Hi, I am in my early 30s with no experience in market/marketing research. I graduated in 2017( MSc Marketing and Food economics) but did not have chance to start working after my graduation because I was pregnant at that time. Now I want to start working but I do not know from where to start because most of the jobs positions that I am looking for requires min 1 year experience. I am stuck. Thank you!

December 17, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: Hello and thanks for your interest in market research. It’s an exciting profession, however, as many other professions, market research was hit hard by Covid-19, in particular when it comes to face-to-face interactions, like in-depth interviews or focus groups. But we’ve also pivoted as an industry with more and digital options. What parts of market research and insights are you most interested? What can you add to a company from your current experiences whether that’s your previous studies, from raising a family or any volunteer work you might have done.


Also start following WiRe, Insights Association, Greenbook, MrWeb and any other industry relevant organizations and look out for free webinars etc. to slowly start building some understanding of the industry. As Laura mentioned in another reply, do your homework, look at new techniques, tools, processes, or business practices, invest in learning for the future. There are also a couple of MR specialist study and training options like the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and their Market Research Institute International (MRII) program: https://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/courses/market-research or Research Rockstar.


It’s not going to be easy in the current environment, but building and highlighting any/all ongoing learning at the top of your resume/cover letter or in direct outreach conversations can help you overcome that “1 year minimum experience”. Good luck!

Are there opportunities for virtual market research positions? I’ve been remote work for 3+ years, which is a must have for me as a military spouse, and I would like to transition from my program evaluation role to market research.

September 4, 2020

from Mentor Sima Vasa: At the current time, most roles are virtual or work from home. As you look for MR jobs, I would share your vision and plan for working virtually for a majority of time. For employers – they want employees to be available for collaboration and workflow- that might mean working odd hours depending on where you live etc. Also, might also help to make a commitment to travel to meet in person a certain amount of times when travel becomes more the norm. I hope that helps!

Hello. I found this organization when I was looking for information about how to break into market research as a newcomer. I have a Graduate degree in the humanities but want to cross over to an Insights-related field. Do I need to go back to school or is there an entry point that I might not be seeing? Thank you.

August 27, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: Hello and welcome on board the market research and insights train. The good news is that most of us would have joined market research from other professions and/or industry. The challenge is that market research, as many other professions, was hit hard by Covid-19, in particular when it comes to face-to-face interactions, like in-depth interviews or focus groups. But we’ve also pivoted as an industry with more and digital options. What parts of market research and insights are you most interested? What can you add to a company from your current experiences whether that’s your studies or otherwise. As Laura mentioned in another reply, do your homework, look at new techniques, tools, processes, or business practices, invest in learning for the future. There are also a couple of MR specialist study options like the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and their Market Research Institute International (MRII) program: https://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/courses/market-research. Hope that helps. All the best.

Hi there, Thank you very much for this opportunity! I am trying to start a new career transitioning from academia. I am a PhD in cognitive science and psychology with about 10 years experience of research design and data analysis. I have an experience of public speaking, managing a small team, publishing in peer-reviewed journals and obtaining an external funding. However, when I apply for entry or mid-level positions that does not lead anywhere. My question is – what positions in you opinion could be suitable for someone with a background like mine. Is such transition even possible?

July 23, 2020

from Mentor JD Deitch: Hello! It is absolutely possible to make a transition from academia. I for one am living proof! While I had less experience, I was able to convince my first employer that the techniques we use to study behavior are the same — this was my ‘marketable skill’. You would do well to ‘connect the dots’ between your research and what your prospective employer is doing so they see the link. I would also tend to use terminology that is in vogue now related to statistical modeling, behavioral science, and such. You should look at the marketing that some of the supplier firms use to see how they are pitching. It is hard to say why your efforts have not met with success. I have some suggestions of people to talk to (including an excellent recruiter) who may be willing to help. Message me in LinkedIn and I will connect you.

Hi, thank you all so much for offering your advice and wisdom! I’ve been trying to transition to the supplier side of the industry from the corporate side and have not been having any luck. My current title is Senior Analyst, and I’ve been looking for roles with similar responsibilities to what I have now. Would I need to “start over,” or take a pay cut and work at a lower level to start and try to work my way up? Any tips for networking or getting a foot in the door with these bigger research firms? I’m starting to feel like I’m going to be in my current position forever, with no room for advancement or promotion.

