Peer Testimonials 


Delivering Sustainable Results

Liz Peacefull, Parcels Market Consultant

Vanderlande Industries UK Ltd

Having secured a new role as a Market Insights Manager I wanted to gain a greater understanding of our customers’ demands/needs and constraints. Karen Stein was recommended to me, as she had previously conducted a Voice of the Customer for a separate business function which was very successful.
Being new to the process Karen was excellent at directing the exercise and to ensure I set clear objectives for the Voice of Customer exercise. Karen supported the structure and approach for the interviews, given Karen’s extensive experience in interviewing, she was super at gaining insights, information and qualitive information to ensure that we maximised the time we had with our customers. Karen is personable and uses this to put people at ease and build relationships at all levels a real joy to work with!
Where I found the real value add is the process that you then go through following the interviews to review the outcomes against the objectives in a holistic approach. Karen steered us through this with her meticulous and methodical approach. I have now been able to gain a much greater insight into my customers needs and how we may best support them and would fully recommend her services for anyone who would like to put the Customer at the heart of what you do.
Logistic Process Automation

Jim Neville, President & CEO, Industrial Physics

Karen is the rare commercial leader who can bridge sales and marketing functions to drive profitable growth. She did a fantastic job working with our regional sales leaders to develop a channel strategy that took share from the competition.

Industrial Packaging and Material Testing Equipment 

Shams Tabrez, Global Account Manager, Quantum Global Technologies

Although our company was starting to gain technological differentiation and rapid market traction we needed commercial vision to fully exploit the opportunity. Karen was our interim Sales leader for just over a year. Prior to her involvement, we had very little structure in our account planning and annual budget process. Karen brought a new way of thinking that helped us better understand our accounts and helped us develop much more robust plans that were focused on new business and market share gains. She structured monthly sales reviews that held people accountable while also getting them visibility to things that were needed for successful execution. Even though this was an interim consulting assignment, Karen was as driven and passionate about our team and our customers as if she was truly part of the company. Karen won the respect and trust of the commercial team and she left us well prepared and confident to wage successful commercial battles employing the tools, tactics and tenacity of a company aspiring to conquer our space….which we did and are doing.
Ultra-high Purity Parts Cleaning 

Anita Santos, VP of Marketing, Tyco Security Products

Karen is an extraordinary consultant in the areas of product marketing and commercial management. I have contracted Karen many times to conduct training programs and then follow up on projects to help my team get a deeper understanding of the concepts being learned. She is incredibly passionate about product marketing and recognizes that true product marketing professionals contribute significantly to the sustained success of a business. Whether it be the role of product management, pricing, product launches or product life cycle management, Karen can help advise you on how to grow your business or help you teach your team on how to identify and implement growth opportunities.

Brian Muellers, President, Pall Power Generation

Karen provided in-depth marketing insight at a critical juncture that began the turnaround of our profitable power generation business unit. She functioned as an equal member of our leadership team despite the fact that she was the sole external consultant on the team. She was committed to the long-term outcome in addition to her specific deliverables.

Karen’s deliverables included clarification of our market segmentation as well as a detailed analysis of the voice of customer. Her analyses were on target and enabled the team to make clear decisions based on solid data communicated in a clear manner. Aside from the product Karen delivered, however, the greatest benefit of working with her was the learning she enabled within the team. By functioning as a full team player, Karen enabled the rest of the leadership team to walk away with new tools that could then be applied to future situations.   

The results: The outcome of our engagement with Karen was a clear path to the business strategy enabling targeted investments, sales funnel growth of 3x within the six following months and the first twelve-month period of growth for the business in at least three years.

Filtration Consumables and Hardware

Timothy Kryman, Sr. Director of PCG Product Management, Rudolph Technologies

I’ve worked with Karen over the course of the last year developing a Voice of the Customer program that is being implemented by our Marketing and Sales teams. Karen is well versed in VoC and has provided fantastic training and support. She is extremely knowledgeable and pragmatic in her approach. Her willingness to be flexible in schedule and approach has made implementing this program on a global scale a success!

