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 Tom Lawrence, Manager of Shopper Insights at Tyson Foods, 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?
TOM: In college, I took every internship I could and fell into a handful of CPG field marketing internships. As a field marketer, it’s your job to connect with current/potential consumers and educate/gather info. I absolutely loved my experience and from there, I knew I wanted a job within food/bev. When I graduated, I landed in sales and it wasn’t for me, but I was fascinated with the data I had access to. After leaving my sales job, I worked for a syndicated research provider because I wanted to understand where the data came from. Once I gathered the experience I needed, I jumped to the retail side and landed in category management. As I loved being a category consultant, I decided to move to the manufacturer side. I was lucky enough to find a role that was a blend of what I knew, data/analytics, and introduced me to something new, research. Long story short, I let my intuition of what I like, what I felt was important, and what I felt had “legs,” guide my career path. Also, I let my IRL experience drive my education versus additional schooling. Now my job revolves around learning about people and telling stories!
Surprise! You’ve been given unlimited resources to study anything in the world. What does this passion project look like? What would you discover?
TOM: The future of the grocery store. Does it look like a farmers market, is it littered in tech, is it completely virtual in the metaverse… Ultimately, how will the future mold, optimize, and enhance our grocery shopping experience. A super interesting piece of this project would be collaborating with organizations and experts across tech, service/experience, efficiency, economists, retailers and more.
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?
TOM: Technology is growing so fast… AI is scary and virtual/augmented reality is almost reality… Although these advancements in tech have endless potential, they still have a long way to go. In the next 5 years, I expect AI and VR to change how we do research. I could create an endless list but to name one example, VR could be the norm for all in-person research. This is just scratching the surface, but I’m optimistic for the future and how it’ll impact research.
What would you tell someone who is considering a career in market research?
TOM: Don’t go into research and insights because it sounds fun or better than finance, sales, and accounting. Become a researcher because you are fascinated about people and can intuitively understand and can read them. Research is fun and extremely rewarding but a lot harder than it sounds 😊. Lastly, to be successful you need to be collaborative, curious, creative, opinionated, patient and honest with what you’re good at vs when to leverage others.
Thank you, Tom!
Why do YOU love market research? Let us know, and maybe you can be our next guest in this series!