July 6, 2020

from Mentor JD Deitch: There is absolutely ZERO reason to start over, and by extension ZERO reason to take a pay cut! First, don’t be discouraged by the present situation. The bigger research agencies really took it on the chin during the second quarter. Many have frozen hiring and even conducted layoffs. The purse strings are loosening a bit now, but I believe the market is likely to remain tight for analysts. Second, does your current company use certain suppliers? Typically suppliers love to recruit from corporates because it gives them good insight into the thinking and additional credibility in front of clients. If you don’t, do your competitors? Who are the big suppliers for your industry/vertical? I would expect it to be an easier sell for you to translate your experience for a supplier who operates in the sector already. Hope this helps.

Hi. I have 10 yrs varied experience in market research. I left the job market for 17 years while raising a family. Is it too late to work in Market Research?

June 28, 2020

Mentor Baillie Buchanan:

Absolutely not too late! It’s a hard truth that I would expect it may be harder to get your foot back in the door, but it is by no means impossible. Focus on highlighting things you’ve done to stay or get current on new research methodologies, technologies, advance your skills, presentation enhancement, etc. Consider whether there are opportunities to volunteer your skills for a nonprofit or school project that you can then use on your resume or job outreach to showcase your skills proactively. Address the gap up front and use what could be an objection to sell yourself instead. Did your time away give you new perspective? Empathy you can bring to research conversations? Improved listening and communication skills?

Also, consider investing in yourself by taking an online course (for example through the UGA) and highlighting any/all ongoing learning at the top of your resume/cover letter or in direct outreach conversations.

Make sure you’re building a network on LinkedIn as well, and actively connecting with people in the industry. Read relevant articles to the type of research or area of expertise you have/want to cultivate and provide thoughtful comments.

If I may, I’d also point you to this offer from my company Research For Good. We’re actively trying to help current job seekers gain exposure in the industry by providing free quant data for analysis and report building and will amplify across our network. If that is of potential interest and a fit for your skillset, please reach out.

Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser:

Hi. Thanks for asking your question, and NO it’s never too late in market research. However, a lot would have changed since you were last involved.  Saying that, some of your skills might still be very useful, in particular when it comes to curiosity, understanding what consumers/user/customers want and what impact this will have on business.  The tools we use today would have changed or at least partially changed, but the fundamentals still remain. I’m sure you would have read all the previous comments re professional development, networking, reviewing your skill set etc.  Try to get a handle on what’s needed in the area that you want to go in, and then build your own portfolio based on your previous experience but also on the skills that you need to raise a family. Market research is a great profession and we need people who are curious and passionate about what they do and learn. I’m not saying it will be easy (not helped by Covid impact either), but see what you can learn, what you can bring to the party, and where you want to step into it.  All the best!

Hi there, Thank you very much for access to this panel! I’m looking for some advice on how to shift into the MR field mid-way through my career, especially given that I’ve been holding some very senior titles the past few years (managing director, VP). I’ve been on the agency side (integrated, digital) for over 15 years, mostly in lead strategy or digital roles. Research has always been a part of my work, whether it’s working with a research partner or executing the research myself, however, I lack the formal education in MR and/or working under those who could teach/mentor me. I’m 100% willing to take a step back and start from the beginning. I think my main question is – should I look for more formal education opportunities OR look for a more junior role within a company and learn within the role. Note: I have taken some MRIA courses and I’m currently working Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences through the University of Amsterdam.

June 15, 2020

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: Hello, Thanks for your questions and welcome to steps deeper into research! It’s great to hear you are from a Digital background and seeking to move more towards Research. I’m from a similar background and aim to give you clarity around how you can frame your thinking and next move. Firstly, it’s important to highlight that research is becoming more and more a skill set in digital businesses while larger corporations maintain research functions. Many activities that would have previously been done by a research department such as user research, focus groups, customer surveys have become parts of other roles in digital businesses. Equally, statistics has been moved under ‘science and measurement teams’.This happened over the last 5 years with data access that was ‘cheaper and faster’ enabling staff to self serve. Examples include design thinking to map out consumer needs, solutions like usertesting.com or running polls on zappi store or via survey monkey. If you have a digital background it’s your advantage to potentially recognise these shifts and navigate them. As consumers take back their privacy, research is making a comeback to compliment incomplete data, there are doors opening :)You’ll need to decide where you want to focus your efforts and what part of the value chain interests you, this will help you determine where to invest your focus on upskilling to cross over. Look at the research buyers information guides to get a feel for all the options and read up on companies and their specialisms as well as methodologies:

