Happy MR Podcast Podcast Series

Ep. 405 – How to Navigate a Successful Career in Market Research

In this episode, we’ll be providing tips on how to navigate a successful career in market research. Stay tuned for the following weeks to hear the individual episodes of our referenced guests. 

Referenced Guests:

Nadia Masri, serial entrepreneur, founder of Perksy, and on Forbes 30 under 30 list

Whitney Dunlap-Fowler, founder of Insights in Color

Semaj Nitta, Student and aspiring consumer insight professional

Rebecca Brooks, founder of Alter Agents

Find Jamin Online:

Find Chueyee Online:

Find Us Online: 


This Episode’s Sponsor: 

How much of your analysis and reporting time is spent doing manual tasks? All that cutting & pasting, formatting, checking for mistakes, redoing work, using too many tools, and trying to figure things out. Try Displayr, it’s software that automatically does the painful tasks for you. Thousands of companies already use Displayr to cut their analysis and reporting times in half. I use the platform, my team and I love it. Get a demo and a free trial at displayr.com/happy.

This episode is brought to you by SurveyMonkey. Almost everyone has taken its surveys, but did you know that SurveyMonkey offers complete solutions for market researchers? In addition to flexible surveys, their global Audience panel, and research services, SurveyMonkey just launched a fast and easy way to collect market feedback, with 7 new Expert Solutions for concept and creative testing. With built-in, customizable methodology, AI-Powered Insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your ideas from your target market–in a presentation-ready format, by the way–in as little as an hour. For more information on SurveyMonkey Market Research Solutions, visit surveymonkey.com/market-research.

Chueyee Yang: So, what are we going to do on this podcast Jamin? 

Jamin Brazil: We are going to answer the question, “How to manage a successful career in market research.”

Hi Happy Market Research Listeners! This is Jamin and I’m joined by Chueyee Yang, our Executive Producer. 

Chueyee Yang: Hi Everyone! As Jamin said, We are going into a new podcast series on How to Manage a Successful Career in Market Research. You might be thinking, why do I care about this topic? Well for many of us, 2020 left us concerned about our industry and our futures. 

Jamin Brazil: Yeah. Me too! In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released their US Unemployment Rates Report for January 2021. Just over 10 million American’s are currently unemployed. This  is still well above February 2020’s pre pandemic unemployment rate of 5 and a half million. 

Additionally, there are some factors that obscure the actual data. Specifically, companies are being incentivized to keep headcount that they may otherwise let go given budget constraints. 

But this is all very abstract. Let’s tell a human story. 

Back in August of 2020 I got a DM on LinkedIn from John. Now, John isn’t his real time. But, just imagine John. He has been in market research for about a decade. He has a wife, kids, and a house. 

John attends my weekly MRx Pros Virtual Lunch. You might even know him. Anyway, this is what he says, 

“By the way, the podcast is in my top rotation and makes my nights sane.  I took a second gig to get through these tough times working the night shift at a hotel.  While I am walking around cleaning, stocking the marketplace, and taking out the garbage to check on the resident raccoons, I am often listening to your podcast, if not yours, then I’m listening to The Classic Rock, Album-By-Album Podcast.”

First off, let me say, I’ve listened to The Classic Rock Album-By-Album Podcast…if you want to belly laugh, check it out!

Chueyee Yang: All of us have been impacted by the changes in the labor market. Some stories are tragic while others are remarkable. Just like John, I’ve taken a side gig. We are fortunate to have some great sponsors who enable me to spend nights and weekends working on this podcast. 

2020 taught us we need to be active in terms of managing our careers. This helps ensure we have a deep network. And, the better your network the more opportunities we have. 

Jamin Brazil: For this series, we interviewed a variety of people. You’ll hear from 

Nadia Masri, serial entrepreneur, founder of Perksy, and on Forbes 30 under 30 list. 

Whitney Dunlap-Fowler, founder of Insights in Color

Semaj (Sa-may) Nitta, Student and aspiring consumer insight professional

And, Rebecca Brooks, founder of Alter Agents. 

