It did not necessarily take the pandemic to expose inefficiencies in the world of market research and intelligence. It may have merely accelerated it. While the cost of good market research was once like the cost of a good vacation but at the scale of the company, leaps in the startup space have made it more accessible, affordable, and sustainable for companies. Unavailability of knowledge experts was also an issue, who have been mostly associated with other market research firms or consulting or were a cog in the wheel. But technology has helped change gears and spruce up the mechanisms for both the industry and the professional path.

Reports, seminal works of research, and documentation get obsolete as real-world knowledge becomes the new black. The premium on the human experience and acquired knowledge far outweighs any written manual because theory and practice may be best buds in theory but they’re are never in cahoots in the real world.

This is doing wonders for market research experts. The opportunities are plenty, continuous learning is possible, there’s a better understanding of your knowns and unknowns, and a more pliable way to play today. Dynamism is mandated and an insights professional becomes an artisan of skills with a wide range of techniques. Your clients expect you to understand their environment better with niche knowledge and expertise in the industry. To put it simply, you have to keep outdoing yourself. There’s more competition because even the next-door expert is playing herself.

Have you taken a critical look in the mirror?

To stay on top of things, HBR presents a certain way to play. An individual is most coherent when their capabilities system is chosen carefully. That way you are at a better place to execute your strategic purpose with the product, service, or value you and your clients aim to drive across. This ‘way to play’ or ‘the coherence premium’ along with your market differentiator is probably what will define your professional brand and work.

Now more than ever you can carve out your professional style and path the way you want it. It’s simple. Play to your unique combination of strengths. Then beeline toward market needs as your client presents their problem to you.

In short, you’ve got to wear many hats. A fresher can do extraordinary work as teams market analysis teams form overnight to create some of the most dynamic solutions to real problems. You don’t need to be a part of a multi-national research giant to make your mark. You may have all you need to do the work sitting at home at your kitchen table. 

The path to your own professional success starts with a critical look in the mirror. What you see there, your greatest strengths and deepest values, are the foundations you must build on.  Whether you’re a new employee or seasoned research expert, taking responsibility for your career starts with introspection.