https://www.greenbook.org/

https://www.mrs.org.uk/researchbuyersguide-results/market_sectors/NUTR

https://directory.esomar.org/

Reviewing job descriptions to determine skills matching will also help. Research is multidisciplinary and it may be you already have the right mindset and skills to move into Research teams that have other team members to compliment areas you want to develop. Once you find areas of interest draw up your shortlist and the best advice I can give you is to maintain a T shaped skillset – broad business and research skills with a honed specialism that is as future-proofed as possible. Aim to go forward with your skills rather than ‘step back’. Map out the paths you would like to consider and start networking to learn if the ‘day in the life’ of these roles sounds suitable. Research is an extremely rewarding career and with your seasoned background agency side, you’ve likely been exposed to many industries and have a great wealth of acumen to add. Good luck!

from Mentor Sarah Ryan: Two additional thoughts (or rather, one thought with two branches): As data use becomes more prolific within organizations, it is incumbent upon researchers and analysts to ensure that it is being interpreted and used correctly.  While I agree with the T shaped skill set recommendation, I think every researcher going forward will need a few key skills: 1) the ability to storytell to make research and insights actionable and 2) a solid base understanding of data sources (often data collection in our case) in order to be able to gauge the reliability of data or identify potential risks and weaknesses in interpretation. What can you do with the data/ insights at hand? What can you NOT do with them? When data can easily be manipulated to serve many masters, I find myself and my counterpart in analytics often playing the role of guiding that translation. If these skills are not currently in your toolbox, I would work to acquire or strengthen them.

What would you say is the best way to go from working “operationally” – getting the surveys through the field, populating the reports – to more “consultative” being able to create a story from the report when you don’t really have the time to dig into it because you are also doing the operational work? Does anyone use a really great automation tool for populating custom research reports?

May 21, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: Thanks for your question, which applies to many research and insights professionals. There is no silver bullet, but there might be a few pointers. Automating your reports becomes harder when looking at ad-hoc and custom research. Due to its nature, you will need to drill into the data first before you know what the story is. But there are still a few things that you can do. Firstly, depending on your data collection and analysis platform, you might opt for a solution that is integrated or has an API feed. That way you get data as soon as it’s available.

Secondly, you might want to look at your data half-way through the fieldwork. There might be some specific topics standing out already, which you might want to further explore once you have the full data set.

Thirdly, really understand what the objective of the research is. We often ask a lot of additional questions in our surveys, but try to get to the crux of the project first.

Lastly, use technology where possible. There are some good tools out there that help with coding or finding insights faster. Here’s a cool approach to look at an entire data set and quickly determine where the story is. You can view a short DISCOVER video here.

For trackers, look at an analysis software that automatically updates your previous reports/analyses. Even better if it can point out significant changes without you going through the whole report yourself. There are many good tools out there, one is Harmoni from Infotools. Shameless self-plug here, so happy to show you what it can do.

from Mentor Sarah Ryan: Adding on to what Horst says, I think there are great opportunities to use the creation of an analytic plan to frame up a story.  I find that crafting one of these when the survey is being written helps reporting go quicker- I know what I want to look at, I have outlined my hypotheses, I have defined all of my variables, etc. This also helps keep the key business questions top of mind.

Hi, mentor program for researchers is such a wonderful initiative. My question is about returning to workforce from a sabbatical. I moved from the US to Tokyo to support my husband’s career and will be back States-side soon. While I contracted remotely for a year, I took a sabbatical for a year after that. How should I go about job search, especially during these unprecedented times of dealing with CIVID 19 around the world? I have over 10 years experience in research from India and the US.

