Why I Love MR: An Interview with Jenny Stephen

Posted by AMC Global on Apr 4, 2024 7:22:53 PM

AMC banner (21)

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 Jenny Stephen, Consumer Insights Manager at Beam Suntory, 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? 

JENNY: I didn’t even know what market research was until I was a Junior in college. I was studying Marketing and was required to take a market research class. At the time, I was considering a career in either consulting or brand management but was inspired to pivot to market research when I learned that it was the best of both those worlds. In market research, you’re able to be a strategic thought partner as a consultant would be but you’re also an expert in your category/brand and the consumer. I loved the duality of that. 


What has surprised you most about working in market research and insights? 

JENNY: How creative it can be! Market research is all about telling a story through data. And beyond just interpreting what the data means, a large part of the storytelling is about bringing the data to life through data visualization. A part of market research that I’ve always loved is thinking through how to show the data in a way that is both interesting and easy to understand for the audience. 


Surprise! You’ve been given unlimited resources to study anything in the world. What does this passion project look like? What would you discover? 

JENNY: I love learning about macro trends and how they influence consumers across categories. I find it fascinating to see how one trend can manifest differently in such diverse categories as food and beverage, health and beauty, fashion, media, etc. One trend in particular that I’ve been enjoying learning about recently is cultural globalization. 

Living in an ever-evolving digital world, we have significantly more access to global influence than ever before, which has sparked a lot of curiosity with consumers. My ideal passion project would be to travel the world and study the cultures (or sub-cultures in some instances) that are having the biggest impact on mainstream attitudes and behaviors. 


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?

JENNY: Even though they can often be long and tedious projects, I’ve always loved segmentations. I love the concept of taking a large group of consumers across completely different demographics and backgrounds and understanding what makes them similar, whether that be through behaviors or emotional, functional, or social needs.  


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?

JENNY: I’m looking forward to seeing how AI continues to impact our industry. There’s been a lot of cool new tools that leverage AI to collect and analyze large data sets across multiple platforms. For instance, I find the use of AI to forecast future trends via social scraping of channels like online articles, online forums, search, social media, etc. to be particularly interesting. I think it will allow brands to be more agile in their innovation development by allowing them to identify and action on growing trends sooner. However, AI comes with a new set of challenges as it poses threats to data quality and integrity, so its continued evolvement will be something we continue to navigate through. 

What would you tell someone who is considering a career in market research? 

JENNY: I would say it’s a great opportunity for anyone looking for a diverse career path. It provides frequent exposure to data and analytics, while also offering experience with marketing and the creative side of brands. It also offers options for the types of industries you can work in. For instance, if you work at a market research agency, you’ll gain exposure to a lot of different clients across categories, like CPG, tech, food & beverage, etc. Or if you want to become an expert in a particular category, you can do research for a brand in-house. 

Thank you, Jenny!


Why do YOU love market research? Let us know, and maybe you can be our next guest in this series!