Semiconductor Equipment

Raj Shah, Strategic Marketing Leader, Pall Energy

I have had the pleasure of working with Karen directly for about a year now. Working with her has been both an immense learning opportunity for me. She brings vigorous energy and focus in everything she does. I have worked with her on short term projects ranging from strategic plan preparation and some voice of customer studies. She has a structured methodology to marketing along with a broad set of tools that can be applied for an efficient outcome. Her breadth of experience across various industries is an immense asset. I found Karen very passionate in all things marketing and would highly recommend her to anyone or any company looking to bring strong focus, discipline and coaching a marketing team for delivering quick results.

Filtration Consumables and Hardware 

Brannon Beck, Oil & Gas Sales Manager, Pall Energy

Karen provided excellent support and guidance for our sales organization as we worked to pursue new, untapped markets. She challenged our organization to create new collateral, interfaced with our direct and indirect channels to ensure alignment and provided a functional structure to our focused sales trial. I am confident that we’ll engage with Karen on future projects – her passion, energy and knowledge of marketing principles will surely create value for our organization again.

Filtration Consumables and Hardware 

Director of Marketing, Fortune 500 Company

Karen trained me on Voice of the Customer (VOC) in 2002.  Soon after the training, Karen was brought into my division/business unit where I gained further insight into best practices for using VOC and Language Processing techniques in support of highly-visible new product development initiatives. Prior to Karen departing, she provided me with a train-the-trainer VOC session, and I have since led deployment of the process in several businesses.

We leveraged VOC in a product area where we were losing market share in North America, which lead to develop new products, hire key customer-facing personnel, and open up new channels in the market. In less than 3 years, we tripled our market share, and drove a disruptive technology strategy which gave us a 2 year jump on the competition and a sustainable competitive advantage that we have since implemented globally.

I have found a great deal of value in learning the process discipline, primarily in driving customer intimacy which we’ve been able to translate into targeted marketing and product strategies.  VOC is a skill set that I pass down to my own direct reports and mentees to gain a competitive advantage.  I have found most success deploying VOC in the following areas:

  • Win/Loss Analysis
  • New Product Definition
  • Product Positioning and Messaging Development
  • Adjacency Market Development

Laboratory Equipment

Vice President of Marketing, Fortune 500 Company

When Karen joined our business, the revenues had been fairly flat and the profitability was low with single digit EBITA. The first thing she did was implement a strategic planning process, where she solicited involvement cross-functionally across the organization. It was an excellent team exercise, and together we developed our strategic framework as well as our growth initiatives and business goal tree. Because Karen structured the process this way, there was buy-in across the organization which was critical to successful implementation.   

One of the outcomes identified in the process was the need to dramatically improve our new product development and commercialization. Karen showed us how to do Voice of the Customer (VOC) to better understand the customer value drivers across multiple market segments as well as different geographic regions. We used the results from this VOC exercise to drive the new platform through the stage gate development process. Karen’s coaching helped us utilize the VOC results to determine key customer value drivers, product concepts, product positioning and value-based pricing. Her hands-on involvement and leadership was a great asset in driving a successful business case, project and global product launch.

The results: The new product platform increased revenues by 30%, at margins that increased 5 points over the legacy product platform and market share gains increased 5%. As the new platform was better differentiated and more profitable, we decided to obsolete the legacy product line, this rationalization provided further efficiencies resulting in profitability improvements for the BU. This was one of several initiatives that moved our BU profitability into a healthy level.

Since then, I have utilized the Voice of the Customer process in different BU’s to drive 5 additional successful product platforms with revenues in excess of $100MM.  The VOC process has become required learning within my teams and the process continues to guide me and my team on critical customer-facing decisions every day.

Scientific Instruments

Tammy Joska, Applications Scientist and Director of Strategic Collaborations

Thrive Bioscience

Karen ranks among the top 5 percent of individuals I’ve worked with during my academic and industrial careers. Karen’s breadth of knowledge under the umbrella of commercial excellence propelled thought-provoking approaches to sales, marketing, Cx/Ux and business development. Most importantly, Karen is excellent communicator and a leader with influence. Her well-organized approach to communicating strategy while using group discussion to help evolve her ideas leads to buy in and in turn, productivity.

