My first MR impressions: Where is the youth?

Guest post from Jack Ramsay, Creator of

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As a new face in market research – some would say a fresh face – I was flattered to be invited to write this blog post by Ray Poynter. What I’d like to share are my first impressions of this industry. And first of all, I’m going to be honest with you: I stumbled into Market Research.

It’s a confession which I hope won’t lose me any respect, but it’s the truth and has motivated me to take the steps which I have done within the industry to date.

My first impressions of Market Research were that of being overwhelmed. It was a steep learning curve. There were experienced heads everywhere I looked, professionals that been in the industry for years; masters of their craft, with limitless expertise. Another first impression was that of the distinct lack of young people in the industry, which led me to wonder how I could make a mark and why this was the case. I found reading white papers and industry related books only took me so far and frankly found the amount of information out there was hard to digest. No, the only way to understand market research was to get into the researcher’s world.

Using online Google+ hangouts as a tool, I began to approach and interview thought leaders in the industry before big research events. Nothing can replace face to face interaction, but logistically online tools were cheaper, quicker and allowed me to get directions and become educated in the field. With Google+ linking to YouTube, I was able to build a catalogue of interviews and, receiving a healthy amount of views, it occurred that there was an audience for these videos. Before long The Merlien Institute gave me the opportunity to do live interviews at a large research event and meet the industry top dogs face to face. It was a thrill, and so the YouTube community was born.
Eight months and four events later, the community has grown nicely. Albeit still in its infancy, I feel confident it will continue to expand and to attract interest from those around the research globe, coming to share insight and expertise. A hub of innovation.

But I’m not totally selfish. I have not started the community and written this blog post to just talk about me and about my goal of better understanding the industry in which I work. I want market research to be more accessible for young people. I’ve found this to be a common topic in the research world, and it appears a question that has not yet been answered: How do we attract more young blood into the industry?

Upon posing this question to the research world I found the response astounding. Generation X demanding why there is a lack of millennials in the industry and wanting to support in any way they could. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do know that YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network, as well as mobile making up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time. So what better space to access the younger generation?

The reason for this blog post is to invite you to become a part of the YouTube community, as well as to watch the upcoming ‘Young people in MR’ online discussion in June, where I will host a bunch of hungry MR experts, as well as young grads hoping to enter the industry, thrashing out this issue. See you there!

2 thoughts on “My first MR impressions: Where is the youth?

  1. Know what? Most people stumbled into marketing research. You are not alone my young friend. And, you are not alone in being young. My office is teaming with young eager folks. I think the issue is that young folks don’t realize there is a huge online research community ready and waiting to share and learn. So turn to your left, and turn to your right, and tell your colleagues to come online for the ride. See you there! 🙂

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