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Brilliance@Work: Nick Graham Hears the Heartbeat Behind the Data at PepsiCo

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work.  During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Creating an effective customer story starts with empathy. Great storytelling evokes emotion, which causes your customers to take action. Help your organization build customer relationships that matter through empathy like they do at PepsiCo. Nick Graham is VP, Insights at PepsiCo. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nick Graham

Nick Graham

As a preview to his presentation, Nick shares his perspectives on “Hearing the Heartbeat Behind the Data: The Power of Empathy in a World of Big Data.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can leveraging empathy help shape an organization’s future success?

Nick Graham: In a world of big data, it’s important to remember that marketing is more than just a series of faceless transactions. There’s a real human heartbeat at the end of all those 1s and 0s, a person we can build a meaningful, lasting relationship with. And that’s where empathy comes into play. In building a deeper understanding of the people who buy our brands, we elevate our marketing beyond the generic and create products, programs and communications with the power to make people feel heard, moved and inspired. The time we invest in understanding their lives and what truly matters to them is time invested in building long-term customer value.

PB: What are some examples of how you leverage empathy at PepsiCo?

NG: At PepsiCo, consumer centricity (or should I say “people” centricity) is at the heart of everything we do. While we continue to invest in big data solutions, we’ve also made a conscious effort to invest in building empathy programs that help our teams really get to know the people who buy our brands.

This year, for example, we paired every single marketer in the North American Beverages marketing team with a consumer “pen pal.” Through a year-long program of video calls and online discussions, our marketers build a deeper relationship with their consumer pen pal and get to know them as an individual, not just numbers on a page.

We also get out and meet people on their own turf, experiencing the world the way they do. The Gatorade team, for example, routinely spends time with athletes and has discovered there’s a huge difference between hearing about the competitive spirit and witnessing it firsthand.

Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel, which we launched earlier this year, was inspired by the time we spent with the gaming community, watching them game and hearing them talk about what drives their performance. Everything from the ingredient benefits to the package design came from a deep empathy for this consumer. Above and beyond these specific initiatives, a focus on empathetic thinking encourages our teams to break out of their bubble, change their perspective and inspire more human story-based discussions.

PB: How does this approach help tell a compelling marketing story?

NG: We believe that marketing has the power to move and inspire people at a deep, human level. Empathy helps our marketers break out of their blind spots, open their eyes to the human side of the consumer and flips the conversation from brand-led to people-led. Instead of starting with our brands and looking for ways to insert them into people’s lives, we start by understanding real people: their likes, dislikes, values, motivations, daily struggles, and everything else that makes them human. And that is the starting point for any great story, one that will truly connect with the listener.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?

NG: There’s no doubt that the future of marketing will be shaped by big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, but I hope people will find this a compelling reminder to find the human heartbeat in the data, the deeper why that can elevate our marketing and build consumer relationships that last a lifetime.

Want to hear more from Nick? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.

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Brilliance@Work: Lindsey Clawson Transforms Information into Insight at USP

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work.  During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Analyzing data is only part of conducting marketing research. Putting that data into context is what creates new knowledge and insights to support your organization’s success in the marketplace. Lindsey Clawson is Director of Knowledge Strategy at USP. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lindsey Clawson

Lindsey Clawson

As a preview to her presentation, Lindsey shares her perspectives on “Scanning the Horizon with Secondary Research.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How is USP’s Secondary Research team helping to shape the organization’s future success?

Lindsey Clawson: The Secondary Research team helps USP see trends in context. For example, we may be on top of the opioids crisis in terms of knowing the latest statistics and interventions, but what is the scale of that versus pollution-related illnesses? We need to be responsive to hot-button, pressing public health needs, without losing sight of the global landscape. The secondary research discipline maintains that awareness, surveying the global health environment and placing new findings in relation to others. This approach empowers informed, proactive decision making at USP.

PB: What role does USP’s Secondary Research team play in helping to measure brand performance?

LC: Brand performance is something many teams at USP investigate and support. The unique approach from secondary research is tracking down additional, sometimes surprising, outlets which offer unique insights. In the past we’ve looked at citations of USP’s work in academic literature as one measure of performance, search engine results and where USP ranks compared to other standards providers, mentions of USP in trade press, and even comments made by relevant stakeholders such as regulators, public health organizations, or aid organizations. At a high level this might play out in an overall balance of positive versus negative mentions, but also pinpoints recent changes in the context of long-term brand recognition and performance.