Chueyee Yang: How do you manage a successful career in consumer insights? This is a question we asked our guests. Let’s hear first from Rebecca, 

Rebecca Brook: I think that the three keys are first, is know exactly who you are. People tend to get into jobs or positions that they think might be a good fit or that they thought would be interesting but they’re not. It is very challenging to navigate a successful career when the decisions you’re making about where to go and how to move yourself forward aren’t in line with you really are as a person, what your strengths are. The second is that, and this isn’t a revelation for me, but that you should be interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you, in particular, their work culture. I’ve seen a lot of excellent people take jobs at companies because they were really interesting or, I don’t know, a thousand different reasons, but there were red flags in the interview process that there was something off about the culture that wasn’t going to be a good fit for them. And then they spend the next two to three years struggling at a company that can really damage a career. So definitely pay attention to the work culture. Ask questions about it. Make sure that you’re going to be a good fit. Make sure that your skills are going to be valued and rewarded. And then the third thing I think is, don’t be afraid to make changes. I’ve taken some pretty big moves in my career, from leaving a senior position at a company to start my own business and other things that I’ve done along the way and I think that those risks have always paid off. There have been some things I’ve done that haven’t paid off, but in the grand scheme of things, I think that taking risks and pushing yourself brings dividends.

Jamin Brazil: Yeah. This is really solid advice. 

First, know yourself. What you are good at and what you enjoy. Try and connect those things. 

Interviewing should be as much about you getting to know them. When you ask a question you take control of the conversation. It puts you in power. This is something that many employers find very attractive. 

Always bet on yourself. Many times, fear holds us back. We are afraid to post something on LinkedIn. We are afraid to DM someone we’d like to get to know. So, we just pass on those ideas and opportunities. Don’t do that. If you are building your network, look at LinkedIn. It is great and getting better. 

Recently on Merrill Dubrow’s podcast, On the MARC, he asked me what I would do if I was starting off on LinkedIn. For me, I’d start by responding to other people’s posts. Not with thumbs ups or claps or whatever…but with a thoughtful question or response to their post. Then everyone that views their post will see your comment and, more importantly, so will they. 

Chueyee Yang: Nadia started her first company as a teenager. It was a babysitting network that vetted, trained babysitters, and coordinated babysitting services. Her current company is a research agency focused on Gen Z. 

Nadia Masri: In managing a successful career. I would say – so specifically in market research. Interesting. I would say, I don’t know how much my opinion is going to be aligned with other executives, but I know in terms of what I would look for is for starters be ruthlessly devoted to your craft. I think that I even see this in our researchers. They just have this inborn curiosity, this innate curiosity. They’re constantly fact-finding, they’re seeking to discover and they genuinely derive just great pleasure from being able to do the work that they’re doing. Like, they find it fascinating. Like sometimes – we’re not in the office anymore, but when we were just like a little shout out across the office, it’s like, hey guys, isn’t this fascinating, like, come check this out, like look at what this audience said. And like, look at the product that’s winning here. And I think that’s the first thing. It’s just being devoted to your craft, really caring about the work that you’re actually doing and being passionate about it. I think many people would say that. I think that’s almost like a templated answer, but it’s really true. The reason it’s a cliché is because it’s been proven time and time again to be a key marker for success. Without passion – I think passion and success go hand in hand. Without passion, you can’t really put in everything that you could, that you absolutely could. And so I think that’s the key component. The second is really trying to decide for yourself what type of career you want to have within your sector. I mean, there are different types of researchers. You could work for a big company. You could be an innovator. Do you want to be a leader? Like what sort of micro path do you want to go down? And really sort of try to define for yourself what those interests are. Do you want to be the person who’s the trailblazer at a big company? Some folks might say I want to go to this fortune 500 brand, and I want to do my best to trail blaze there. Whereas others might say, I would rather go to a fortune 500 brand and learn what the industry is. What’s the gold standard of how to think about research and how to conduct research? Or do you want to be the person that discovers that research is such a beautiful space? I mean, no one told me about that when I was in high school. No one told me that I could go into research. It was like, here are the boxes for what you can go into. You could be a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, work in marketing, PR all these different areas. You can be an engineer. But no one told me that I can take all of these different things that I love and find them in one place within the technology space. I loved technology. And then I came across research and was like this is an amazing space. It’s so interdisciplinary. I mean, it’s the intersection between behavioral science and the brand world, and in my case technology. And so I think it’s really trying to focus on what is the most important thing that you want to get out of your career and how can you decide which path to follow based on those decisions. And I would say the third thing in terms of managing career – I don’t know, that’s a tough one. I think I might just have two. I think maybe the third piece of advice is to each their own. You don’t have to do anything that anyone tells you, you have to do, ever. It is entirely your choice. You get to entirely – I don’t think that’s talked about enough. My parents sort of, they taught me that. My dad used to always tell me that that quote that’s probably on a 100 different magnets, but this is your world, shape it, or someone else will. But another thing my parents taught me was you never have to apologize for the path that you want to take. You never have to apologize for wanting to do things differently instead, you should embrace that. Because I think I used to, when I was younger. I used to feel like, because I didn’t want to do the same things that everyone else did that, that made me different. Maybe wrong somehow. And that turned into me becoming an entrepreneur. So I think it’s trying to figure out not just like – even don’t listen to me what I tell you to do with your career. I think it’s really about defining it for yourself. Figuring out what it is that you want most and following that path.

