Susan S. McDonald, Ph.D.
As CEO of NAXION, and leader of the firm's Healthcare practice, Susan is a marketing strategist whose areas of expertise include demand forecasting and product optimization, pricing, market segmentation, brand positioning and portfolio strategy. She is known for her marketing ingenuity and her track record in guiding commercialization of paradigm-changing technologies that require new market models, including some of the industry’s most important global brands. Other sectors in which she has extensive experience include OTC pharmaceuticals and consumer products – both packaged goods and technology-driven categories.
As a respected expert on branding, Susan also directs the Litigation Support practice of NAXION. In that context, she is frequently called upon to conduct surveys and testify as a marketing methodology expert in cases pertaining to trademark confusion, secondary meaning, patent infringement, brand dilution, and deceptive advertising. The focus of her work in that area is often the process of brand development and the factors promoting strong, distinctive brand identity.
Much of Susan’s 35-year marketing career was spent at Booz•Allen & Hamilton, a worldwide management and technology consulting firm, of which she was a Vice President for over five years. She lectures and writes frequently on marketing issues and market research techniques, and has contributed to medical journals as well as marketing texts. Susan is also coauthor of a standard text on qualitative research methods, The Group Depth Interview: Principles and Practice (Simon & Schuster/Prentice Hall). Her early professional years were spent as a journalist and a poet, contributing regularly to a number of major magazines and newspapers, including National Review and Harper's.
Susan is the 2011-2012 Past Chair of the CASRO Board of Directors, the trade association of the US marketing and survey research industry, recently renamed The Insights Association. Currently, she is a trustee of The Wistar Institute, the world’s oldest incubator of biomedical discoveries in cancer and immunology, and a member of the Advisory Board to the marketing research program of the Rutgers University Graduate School of Business. She is also President of the Board of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
Susan holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where she was trained in communications theory and social psychology. Her B.A. was awarded magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Smith College.