Follow-up secondary research then investigates what factors may have led to a performance surge or decline. By understanding USP’s history, its major milestones and interventions, we can piece together the context surrounding that performance in order to paint a complete picture and thus inform our leadership and staff.

PB: How does USP’s Secondary Research team help tell a compelling marketing story?

LC: We’ve found that time and again, evidence and quotes from those impacted make a story stick. The team works to find credible data as well as expert quotes from news outlets or their own works, and weaves those into the research reports. Our primary research teammates are great counterparts in this regard, as both thought partners and sources of original survey findings with qualitative and quantitative content. With both the primary and secondary teams, we can look at prior survey results and secondary materials and piece together new takeaways. Once we develop these insights, the secondary research group finds different ways to highlight compelling points. We’ve studied layout and design, and taken tips from our marketing group to use elements such as pull quotes or enlarged, high impact data points to drive a point home. For example, in past work we anchored a slide on the number of people prematurely killed by pollution each year (7 million globally).

The data also needs to be pulled into a story that connects a trend or problem to stories about people. Dry data and complex charts are great for backup Appendix documentation, but within the report we try a more narrative format. The team will use headers that advance the narrative, which is then fleshed out with slide text and charts. Together these elements present the secondary sources in a way which leads to a novel insight. We take the reader along on this path of discovery.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?
LC: They will learn about what a strong, nimble secondary research team can accomplish. I’ll be sharing approaches we take, from methodologies to collaboration and internal consulting, to how we overcome common challenges in the B2B space where information is not as consistent or comprehensive as in B2C. Attendees will learn about the approaches and takeaways which resonate best with different audiences – C-suite executives down to front line staff –with a sharp eye to the end benefit of such work when it resonates with those stakeholders.

There will also be a discussion about what the way forward may be, integrating different resources such as contract or temp-to-hire and globally dispersed researchers, refining our skills and reflecting on opportunities to improve, and utilizing new digital capabilities to amplify the impact of our work within the organization such as through Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice.

Want to hear more from Lindsey? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Laura Eddy Shares Her Insights Journey from Packaged Goods to Technology

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Creating an effective customer story starts with empathy. Help your organization transform the value they create for customers, employees and other key stakeholders by understanding your audiences’ key emotional drivers, like they do at Zillow.

Laura Eddy is Senior Director, Consumer & Customer Insights at Zillow. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Laura Eddy

Laura Eddy

As a preview to her presentation, Laura shares her perspectives on “My Insights Journey from Packaged Goods to Technology.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in consumer insights shape your character and career?

Laura Eddy: Working in Consumer Insights over time makes you empathetic to the people around you. You begin to really internalize that everyone has a unique story and it is likely not just the story that they may present on the surface. That leads to listening more closely to what people tell you, and almost more importantly, what they don’t say.

I like to think this skill set has been applied to my job and career in a way where I can hear the deeper questions and needs that leaders have when facing critical decisions to drive business forward, even if they can’t always fully articulate them. This leads to stronger solutions that address the underlying issues and can significantly change the strategic direction of the organization.

PB: What role does technology play in the performance of a brand?

LE: Technology works on many different levels. First, we use technology to gain insight. It should be no secret that new technology is enabling us to understand our customers in new and interesting ways. For example, we listen to social chatter to learn about topics that we did not think to ask consumers about, and we leverage new tools like AI to determine consumer needs and wants without having to constantly ask. Second, we use technology to better access our customer and every bit as importantly, let them access and interact with us. We need to be where the customer is and as they get deeper into new technologies, we need to be there to deliver the very best context appropriate content. Third, we use technology to create better communication. New technology is allowing our marketing teams to create new and stimulating communication with improved media devices, enhanced graphics, and new voice technology.

Finally, we use technology to build better products and services to meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.

Zillow was built on the idea of data transparency and giving people the power of that data to make decisions for themselves in the real estate space. Keep in mind, as recently as 15 years ago, if you wanted to know what your house was worth, you were dependent on a real estate agent or your city’s tax department telling you that information. With technology, people now have that kind of information easily accessible. We continue to push the envelope in helping people stay informed.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

LE: There have been a few projects over several employers that I have been very proud of:

In 2010, Walmart became one of the first major companies to leverage Facebook to make social and local connections with customers – while there is a lot of value to this from a brand building perspective, the question came up of whether this drove actual business revenue. My team developed one of the first analyses for determining the value of a Facebook fan, even before Facebook themselves did this kind of analysis. I remember presenting that work to Sheryl Sandberg in a converted warehouse office at Walmart. Once Facebook developed their protocols, we went back and checked the results – it turns out we were off on our estimates by less than 10% of actuals, which felt pretty awesome.

