• a research & strategy consultancy


    engaging as a strategic partner to solve business challenges...

    We conduct research... but we don't think like researchers.

    Almost everything we do is informed by research, but we view research as a means to an end. We think like marketers to understand your challenge, and then develop the right kind of research to gather the insight needed to solve it.

    We begin by asking questions... and work backwards from there.

    Starting with where we need to end up ensures that the research is meaningful and actionable. We won't distract you with methodologies that sound interesting, but don't actually address the questions at hand.

    Research delivers critical insights... but does not tell you what to do.

    We don't believe research should tell you the answer - what it should do is help you make the best decision. Informed by the critical insights we uncover, we help identify the potential pathways and help you navigate to the solution.


    taking a strategic approach to research...

    We have all research methods at our disposal

    We are not staffed to do one kind of research, so we are solution-agnostic. Since we are not invested in any specific methodology, we will always develop the right plan to address the challenge at hand (including telling you when you don't need research...).

    There are no "black box" approaches

    We employ a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods. Some are traditional, and some are not. We'll even build a custom-solution when needed. But, we don't deal in any mysterious, proprietary methodologies. And, we don't offer "one-size-fits-all" solutions.

    There is no "B-Team"

    When you work with Alternate Routes, you always have one of our partners as your project leader. We will conceive of, design and execute the research solution for you.

    Brand Positioning • Brand Strategy • Brand Audits • Portfolio Strategy • Product Strategy • Product Positioning • Product Development • Communication Strategy • Communication Development • Concept Evaluation • Consumer Segmentation • Audience Identification • A&U Assessments • Innovation & Ideation • Performance Tracking • And More...


    partnering with leading brands across nearly all categories...

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    Lance Bustrum

    CEO/Founding Partner

    For almost 30 years, Lance has been a strategic and thought leader for countless valued partners. An avid concert goer, Lance's passion for music can be traced back to his days as a college radio DJ. His three children like to describe the Bustrums as a "foodie family."

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    Mike Zarneke

    COO/Founding Partner

    Mike has spent nearly 30 years uncovering insights and crafting strategic solutions for leading brands and businesses. Pick any city, and Mike probably has a short list of restaurants he can suggest. When he's not busy plotting the next travel adventure with his family, you'll likely find him training for a triathlon, looking for a mountain to climb, or simply exploring the neighborhood on one of his many daily dog walks.


    it all began back in the year 2000...

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    A true story: we were stuck in traffic...

    Watching rows and rows of sandwiched cars slowly creep along the highway, we wondered if we’d ever reach our destination. Everyone was trying to squeeze through on the same road – and no one was going anywhere.


    The parallel struck us. The business world is filled with middle of the road thinking that’s created its own kind of gridlock. How do businesses expect to achieve their marketing goals by taking the same road that everyone else is using? It won’t work.


    We were inspired by a sign on the side of the road: “Traffic congestion ahead. Use alternate routes.” Of course.


    take the first step to putting your business on a new path...


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