Karen provided well-crafted organizational tools for making key business decisions such as vetting distribution partners abroad. Her distribution partner scorecard enumerated an unbiased selection of the top distribution partners for consideration.

Karen asks thoughtful questions that deliver deep insights, especially when speaking with leads, prospects and customers. She sees the value of Voice of Customer (VOC) and carefully documents the feedback with actionable organization.

Karen has an infectious energy and a high level of dedication to her work and teaching that I continue to benefit from. Karen is very balanced and works remarkably well with broad personalities and styles. If you bring Karen into your organization she will see through the chaos, diagnose the issues and deliver a strategy to success and profitability. Her dedication to the organization, teams and individuals are unparalleled.

Rahul Naik, Chief Information Officer, Quantum Global Technologies

Karen is one of the most gifted Marketing & Sales leaders I have had the privilege to work with. She keeps the customer need at the center of the universe and arranges the business process and practices around them. Not only does she have deep knowledge about a range of Sales and Marketing techniques and approaches, but she also imparts them to her team with indefatigable and infectious energy.
Ultra-high Purity Parts Cleaning 

Maura Fitzpatrick, VP of Product Management & Marketing, Cambridge Technology

I had the opportunity to work with Karen in three different organizations. Karen is the strongest Marketing leader I’ve known throughout my career. Karen takes the time to teach the fundamentals of marketing, strategy development and working within a team. The combination of having learned these skills has enabled my own success as a marketing professional. It is sometimes shocking to see how many high level marketing personnel do not truly understand the basic fundamentals.

If you have ever launched an unsuccessful product, then you know the importance of VOC. While working for Karen at Millipore, she trained us on her very detailed and methodical method for capturing VOC, which I have used long after Karen and I worked directly with each other.Ensuring you have solid, accurate VOC will enable you to develop and launch a product into the market place that the market will see value in. This disciplined approach to VOC prior to a product development effort has resulted in accelerated first year revenue, each time I have used this method with my team.

Developing a cohesive strategy for your business is critical, it’s very important to determine what you are going to do, and what you are not going to do, so that you can utilize your resources effectively. Karen taught me to layout a detailed strategic plan, and then follow up with tactical execution. During our time together at Brooks Automation, we laid out a strategic plan for growing our service revenue with key end users in the Semiconductor industry, which resulted in 10% market share growth in 12 months. I’ve moved more into a strategic role and use the things I’ve learned from Karen for our strategic planning process now, at my current position as VP of Product Management and Marketing at Cambridge Technology.

I would jump at the chance to work with Karen again. She is a tremendous asset to any organization.

Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing

Scott Merrow, Global Service Director, ThermoFisher Scientific

I have worked with Karen 5 times in my career: 4 times in corporate organizations and one time with her in her consulting business, Marketing Matters. One of the things I have learned from Karen is that you can’t simply take results at face value and know the root cause. It takes some digging and there are ways to diagnose the root cause so that ultimately, you can implement a systemic fix rather than simply react to the symptoms. The things I learned from Karen while we were working together I have used over and over again in my career. She has tremendous experience, and takes the time to not just teach but coach her teams to success. Every situation has its own unique nuances, and rather than applying a theoretical approach, Karen works shoulder to shoulder with you to understand the business and what’s going on, so that together, you can develop a solution that provides sustainable positive results for years to come.  Whether it was utilizing Voice of the Customer to seek out new business opportunities, developing a growth strategy or implementing world class processes like New Product Launch and Value Based Pricing, Karen always made it work for our particular business, and the teams continued to deliver results long after her departure. I think this is the true testament to her effectiveness. I would recommend Karen/Marketing Matters to any organization looking to boost their organic growth and enhance their financial performance.