At Amazon, one of the really cool insights we produced was around the idea that Alexa was seen by customers as a beloved member of the family (in fact, at the time, one of the top questions asked was “Alexa, will you marry me?”), which drove a step-change in how Amazon marketed some devices. Rather than focus on the hardware or on the device and ancillary features directly, the Marketing team pivoted its attention to Alexa and the AI. This idea helped create the idea of a device ecosystem all connected via customer-favorite Alexa for Amazon to interact with consumers.

Zillow, though, has been the place where I think I have had the greatest impact on the brand and business. We have delivered foundational work that showed just how painful the home selling process is for consumers, which led to the creation of a new business called Zillow Offers – this business now accounts for over 40% of Zillow’s revenue and is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of our new projects include envisioning the future landscape of the real estate marketplace – we are combining a series of methodologies like customer journey mapping, futuring and war gaming to construct an ideal customer experience. We are incredibly fortunate that hunger and willingness to embrace the needs and wants of the customer are the guiding principle at Zillow.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?

LE: Insight, of course! Great insight is often generated by real emotion, and making a major career change from one industry that you are familiar/comfortable with, to an industry that is new, different and constantly changing can create many meaningful emotions. We want to shine a light on the process of transitioning from one industry to another, and share what you might expect and how to prepare for it.

We want to try and answer the questions that might be keeping you up at night about making this kind of move – the risks, the reward, the effort. It is no secret, companies are not as loyal to their employees as they once were, you must be prepared for an ever changing future.

If you have been wondering if you should make this type of move and just want to learn more, please join us.

Want to hear more from Laura? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Jordan Girman Creates Experience with Context

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work.  During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Looking at user experience from a holistic viewpoint is critical to help grow your organization and change the way you innovate for your customers. Once you understand your customers, you can design experiences they will strongly identify with.

jordan-girman

Jordan Girman

Jordan Girman is Senior Director, User Experience Research at Glassdoor. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a preview to his presentation, Jordan shares his perspectives on “Designing Connected Experience with the Context of the User in Mind.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in UX design shape your character and career?

Jordan Girman: When I started my career, there wasn’t really a field called UX. There were the beginnings of it, but most people were termed as information architects and the field was still getting defined. I think that what really drew me to it was that I could be a part of that definition, and I liked the “wild west” feel of developing process and seeing what worked and what didn’t. So, the first thing that UX taught me was to say “I can do that,” and then realizing I could actually figure out how to do it. It felt empowering and made me feel valuable.

The second thing I learned was how to separate myself from my work. When I first started to design, I would look at how I did something, then apply that to my design. Very much “I like the color blue, so everyone else must like this color too.” Changing my approach from “I think it should be this” to “What would the user do in this situation” radically changed not just how I design, but how I approach leadership and problem solving. Research and understanding context or the problem and people I work with are all major parts of why I have been successful.

Additionally, as I advanced in my career, I really learned how to step back from the item that I was working on and then view the project from a holistic perspective. Being able to see how what I am working on extends to a larger world, being able to zero in on small interaction and zoom out to a larger view of the experience translated into strategy and vision work.

PB: What role does UX play in the performance of a brand?

JG: Really any touchpoint plays into the user experience for someone interacting with your product. What that means is that someone who sees a YouTube video, listens to a radio advertisement, talks to a CSM or has an interaction with your website plays into that person’s perception of the company. Too often companies ship their org chart and think their users perceive their product the same way as the company does internally. But to a user, they are not interacting with ‘the mobile channel’ or ‘the brick and mortar,’ they are just interacting with the company, and it’s one thing to them.

Because of this, UX is tied to the brand, and the brand is tied to the UX. If the advertisements and overall design of the marketing assets are vastly different from the product design, then experience of transition from buying to using suffers. Same goes true if the user experience is poor on the product, then the perception of the brand suffers.

