Thank you for your visit. Our business is helping clients sell their products and services more effectively and intelligently, whatever their issues may be. We do this through in-depth research: conversations with consumers, retailers, experts, and others in the marketplace.

We meld the insights from this research with our marketing expertise to arrive at answers that give clients clear strategic direction for moving forward. We use a variety of techniques in our research—focus groups, individual interviews, ethnographic observations in homes, stores, or the like, and telephone and on-line conversations, depending on the audience and the issues at hand.

We are a boutique consulting firm founded by Scott Hayward PhD and spearheaded by Annie Hillinger. Our small scale gives us unusual freedom, flexibility and focus in our work, resulting in exceptional quality and value for those who choose to work with us—in attention, investigative craftsmanship, insight, creativity, energy, and precision of method.


We live and work in New York City. This uniquely urban, multicultural, competitive and innovative environment keeps us fresh and attuned to the social, cultural, and commercial forces that matter.


We operate in any commercial sector, from the most specialized to the most everyday. We know how to find, connect with, and interview the right people with a grace and respect that leaves everybody feeling good.


Our practice is based on partnership—with one another, our recruitment specialists, our facility directors, our clients, our respondents. We know how to summon the best from each player, creating personal and professional synergy in every project.

Annie Hillinger

Annie brings to her work unwavering strategic focus, urban savvy, and over a decade of collaboration with some of the best in the business.

Principal of Heads Up!, Annie has worked with our roster of multinational clients since 2007.

Annie graduated from Carleton College with a dual degree in Sociology and Anthropology in 2000, after which she lived and worked in Mexico in the retail marketing sector. Back in her native NYC, Annie learned marketing from the advertising side, working at Spier New York (publishing advertising) in a variety of roles, including account management, new business, and online research. This lead to collaboration at Mad Logic—the qualitative research division of Mad Dogs and Englishmen—where she began her focus on qualitative research-based strategic planning and marketing, a focus that continues today.

Annie lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, NY.


Scott Hayward, PhD

After 30 years, Scott has mostly retired from the qualitative research business, handing off the reigns to his successor.

Scott founded Heads Up! Research in 2001. Before this (1992-2001) he served as General Manager of the New York office of the B/R/S Group, a leading California-based qualitative research consultancy. Scott also spent time on the research supplier side—Research International and Ted Dunn Research Associates, from 1986-88—and working in advertising agency research (BBDO New York, DMB&B New York) starting in 1979. At the beginning, he taught college-level Psychology (University of South Dakota, 1976-79) after earning his Ph.D. in Man-Environment Relations at Penn State University in 1976.

Our client base is deliciously diverse

comprised of research companies and brands based in Europe and the Far East who seek our guidance in understanding the US market, as well as US-based researchers and brands who rely on our qualitative expertise. They represent a broad range of industry product and service sectors, including but not limited to Health & Beauty, Alcohol, Consumer Electronics, E-Commerce, Luxury/Fashion, Food & Beverage, Travel/Tourism/Hospitality and Financial Services.

Heads Up! provides qualitative research

services in a variety of media, formats, environments, and audience sectors. We are equally at home in traditional (e.g. focus groups, depth interviews) and innovative (e.g. online, ethnographic) approaches. We specialize in consumer psychological dynamics and marketplace behaviors, are adept at drilling down to the perceptual and emotional levers that drive consumption and decision-making.

Our Services

Contact Us

Heads Up! Research Inc.
54 Riverside Drive Suite 5A
New York, NY 10024