Industrial Capital Equipment

Global Product Marketing Manager, Fortune 500 Company

When Karen joined our business, the revenue and bookings were on the decline. Some assumed it was the market but that was only part of the truth. We were losing market share and couldn’t figure out why. We were an engineering driven organization. It was all about what great technologies our engineers and scientists were able to come up with first and then it get pushed to our commercial team to try and find customers who would be interested in it. We were truly an inside out organization instead of an outside in!

When Karen arrived, she helped us diagnose the root cause issues by walking us through a comprehensive business analysis, and it became clear that we had a stagnant customer base and that the current SAM (Serviceable Addressable Market) would not support our longer term financial goals. So together we developed a shorter term execution plan of aggressive new customer acquisition as well as footprint expansion with current customers. In addition, we developed a strategy to expand our SAM via a new product platform focused in OEM space. This same platform could make us more competitive in our current SAM.

Karen taught us how to use VOC to understand the problems we faced and how to drive innovation and growth.She taught us how to ask question after question to get to the true problems that we must solve for the customer in order to truly differentiate. She drilled us over and over about “What keeps them up at night.” With her coaching, we learned how to set goals, formulate open-ended questions, formed a broad target list of customers to contact for VOC. After we have conducted the initial VOC, she worked with us to distill the feedback we received into an engineering specification. We filtered out what was important and what wasn’t.  There were so much feedback that seemed really cool at the time but didn’t hold any value at the end of the day.  Without Karen’s coaching, we would have gone down the wrong path.  But we stayed our course, and used the data to drive innovation.   She continued to coach us throughout the development, field trial tests and eventually product launch phase.  She helped to ensure that everyone in our organization understood and was fully capable of communicating the value proposition of this new product platform.  From the start of the process to the launch of this new platform, it took us only 13 months where as before, it would have easily taken us 2 years.  We achieved project payback within 6 months from launch!  Bookings increased by 72% after the first year!  Since then, we were able to sustain booking growth of 10% or more year-over-year.  Additionally, margins increased by 1,000 basis points when compared to the platform that this one replaced. It was incredible!

Our New Product Vitality went from 7% in 2008 to 12% in 2009 to 21.4% in 2010. Without Karen’s continuous coaching and leadership, we would not have been this successful.

Capital Equipment

Michael Polly, Director Strategic Marketing, Tyco Security Products

Karen provided our Marketing team with exceptional guidance and mentoring in driving a Strategic Value Based Pricing review process on several of our product lines. Karen is hugely professional and knowledgeable in the subject area but also brings enthusiasm, passion and leadership to inspire and motivate her clients through what for us was a highly challenging process. The success in project can be measured by more than the revenue and margin improvement we gained as a result of Karen’s work – which was significant. The engagement also included the development of the team’s knowledge and skills so that we would be capable of replicating the entire process on our own in the future. This people development aspect to her engagement process provides Karen with a highly differentiated value proposition in the world of Marketing Consultancy.

Michael Capellino, Associate Director, Product Development, Sample6

We asked Karen to come in and help our team with a recent Voice of the Customer project. Not only did she train the team on the basics, but she conducted many of them with us to show the team how to get the most valuable information out of each interview. She didn’t shy away from getting her hands dirty or doing the heavy lifting with and for the team. The work that came out of our VoC distillation helped guide our next generation product strategy. Karen also helped with further validation work that really helped our team understand the right balance between performance and price. Throughout the project, Karen was always available and happy to provide her expertise and advice whenever and wherever it was needed.

Food Safety 

Dave Lamphere, Global Product Manager, Pall Water

I have had the pleasure of working with Karen for 11 months while she consulted for my employer. Karen has an exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge related to marketing and business experience. Karen supported many activities during her time working with the organization through product launch, VOC implementation and training, strategic planning and an interim role as marketing leader while the recruitment for a VP of marketing was conducted. Her dedicated support and roll-up-her-sleeves attitude were welcomed and effective in getting results. I appreciate Karen’s passion and strength in assisting businesses in becoming marketing focused, and putting processes in place to be successful.

Filtration Consumables and Hardware