Why I Love MR: An Interview with Matt O'Mara

Posted by AMC Global on Oct 5, 2023 2:00:44 PM

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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 Matt O'Mara, Founder of Cranbrook Search Consultants and a MSMR Board Member, 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? 

MATT: It wasn’t until Grad School (MBA from Michigan State) that I even had an appreciation for market research. In one of my marketing classes, there was a class competition where we all created a software company… with our limited ‘funds’ at the beginning of the competition, I opted to buy as much market research as I could (instead of advertising)... that helped to propel my team into the lead for the competition and we won going away. 🙂  I learned that if you start by understanding your consumers, you can build a better product. That moved into my Market Research 800 level class. When I interviewed at GM, they focused in on my MR classes and asked if I wanted to join the Market Research and Planning group… I said ‘yes’ and the rest is history. 

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

MATT: On the client-side, I was surprised that the research results were often times questioned if the results didn’t meet the expectations of the management team. Whenever we heard questions about our methods or sample plans, I knew that we were challenging some preconceived notion that the brand team or engineers had about what the customers ‘should be saying’. 

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

MATT: Wow… that’s a difficult question to answer. I did a lot of IHUTs on deodorizing kitchen trash bags, so I would probably leave that alone for now. 🙂 Assuming that I can’t do some sort of medical research on a deadly disease, I would probably want to study why some consumers place such a high value on ‘luxury’ designer products that are artificially scarce (think Hermes purses, et al), when the price has nothing to do with the functionality of the product. 🙂

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?

MATT: love trade-off studies using advanced choice modeling techniques… I think that’s the best way to get real insights into consumer preferences.

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?

MATT: Clearly it’s AI and how so much of what we’re going to be doing will be assisted by or replaced by AI. 

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

MATT: If you’re curious and like to learn about human behavior… and if you like to unravel puzzles, market research/insights can be a great career. Also, if you start with a thorough understanding of the consumer… all of your marketing and advertising will be better for the efforts.  

Thank you, Matt!


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