Jamin Brazil: I love her dad’s magnit wisdom, “This is your world, shape it, or someone else will.“ That is really what we are all doing with our lives. We have the right now and we have the past. But, the future is unwritten. In many ways, Nadia is saying we need to bring our fiction into reality. 

This requires us to have a dream for ourselves. Someone once asked me, “If there was no evil, no sickness, no limits on finances, and no Satan, what would you be doing in 10 years?”

This was one of the hardest thought exercises I’ve ever done. It literally took me 2 months to come up with an answer. 

Chueyee Yang: Yeah. That is the point. We need to have an idea of what we want to achieve and then start working towards it. Big bold steps are really just lots of little steps you’ve taken over a long period of time. But it is important to have an idea of where you want to go. 

For me, I really liked Whitney’s point of view. She was very focused on getting to know the tactical side of consumer insights… 

Whitney Dunlap-Fowler: It took me a while to kind of figure this out but I think I have some good ones. I would say get to know the ops side of the business. So the costing, the kind of nitty gritty admin work. I actually started on that side of the business. I was a qualitative field coordinator. I know the cost of everything. I know how things are going to work. I know what recruitment looks like. I know how to think about incentives, etc. And it actually makes me a smarter strategist in the long run so that I’m not suggesting lofty goals and ideas with my clients that actually are not affordable. That’s also really important as we start talking to more multicultural audiences. Listen, multicultural work, work that’s done correctly it costs money and I’m tired of us using these antiquated cost pricing tools based on mainstream, IE predominantly white audiences and what we’re hoping to get from them. If we want to talk about representative sample, representative consumer groups we have to pay for them and that’s just what it is. So the more you understand the ops side of the business, how things work, the admin and how long it’s going to take to do things the better strategist you become. The second thing would be admit what you don’t know. I believe that many researchers tend to start from a space of assumptions. We’re going to come do this project, we’re going, these are the things we know based on previous work that we’ve done with probably predominantly white audiences and this is how we’re going to start the work. Every time I get a research brief especially for semiotics or cultural insights everyone asks me “how are you going to do this project.” And I have to be honest Jamin I never really know because I never know what the results are going to be and I can admit that as a researcher. I’m fine with saying I don’t know what the answers to this are. That’s why you’ve hired me and we’re going to find some really cool solutions at the end of this because I never fail. But coming into a project with assumptions, coming into a project thinking that you know where the work is going to go and the solutions that are going to be created off the backend, that already starts the process of bias in the research. So you have to give yourself space and time to figure out the more nuanced things. And if you find that you aren’t getting them then something is wrong in the way that you’ve crafted that research in the first place. Lastly, I would say speak up and have some cojones. I find that this goes for both internal interactions and external interactions. I used to be in a space where I thought all of the researchers in the room came at a problem with the same assumptions or the same mindset. And it wasn’t until I realized that not saying something actually put us in a detriment that I realized my voice actually adds to this work and I can’t assume that people are coming at this knowing what I know. There are a lot of things that could’ve been prevented had I just spoken up about an idea or something that I knew was inherently wrong despite my seemingly junior presence in that room. So speak up if you have something to say. Don’t, it doesn’t matter if it’s, if you think it’s something that’s not additive, I promise you it’s added to someone’s reality and then more than that with your clients I just have my own type of pet peeves of people who kind of roll over for their clients. At the end of the day our clients are hiring us to be experts and they need to see us as such. Letting your clients kind of jump and move all around you doesn’t make you look like the most capable strategist. It makes you look like someone who’s just willing to do work in the way that your client want you to and that’s just what it is. So I find that the clients who love me love me because I have a particular brand of saying what the case is, what it needs to be. I’m always willing to do the work in the way that they want me to but I’m also going to present the other side of the argument and say this is why it’s wrong but we’ll do it. We’ll do it the way you want to but I’m going to let you know why this is probably not the best way to do it.

Jamin Brazil: This is really good advice. There is a calmness we can create with our clients when we are assertive from a position of knowledge and data. 

