Who We Are

We're small but we think big.

We are a full service, qualitative marketing and communications research firm.

Our goal is to make sure we’re talking to the right people so our clients have the right information to make the best business decisions.

We have over 30 years of research experience in these market sectors:

  • Toys and video games/apps
  • Food and nutrition
  • Beverages
  • Confectionery
  • Advertising/public relations
  • Entertainment
  • Publishing
  • Healthcare/pharmaceutical
  • Direct marketing
  • Insurance
  • Financial services
  • Charity/non profit
  • Digital media/content

We believe that when consumers tell their stories they reveal fresh and valuable insights.

​Creating the right dynamic is key to rich and honest consumer feedback.

Observing consumers in their natural environments is an art.

What We Do

We do qualitative research

  • We do the best qualitative research.
  • We are both researchers and consultants.
  • We’ve been talking to consumers and business leaders for over 30 years.
  • We work collaboratively with clients to determine the best way to do the job.
  • Our goal is to find the research methods best suited to answer our clients’ questions.
  • We use proven, traditional methods when they fit the bill.
  • We explore unique and innovative methods as needed.
  • We never recommend more than clients need or something clients don’t need.

What we are known for

  • Our curiosity and passion
  • Providing the very best qualitative research and moderating excellence
  • Building business partnerships
  • Attention to confidentiality and security
  • Our fast path to insights and our creative, collaborative, and advanced analysis and debriefing process
  • Our expertise with children 5 to 12 years and teens 13 to 16 years
  • Working with companies throughout the product lifecycle—from concept development to launch performance
  • Projective tests and enabling techniques that reach below the rationalized consumer response to the emotional level
  • Deep diving to uncover true consumer drivers

What We Specialize In

We have over 30 years experience in market sector such as...

  • Consumer Research
  • Ethnographic Research
  • Product Research
  • Advertising Research
  • Concept and Positioning Development and testing
  • Shopper Insights

We believe:

  • Listening is an undervalued skill
  • Creating the right dynamic is key to rich and honest consumer feedback
  • Kids are fun to work with
  • If you let consumers tell their stories, they will reveal fresh and valuable insights
  • A company’s brand is it’s most important asset, but there’s no such thing as unthinking brand loyalty today
  • Immediate access to information has led to incredibly informed and, at times, incredibly confused consumers
  • Observing consumers in their natural environments is an art
  • There’s nothing better than speaking to consumers in person

Our Team

Megan Nerz

Megan Loughlin Nerz is a cofounder of MLN Research, which opened its qualitative doors in 1987. She started her career as the Director of Children’s Research at the Gene Reilly Group in 1979, but her involvement with kids and research goes back to the 1978 Federal Trade Commission hearings on the effects of TV Advertising on Children.

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Rebecca Presler

Rebecca Presler joined MLN Research in 2012 as a research associate. Over the past two years, Rebecca has moved into planning, implementing, and analyzing her own qualitative research projects.

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David Nerz

David Nerz is a founding partner of MLN Research. With over 20 years experience in marketing research and having interviewed over 15,000 adults and kids in focus groups and depth interviews, he has vast experience in qualitative research and strategic planning.

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Lindsay Wessel

Lindsay Wessel joins MLN Research after having led consumer research and insights efforts for clients at Capstrat, a communications firm in Raleigh, N.C.

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Our Clients

Our clients and their brands span a broad range of industries and our passion for their business is reflected in long standing business relationships.

Alberto Culver
Apex Tool Company
Aquafina
Balance Bar
Back to Nature
BB&T Bank
Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Campbell Soup
Capstrat
Crystal Light
Duke University Medical Center
Duke Power
Frito-Lay
Fruit20
Gerber
Girl Scouts of America
Golden Corral
Grey Advertising
International Masters Publishers
J. Walter Thompson
Jell-O
Jenny Craig
Kidde
Kool-Aid
Kraft Foods
The LEGO Group
Leo Burnett
Levi Strauss
Lipton, Canada
Macmillan Publications
Medical Mutual
MTV Networks
Nickelodeon
Nabisco
North Carolina State University
North Carolina A&T
Ogilvy & Mather
Ontario Milk Marketing Board
Oscar Mayer
Pepperidge Farm
Post Cereals
PepsiCo
SAFEChild
Tazo Tea
Time Warner Cable
University of North Carolina
Highway Safety Research Center
Viacom
Walt Disney Company
Warner Lambert
Warner Brothers
Westfield Shopping Malls
Y&R
NC Department of Health and Human Services