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THE HIDDEN WORLD OF MARKET RESEARCH & INSIGHT

What it is and why it needs more BIPOC talent like you.

Here, data, consumer behavior and cultural shifts combine to produce unique solutions and life enhancing innovations.

From qualitative and quantitative methods, which sit at the core of the industry, to impacting the marketing, strategy and innovation outputs of today’s most popular brands, the MRX field is the quiet force that moves culture forward from behind the scenes.

Despite its significance, awareness of this field, how vast it is, how to enter it, and the number of career opportunities that exist here, are relatively unknown!

Most are familiar with the idea of market research, but often have outdated, negative perceptions of the concept.

We want to change that, especially for multicultural students and young professionals.

When it comes to our careers, we often seek out popular or well-known career fields where we've seen others who look like us successfully navigate or manage our careers in a way that secures positive financial gains.

For Multicultural audiences, research & insights has not only been an invisible field, but it is also felt like a field that was not meant for people with diverse backgrounds.

Insights in color has been working to change that by highlighting the wide variety of people who have chosen to be researchers and insights professionals for a living.

(Researcher Gallery Wall)

Most importantly, the growing presence of multicultural consumers in the US has placed the MRX field at an exciting intersection of today and tomorrow.

Brands want to create thoughtfully inclusive, products, services and strategies for multicultural consumers but need researchers like you from diverse backgrounds to achieve this goal.

Insights in Color is working to double diversity in our field by 2030. To do that means bringing research and insights out from the dark and illuminating the many ways you can have an exciting career here.

We teamed up with Eyes for Research to help us dive a bit deeper into what attracts researchers to our field, what keeps them there and most importantly why we need more BIPOC Talent.

At agencies-

Here, practitioners work for many brands at one time often touch a diverse range of categories like beauty, fashion, tech or healthcare. Their role is to provide insights and strategy to some of your favorite brands. They can be large like Nielsen and Ipsos, or small like Thinknow Research.

Within Brands-

Practitioners who work at some of your favorite brands like PepsiCo, Nike, Viacom, Glossier and more. They often work only on one or two products/ services and are dedicated to ensuring those items truly resonate with consumers and help brands reach their bottom line. Depending on how the brand is structured, they either hire and supervise agencies to do the work, or they do the work in-house. 

Within Ops service providers-

Practitioners who work at places like Lucid or Fieldwork. They create the systems and tools that enable brands and agencies to connect with and talk to consumers to gain insights at a fast, large scale.

I like talking to people & learning more why they are who they are and why they do what they do.

Qualitative Moderator:

Qualitative researchers often lead one-on-one interviews or large focus group conversations to examine how people learn about and make sense of themselves and others and how they structure and give meaning to their daily lives.

I think numbers & data rule the world. I love just about anything to do with numbers.

Quantitative Analyst: Analyze large numbers of consumer inputs through mathematical and/or statistical modeling in order to develop brand & marketing solutions backed by data. 

Statistician: professionals who apply statistical methods and models to real-world problems. They gather, analyze, and interpret data to help companies and brands with their decision making process.

UX Researcher: work to create the best possible experience for the users of a website, or digital platform by researching user behavior and analyzing design elements to make the experience more seamless.

I love tech and I’m curious about how we use technology and why.

Culture & trends are my thing. I notice when larger cultural events impact the way we live and the decisions we make.

Cultural Strategist – Won’t be defined
Semiotician- someone who uses their ability to break down signs and symbols to determine how brands can more effectively resonate with consumers while remaining culturally relevant.

I’m a fixer & ideas person. I like presenting new ideas & creating solutions that work

Consumer Insights Strategist – use the insights gained from different research methods (qual, quant, other) to create strategies that appeal to a brand’s target audience. Because of their responsibilities, they usually have to gain experience across many different research roles. 
Brand Strategist- Similar to a Consumer Insights Strategist only their responsibilities may also include developing strategies that enhance that brand itself in order to ensure it remains relevant or competitive in its industry.

Testing

I’m great at planning & managing logistics & costs for events & projects.

