So there I was in the supermarket line waiting, 3rd behind the person checking out with the cashier. I often use my lunch hour to catch up on errands and do some grocery shopping to save more time for my family in the evening. During these few spare minutes with my grocery hand basket half-full I started to think about my to-do list for the afternoon. The customer's discussion with the cashier continued because she had an issue with her boxed macaroni and cheese and needed a price check. The waiting continued and no other cashier line offered reprieve.
The older gentleman in front on me, 2nd in line, turns around and gives me the look we've all all know too well. The "I can't believe we are going to have to wait longer slight eye roll.
Another minute or so passed and the same elder man decided to engage in some small talk with me. He simply asked me "so, what do you do for a living?" Still waiting for the bag boy to make his macaroni and cheese box run in aisle 8, I answered by saying "I work for a market research company in Syracuse. We do marketing research like phone surveys and focus groups", with a smile. He proceeded to say, "Oh, your one of those guys who calls my phone and bothers me at dinner huh?" I smirked again, taken a bit off guard and replied, "Nope. I don't make those call center dials but I often write scripts for them."
A market researcher isn't really thought of a jack-of-all-trades. In fact, if asked, many would think of a market researcher as numbers geek, data nerd, chart dork or the annoying person who calls households during dinner. Although accurate for some, they may not be considered to the most endearing career labels. More so than anything else, I believe they are far too limiting.
Let's take a look at other job personas all good research analysts display on a daily weekly basis. Some may surprise, some may not, but at the end of the day I believe a strong market researcher is more than just someone with a narrow skill set. The roles and responsibilities of a market researcher is a much broader scope. Here are 9 types of careers and skill sets every market researcher has:
- Engineer - you can dissect data and can break information into ground-level actionable recommendations. You also have the ability to look at the sum of all the parts and compile smaller data points to develop larger themes.
- Journalist - you have a keen ability to tell a story through research. Market researchers are information storytellers.
- Investigator - you don't see numbers as the end-point. Numbers are just a starting point to ask "why" and dig deeper.
- Statistician - you are not afraid to use complex models and predictive analytics to fuel insights.
- Designer - data visualization is a specialty of yours. You can create infographics and dashboards to quickly convey findings.
- Teacher - you are a mentor both inside your organization (teaching others best practices) and outside of your organization (guiding clients to success).
- Pilot - you steer research methodologies and next steps for your clients as a consultant. Go left or go right. Paths hinge on your market research.
- IT Specialist - you've become an expert over the years by programming surveys, using HTML, and drafting codes to automate reports.
- Mother - don't get all misty-eyed on me, but my point is you have the ability to understand what's worthwhile. Spend your time with what matters. Moms are good at that.
So next time you're in the grocery store line I think you have a far greater number of career labels to choose from if you are approached by an ornery old gentlemen while waiting in line. Maybe he'll offer a little more favorable response when I tell him I'm a teacher in the morning, an engineer in the afternoon, a driver at night, and a journalist on Fridays. I'll stay away from the "mother" label for now.
Drive Research is a market research company offering phone surveys, online surveys, and a variety of other market research services to our clients. Questions about how Drive can assist with your next market research project? Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 315-303-2040.