Susan S. McDonald, Ph.D.
As CEO of NAXION and leader of the firm's Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice, Susan consults on a range of strategic marketing issues involving commercialization strategy and brand lifecycle management. Areas of particular focus include demand forecasting, product development, positioning, and communications. Susan has guided launch and lifecycle strategy for some of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical products, and she is a specialist in the use of predictive modeling and segmentation techniques to support opportunity assessment and launch planning. Other industries in which she has extensive experience include consumer and technology products, as well as media and financial services. Her focus has traditionally been on the building and maintenance of strong brands.
Susan also directs the firm’s Litigation & Regulatory Support practice. In that context, she is frequently called on to conduct or critique surveys and offer expert testimony on marketing and research methodology in support of trademark confusion, dilution, deceptive advertising, and other legal challenges under the Lanham Act. In addition to her work in support of private litigation, Susan has extensive experience in developing and evaluating survey-based evidence used for regulatory purposes by FDA and FTC.
Much of Susan’s 35-year marketing career was spent at the management consulting firm, Booz•Allen & Hamilton, where she was a Partner and Vice President for over five years, serving as leader of its Pharmaceutical Practice before acquiring the National Analysts division of Booz•Allen in 1992. That firm was renamed NAXION in July 2014.
Susan lectures and writes frequently on marketing issues and market research techniques, and she has contributed to medical journals as well as marketing texts. She is also coauthor of a standard text on qualitative research methods, The Group Depth Interview: Principles and Practice (Simon & Schuster). Her early career was spent as a journalist and poet, contributing regularly to 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, one of the world’s oldest incubators of biomedical discoveries in cancer and immunology. 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 of the 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.