May 13, 2020

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: Hello! Thanks for your questions and it’s understandable that getting back into a rhythm can feel a bit daunting, with or without Covid.The first thing to say is that a sabbatical does not take away any of your foundation skills and experience unless you are in a fast-moving field of research (digital) in which case it would be wise to invest in brushing up on your skillsets to ensure you have contemporary skills. Next, refresh your network and find out how peers in your line of work have been impacted (lost jobs, business as usual or busier than ever). Get a feel for the market and how proactive you’ll need to be. Most businesses have hiring freezes right now, at best you might need to have open conversations with the aim to be first in line when the freeze lifts. Network, get informed, hunt for the windows of opportunity to be at the right time, right place. Ask for senior connections you have to make introduction/referrals for you. Endorsements go a long way. Finally, if the market has stalled, do your homework on where you think your line of the industry is going and get ahead of the curve. If you see new techniques, tools, processes, or business practices, invest in learning for the future – a future that your hiring company wants to get to and you may be the right solution to help them get there faster. Lastly, there are a few other similar questions that have been asked with further suggestions that can help you. Have a look through them for more tips and good luck!

I’m first-generation college. I’ve been accepted into an MBA program, but have been looking at Masters in Marketing Research programs. I’d love to get advice on programs for this fall.

May 8, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: Thanks for your question and great that you are interested in market research and insights as a career. There are many people who have come into MR through other studies and programs, so most MBA programs should set you up nicely. You might want to look into Statistics, coding/programming and/or more qualitative aspects like psychology etc. There are also a couple of MR specialist study options like the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and their Market Research Institute International (MRII) program: https://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/courses/market-research.

Hello, and thank you for sharing your time and expertise. I hope you are all keeping well. I’m a Research Manager with 5 years’ experience working in a large research agency on end-to-end qualitative and quantitative social research projects. I would like to dedicate some of my quarantine time to developing my skills and my career plan. 1. Do you have any recommendations around skills that I could develop that might help boost and future-proof my career? I appreciate that this is a rather broad question, but welcome all ideas. 2. In relation to career development, I think I would benefit from a mentor as I do not have an available role model at my current organisation. Do you have any tips around how to seek and approach potential mentors?

May 3, 2020

from Mentor Sima Vasa: Research ties into business decisions. Taking business courses or even pursuing a part time MBA will help you understand more about how research fits into the entire decision making process. I believe WIRe helps you find mentors. In addition, if you approach people directly – be specific of what you are asking.. perhaps a quarterly check in call or meeting to review goals/issues/ opportunities etc.?

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: Hello and thank you for your question. It is really important and many people are asking. The first thing I would do is review your CV and only list jobs in the last ten years. What I do for everything else is add a list of logos of the companies I’ve worked for with no further details. Time and experience right now can potentially work against you if the company is seeking progressive mindsets to embrace future problems. The second thing is start taking courses tied to future facing methods and solutions. If you’ve never worked on digital solutions or direct to consumer (D2C / ecommerce solutions) you need a way in.  Prove you are a valuable resource for the future not from the past. It is common for researchers to list their competencies and what the hiring manager wants to see is the problems you solve and we’ll you do it (impact / outcomes for the business). If the hiring manager is not a researcher, they will not be in a position to understand your value. Language will be the difference here. 

Third thing, operational grit. Are you prepared to field research end to end on your own with no team? Research tools and digital products have commotised our industry, researchers are moving into product roles, think hard if you’re prepared to do the whole gamut and prove it. Lastly, network ruthlessly, find out for your industry how things have changed and where your kind of work went and if you are prepared to follow that path. If you’re not interested in how the industry changed, then get out and upskill/reskill to another discipline. It’s hard to say this, but for youth who took STEM subjects research is a skill set everyone is taught, it has become productised so the entry base into the field is lowering and most marketers and product people sde researchers as a middle person they simply don’t need anymore. Your next job will likely come via connections, keep them fresh! Good luck, we’re sending you positive vibes that you’ve got this, keep going! 

from Mentor Baillie Buchanan: This is a situation where networking may be the best way to get your foot in the door. When applying for a position, do some LinkedIn digging. If you can tell from the job posting who the hiring manager is, try to connect with that person on LinkedIn and send a very custom message expressing your genuine interest. Consider acknowledging that at first glance you may not look like the right fit, then give a few reasons why you are. If you don’t know exactly who the right person is, you have a few options. Connect with anyone at the company that looks like they are in a role to influence the decision making for this role and send the same type of message + ask for a referral to the right person. Of course, look and see if you have any 1st or 2nd level connections with the company and ask for a referral in to the right person. If all else fails in your networking, there’s still hope. I can say from experience hiring, I do take note of people who go beyond the standard application process and send a highly targeted and custom email to our hiring@ email alias expressing their interest and pointing out concrete examples or skills. Your communication skills can shine through here, and the extra effort shows you are truly interested in exploring the position. 

