NCI Roundup

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This article by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 14, 1999. All rights


Segmentation Secrets: Rosetta Group

Three influences — pressure from Wall Street, data

availability, and computing power — are converging to encourage

marketing executives to be very precise in developing marketing strategies,

says Christopher Kuenne, president and founder of the Rosetta Marketing

Strategies Group. The one-year-old knowledge-based marketing firm

has taken space in the Carnegie Center in the same suite as one of

its owners, Nelson Communications, the New York-based marketing services

company that has three advertising agencies. With 4,500 square feet

leased, Rosetta has eight fulltime employees and expects to hire seven


As the name of the firm indicates, the Rosetta Group’s strategy refers

to the principle used by J.F. Champollion and other scholars to decipher

Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Rosetta Stone, which Napoleon’s troops

discovered in 1799 and which now resides in the British Museum, had

been inscribed by priests of Ptolemy V in three languages — hieroglyphic,

demotic, and Greek. Scholars used the two languages they did know

to devise the code for the language they did not know.

In a similar way Kuenne’s firm has figured out a way to translate

insights about the consumer to develop a deeper understanding of the

consumer’s decision-making process and come up with very precise marketing

strategies. "Our model is to understand the structure of a consumer

category (toothpastes or cholesterol reducers for instance). We study

three dimensions — needs, attitudes, and behaviors — and with

these three views we get an idea of how the market works. Most segmentation

structures are based on only one of the dimensions."

The Rosetta approach was born from studying a range of industries;

broadbased understanding accelerates the learning. It works across

a wide range of industries, such as the pharmaceutical, telecommunications,

retail banking and financial services, and consumer packaged goods


Rosetta Marketing Strategies Group specializes in working with consumer

categories that are highly competitive and complex but where growth

is stagnating, such as over-the-counter preparations; and also with

fast-growing categories such as cholesterol-controlling drugs. The

group’s clients include Johnson and Johnson, Procter and Gamble, Coca

Cola, Merrill Lynch, J&J Merck (a joint venture for Pepsid AC and

Mylanta), SmithKline Beecham, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and McNeil.

The strategy is to increase the brand’s share of usage within a household,

says Kuenne, and this might mean encouraging a consumer who buys one

particular brand, say five out of ten times, to buy the same brand

more times. The focus is not on getting the consumer to use more cough

drops, but on getting the consumer to use more of the cough drop brand.

"We have fancy math — a proprietary process and algorithm

that combines information from marketing and psychology — that

allows us to analyze the three dimensions," says Kuenne. "Consumers

can have the same attitude but different underlying needs and very

different behaviors."

"We are sorting through to find patterns across a thousand variables.

Algorithms give us the ability to sort through an enormous amount

of data and give alternative solutions," says Kuenne. "From

a marketing standpoint, any one solution may or may not make any sense."

It requires marketing experience just to select the right outputs

from the algorithm, and that underneath all the market research must

be a layer of psychology. "It is tempting to accept what the black

box tells you, but we work hard to ask `Does this make sense?’ from

a human experience and from a marketing standpoint?"

Kuenne (rhymes with beanie) spent 10 years in marketing management

at Johnson & Johnson, and was a partner at First Manhattan Consulting

Group, leading the firm’s retail marketing practice. He majored in

history at Princeton, Class of 1985, and has an MBA from Harvard Business


Kuenne and his wife, Leslie, a genetic counselor, have three children,

including new baby Will and four-year-old Peter. Their eldest, Olivia,

died in a freak accident two years ago, and this loss fueled Kuenne’s

entry into entrepreneurship; part of the profits from Rosetta Marketing

Strategies Group will go to a charitable foundation that bears Olivia’s

name. The foundation aims to honor Olivia’s love of art and will provide

materials for young children to develop their imaginations.

Vice president Kurt E. Holstein and his wife, Jennie, and their two

school-age daughters have relocated to Princeton from Cincinnati.

After majoring in operations research and industrial engineering at

Cornell, Class of 1982, he worked for Procter & Gamble for 16 years

in jobs ranging from line marketing to marketing director of P&G pharmaceuticals.

Typically, a marketer’s career path involves going back to school

for an MBA. But Holstein’s father had been a professor at Harvard

Business School and is now dean of the business school at State University

of New York at Albany, and the ivory tower of academe held less promise

than the real world: "We used to help grade my father’s exams,

and the thought of going back to school and paying $30,000 a year,

when I was having a great time at P&G," says Holstein, seemed

nonproductive. After all, many of the textbook examples for marketing

classes emanate from Procter & Gamble.

