The following notes were live blogged from the Emerging Leaders Panel on June 10, 2014. The panel was moderated by Mark Wood of TNS, and included the following panelists: Raj Manocha (Asking Canadians), Jara Ulbrych (Coca Cola ), Scott Switzer (Vision Critical) and Megan Harris ( SABMiller). Minimal editing was done on the post, so there will be typos in the post.
How Have Budget Pressures Impacted Your Company:
Raj: Scalability becomes different, moving from sample sizes of 1000s to hundreds. Need now to change into a company that can scale in a more efficient way.
Megan: From a client-side perspective, understand how the discussion happens since there is not an obvious proven ROI on investment.
Scott: Vision Critical has been a success because it can tap the people you need to for your business very quickly and efficiently. Don’t claim that the product can do everything, but can help with companies that are challenged with respect to budgets.
Jara: Have made a commitment at Coke to the shareholders to invest in the brand, so research budget has actually gone up. Challenge is with respect to ad-hoc project budget. Trying to bring in more global suppliers to bring in bulk savings by having a global reach.
Moderator: Younger researchers may not always deal with clients even though they have an expanded role, how does that help their career evolve.
Scott: There is a lot of stress and confusion about dealing with limited resources. Have conversations with them to see if their are external resources to help them with.
Megan: Can be a much better researcher when you have a better idea of how every area of the company does things.
Jara: Each person is responsible for their own domain at Coke, but researchers are involved with other parts of the business outside of the research role.
Raj: A lot of time people are scrambling, solution is value-added solutions. Question is how do you solve people’s problems from a day-to-day point of view. Future for under 35s is to help them to survive.
Moderator: New innovative technologies are being talked about more and more. Many of the under 35 familiar with these, but how do you gain traction with clients or bosses on technology?
Raj: A lot of time it is about educating people. With panelists the question is how do you talk to people in the way that is best for them — such as mobile. For example, need to keep in mind 18-25s don’t want to do 45 minute surveys online, need to be shorter and on mobile.
Jara: No issue moving up the chain, issue more that when a supplier brings a new technology in it has to solve a problem that was not able to be solved before. A lot more steak and a lot less sizzle. We are open to things, but it has to be proven and provide new information that wasn’t available before.
Megan: Research is an investment, when selling research to internal clients they have to be convinced of it. Often internal clients can see it as a risk, and have to convince them it will work, and that there is a proven benefit. Education and story-telling skills have helped.
Scott: Wide range of ages at Vision Critical, average age is 33. Some business leaders that scratch their heads at the technology, others that seem like they could work at Facebook.
Megan: First dedicated Canadian researcher at SABMiller. Has resources to contact counterparts in other parts of the organization.
Raj: Organization is very flat, everyone has have to measure everyone else. Count on colleagues to tell him what happens everyday.
Jara: Flat department, no formal mentorship. Mentoring happens outside of the research department.
Q: Something that MRIA could do something differently at conferences like this?
- A lot of conferences start to feel the same, having a level of interaction where people from different industries can share learning would be incredibly valuable.
- It would be good if there were a lot more content about function instead of case studies. With respect to networking there is always pressure to make a good impression so important to make conferences inviting.
- As a younger person can feel that you don’t have as much visibility in MRIA. Great thing about research is that it takes people from everywhere so it is important to build awareness of research among younger people.
- Many of the younger researchers are likely not even members of MRIA, need to properly reach out to them to have them come to the events. Could have a summit for under-35s in a major city where content is specifically for them.