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 Reene Kalola, Research Director, Strategy & Insights at AMC Global, 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?
REENE: I’m a generational market researcher, but I didn’t know it until well into college! My mother works in pharmaceutical market research, and I never knew what she did.
People: “What do your parents do?”
Me: “My dad’s a realtor, and my mom does…something? With drugs? Maybe?”
While studying sociology in college, I interned at an education policy think tank where I was sitting in on focus groups, analyzing data, and doing secondary research. One evening when I was talking about my day, my mom said, “You know that’s what I do too, right?” I decided doing it for consumer goods was the best fit for me!
What has surprised you most about working in market research and insights?
REENE: The thing I love most about market research is finding out I’m wrong. You can never make assumptions about test results. I might look at a new product that’s launching and think—no one will ever go for that! Only to find it has 95% purchase interest. An N of 1 does not a good sample size make. It’s really helped broaden my scope of thinking.
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?
REENE: This one is too hard! (Even though I wrote it 😊 sorry to all the other respondents!) In my day-to-day, a good ol’ Purchaser Follow-UpTM is the bread and butter. I love seeing how consumers are reacting to new launches. And as I’ve gotten more experience with the methodology, it’s cool to make mental comparisons to norms—getting to that point where you can have a gut of “What does that number mean? Is it good? How good?” And PFU verbatims are pure gold. It’s amazing to see the quality of responses we get!
I also have a sweet spot for segmentation. There’s something about knowing your work will live on for years in the halls of an organization that is so rewarding. Pulling apart the differences and similarities, cutting the data in a million different ways… plus, nothing makes me happier than landing the best segment name (at work, that is! I’m not THAT much of a nerd. 😂)
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?
REENE: I’m sure we’ll hear this over and over, but AI. I can’t say for sure yet how it will shape the future of insights careers, but there’s no question there will be a shift. In my experience, nothing can replace the human attention and care we devote to our analysis, so it will be all about how we can improve our processes rather than replace them.
What would you tell someone who is considering a career in market research?
REENE: I would tell them this is a fantastic industry if they want to experience new things every day. We work on an amazing breadth of products, which always keeps things interesting. Oh, and that they should consider themselves lucky they don’t have to work with printed out tables anymore!
Thank you, Reene!
Why do YOU love market research? Let us know, and maybe you can be our next guest in this series!