Plus c’est la même chose, The Future of Market Research Education Reg Baker, MRII #NetGain2015 #MRX


Netgain 2015Live blogging from the Net Gain 2015 conference in Toronto, Canada. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Plus c’est la même chose, The Future of Market Research Education

Reg Baker, Executive Director of MRII

  • People don’t trust us with their data, we need to have this conversation with them
  • Most of us are in the business by accident
  • If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research
  • forces shaping research – from data scarcity to abundance, from asking to listening, from analyzing to synthesizing
  • The argument – there is a set of principles that distinguish good from bad regardless of method – science
  • Clients have expectations of accuracy, how bad they are willing to accept, how good to use for predictions
  • MR education is way too focused on training to do a task and not enough on teaching principles to apply across technologies
  • Most training is “how to write a survey” and “how to run a focus group”
  • Training is not education. Training is acquiring knowledge for specific competencies. This is bringing new people into our organizations. People learn a tracking project and they populate the graphs.
  • Education is knowledge, skills, habits, beliefs, formative beliefs, ideals
  • How do people become educated in market research? There are 5 programs in the USA, a couple dozen people per year. Associations help with webinars that are sometimes sales pitches of one method, Continuing education people like Reg’s organization. Employers do the bulk of the training to make people productive – the smart ones will figure it out over time.
  • What should a program teach its students? What about social listening, predictive analytics, management consulting, big data, consumer research?
  • The firm of the future needs – specialists (data scientists, survey researchers, neuroscientists), business consultants, polymaths (he who knows much, generalists who understand how all the methods work together and assign the right method to the right objective)
  • Joan Lewis – we need to be methodology agnostic. The answer to every business problem is NOT a survey [WHAT!?!?!]
  • We need to teach people how to see noise.
  • Market research is easy. There are just a few easy steps. Understand the business problem. Know the full range of methods and data sources that might be used. Gather the right set of data. Understands the strengths and weaknesses of the data and resolve the inconsistencies. Create an actionable narrative.
  • We need to have an open mind about methods and learn when to use each one.
  • We need to focus on principles not ways of doing things. What makes “good” research? reliable, credible, can bet the farm on it.
  • We need to teach people the art of synthesis.
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