At Glassdoor, we are working on ways that brand design and product design collaborate to make a seamless experience throughout every touchpoint for the job seeker and employer. It’s not easy, but we will get there.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

JG: In my early days, I was a big part of redesigning the Mercedes-Benz USA site (MBUSA.com) for an agency called Critical Mass. From there, I was part of starting a UX agency working with a variety of clients. Eventually, I transitioned to product design working on large scale video games for Electronic Arts. There I did redesigns for NHL and the first iteration of UFC, and eventually building design systems for the overall EA online marketing experience. Currently at Glassdoor, we are looking at how to radically change how people search for jobs in the future.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

JG: I hope to see people change their perspective of how their users interact with the internet and they can take the learning and apply it to their product. As we transition to mobile devices, user experience has so many more influences outside of the screen and every company needs to start thinking about how to accommodate those outside influences.

Want to hear more from Jordan? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Antony Barton Helps Bring Intel’s Technology to Life

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work.  During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Bringing technology to life includes having the creativity and imagination of an artist. It also requires having the insights and analytics to ensure sustainable success in the marketplace.

Jen Mahoney Photography

Antony Barton

Antony Barton is Director, Global Insights and Analytics at Intel. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a preview to his presentation, Antony shares his perspectives on “Leveraging Insights to Drive Intel’s Future Vision of the Laptop.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How is Intel’s Insights & Analytics team helping to shape the organization’s future success?

Antony Barton: Our insights function is focused on driving insights into product development (e.g. 12 to 36 months) and marketing strategy (e.g. 0 to 18 months). This includes helping our business unit (focused on the development of next generation PCs) to bring forth the best products as possible; and support our marketing strategy team to develop effective marketing campaigns that communicate the benefits of Intel’s new technologies. We deploy a number of different types of insights methodologies to drive our insights into decision making including ethnographic studies, more traditional qualitative techniques, quantitative approaches including feature prioritization and optimization, pricing studies, audience segmentation, and message testing.

PB: What role does Intel’s Insights & Analytics team play in helping to measure brand performance?

AB: Measuring the health of the Intel brand among our target audiences (both B2B and consumer) is a key part of our insights function. From time to time, we also deploy more in-depth methods to better understand what our brand means and stands for; including looking by different age groups. This is important as perceptions of technology brands are constantly changing as new products and services arise.

PB: How does Intel’s Insights & Analytics team help tell a compelling marketing story?

AB: Helping our marketing colleagues bring our technology to life in an easy to understand and compelling fashion that encourages our target audience to buy a new PC is a super important part of our job. We are also often working with our eco-system partners to ensure we are coordinated in our approach (e.g. Microsoft and Dell and HP), including sharing insights.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?
AB: Today the ability to impact significant decision-making with insights is often dependent on how you can best bring together multiple streams of insights into a coherent story that executives can quickly understand and take action on. My talk will center on what I believe are best practices as its relates to leveraging multiple research methodologies (e.g. deep ethnographic, synthesizing secondary research, and traditional qualitative and quantitative) and the resulting insights that significantly impacted Intel’s most important mobile computing innovation decision in the past 10 years.

Want to hear more from Antony? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Emily Higgins and Amy Shea Create Brand Memories

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts.

Emily HIggins

Emily Higgins

Memories are the key to who we are. Marketers, like Emily Higgins, VP Client Services and Amy Shea, Director of Brand Experience at Ameritest, use the latest research on the brain to help create experiences that evoke positive memories of their brands.

Amy Shea

Amy Shea

They are also presenters at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to their presentation, Emily and Amy shared insights on how memory and emotion create stronger brand connections.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What is the science behind the brain’s three major memory systems?

Emily Higgins and Amy Shea: As scientists focus on the study of memory in relation to work on devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, we are learning more every day about the link between our memories and our self-identity, present-day choices and thus our future.

Scientists have known for some time that memory is three-dimensional. Academics call the three types of memory semantic, episodic and procedural memory; advertisers long ago have translated this into a communications philosophy, calling these three dimensions think, feel and do.

At Ameritest, as we collaborate with our clients on branded communications designed to solve business challenges, we use Head, Heart and Hand—a much better model to diagnose the visual and verbal narratives brands use to create branded memories. The most successful brands create memories across all three systems. And these memories drive choices at decision time.

PB: How does this relate to emotion?