Recently I was on a call with Ellen Piper and the client asked something like, “Can we field our survey in an hour?” Ellen responded, we can, but your participants will mostly be professional survey takers and, we just did some research on research to measure the difference in how they answer versus a non-professional participant….” 

Anyways, the conversation ended with the client being relieved and happy that Ellen has a point of view backed up by data. 

The other way she could have responded was, “Certainly! We’ll do that for you right now!” But the client doesn’t want Mr. or Mss. Right Now. They want Mr. or Mss. Right. After all, their reputations and careers are on the line. 

Chueyee Yang: In addition to corporate and agency researchers, a large part of our audience are recent graduates who are looking for a career in marketing research. This next generation of marketing research professionals is entering our industry at a very unique time. Semaj (Sa-may) talks about her biggest fear post-graduation… 

Semaj Nitta: Not getting a job. I’m very scared that I won’t be qualified for positions that I really want to apply for or even a big company that I want to work for. I’m very nervous about not having a job especially in this economy right now too. It’s just really hard to not compare yourself especially accountants and finance majors who are getting their fulltime offers sophomore year and I’m a marketing major and still don’t have a fulltime offer yet. But that’s my biggest fear right now.

I am constantly applying and I’m constantly trying to improve my resume and cover letters to hopefully secure that position that I want in the future. I am also just constantly networking as well to any ad agency or any specific company that I want to work for to really understand how I’m able to get that position possibly post grad.

In 2020, there was a lot of fear in the emerging workforce given the number of opportunities went down so dramatically. This is why it is so important to network. Each person in your network will eventually have an opportunity that is perfect for you. The hard part is the investment that you make in your relationships now…before you need them. 

There are a variety of trade organizations that can help you connect including the Insights Association, Quirks, Green Book (they produce the GRIT report), and ESOMAR. 

Jamin Brazil: Yeah. And, back in March, I started a weekly 30-minute virtual lunch just to give people an  opportunity to connect. Now, every Tuesday we have 40-70 fun-loving User Experience, Market Research, and Customer Experience Professionals.

Our charter is to make friends, get smarter, and have fun!

When: Every Tuesday from 11-11:30am PT.


The first half we hear from a guest speaker. Their talk includes one point and a human story. After that, we break into breakout rooms for a group discussion about whatever topic was proposed by the speaker. 

Some of our past and upcoming guests represent VP level insight pros at…



General Mills




You can check the show notes for a link to the Zoom or just DM me on LinkedIn and I’ll send you a personal invite! 

Lets end this capstone episode on how to manage a successful career in market research with a personal highlight. My question, “What advice would you give your 10 year younger self?” 

Rebecca Brook: I thought about that question when you posed it and I’m going to have to steal from Oprah. At the Qualtrics event in 2019 she spoke on the main stage. And somebody asked her that question and she said, I would tell myself to listen to the whispers. And that just really hit me. What she meant by that was, there’s always a little nagging, like, that doesn’t feel right thing that goes on in your head. And you push through it because you don’t want to cause waves or you just want to get through this thing or no, they’re not like that. You come up with a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t listen to the whisper. And most of the times, almost- Well, 100% of time for me, that whisper was right. And so I think that now I really try to, when I’m in a situation and I have that moment of like- To stop and think about it. What’s going on here? Why do I want to push forward with this despite the whisper? Is that the right thing to do? Intuition is another way to call it. It’s just, it’s paying attention to those red flags and not letting other circumstances kind of push you to ignore them because they will most likely come back and be a much bigger problem at some point.

Today’s contributing guests…

Nadia Masri, serial entrepreneur, founder of Perksy, and on Forbes 30 under 30 list. 

Whitney Dunlap-Fowler, founder of Insights in Color

Semaj Nitta (Sa-may), Student and aspiring consumer insight professional

And, Rebecca Brooks, founder of Alter Agents. 

Chueyee Yang: If you would like to hear the long form interviews, head over to the Happy Market Research podcast website at happymr.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

We hope you have a lovely rest of your day. 

Happy MR Podcast Podcast Series

Ep. 404 – Two of the Biggest Mistakes Companies Make When Doing Market Research and how to Avoid Them

My guest today is Ken Roshkoff, President at AMC Global (formerly Attitude Measurement Corporation). 

Founded in 1989, AMC Global was founded on their proprietary Purchaser Follow-up tool which gathers feedback from REAL PURCHASERS of new or restaged products immediately following launch.

