I’ll be blunt: market research takes real work. Sometimes hard work. And sometimes tedious work.
We used to live in a simpler world. Everything was surveys and focus groups. Not that those are easy, but at least their risk factors and best practices are known.
Now we have over a dozen methodologies, constant new software options, and the uncertain threat that substitutes from outside of our realm may be about to storm the castle.
So on top of our normal work, excellence requires that we are constantly expanding our knowledge set, learning new tools, and responding to what can often be uncomfortable questions about market research validity and relevance.
So if you long for the simpler days, you are out of luck. And if you are thinking about getting into the field, and have some misguided idea that the work is easy, forget it.
To be a good market researcher, you will need to work hard. You will need to do real work. You will need to develop the ability to judge and critique—even your own work. You will have times when you will “do it over,” need help, and possibly even under-deliver. You will have late nights or early mornings in order to meet the unintended but inescapable confluence of project deadlines.
But you will also find the clients appreciative (usually), the data fascinating (often), and the thrill of discovering new insights about customer attitudes and behaviors empowering (always).
Market research isn’t for wimps. But it’s definitely for me.
[Please share your thoughts on this topic using the comments tool here! I’d really like to hear what others think about the work of market research.]