In years past, most of what was expected of any internal MR professional was to produce a seemingly endless array of tables and charts and to be able to talk about their methodology of choice to ad nauseam.

The internal/generalist MR person (people like me), the person who uses the qual and quant and everything in between to answer the business questions, is now working in a different environment, with different tools.

Our role continues to evolve and incorporate more and more responsibilities.

We are expected to not just master the fundamentals of qual and quant but also be the expert on the new tools of MR. The new tools of MR primarily include social media and mobile research.

In my first post I talked about the importance of MR folks staying away from the “nerd” moniker.  My belief is that if others in our organisations think of we researchers as “nerds” then that relegated us to the backroom and not at the proverbial “table.” This is the goal of just about every Insights person: namely to get a seat at the table, and be a point person for the business.  Whether you are a supplier or an internal MR person, getting a seat at the table seems to be universal.

The successful researcher in any age does three things really well:

  1. Defines the business problem/question.
  2. Effectively breaks the problem down into an easy to understand form.
  3. Communicates these findings with their counterparts to make research actionable.

So how do we do it all?

A successful researcher continues to learn and stay on the cutting edge. Here are few resources I look to stay up-to-date:

What do you use to stay on the cutting edge?  Talk back.

Kyle Nel is manager, customer insights – food and small formats – at Walmart.

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