The Disruption of Market Research

Disruption is everywhere. As a seasoned recruitment firm building teams for startups over the last 20 years, we've had a front-row seat helping Founders who make it their life’s ambition to disrupt an industry or product category.

Our disruptive Founders included those who are:

  • leveraging tech to scale circular economies and create a world without waste, 
  • ensuring that humans in developing countries have financial literacy and opportunities to build wealth,
  • delivering modern and efficient healthcare workflows to ensure equal access to healthcare, and
  • advocating and championing the micro business owner by providing easier access to capital. 

The market research category is one of the latest product categories to be disrupted. Over the last two years, we’ve seen many disruptors pop up; we’ve also been helping some of them build out their sales and product teams

So how did this all start, and how did we get here?

The History of Market Research 

The beginnings of market research date back to the1920s but became interesting in the 30s when entrepreneur George Gallup began developing techniques to determine the effectiveness of print and radio advertising among consumers.

Those early days led to focus groups which then laid the foundation for two tracks of market research: quantitative and qualitative. Researchers no longer wanted to know only the what but also the why. To better understand the consumer experiences and the emotions that lead to consumption.

Then came advances in technology. Web and mobile platforms have accelerated the channels through which consumer behavior can be studied and listened to. All of this has created data, and lots of it. 

Data is continually being gathered through our digital products, participation in surveys, and our phones. Every business wants to better understand the experience with their brand through this user data. While data is a hot topic for everyone everywhere, the bigger topic - when it comes to disruption - is data insights. 

The Disruption of Market Research 

Our experience recruiting for market research tech companies has taught us that the space is being disrupted to address the challenges and opportunities where the traditional research processes fall short.

Traditional market research is slow and expensive. It relies heavily on traditional tools like surveys and researchers focused on the data and the presentation (visualization). Versus what CEOs want now, actionable insights stemming from the data to enable the business to make better and faster decisions.

There is no better example of this than the transformation at PepsiCo led by Stephan Gans, Chief Consumer Insights and Analytics Officer. 

Recruiting for Market Research

Similar to other product categories when disruption happens, there is a period when the talent supply can't keep up with the demand. Simply put, there are not enough people with experience within a new product category for the hiring demand.

This is not an unusual dilemma for a firm like ours, which over 20 years, has been helping startup tech companies hire the talent who will build a business attempting to do a new thing.

Here are our three recommendations to help Founders hire the product management talent they need for their market research tech company:

Identify Important Experiences

The first step is to identify the previous experiences considered critical in any candidate worth interviewing. This is different from creating a Job Description. 

Job descriptions focus on what the hire will do - at this early stage, focus on identifying what a candidate has previously done to ensure the greatest likelihood of success once they’re hired.

Determine Location Flexibites 

The market has shown us that location no longer matters until it does. Product Management leaders often have strong opinions about whether their role should be fully remote or have close proximity to the rest of the ELT/organization. 

"Time Zone friendly" search parameters have also become common for companies who want easier access to calendar sharing across a longer working day. Make the decisions around location flexibility early to ensure search execution is accurate.

Partner with Another Disruptor

Tech Founders and entrepreneurs are an exciting group of business leaders. This is why we love to partner with them and help them make the mission-critical hires upon which the rest of the company will be built. 

Most of our clients are Series A funded, and over 20+ years of experience have given us the insights necessary to execute successfully and quickly.

The disruption and disruptors within the market research industry are reshaping the way virtually every other industry accesses and gleans insights. It’s been an exciting process to watch and to help find talent for. 

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