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: Hello great questions to maximise your time! As you are in a big agency, I am not sure if ‘social research’ means governmental or ‘social media’ research? I am going to guess it is more the governmental research.  Upskilling is really important and I would suggest a T shaped skill set.  What this means is have a cross section of skills that you can tap into at a surface level, and one area of expertise that you want to be known for and craft.  My best advice is try and pick the ‘specialist’ skill that you are highly passionate about to commit to honing it, but at the same time not to such a level that if it become redundant, you are holding onto the skillset for dear life. 

For example, what do you want to become known for? Maybe it is for sampling strategies, or methodologies that you craft? Perhaps you want to master questionnaire design or story telling?   My advice is to ask yourself, what am I doing today that a machine could be doing tomorrow?   Machines can take over single functions and mundane tasks, and sophisticated machines can see patterns that the naked eye cannot.  What value can you add on top of machines? First off, the brief and the conditions for success, a human decides these things for custom work, a machine cannot see its data within a wider context of human culture, heuristics, and semiotics, unless it is programmed to do this.  Even the data science is realising the value of ethnographic overlaid on top of data.  No one is fully ‘future proofed’ for their line of work and my best advice is realistically pairing what you love with the reality of the role existing in the future or how you are prepared to shift as the skill set shifts.  Harvard has loads of free courses right not that I too am exploring to stay fresh!

For career development, I am wondering why you do not see a mentor from within your business?  Mentors can play several roles, they can help you with your decisions making in a very directional way based on experience.  If you do not believe someone exists today in your business, it signals to me, that you may have already outgrown your business and need to grow you wings for something else.  Being self aware is really important.  I would suggest start by following the businesses that you admire and then cascading down into people within those businesses.  If you are seeking a mentor, it can be a transactional mentor with a simple coffee meet up for very specific needs vs a long term mentor that you stick with your whole career.  Once you know, this, you can better frame what you need and who you can proposition to help you.  WIRe has a mentor scheme matching mentor / mentees annually and I strongly recommend you consider it. Best of luck!

Hi. I worked for a long time in a big market research company and previously I had worked in a big FMCG company, so I speak the customer’s language perfectly. This has always been a great advantage for me over other pure researchers as it allows me to give valid actionable recommendations to customers. Now I’m working on my own and not to mention, the Covid situation (where the customers seem to be in a coma, they don’t move!), and it has been very hard for me to be considered by customers as I no longer have the backing of a large company. In most cases, small companies tend not to have research budgets or have very limited resources. Could you please give me some recommendations on how to be considered for opportunities with these companies?

April 24, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: Looks like you have a very unique point of difference in terms of your experiences, so that should put you in a good position whether or not you are working for a large MR company. Have you had these challenges before Covid-19 already? Do your potential clients fully understand your unique point of experience? What is it that they are looking for in a large company that you supposedly can’t provide? While many companies have slowed down in their MR spend, there is still an appetite there to do thinks differently. So this should put in you a good place if you have an unique offer. Also, if it’s a diverse offering that your prospects are looking for, consider partnering with other freelancers, tech providers etc. Build your own little pool of MR partners.

I am a young professional, and I need some help learning how to craft and effectively use softer language. Where should I look for resources? What are some good rules to keep in mind? I routinely receive some pretty consistent feedback from my boss that I need to be more diplomatic, and, although I try to do so, I don’t really understand why I should. To me, the research that I’m producing contains the answers, and I don’t know why I have to hold back when creating conclusions when the answers are right there, staring at me boldly in the face. However, I can see how softer language would make it easier for others to digest what it is that I am concluding. Here’s an example, once I produced a report that showed our sales were really down, and why and where. I was not the one to deliver said report, another manager (not my direct supervisor) did. The feedback she received from our C-Suite was that I was too young and inexperienced so therefore the results I found had to be inaccurate. I did not have the opportunity to explain my data source, or to vouch for myself, even though the presenting manager did. She received feedback that she should stay in her lane. Also, it just seems that because I am a woman, that I am expected to hold back in order for men and other senior women to respect me. But if I were a man, would anyone give me this feedback? I don’t think so. In short, I’m finding it really difficult to comprehend why I should change my ways so that a rather antiquated hierarchy can accept what it is that I’m saying. It doesn’t feel like I am the problem, but, I’m very open to seeing how I could be wrong about this.