EH and AS: Episodic memories, or what we call heart memories, are our social memories. They are the autobiographical memories that create your sense of self—including the brands your ‘self’ has chosen. A brand story that emotionally engages you forges a heart memory link.  This connection can be quite strong, as emotion drives behavior more powerfully than does logic. We will be talking about how emotion drives behavior specifically in the Casual Dining Category in our presentation, “Are Consumers Eating Their Feelings?”

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

EH and AS: We will share a case study of our own research—so, no data is blinded or embargoed in any way—to demonstrate three core aspects of creating brand memories: how the head searches for and embraces attribute, benefit and value equations that deliver their ideal experience; how the heart seeks the emotional satisfactions of their brand choice; and how the hand part of memory wants to see that rehearsed in a visual storytelling that is powerful and category-relevant. This is the work we do on a daily basis, focusing on the importance of creating brand memories and the role of a visual language in creating those memories that drive choice.

Want to hear more from Emily and Amy? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Corporate Research Leader Reed Cundiff

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts. 

Reed Cundiff 2016

Reed Cundiff

Knowing your customer is essential for your organization’s success. One corporate research team in particular is helping Microsoft “accelerate into the future” by providing enormous business value through their research and insights.

Reed Cundiff is the General Manager of Microsoft’s Customer and Market Research Team.  He’s also a participant in the panel discussion, “The Corporate Research Department – Accelerating into the Future,” at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to the panel discussion, Reed shared insights on the business value of corporate research teams.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can the corporate research department help shape their organization’s future success?

Reed Cundiff: I think the answer to this question is simple to say, and very challenging to do.  With the data and analytic tools at our disposal, corporate research departments can insert actionable insights at every stage of product development and customer engagement. That includes timely analysis of future market opportunities, clear-eyed views into customers’ wants and needs, detailed value assessments of product concepts, and insightful opportunities to position ourselves relative to competition.

Executing quality research in these areas is 15% of the work. The challenge comes in moving from data to insight, and from insight to action. Having the right blend of talent across research suppliers, corporate research talent and engaged stakeholders is what determines how we move from latent opportunity to truly driving business impact.

Our opportunity to drive the success of the larger organization has also been very consistent over the last few decades. The good news is that the thirst and pull from senior executives has reached a fever pitch in recent years. More than ever, leveraging research and market data for competitive advantage is the primary way senior leaders are looking to drive growth and business success.

PB: What role does the corporate research department play in helping to measure brand performance?

RC: It plays a huge role! To be clear, financial, social and behavioral data are interesting, valuable data types that we have spent a lot of time ingesting, understanding, and harmonizing with our more traditional data types. But even while alternative data types like social or telemetry have grabbed mindshare lately (as they should!), market research is a unique, valuable, enduring discipline. Market research is especially good at providing insight into why people do what they do, and building understanding of what they intend to do next. When we want to understand current brand performance and more importantly predicting future brand performance, market research conducted by our corporate team is the foundation for measuring brand performance.

PB: How does the corporate research department help tell a compelling marketing story?

RC: If there aren’t already 10 books on the topic, there should be! I would just note two of the main ways we try to support our internal marketing partners as they engage with our customers and partners. Foundationally, it’s important that we speak the same language as our customers.  Especially in a jargon-filled market like the Tech sector, it’s easy to either talk past your customers or lose your audience completely. We leverage qualitative research and social analytics to help our marketers understand how we can communicate to customers in ways they can understand and take action.

Second, we want to make sure that the messages we do put out in the market will come across as interesting, genuine and believable. We spend a lot of time with our marketers making sure that we test and optimize the nature and volume of communications we put out to customers and partners. With a diverse product set and fast product cycle, making sure we have high-quality messages in the right volume is critical.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

RC: I’m part of the panel discussion on ‘The Corporate Research Department – Accelerating into the Future,’ and I’m excited to attend this one! I think the audience (me included!) will get a chance to hear from leaders of some of the most innovative, industry-moving corporate research teams on the planet.

I’m looking at it as a great learning experience to see how insights leaders from Merck, Marriott, Prudential and Microsoft are grappling with topics like digital transformation, industry disruption, necessary skills for the future, and driving impact with senior leaders.

To me, this insight into the minds of senior corporate research leaders is helpful for corporate researchers looking to bring ideas and case studies back to their teams, and for folks on the supplier side to better understand the strategic agenda for some of their larger clients.

Want to hear more from Reed? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.