Project Field Coordinator: They typically oversee costs, logistics & planning of different research projects- global and domestic. They are responsible for managing projects to ensure that they run seamlessly. 
Operations – Won’t be defined

72%

Female

29%

Male

35%

Black or African American

18%

Hispanic or
LatinX

15%

White or
Caucasian

12%

Asian or Pacific Islander

4%

who
self-
identified

2%

American Indian or Alaskan Native & Middle Eastern

"I took a market research course in undegrad -- the teacher was fantastic and got me hooked. For our class project, we worked with small businesses in the community to conduct research projects for them."
"I was freshly out of college with a B.S. in Psych and Sociology and visiting an aunt who worked in advertising. She showed me some of the creative & strategy she was working on and told me the process of how she got to point A to point B which included mostly insights work. After I researched insights careers and figured it would be a good fit for my background and interests."
"In school I didn't even know market research existed. I was very lucky to meet someone who was working in innovation, who saw my strengths and suggested it would be a good career path for me."

We asked multicultural male research practitioners what they love most about this field.

We asked multicultural male research practitioners what they love most about this field.

1.

Join the IIC community
Follow us to stay up to date on new initiatives and ways we are working to bridge the gap of awareness of this field

2.

Be curious
If you’re still in school, talk to your guidance counselors or your career department about what it might take to be in this space.

3.

Be willing to experiment
Most practitioners have worked across a variety of MRX fields as they too needed to figure out what they liked.
Touching a wide variety of fields is the key to finding what lights you up and gets you excited to work in MRX so don’t be afraid of trying, being uncomfortable and trying again.

4.

Take the initiative
Look for internships or fellowships in the field.
Ask people you know to see if they know anyone who can give you first hand knowledge.
Find MRX professionals on Linked-In who have roles you may be interested in and message then to ask them how they got started plus tips/guidance.

5.

Don’t be afraid of starting over
While IIC works to close the knowledge gap of awareness in our space, the window of time to start in this field is longer than most fields.
Find MRX professionals on LinkedIn who have roles you may be interested in and message them to ask how they got started plus tips/guidance."

From the mouths of current research practitioners

Don’t limit yourself.

  • "Market research can mean so many things - don't feel like you are pigeonholing yourself in one area because the skills in this market are transferable".
  • "Don't allow anyone (even yourself) to pigeonhole your experiences and opinions. Don't be afraid to try things and fail. It will help you continue to learn more about yourself and give you greater insight into what you want to do in the future".
  • "If you're POC don't get pigeon holed into only doing multicultural work. It handicaps you and labels you as only good for certain types of work. Make sure your skillset is diverse by getting engrained with mainstream work as much as possible".

Be Multidimensional.

  • "Be hybrid - qual/quant/social/search. It's all data and all insight. Work on storytelling. Ultimately, insight must inspire and guide".
  • "Find your niche/specialty and develop a strong POV. Never stop learning and ideally, aim for a well rounded quant and qual skill set".

Be Intentional.

  • "Be curious, learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Start networking early - insights is a very small industry, also build a positive brand around yourself (your reputation follows you - and again, it is a small industry), always look for new or different ways to do things - break free from your comfort zones - that is where you find growth!".
  • "Don’t be afraid to leverage your network, and everyone is your network. Being young and coming out of school it’s easy to feel like you don’t have a network/ don’t know the relevant people but utilizing teachers, reaching out to people who you don’t know but admire or that have a position you want to achieve you can build a network".

Know your Power.

  • "You can only do your best work if you care for yourself and know your value (especially when others may diminish it). Put up barriers where necessary and go where you are valued".
  • "Ensure you’re at a company that values your work. Also, think about the total package: compensation, mobility, training/development. Find a mentor that is outside of your company. Someone that you can be completely transparent with. Last, network with your peers. They are an amazing resource".
  • "Own your own career. Be sure to identify the benefit you get from the work as well as how the company is benefited. Too often it is a one sided equation where employees fill the business gap but don't necessarily have their aspirations or goals addressed. Be thoughtful about where you work. How long you stay in a role/company. Seek constant self and personal improvement. Speak up if you are unhappy and ask for new opportunities. Network consistently so that you can create opportunities for yourself and not be reliant solely on the company. Do what you enjoy and do it well. And don't shy away from change or taking risks. Life is too short. Good luck! :)".

Always be Researching.

  • "Develop a researcher's mindset; question everything, investigate vs validate, clearly articulate the why underpinning your research method choices".
  • "If you are curious, are good at connecting the dots, and have some level of attention to detail, you can be successful in market research".

If you want to know more about what it means to be successful in this field go to our FAQ Page. For brands and agencies seeking BIPOC talent- click here to learn more.

Whitney’s article with Mimconnect.