April 24, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: I would suggest to openly discuss with your manager what exactly the problem is. Not sure that this is really clear. Is it the type of language you use or the way you present your results? Are you looking at the bigger picture beyond your actual research results? We often hear the research providers don’t have the full internal company view to fully understand the impact of their research on a corporate. Maybe something similar happens here. All of this might help to understand whether there is something you can do to adjust or whether you are working in an environment that’s not meant for you. Questioning your findings simply because you are too young is not acceptable.

I am thinking of opening towards small businesses, but honestly, I have no particular experience in that field. I am a freelance market researcher with more than 10 years of client side experience (multinational food fmcg) and also a couple of years on agency side. On the PRO side: – I believe I can offer real value to smaller companies, – No professional researcher does this here (I am from Hungary) – I am personally interested and find it challenging The CONS: – working with sme-s require a huge effort, mainly in terms of their research education (and, related to that, sales). – not to mention my own development need for getting to know this segment I would highly appreciate any experience or advice on this

April 23, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: When working with SMEs as described, you will be doing so much more than just market research. You will probably be part of their strategic decision, marketing and sales teams. That can be daunting, but is also a massive opportunity to be really involved in the process and the business. It will certainly require more effort than some ‘normal’ research projects for bigger clients where you basically do your job and leave. It it is also much more rewarding. Your client-side and agency experience will help you to see the bigger picture and the challenges and opportunities. Maybe start with a industry sector that you are already familiar with, so you know the landscape. And see whether you enjoy being more involved than just on a project by project basis.

I have always had a strong desire to start my own business (most likely a data analytics agency) however I’m not sure where to start as I currently work for a large global company. Do you know of any good resources that provide guidance or connect you to like minded people in Australia (especially Victoria)? If you started your own company, what advice would you give? Thank you.

April 19, 2020

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: My first advice would to be really clear on what your point of difference is in terms of your offering. Is it the way you use data analytics, specific techniques, software, the way you deliver results etc. And do you see a market out there for this type of service? Now could actually be a good time to shake things up as many end clients are looking for different solutions. Have you had any discussions with existing or potential clients that are interested in your type of services? Also, don’t forget that when you start and run your own business, you need to find time for sales activities on top of doing the work. So you need to be prepared that there might be peaks and troughs in your income as well. In regards to guidance and like-minded support, AMSRS has an Independent Researchers Group as part of their Special Interest Groups. That would be a good way to connect. AMSRS also has a Victoria charter, so would be good to get involved with them. And maybe any local small business networking groups. Good luck!

from Mentor Marina Kosten: I would add that you either have to have a VERY differentiated data-specific offering, OR a very specific expertise in the VERTICAL you are pursuing for opportunities. Everyone is all about data today, but unless you have nailed either (or hopefully both of ) the above, the race for data analytics is like the famous Dan Ariely data quote.

I’m about to go freelance in this terrible crisis. I have freelanced before so I have experience in the basics but would appreciate any top tips from people who have done this before during a recession.

April 8, 2020

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: Hello, this is a great question and really important to consider given the current world outlook. The most important thing is if the skillsets and proposition being offered are ones in demand and can be tapped into irrespective of the current situation and ability to be remote or not. If this person has already built up their own brand and business acumen, they need to assess if this current situation is a liability or opportunity and respond accordingly.  Keep in mind that sales lead times are becoming protracted or reactive and keeping a healthy pipeline is also about managing expectations. Have a solid back up plan on back up plan if your own cash flow matters. Going back into full time is a matter of choice, circumstances and market opportunity. Good luck!

If you were a marketing student about to graduate during this crisis or some recession, what would be your strategy to reach out to employers, stand out, and get hired in market research? Thank you for any input!