Find Ken Online:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ken-roshkoff-a7b1116 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KRoshkoff 

Website: https://amcglobal.com/ 

Find Jamin Online:

Email: jamin@happymr.com 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jaminbrazil

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaminbrazil 

Find Us Online: 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/happymrxp 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/happymarketresearch 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/happymrxp 

Website: www.happymr.com 


“Clap Along” by Auditionauti: https://audionautix.com 

Epidemic Sound: https://www.epidemicsound.com/ 

This Episode is Sponsored by:

How much of your analysis and reporting time is spent doing manual tasks? All that cutting & pasting, formatting, checking for mistakes, redoing work, using too many tools, and trying to figure things out. Try Displayr, it’s software that automatically does the painful tasks for you. Thousands of companies already use Displayr to cut their analysis and reporting times in half. I use the platform, my team and I love it. Get a demo and a free trial at displayr.com/happy.

This episode is brought to you by SurveyMonkey. Almost everyone has taken its surveys, but did you know that SurveyMonkey offers complete solutions for market researchers? In addition to flexible surveys, their global Audience panel, and research services, SurveyMonkey just launched a fast and easy way to collect market feedback, with 7 new Expert Solutions for concept and creative testing. With built-in, customizable methodology, AI-Powered Insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your ideas from your target market–in a presentation-ready format, by the way–in as little as an hour. For more information on SurveyMonkey Market Research Solutions, visit surveymonkey.com/market-research.


Jamin Brazil: Hey everybody, I’m Jamin. You’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. My guest today is Ken Roshkoff, president at AMC Global, formerly Attitude Measurement Corporation. Founded in 1989, AMC Global was founded on their proprietary purchaser follow up tool, which gathers feedback from real purchasers of new or restaged products immediately following launch. Ken has held this position at AMC since their early years. Ken, welcome to the show.


Ken Roshkoff: Thanks for having me Jamin, it’s great to be here.


Jamin Brazil: This message is brought to you by Displayr. How much of your analysis and reporting time is spent doing manual tasks? All that cutting and pasting, formatting, checking for mistakes, redoing work, using too many tools, and trying just to figure it all out. Try Displayr today. It’s software that automatically does the painful tasks for you. Thousands of companies already use Displayr to cut their analysis and reporting time literally in half. I use the platform, I love, and I know. Get a demo and free trial and displayr.com/happy, spelled displayr.com/happy. This episode is brought to you by SurveyMonkey. Almost everyone is taking its surveys. But did you know that SurveyMonkey offers complete solutions for market researchers. In addition to flexible surveys, their global audience panel, and research services, SurveyMonkey just launched a fast and easy way to collect market feedback with seven new expert solutions for concept and creative testing. With built in customizable methodologies, AI powered insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your ideas from your target market in a presentation ready format. By the way, in as little as an hour. For more information on SurveyMonkey’s market research solutions, visit surveymonkey.com/market-research. That’s surveymonkey.com/market-research.


Jamin Brazil: I found it interesting that you were part of I guess AMC Global now, I got to get used to saying that, for 30 years. I’m really curious, tell us a little bit about your parents and how they informed your career.


Ken Roshkoff: So I actually grew up around market research. My father founded our company in 1979, he was a true researcher, loved to be in the data, crunching the numbers and doing the project work. My mom was in the business for a while as well, she worked in our accounting department, and they were super supportive parents. Took every opportunity they could as I was growing up though to drop hints and mention ways that I could fit into the business. When I came out of undergrad, I was a marketing major, decided to give it a shot, and confirmed for myself I absolutely hated it. At the time, we’re doing lots of work for agricultural chemical companies and industrial chemical companies and it just wasn’t that interesting to me. So I was always more interested in consumer packaged goods and decided after about eight months in the business to go back to grad school and get an MBA. And when I was coming out of grad school, I decided to give my dad’s company another shot, but thought I’d go about it a little bit differently, rather than running projects that were focused on industries I had no interest in, I decided I want to try and sell projects in to major CPG companies. I basically took a methodology that my father had developed for his clients to generate extremely high rates of response for mail surveys, and I applied this to the CPG space, and this became what’s known today as our PFU program, or Purchaser Follow Up and during the process of building out this program, I also got a number of patents approved. So the whole experience of developing a unique methodology, marketing it to major CPG companies, selling in my own projects, learning on my own projects, as well as applying for and being granted several patents along the way. Now all these things are kind of attributed to hooking me on a long term career in marketing research.