Kuenne has also made a connection with his father’s work. He is the

son of a noted economics professor at Princeton who devised an oligopoly

theory to study competition in a structured market. "The essence

of what he was working on and what we do is very similar," says

Kuenne. "Dad was studying economic systems in theory, and we are

studying them in practice. I seek Dad’s advice on a regular basis."

"In an oligopoly, the economic systems seek a point of equilibrium

of tacit collaboration to move the oligopoly forward but not put competitors

out of business," says Kuenne, using the OPEC nations’ strategy

as an example. "We do the opposite. We seek to build our client’s

business very much at the expense of competition."

Rosetta Marketing Strategies Group, 103 Carnegie

Center, Suite 202, Princeton 08540-6235. Christopher B. Kuenne, president.

609-514-1149; fax, 609-514-1158.

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NCI Roundup

Rosetta is just one of the pharmaceutical service companies

under the umbrella of Nelson Communications, sometimes known as NCI.

A Princeton resident, Thomas Moore, is president and chief executive

officer of the firm that was founded 11 years ago by Wayne Nelson,

an alumnus of Johnson & Johnson and Unilever. Most of the company

is in Manhattan at 41 Madison Avenue. In Princeton NCI has offices

at Carnegie Center and on Lenox Drive.

Like its competitors, Nelson Communications has formed several dozen

smaller firms with different skills to handle conflict of interest

issues. But unlike other firms, it tries to house each group in a

separate building or suite. "A lot of companies put up partitions,"

says John Iannuzzi, CFO of Nelson Professional Sales. "We actually

separate them."

NCI at Carnegie Center

Sciens Worldwide Public Relations: Nelson Communications,

103 Carnegie Center, Suite 106, Princeton 08540. Cheryl Shipley Coyle,

senior vice president. 609-452-0101; fax, 609-452-2383. Home page:

Eighteen people here share a suite with Clinical Solutions and do

public relations for healthcare and biotechnology companies.

Clinical Solutions: Nelson Communications, 103

Carnegie Center, Suite 106, Princeton 08540. Cheryl Shipley Coyle,

president and COO. 609-243-0110; fax, 609-452-2383. Home page:

Clinical Solutions is a subsidiary of Sciens Worldwide Public Relations;

it specializes in accelerating patient enrollment and optimizing patient

retention in clinical trials.

NCI Managed Care, 214 Carnegie Center, Suite 302,

Princeton 08540. Steven R. Peskin, president. 609-452-9666; fax, 609-452-7888.

This wholly owned subsidiary of Nelson Communications was founded

in 1995 to provide strategies and tactics on managed care operations

and marketing to pharmaceutical manufacturers.

NCI Consulting, 214 Carnegie Center, Suite 102,

Princeton 08540. Susan Lavine Coleman, president. 609-520-1444; fax,


Nelson Communications moved this division from the third floor at

214 Carnegie to the first floor at the end of last year. It does strategic

and marketing consulting and research for pharmaceutical and healthcare

consumer products companies.

Pharma Communications Inc., 202 Carnegie Center,

Suite 101, Princeton 08540. Nancy Barnett, president. 609-987-9606;

fax, 609-987-1033. Home page:

The healthcare advertising agency at 202 Carnegie has 30 employees

that serve major pharmaceutical clients.

Lyceum Medical Education, 202 Carnegie Center,

Suite 101, Princeton 08540. Patrick Chenot, president. 609-514-2727;

fax, 609-987-1033.

The medical publishing and continuing medical education division was

started in 1997 and has four employees.

Princeton Graphics Corp., 202 Carnegie Center,

Suite 101, Princeton 08540. 609-987-8855; fax, 609-9897-1033.

NCI at Lenox Drive

Sciens Worldwide Advertising, 1009 Lenox Drive,

Suite 104, Princeton 08540. Lori A. Katz, vice president. 609-219-0838;

fax, 609-452-1454. Home page:

Sciens Worldwide Advertising is one of 44 companies that provide healthcare

communications to the pharmaceutical industry under the Nelson Communications

umbrella. Part of this division moved out of New York City in 1997

to be in the heart of the pharmaceutical industry, and its Lenox Drive

office has 10 employees doing full-service health care communications

and integrated marketing communications programs.

Nelson Professional Sales, 1009 Lenox Drive, Building

4, Suite 103, Princeton 08648. Christy Taylor, group chairman. 609-219-0081;

fax, 609-219-9188.

Thirty-five people in this 11-year-old division do full-service health

care communications and marketing communications.

— Barbara Fox

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