April 4, 2020

from Mentor Sima Vasa: Great question. There is no doubt that things will change. My suggestion is that you think about how you can differentiate yourself that is in line with your passion or area of interest. Here are some specific ideas:

  1. Be empathetic. Many companies will be in transition and trying to figure things out; the reality is that NOBODY wants to be in this situation.
  2. There will be many people with similar skills. What will differentiate you is your character.  
  3. It is important to network, network and network. Identify who you know and who they know. Determine if these people know people you want to connect with.  
  4. While you are looking for a job, work on solving a problem that you are passionate about. Don’t be idle — self-motivation is critical.
  5. Build your brand in a professional setting. Reach out and do informational interviews to learn about their jobs. Write articles. Make a difference. Take time to truly listen and learn. Be prepared and do your research. Respect privacy but learn as much as possible.
  6. Build a strong LinkedIn profile and be active on LinkedIn.
  7. Your energy counts. When you reach out to people, remember they want to be around people who can help them sustain positive energy. This pandemic will not only require strong physical well-being but even more mental perseverance.
  8. Be relevant by reading business books and articles that make you aware of the current trends in business and marketing.
  9. Maximize the resources your college or university offers. Also connect with your school’s alumni network.
  10. Have faith all your hard work will pay off!

from Mentor Baillie Buchanan: My advice is to be as custom, thorough and helpful as possible in your outreach to a prospective employer. You’ll stand out if you can demonstrate in your email that you’ve thoroughly researched the company – including reading recent blog posts or research reports that the company has shared. Be clear about the value you could bring to the table, and even go so far as to demonstrate that value with a specific idea or two for the company. For example, did you read a recent research report they published and have a unique idea about a follow-up project? Mention you’d like to discuss it. Or, see a gap in their marketing that you could fill, tell them and share how you could execute it. It may feel forward, but hiring managers respond to someone who is going to bring new ideas to the table and not be shy about demonstrating additional value they can bring to the company.

I work for a smaller financial services firm. A new part of my job has included providing our sales teams daily updates on the state of the world amidst the coronavirus crisis. While I understand the importance of doing so, it makes me very anxious about the security of my own job as I am constantly inundated with the newest reports and figures. The anxiety I’ve developed has started to make me second guess myself and feel that I need to tread lightly. I’m not sure if I should ask my boss or not about what the future holds for my job security, as I don’t want to come off selfish during this time where others are struggling more. I know that asking would make me feel better, but I’m not sure if the cost of doing so is worth it. I also know that I need to pull back my approach and language – I am very direct (and am a young professional) and sometimes I know that this is perceived as insulting (even when not my intention at all!). If I do have this conversation with my boss, what kind of language should I use to approach the subject gently?

April 3, 2020

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: First of all, thank you for your question. Many people, including yourself are facing uncertainty at the moment. Having more open communication will help you feel more clarity and hopefully confident to be able to perform at your best given the circumstances. In this case, there are two things I would suggest. 1. Ask for feedback and frame it like this… ‘if you were in my place (or shoes) what would you suggest I ask you to feel more confidence in the tasks I’m managing and the contributions I’m making to help the business succeed?’

This technique can be helpful as you’re asking the person ‘what is the best way to ask for feedback from you.’ You essentially are asking them to put themselves in your shoes which can create empathy and compassion. Person to person we can build strong bonds of trust… This is a bridge.

Point 2. This situation is overwhelming for everyone and if you’re being asked to be on the front line reading everything, and if you’re not able to contribute to doing something about it (business actions) this can lead to you feeling very helpless and without control. I would suggest when you share the information, you also start collecting brainstorming ideas of what CAN be done so rather than focus all your attention on the doom and gloom, here is your chance to grasp opportunity and look forward… One small idea at a time and ask if you can coordinate making these small wins happen. This is a marathon ahead of us, not a sprint. Taking those small steps will help you feel like you are back in a place of control and help you, your boss and your business build momentum to get through. This way you will know the value you are also bringing to the business and build your confidence back up. Hopefully you’ll bring the business closer together too as you all try to get through it. Good luck!

Hello, I’d like to know where is the best place to learn statistical significance testing, correlations analysis, multivariate analysis techniques (such as cluster/segmentation analysis) and conjoint and discrete choice analysis as it applies to film market research. Is there an online course or something where I may learn about these tools. Thanks.

April 3, 2020

from Mentor Laura Chaibi: I follow Kevin Gray on LinkedIn and he lists loads of books / sources to aid in media research. SPSS give a two weeks free trial on their platform, but you need to have a data set ready to load up to practice your techniques? They also have videos for many of the features to use. If you’re looking for more details, the market research society and esomar also point to courses available through the year on statistics / Quant analysis. Good luck!

