Finding Freshness in Longevity: Insights from Years of Experience
Vice President, Communities & Panels
I recall a brief conversation I had as a young professional. It was during the early days at my first job in the communities space – when every project felt new because, simply put, they were new. Not only was I new to the professional workforce, but I also was learning new methods, categories, client research needs. The list goes on and on.
I was impressed when a more experienced colleague whipped together a detailed, insightful report in short order. When I said how impressed I was, she replied with:
Well, I am old, and I have been doing this for a long time.
At the time, I don’t remember thinking much about that comment other than feeling it was generally foreign for me (the age and being able to put together a report so fast). But it stuck with me, and I think about it every so often. Recently, it came to mind, and I made a realization. I am now years older than that colleague was at the time. But this blog isn’t about that less-than-thrilling “old” realization. It is about the “longevity” part.
I have been doing qualitative market research for a long time. Even so, the projects and topics have always felt new. Methods have evolved, consumer mindsets have changed, and there is always a client twist or uniqueness to the learning needs. What an amazing thing to experience in your trade, to always have it feel new and exciting.
When I re-committed to the community space several years ago, I recall wrapping my mind around the transition to being dedicated to specified client accounts for 6 to 12 months at a time, minimally. Would projects still feel fresh and new?
The answer is yes! The closeness with which we conduct our community accounts immerses us in our clients’ businesses. We can never assume we know the answers because categories and needs evolve. Methods and the function of working together become a familiar comfort; we know our clients’ preferences – their communication interests and reporting styles, etc. Those knowns couple with immersing into categories and businesses over months, to provide a new level of research experience.
I am old now, or so I was previously told, but the insights I uncover are still fresh.