Jamin Brazil: So paper surveys, people probably don’t – unless you’re old, like me, you really don’t have an appreciation. I remember doing multiple market studies and the volume of paper, right? The administration around distributing this actual surveys, paper based surveys to markets was – it was a big logistical challenge. Were you exposed to a lot of that growing up?


Ken Roshkoff: I was definitely exposed to a lot of paper based surveys, and there definitely were logistical challenges involved, very happy that things have kind of moved well beyond that at this point. The internet has done great things for our industry and just makes everything so much easier.


Jamin Brazil: Did your parents have you involved in helping with more of the basic type stuff in your formative years?


Ken Roshkoff: Yes, being a little kid around the business like this, I grew up working in our coding department, did a little bit of tab work, lot of collating surveys and back to the paper based stuff you mentioned, putting a lot of those together or stapling them, getting them off to telephone interviewing facilities that were going to be do the pencil and paper interviews, but clearly, I think we’re dating ourselves here.


Jamin Brazil: It’s amazing how the internet, because it obviously is a digital environment has aided us so tremendously in getting rid and stripping away a lot of that old school or manual work. I am interested though, today is election day in the US and paper ballots are still a part of the process oddly enough. Are mail surveys – have they stabilize? There is some that are still – some projects that still require a mail based data collection, do you think that space is pretty much hit the spot where it will reside for the foreseeable future?


Ken Roshkoff: I think so, I don’t see it – I certainly don’t see it growing from this point. If anything, I think it’s going to start to taper off.


Jamin Brazil: Got it. Let’s talk a little bit about AMG Global, in your product description and I found this super interesting because I haven’t seen this in any other product description before. Real Purchasers is capitalized, so the term Real Purchasers is in all caps, why is that?


Ken Roshkoff: So this is referencing one of the key benefits of our PFU program, especially when it comes to new product launch research. Many companies are offering panel based solutions for capturing insights from consumers who claim to be purchasers of specific new products. What our clients often tell us is that after doing further digging, they often find that many of the consumers who are participating in their surveys, who claimed to have purchased, did not actually purchase the appropriate product. With our PFU program, it really enables us to be a 100% certain that the respondents who participate in our surveys are actual purchasers or Real Purchasers of our client’s products, and it made the purchase within the past day or so. The ability to guarantee insights from Real Purchasers and the speed at which we can provide these insights are two of our key differentiators. With many of the more traditional panel based solutions, depending upon the product category, it could take six months or longer until enough consumers claim to have purchased the new product being tested, and our deal is that waiting six months or more to field a study among consumers who claim to buy a certain product is taking way too long. By this time, if results are not positive, the product could already be headed into a downward spiral. So the way that we’ve built out our program, the PFU methodology, it utilized in-pack or on-pack survey invitations that are designed in such a way that, they’re not going to impact the purchase decision and these invites typically incorporate what we call a response cache incentive system, and this is what drives extremely high rates of response among early purchasers of our client’s new products. We start getting results as early as day one of a new product launch. So many of our clients come to us because they want to be able to generate the information, they need from their new product purchasers as early as they can possibly get it, in order to make sure that the product, the package and the marketing plans are performing as anticipated. Having these insights so early in the launch can really enable our clients to take corrective actions early on. If any kind of modifications are needed and if we determine that everything’s going really well, we can wrap the results up into a retail selling story that our client’s sales teams can use when they’re calling up the accounts.


Jamin Brazil: Are you – I’m trying to think through what that looks like. Is there a post purchase intercept? Are you generating the lead for the company?


Ken Roshkoff: So we place a little invitation either on the package or in the package, so when a consumer happens to buy one of the few products that actually contains this invitation, they’re responding to us. They see this invite, typically there’s an offer for some sort of incentive, usually it’s a prepaid cash card that they’re going to receive after they participate in multiple phases of our research program. So the beauty of the whole program is there’s no screening involved. People are recruiting themselves essentially by buying the appropriate products, and it’s in a real world environment, after the products have been mass produced, shipped, and handled, tossed in shopping carts, consumers are buying it with their own money and using it in a real world environment. So it provides the most accurate information immediately post launch.


Jamin Brazil: Most seasoned researchers have heard of Attitude Measurement Corporation, I know I was really excited, my previous company too, had the opportunity to even pitch you guys. Why the rebrand to AMC Global?


