profit Theater brings profits to local businesses

    We are truly blessed on this island with the abundance of quality theater productions. An article was published this week about Island Shakespeare Festival’s first winter, indoor production: “Shakespeare’s Other Women.” (

    In describing the growing success of this local theater company, it was noted that of the more than 4,000 people who attended last year’s summer performances, half had come from off-island (based on a zip code check).

    So, that’s 2,000 people who attended the theater and, most likely, purchased a meal here, or walked around Langley and likely purchased some additional items, or toured other parts of Whidbey (and made purchases elsewhere)..

    Besides Island Shakespeare Festival (ISF), we have Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA), Outcast Productions, Whidbey Children’s Theater (WCT) in Langley, and the Whidbey Playhouse in Oak Harbor. I don’t know the statistics on these other theater groups, but I am guessing a significant number of audience members come from other parts of the island and off-island….and most probably contribute to our local economy..



    1-4-18 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 you from 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.



    12-28-17 Looking for good stories for the Business Spotlight

    A few years ago I got into writing stories about Whidbey businesses. My professional background was as a marketing research and public involvement consultant. Then I moved to Whidbey and was asked to write a couple of stories about marketing research for a local business magazine (Northwest Business Monthly, which no longer exists). I don’t even remember now what first created my connection with the magazine. Then, I was asked to write stories about local businesses for that publication.

    Somehow, the publisher of Whidbey Local, JoAnna Weeks, learned about my writing, and she asked me to do business stories for her on-line publication. She encouraged me to write what I wanted, in my own style. She has now branded me as the “Business Spotlight.”  Each week, she trusts me to choose a business, tell their story, and it is published without any editing (my husband is my “official” editor).

    I feel very privileged because I am having the delight of making my own choices and telling stories in my own way.

    I believe that what makes a business story appealing is knowing about the person or people who started the business. I ask three basic questions: Why did they come to live on Whidbey? Why did they decide to create their business? What is special or unique about the product and/or services they provide?

    I invite you to check out a new story each week on The Business Spotlight on Whidbey Local:

    For me, a business story is really about the people behind the business. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me:


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