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 Terrence McCarron, CEO & Founder of OpinionRoute, 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?
TERENCE: I never even knew what Market Research was until my junior year in college! At Fairfield University (CT), I was exposed to survey research by conducting a full study evaluating local elections. We drafted the questions, made the calls in a local call center, and tabulated the data in SPSS. It was a great blend of my analytical and social inclinations. Fast forward to senior year and I found myself accepting an offer from SSI. My time in Market Research was officially underway serving social and market researchers alike.
What has surprised you most about working in market research and insights?
TERENCE: The biggest surprise for me is how fast things can evolve. New methods are introduced. New technologies are constantly launching. Companies come and go with M&A. This kind of change is fun and challenging for me as new opportunities arise constantly. But I believe it’s important to honor past expertise as well. I tend to vet these changes dynamics with a question—how do I best blend the old world and new?
Surprise! You’ve been given unlimited resources to study anything in the world. What does this passion project look like? What would you discover?
TERENCE: I’ve grown fascinated by the divergent dynamics of culture online versus our real-life experiences. I think we’ve all witnessed social media battles among friends that would never occur at a coffee shop. I’d love to study the influence dynamics that affect our emotional responses and behaviors online vs. off, when and where that psychological crossover happens, and why. To me this would reveal so much about omnichannel marketing but in a bigger sense how our society is evolving culturally right now.
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?
TERENCE: Online tracker studies are easily my favorite research approach. This is the perfect way to validate entire marketing strategies. I view this as the measurable intersection of R&D and marketing activation and one of the purest ways our discipline demonstrates value.
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?
TERENCE: Based on my summer travels, generative AI seems to be the topic of the moment on the innovation side. However, my view looks a little different than the current narrative. I believe AI offers a seminal moment of validation for the discipline and practice of market research. I’ve always believed our industry to be a people-first business. So, I believe AI can make its biggest impact by freeing up the research practitioner to go deeper and be more consultative with the brands they serve. AI will become a key tool for many roles in our industry, not a replacement for those people.
What would you tell someone who is considering a career in market research?
TERENCE: I have four kids who often ask me why I like market research so much. I believe this is a phenomenal space for talent with a wide array of skills. On my side of the world, companies often prioritize analytical skills and service orientations. Other companies may prioritize creativity and communication excellence. I have industry colleagues that have degrees ranging from Psychology to Communication to Math to Business to Science and Sociology. Our industry is a collection of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives at its core. There is truly something for everyone—even an extroverted numbers nerd like me.
Thank you, Terence!
Why do YOU love market research? Let us know, and maybe you can be our next guest in this series!