By Dan Henson
Whether you know it or not, you play a vital role in market research almost every day of your life.
Professionals from two marketing research firms, Decision Analyst and Research Now, discussed their understanding of marketing research as well as how to get a foot in the door for employment, with a group of Baylor students during the professional development program’s final First Wednesday event of the semester.
“If I had to describe my job using just one word, it would be answers; I give answers,” Hayley Dawson-Owens, vice president of Client Services for Decision Analyst, said.
Clients come to marketing research firms to see whether or not customers would want to buy their products, before they go ahead and spend their money developing and marketing them to consumers.
“You can see how vitally important market research is to business, because it helps them optimize the products and the services that they are offering,” Dawson-Owens said.
An enormous amount of effort goes on between companies trying to sell their products and market research firms to make sure that the customers are getting products that they need and want. Market research helps the customers as well, because they can give feedback to help companies develop products that they need and want.
Dawson-Owens said that she enjoys hearing the conversations that go on in grocery stores about all of the different products on the shelves.
“You don’t realize how much discussion has happened about every single product that lines that aisle,” Dawson-Owens said.
Dawson-Owens also discussed a few products that failed due to poor market research. One of these failed products was Tropicana Orange Juice, which changed the look of their packaging by removing their iconic orange with a straw in it and lost the brand recognition that they had built up, which resulted in a drop in sales.
Dr. Kartik Pashupati, Ph.D and research manager at Research Now, encouraged students to seek careers in market research as it is an industry with a lot of opportunity and is not widely sought after. “We need bright minds,” Pashupati said.
Pashupati discussed the different market research techniques, including passive research, which he said is gaining ground thanks to technology. “When you buy things from Amazon, you get those little suggestion boxes, which say people who bought things that you were interested in also purchased x or y or z,” Pashupati said.
Amazon along with a great deal of online companies mine the data within your activity on their websites, which allows them to market products to the consumer that they think the consumer would be interested in.
“Our business is to help people actually go out and find respondents who will help them gain the answers to the questions that they are seeking,” Pashupati said.
Amy Kruckemeyer, vice president of human resources for Decision Analyst, gave the students a few helpful tips as to how to get a foot in the door at market research firms.
“You need to be organized and you need to take a really keen interest in detail,” Kruckemeyer said.
According to Kruckemeyer, marketing researchers will notice any missed punctuation, and that will affect their judgement of you.
She said market researchers need to do many presentations for their clients, and the value of being proficient with Word, PowerPoint and Excel are highly important in this industry.
“It is very important to be a team player,” Kruckemeyer said, as it is very difficult to be a successful market researcher when you are doing all of the work alone.