Posts Tagged ‘career’

As a market researcher, one major and important job is to deliver research results and corresponding recommendations to the clients. It includes both written and oral communication: writing research reports and giving final presentation. After you did all the background research, sampling, interview, data analysis, etc., now is the time to show your clients what you found. In my opinion, whether you can succeed in this final step highly depend on how much do you know about your “audience”.

Obviously, the audience is your client. No matter what kind of research you do or what problems you are asked to solve, there are three typical types of people who will review and use your deliverables from the client side.  I call them “End-user”, “Technician” and “Financer”.

Market researchers must be aware of the 3 types of audience and their distinct demands.

Market researchers must be aware of the 3 types of audience and their distinct demands.

As shown in the diagram, these 3 types of audience are different in their roles and expertise. Therefore, their focuses on market researchers’ presentation are also  distinct. Regularly, these 3 types of audience won’t be all shown up in a presentation, but sometimes they do attend the meeting together. So, the question is how a market researcher can satisfy all 3 kinds of audience in a single presentation?

The End-Users: They are usually from C-suite, like the CEOs, CMOs, or CCOs (Chief Customer Officer). They are super busy and have a lot of things in mind when digesting the messages from the presentation. Sometimes, they might join the presentation after the researcher has talked for a while, which made the situation even more challenging. However, what they expect from the presentation can be simply generalized into one question: “How can it help my vision?” They care more about the key findings and the interpretations than the data source and research process. So, make sure these key messages appear several times in the presentation, at least at the beginning as a executive summary and at the end as a summary.  If they miss those information at the beginning, they still have chance to know it somewhere else.

The Technicians: They are usually the in-house market researchers or research staff from PR/Advertising agencies that also work with your client. I call them “technicians” because they can do research by themselves, which means they know all the skills and techniques about sampling, research design, data analysis, etc. They are at the presentation to check and “question” your methodology. Therefore, we should make sure we prepare the information that they want. However, we may not explain it a lot in the presentation, especially when the “end-users” are also in the meeting. The preparation I mentioned include two things: a comprehensive research report and the anticipation of research-method-related questions in the Q&A session after the presentation.  Before you start presenting, you can explain that due to the time limit, the details of research process won’t be include in the presentation, but if the audience want to know more about it, they can get the information from the comprehensive research report or ask you in the Q&A session.

The Financiers:  They are usually the CFOs or account managers from the PR/Advertising agencies that also work for your client. The only thing they care about in the presentation is how feasible the research findings and recommendations from  finance viewpoint. In other words, what are the ROIs for the marketing strategies you suggest according to your research findings? If it is a presentation for request for proposal (RFP), then you need to show the total budget for the research and the breakdowns.

If you take into account the distinct demands of the 3 types of audience in mind when giving the presentation, you are halfway to success! Hope this post is helpful to you and I’m more than happy to hear your opinion!

Today is an exciting day. Yes, first of all, it’s the election day. But for me, even not considering the election, it’s still exciting because today I found new meaning and prospect of market research as a career!

From a career panel held in a class today, I got the chance to hear three young, promising professionals who used to study at BU COM, and now working in market research and communication industry, sharing their work experience and understanding of their jobs and the industry.  DJ serves as a Social Data Strategiest at Crimson Hexagon (a startup company providing social media analysis and big data analytics software and services); Chris started his career as a Community Associate at Communispace (a market research firm that works with online consumer insights communities); while Rachel is currently a Brand & Buzz Coordinator at HubSpot (a leading company providing inbound marketing software and services). Before diving into more information about their jobs and companies, I’d like to share two interesting numbers with you: 1. None of the three companies existed 15 years ago; 2. None of the three professionals’ job title existed 5 years ago. That’s the reason I name this post as “it(market research) is an innovation machine”. When the traditional market research analytics marries with “social” (no matter it is social media data, online communities or online marketing), it injects  strong energies and allows uncountable possibilities to the market research industry. The merger has turned the industry into an innovation machine.

Why is this merger so powerful? If you want to know the answer, please follow my post “Market Research as a Career: It’s an Innovation Machine! (2)” tomorrow!

Forrester Research, A Global Research & Advisory Firm

In this summer, I was really lucky to intern at Forrester Research, one of the most reputable global research and advisory firms. This is my first market research experience out of school, inspiring me how market research is like as a career. Honestly, it was not an internship that I would say is very enjoyable (you might find some reasons below in this post), but it didn’t change my dream of being a future market researcher and recently I realized that what I learned at Forrester is even more that I imagined.  I’m planning to share all the valuable experiences I had during those 3 months little by little in my future posts, making them into a series called “Market Research as a Career”. In today’s very first post for this series, I’d like to begin generally and share with you some of the keywords (or phrases) of market research as a career.

Forrester and Me

Challenging, Intense, but Exciting. I don’t need to explain how many advantages of having your first internship at a big name firm in a field, but believe it or not, there are also a small number of disadvantages, especially in the market research industry. The main reason is that it is a super challenging and intense profession. And the firms, especially big firms, always have high expectations on their employees, even on the interns like me. That is because, as an industry of great intelligence and power, market research firms are  “required” by the clients to always be the best. So, it’s normal that you feel stressful and unadaptable at the beginning of your market research career. When the first time I saw the schedule of my supervisor (Mr. TJ Keitt, Senior Analyst on CIO Research Team) is full from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., I really had no idea how he would handle it.  I saw him immersed himself in the endless interviews for new research reports, inquires by current customers and request for proposals (RFP). However, he enjoyed it, so did other analysts on our team I observed. Market research as a career has its magic: be the first one to identify new trends that might change an industry, be the hero (or heroine) who save your clients out of terrible situations, be the one who is respected by thinking logically, critically and comprehensively. Nobody can ever say that is not exciting!

Communication is the KING. There is no doubt market research is a teamwork. As I talked in the previous post, it’s all about solving problems, a market research project always has a long process (10-12 steps) and it is very continuous and inter-related. In industry, due to time and budget limit, it is impossible for one single team or department to handle all the steps. Survey design, sample selection, data analysis would be assigned to different departments, or even be outsourced. Though the tasks is in the charge of different teams, the results must be logical and consistent. Therefore, effective communication to other teams is the king for working at a market research firm.

Attention to details. This is quite self-exploratory. Market analysts always work with huge datasets and complex data analysis. Even an small error in data entering will make the output nothing but garbage.

Aggressiveness makes a good researcher. I was quite reversed during my internship at Forrester. When you a newbie surrounded by super smart analysts in a meeting, it’s too hard to bravely speak out the ideas in your mind! However, you have to! TJ told me that in a market research firm, almost no promotion is caused solely by how long you have been working. The “shortcut” to become a experienced and respected researcher is to voluntarily ask for various kinds of work. In other words, be aggressive.

Like my keywords for market research as a career? What are yours?