Welcome to our "Why I Love MR" Q&A Series! We have talked with both internal AMC Staff and some of our clients, so keep an eye out for fun interviews coming up exploring all the reasons why those of us who work in market research are so passionate about what we do! Interested in being interviewed and sharing why YOU love MR? Reach out to us.
Here we get a chance to know AMC's Alison Hansberry, Senior Research Manager, a little bit better...
A lot of little kids want to be astronauts, firefighters, or doctors when they grow up. Few five year olds would tell you, “When I get older, I want to be a market researcher!” How did you first get involved in market research, and what drew you to it?
ALISON: I studied Clinical Psychology and Sociology in college, and I originally considered becoming a therapist or psychiatrist. At the time, I had a part-time retail job at a clothing store and became fascinated by their marketing materials and brand guidelines. In my Senior Seminar for Psychology, we discussed different focuses and paths within the field. When we reached consumer psychology, something instantly clicked for me. I started digging into career paths that could immerse me in consumer psychology, and I applied to and landed my first role in market research shortly after graduation.
What has surprised you most about working in market research and insights?
ALISON: How creative and consultative it can be. Yes, statistics are a critical part of what we do – but there’s much more art to our field (even in quant) than I’d originally expected. I love it all, especially getting creative with data visualization and pushing the envelope with action-focused writing.
Surprise! You’ve been given unlimited resources to study anything in the world. What does this passion project look like? What would you discover?
ALISON: Wow! This would be a major undertaking, but I would probably take the opportunity to understand which countries around the world could most benefit from research, and do a lot of flexible, foundational work across the globe – traveling and immersing myself in every culture along the way.
Market research studies come in all shapes and sizes, from quick claims and message tests, to large and complex conjoint analysis, to getting your feet on the ground with in-depth qualitative interviews. What’s your favorite methodology or research approach?
ALISON: For me, it’s any methodology that allows the voice of the consumer to really shine through – whether that’s in quant through the support of dense, high quality verbatims and colorful video open-ends, or in-depth qual. In my experience, hearing and seeing the people behind data truly supports its quality and makes for such a strongly compelling and well-formed story.
What do you feel are hot topics and cutting-edge innovations in the market research field today? How do you feel this will shape the future of insights careers?
ALISON: I think that we will likely continue to see faster and stronger tools and technology emerge that will support advanced data analyses in user-friendly formats. Ultimately, I think these tools will make us even stronger researchers, as we’ll be able to switch gears from traditionally more manual or time-consuming analyses to developing even more strategic and consultative recommendations for our clients.
What would you tell someone who is considering a career in market research?
ALISON: Market researchers come from diverse backgrounds, so don’t let a particular major or focus of study hold you back – for instance, there are often advantages to having a background in the social sciences. If you are relentlessly curious and have a keen eye for detail, discipline, and a passion for human understanding, market research could be a great fit for you.
Thank you, Alison!
Why do YOU love market research? Let us know, and maybe you can be our next guest in this series!