I attended the webinar with Alter Agents and they talked about how important it is to get the messaging right when it comes to coronavirus responses. Someone asked who should be in charge of this messaging right now: the marketing team, the PR folks, or the leadership? The webinar hosts urged messaging from all levels. At my small-ish fieldwork agency (<20 staff) we have our Founder managing external communications and our insights team communicating with clients but it still feels like we’re missing the mark, especially when I see so many other companies/agencies posting about coronavirus on social media and making blogs. As a lower-level member of the Insights team, should I offer to generate content like what I’m seeing from other agencies for communications with the public or is it better to trust my boss’s relaxed response? I don’t want to step on any toes but I don’t want to miss the chance to improve our reputation w/ clients/public alike either.

April 1, 2020

from Mentor Sima Vasa: It’s sometime hard to understand why decisions get made by a leader of a company. I do think if you believe you are missing an opportunity, I would suggest presenting the problem and also be part of the solution. Indicate what you are willing to do to help fill the gap. Be prepared that sometimes the answer still might be no thank you. You could also probe and ask… “Can you please help me understand your decision for my own learning purposes?”

Any advise for people who have a sales/business development role in addition to their primary MRX duties? In particular, how to maintain momentum on the marketing communications/lead generation (rather than simply responding to current clients and calling that “BD”)? Thanks!

March 18, 2020

from Mentor Sima Vasa: “Keep reaching out and continue to make an effort to check in with people. Be active on social media to maintain awareness. It is a trying time and although outreach is meant to generate sales… it might not yield that immediately—for now. Stay top of mind when the need arises!”

from Mentor JD Deitch: “...not really my area of expertise but Steve Henke has written some good stuff on “seller doers.” I actually spoke to him a bit about this when he was creating the program.“

from Mentor Baillie Buchanan:I second the Harpeth Marketing Seller-Doer content. I also suggest checking out Little Bird Marketing’s free resources here. Specifically “The Future of Marketing” “Top 10 Ways To Crush It On Social Media” “Ideal Client Personas” and “Smart Goals.”

What’s your opinion on doing fieldwork right now (during the coronavirus): should we hold off? What are you doing instead?

March 17, 2020

from Mentor JD Deitch: “The thing is: COVID-19 is going to be around for a while and things are going to change. I’ve written a piece on the Cint blog that will help researchers navigate the impact and ways to adjust.”

Hi. I have 10 yrs varied experience in market research. I left the job market for 17 years while raising a family. Is it too late to work in Market Research?

from Mentor Baillie Buchanan: Absolutely not too late! It’s a hard truth that I would expect it may be harder to get your foot back in the door, but it is by no means impossible. Focus on highlighting things you’ve done to stay or get current on new research methodologies, technologies, advance your skills, presentation enhancement, etc. Consider whether there are opportunities to volunteer your skills for a nonprofit or school project that you can then use on your resume or job outreach to showcase your skills proactively. Address the gap up front and use what could be an objection to sell yourself instead. Did your time away give you new perspective? Empathy you can bring to research conversations? Improved listening and communication skills? 

Also, consider investing in yourself by taking an online course (for example through the UGA) and highlighting any/all ongoing learning at the top of your resume/cover letter or in direct outreach conversations. 

Make sure you’re building a network on LinkedIn as well, and actively connecting with people in the industry. Read relevant articles to the type of research or area of expertise you have/want to cultivate and provide thoughtful comments. 

If I may, I’d also point you to this offer from my company Research For Good. We’re actively trying to help current job seekers gain exposure in the industry by providing free quant data for analysis and report building and will amplify across our network. If that is of potential interest and a fit for your skillset, please reach out.

from Mentor Horst Feldhaeuser: Hi. Thanks for asking your question, and NO it’s never too late in market research. However, a lot would have changed since you were last involved. Saying that, some of your skills might still be very useful, in particular when it comes to curiosity, understanding what consumers/user/customers want and what impact this will have on business. The tools we use today would have changed or at least partially changed, but the fundamentals still remain. I’m sure you would have read all the previous comments re professional development, networking, reviewing your skill set etc. Try to get a handle on what’s needed in the area that you want to go in, and then build your own portfolio based on your previous experience but also on the skills that you need to raise a family. Market research is a great profession and we need people who are curious and passionate about what they do and learn. I’m not saying it will be easy (not helped by Covid impact either), but see what you can learn, what you can bring to the party, and where you want to step into it. All the best!