Ken Roshkoff: So the decision to change our company name was not an easy one, but there are several reasons why we went ahead and did it. First, Attitude Measurement Corporation is a mouthful, early on I used to do lots of phone calls and every time I had to say our company name, I would cringe. It was too long and it was also a bit too descriptive. We do a lot more than just attitudinal research, many of the studies that we run involve behavioral components, sometimes it’s observed behavior, other times it may be claim behavior, sometimes we’re using implicit techniques to get at the subconscious of consumers. I should also mention many of our clients were already beginning to refer to us simply as AMC, and the Global came into play because we wanted to play at the fact that much of the work we were doing is actually global in nature, so it just seemed to make sense to transition into AMC Global. Believe it or not, I actually started planning for the name change in the early 90s, I think around the time when we had to come up with a website and our domain name for our emails, we made the website amcglobal.com and our domain is @amcglobal.com, so we knew ultimately the plan was to go there, but it took a while to actually make the official change, transition. We didn’t actually do it until maybe five years ago.


Jamin Brazil: Was it just a slow transition? Or was there an impetus for, OK now we got to do it?


Ken Roshkoff: I think it was just the fact that so much more of our work was becoming global in nature, and Attitude Measurement Corporation, it just sounded really dated. So I think it was around the time we did a major rebranding of the company or our website, we just figured let’s just do it all in one shot and update the logo and everything as well.


Jamin Brazil: And the nice part about how you guys did the rebrand is you didn’t really lose any brand equity or SEO because it is an acronym.


Ken Roshkoff: Sure.


Jamin Brazil: And so that’s – one of the things I’ve seen is you’ll have these mainstay big companies, SSI is a good example, Survey Sampling International is a – is such an iconic brand in our space, all of that brand equity that was built up over the years was subsequently lost during the acquisition of Research Now, now combined, it’s called Dynata. So those are – while they might seem, it’s just a name, it’s just a name, but those can be very disruptive across the board, especially to organic search on Google.


Ken Roshkoff: But I think it’s – for some of these companies, it just makes sense. It’s more keeping with the times, it’s everything seems to be streamlining and why not streamline a long, kind of old fashioned company name.


Jamin Brazil: Yes, 100%, 100%. In terms of your lead flow, did you get a lot of leads through or do you get leads through the website or is it more traditional kind of outbound sales?


Ken Roshkoff: It’s a combination. I’d say it’s not as much traditional outbound sales at this point. I’d say most of our business comes from – it’s repeat business, client referrals. Definitely the website has more impactful recently, the last time we went through a rebranding, we also started really integrating some SEO and started theme work, I guess out there on certain social media sites posting more and putting relevant content out there for clients and potential clients, and that’s actually worked to drive more sales.


Jamin Brazil: We’re at this fascinating point in market research where you’ve got a cohort of new buyers coming in to buying authority, then their comfortability with leveraging digital technology is much greater than previous generations in our space. And now these individuals have budgetary authority. My thesis is that we’re going to see an increase on the importance of organic search results or SEO in our space because people are going to naturally turn to the internet as, Google, how do I dot, dot, dot, fill in the blank, that particular thing, and so it’s just becoming critical that your company has an answer to that question assuming that’s relevant to your business and your customers. I’m not saying that it – I’m not saying that social referrals are less important by any means, but – because those will always a play role. It definitely feels like we are stepped into, especially in context of the global pandemic.


Ken Roshkoff: Absolutely.


Jamin Brazil: You’ve been in business for a little while.


Ken Roshkoff: Yes.


Jamin Brazil: [CROSSTALK] three decades. Given your view, what are two of the biggest mistakes that companies make, either doing or using market research?


Ken Roshkoff: So a lot of companies these days have this emphasis on agile insights and they want everything faster and cheaper, and my view on this is you’re getting what you pay for. A lot of times they’re making decisions, critical decisions based upon data that really is not the best quality and doesn’t provide the perspective that they should have when making some of these critical decisions.


Jamin Brazil: So the tension there is, I actually think agile’s probably one of the most overused words. Additionally, I don’t even in truth how many platforms or companies are actually agile, capable of employing agile insights into decision making process, almost feels like this funny, trendy word that we’ve applied to separate ourselves, but there’s definitely been a trend in recent years – gosh, recent years, this is like my entire career, right? It used to be the case, better, faster, cheaper too, and now you’ve got all three.


Ken Roshkoff: Yes.


Jamin Brazil: [CROSSTALK] of this stool. Where are you seeing the costs being cut out at the expense of the quality of the insights?


Ken Roshkoff: I would say companies are relying on often the like you said, the faster and cheaper, and they’re not getting the better. And sometimes they’re using panel based solutions which are just frankly not the optimal choice for addressing their business issues. Sometimes a more custom, strategic approach and something that may end up costing a little bit more but will provide a higher level of quality overall and more actionability is the way to go.


