Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Millennial Problem in Market Research

When you talk to colleagues in Market Research and Consumer Insights about how they started in the Industry, how many times have you heard the phrase, “I just kind of fell into it”? Honestly, I’ve heard this phrase more often that I would have liked throughout the years. I recently attended a Market Research event and heard the same phase repeated again. So I just finally had to ask, “Why?”

Is it perhaps because for lack of better terms, a defined career path for Market Research in college? Universities have Accounting, Math, and Science departments, but the overwhelming majority do not have Marketing Research departments or offer degrees in Marketing Research.

Maybe it’s due to a general lack of awareness of our trade among the public? Or perhaps it’s due to the nature of the work and the skill set required? Whatever the reason, the “just fell into it” phenomenon is a foreseeable problem for our industry that is expected to add 32% more Research Analysts over the course of the next decade. And who are likely to fill these roles? Why, Millennials of course. 

“Intense interest and behavior of young people can improve our research." ~ Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP

And Millennials are a perfect fit for our industry. They are the first generation that has lived with the internet since birth. They are technically savvy in so many aspects and have a fantastic set of interactive, adoptive & digital skills. With such a set of appealing traits, are we as an Industry expecting them to “just fall into” the trade as well? Or are we recruiting and training the brightest, most intelligent, most curious young individuals that we can? If we are participating in the former, our industry is in for quite a shock.

A recent poll among Millennials revealed they want to work for prestigious online / tech firms like Google, Apple, Facebook, & Microsoft. These firms are likely perceived to be creative, innovative and push the technological envelope. Likewise, these same firms want Millennials to work for them for similar reasons, and are recruiting top talent among the best colleges throughout the nation.

So if Millennials want to work with top tech companies, and these same companies are recruiting top talent like crazy, where does that leave our Industry in obtaining top talent? According to Martin Sorrell, Chief Exectuve Officer of WPP (parent company of Kantar, TNS, Millward Brown & Added Value) we are desperately in need of this talent. “Intense interest and behavior of young people can improve our research and make it more accepted. And right now our industry has the need for more skills in programming, data, & digital.”

It’s evident we have a need for Millennials, but do they have a need for us? Is our Industry perceived as innovative, creative, and technologically savvy in the eyes of Millennials? Enough to join? Only time will tell since not a single Top 50 Honomichl Company made their preference list. (Please comment below)   

Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.


BuzzBack said...

Great post Chris! We blogged a reply on how we are doing our part to attract the next generation of market researchers for our industry.

Mr Chris Ruby said...

BuzzBack, I read your article and thought it was very insightful. Thank you for helping to increase the awareness of our trade among Millennials.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC said...

Knowing your audience is especially important when trying to target content to various generations in the marketplace and in the workplace. During last week’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, Kassandra Barnes, Research & Content Manager,, presented “Mastering the Mindset of the Millennial Candidate.”

Mr Chris Ruby said...

Interestingly, some of my colleagues in our industry have suggested this phenomenon is not unique to MR, but is happening in all other industries. Any thoughts or opinions?

Mary Williams said...

I like this article. Consumer survey is an important part of Market Research. I buy Affordable Marketing Research Paper in which i analyze the consumer needs.