Q: What was your background before joining Dig Insights?
A: My first job in research was as a summer student with the Peel District School Board where I did such exciting tasks as manually scanning over 60,000 surveys, data entry and setting up Microsoft Access data bases (does anyone still use Access?!?!?). Regardless, it was great experience and set me on course to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Research Analysis where I learned many of the technical and analytical skills that still come in handy today.
From there I spent two years with Ipsos-Reid managing client relationships and leading research projects. I gained valuable experience across many industries and was exposed to all sorts of quantitative and qualitative methodologies from ethnographies to segmentation modelling to more complex trade-off and conjoint exercises.
I next joined Rogers as a research buyer where I spent five years learning the ‘ins and outs’ of telecommunications and also saw first-hand how insights drive decisions within a large organization. I led research for the Communications line of business for my final three years on the team, getting the chance to present results to the C-Suite and work closely with some extremely talented marketers.
And most recently I was in brand management for Fido. There I had the opportunity to be the end research user, leveraging insights to make strategic decisions on how we marketed the brand to customers. It was a great chance to see how research is used in the day-to-day running of a business.
Q: How do you think market research will change in the next 3 years?
A: There will continue to be a need for businesses to get feedback from consumers to help guide their thinking. I don’t see that changing. The methodologies will continue to evolve and take advantage of technology as it becomes available. We will find better ways to replicate consumer’s actual decision making and rely less on simplified line of questioning.
The larger change, and one that has already begun, is that insights will come from more places than ever before. We’re at a point where we have so much information it leads to confusion not clarity. What this does is put increasing pressure on marketers to understand what’s a meaningful insight, and what is just background noise. As researchers we have a massive role to play. We are often looked to in order to find linkages and explain what might seem contradictory for our clients. We need to adapt and push our approaches to account for this as well. As someone who is passionate about problem solving this is a welcomed change.
Q: If you were not in market research, what work would you want to do?
A: When I was younger I always thought I’d be a sports broadcaster. I was a massive Toronto Blue Jays fan and hearing Tom Cheek say “Touch’em all Joe” in 1993 still gives me goosebumps. I suppose that’s why I enjoy presenting so much. That, and I tell myself it’s as dramatic as the World Series.