The Z-Team

Elevate results with experience. 

During his eight year tenure at Amazon.com, Dr. Manfred Bluemel realized there was an underserved niche in the research industry. Corporations needed high-caliber consumer insights, derived from advanced data-gathering techniques, interpreted by senior researchers and delivered with nimble cost-efficiency. In 2012, the solution became Zeitgeist Research, a virtual boutique firm with a team of highly experienced researchers. The Z-Team adheres to Amazon’s “customer-obsessed” core values and deploys innovative methodologies, while offering commonsense standardized pricing.

Meet the Z-Team

Seattle - Chicago - New York - Phoenix

Manfred Bluemel, Ph.D.

CEO & Founder - Greater Seattle Area

Dr. Manfred Bluemel is the founder and CEO of Zeitgeist Research. Prior to founding Zeitgeist Research, he served as the Worldwide Head of Corporate Market Research for Amazon.com in Seattle.

Dr. Bluemel brings years of experience in the retail, e-commerce, software, travel and technology industries. He specializes in brand equity measurement, decision journey analysis, and segmentation.

A highly regarded e-commerce consultant, Dr. Bluemel has consulted with companies such as Bain Capital and McKinsey. He is a frequent speaker at the American Marketing Association, Market Research Association and the Austrian Chamber of Business.

Jennie Lavaque

COO & Partner - Greater Minneapolis Area

Jennie LaVaque is COO and Managing Partner of Zeitgeist Research. Ms. LaVaque brings over 15 years of custom primary market research experience, utilizing innovative techniques for both qualitative and quantitative studies.

Before joining Zeitgeist Research, Ms. LaVaque was Senior Research Director at comScore Inc., where she established herself as an industry expert in communicating high-end strategic insights with actionable results to Fortune 500 companies.

In this capacity, she did extensive work for Amazon.com and worked closely with Dr. Manfred Bluemel, who was the Worldwide Head of Corporate Market Research for Amazon.com at that time.

Ms. LaVaque has particular expertise in the retail, technology, finance, healthcare and telecommunications verticals. Her extensive portfolio includes Microsoft, Samsung, HP, The Gap Inc., Amazon, CVS Pharmacies, PetSmart, Planned Parenthood, American Eagle Outfitters, Lending Club and Prosper.

Bill Sallas, Ph.D.

Director of Strategic Research - Greater Chicago Area

Bill Sallas, Ph.D. is Director of Strategic Research at Zeitgeist Research, where he combines a unique blend of strategic thinking and scientific rigor to deliver impactful insights.

Prior to joining Zeitgeist Research, Dr. Sallas served as a Research Director at Halverson Group. In addition to a strong background in traditional market research methodologies, he developed new techniques, incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as mobile eye tracking, video analytics, crowdsourced insights and online data collection to improve the quality, depth and speed of insights delivered to clients.

Dr. Sallas has experience in the pharmacy, retail, QSR, apparel and CPG verticals, working with clients including Walgreens, McDonald’s, The North Face and Coca-Cola. He has also worked with creative agencies, including FCB, Tris3ct and Catapult Marketing, from early ideation and concept testing to in-market operations tests.

Holly Edmunds

Director of Research Strategies - Greater Phoenix Area

Holly Edmunds is Director of Research Strategies and has over 25 years of market research experience. She is a skilled focus group moderator and IDI facilitator, across a wide range of industries, working with both consumer and business audiences.

Ms. Edmunds’ client portfolio includes Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Accenture, and Virgin Mobile. She has designed and managed projects that span the globe in scope, in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

A long-time member of the American Marketing Association, Ms. Edmunds has taught seminars for the organization’s conferences and for their research program at Notre Dame University.

She has also provided online tutorials for the AMA website and authored three books for the organization, including The Focus Group Research Handbook and The AMA Guide to the Globe: Managing the International Market Research Process.

Susan Jackson

Recruiting and Contract Manager - Greater Seattle Area

Susan Jackson handles dual roles at Zeitgeist Research, spearheading onboarding compliance contract management, in addition to managing recruitment for qualitative research projects. Both roles require adherence to uncompromising industry standards and ethical guidelines, in addition to strong analytical and interpersonal skills.

Ms. Jackson brings over 25 years of experience to Zeitgeist Research, having served as Director of Account Management and Business Development for Barbara Vick Design in San Francisco, and before that, as a leading Sales Executive for George Rice and Sons, in multiple metro areas. She has worked directly with CEOs and CFOs of corporations throughout the United States and Asia, including Del Monte Foods, Star-Kist Foods, Scharffen Berger Chocolate, Pixar, Sharper Image, William Sonoma and The Gap. She has also traveled throughout Europe as a research consultant for Viking Cruise Lines.

Ms. Jackson studied sociology and psychology at the University of Chicago.

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