Jamin Brazil: It does feel like over the last five – even less than that, the last three years, there’s been this – it doesn’t feel like, quantifiably it’s the case, it used to be the case we had our average cost per complete or CPI was a bell curve, right? And center of that bell curve was around six to eight dollars, and now you can get presumably the same profile that used to cost you six to eight dollars at about a buck to a buck 50, and where my head goes with that is, you think about all the different people or organizations rather that are involved in getting that respondent to the survey, or that person to the interview. There’s at least three companies that are involved in that transaction, and then the fourth in that scenario is the participant. So how much is the participant actually getting? Maybe 10, maybe 25 percent of the actual CPI as an incentive, and then they’re expected to spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to qualify for the project and then in addition to that, actually participate in the 15 to 17 minute survey. I think for some reason we as researchers have just kind of – are really happy about paying less, but not asking the hard questions of does that actually make sense? The actual economics.


Ken Roshkoff: I think the reason a lot of them can get by now and a lot of studies were getting by with paying as a little dollar per complete is because there are so many professional respondents out there that have signed up to be part of these panels. They’re just looking for opportunities to participate in surveys. We still do a lot of programs where especially the PFU program that I mentioned previously, is one where we actually pay these respondents top dollar to get them to participate. We’re often giving for our surveys, 20 to 40 bucks per complete, directly to the consumer. And we do it because we don’t want just professional respondents, we don’t want the people who want to vent about the product and neither absolutely love it or hate it. We want those who love it, hate it, and everything in between. And the best way to get that and to get a representative sample, our view is to find true consumers out there, not those who are inclined to participate in marketing research panels, but get a truly representative sample of consumers, to group them and have them provide the insights that the clients need to make the decisions.


Jamin Brazil: Today is November 3rd, 2020 and we have probably one of the most important elections in my lifetime, especially in the context of the crazy year that we’ve experienced, globally and even specifically in the States. Market research has gone through just a massive overhaul, qualitative research specifically being hit due to COVID, no one being able to do in person, and all that research either being put on hold, stopped, or converted to digital. So with this unusual place where we’re sitting, I’m really interested, what are three predictions that you have for market research in the next three years?


Ken Roshkoff: Definitely think there’s going to be more consolidation in our industry. I think lots of the big conglomerates are going to continue to gobble up the smaller players. I think new technologies will continue to grow in our space, there are going to be more offerings probably in the areas of video analysis, voice analysis and machine learning. I think that while technology is going to keep moving forward and there will be newer and more technologically advanced ways of trying to understand consumer’s subconscious minds, these techniques are not going to fully replace the tried and true methodologies that provide the insights those in the C suites of major corporations can totally understand. I think it may be viewed as cool to leverage the latest tech that’s out there, but we’ve got to remember that the folks up in the C suites are not all scientists. They still want to know what their target consumers have to say about their products and services, especially if things aren’t going well. It’s certainly important to leverage the latest and greatest technologies, but you need to use a proper balance of methodologies in order to provide a complete understanding of what’s going on with your target audience. So even though there will continue to be great, new technological advancements that companies including AMC Global will take advantage of, I still strongly believe that there’s going to be the place for a bit more traditional, attitudinal, and behavioral insights that major corporations have been relying on for so many years.


Jamin Brazil: Glad to hear you say that. I actually completely agree with that sentiment. I think you’re going to continue to see a plethora of nonresearchers leveraging easy to use DIY tools, but to your point, marketing research in context of the exec – the C suite, is going to be leveraging market researchers to conduct their studies, because there is a scientific rigor involved in what we do every day. That it’s just, we can’t replace it with an off the shelf product.


Ken Roshkoff: Absolutely.


Jamin Brazil: Last question, what is your personal motto?


Ken Roshkoff: Personal motto? Don’t wait for opportunities, create them. Kind of feel like when it comes to growing a business, you can’t just sit back and wait for opportunities to present themselves, you’ve got to get out there and be aggressive.


Jamin Brazil: My guest today has been Ken Roshkoff, president at AMC Global, formerly Attitude Measurement Corporation. Thank you, Ken, for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast today.


Ken Roshkoff: Thank you Jamin.


Jamin Brazil: Everyone else, it was an honor to be able to spend a little bit of time with you. If you found value in this episode like I did, I hope you’ll take time to screen capture, share it on social media. If you tag myself, I will give you a free Happy Market Research t-shirt. That’s all I’ve got for you, have a great rest of your day.