S Bandremer - E Kaufman
A Market Researcher's Guide to a Post-Pandemic World
Things were going so well. 2019 had been a strong year, and 2020 was coming together as potentially even stronger. Perhaps your new user panels were in position for gauging optimal response rate for your new client. Or your focus group had been assembled and was literally days away from implementation. The pricing research you had contracted to conduct for your overseas manufacturing client was literally at the starting line, ready to roll. Everything was falling into place.
That is, until it wasn’t. There were rumblings coming out of Asia of a new epidemic. Surely this would not have any impact for us, not thousands of miles away and light years from considering the actual devastation this would create. But devastation it was to be – mortally, economically, psychologically, and yes, even reaching directly into our homes, to our families, and our friends. What had transpired so rapidly, so cruelly, was something that we could not exactly see or touch, but we surely could feel. An invisible enemy, it has been called. And suddenly, the life we knew as market research professionals; as co-workers; and as dads, moms, sons & daughters, and friends & neighbors had transformed itself into a new paradigm; a forced state of being. One that was unexpected; and one that has pushed the “can-do” American spirit of optimism to its very edges of viability.
Where do we, as market research professionals, go with this? How do we reconstruct our now-deconstructed selves back into the brash, optimistic, get-it-done world that this altered state of being has wrought upon us? For those of you with responsibilities of keeping your companies humming, and maintaining a presence to your clients (never mind to the MR market as a whole), there can be only one answer:
As the providers of critical market and client information that influences so much of our professional world, we can certainly choose to bury our heads in the sand and allow this crisis to derail our life’s work. Or – we can rise to the top. Set the tone for positivity. To figuratively yell out for all we are worth: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (credit to Howard Beale).
So how does that translate for us as MR professionals? Particularly in a still-reeling world facing a continual state of fear, uncertainty and psychological scars such as our generation has not experienced before? My thought is this: we can get productively mad at the situation, pull up our big-boy and big-girl pants, and use this moment to professionally strengthen ourselves so that when we come out on the other side, we will be positioned to carry forth with a renewed sense of strength and conviction.
What form could this take for you, personally? It could mean building up your bench so that you aren’t caught short talent-wise when the market reignites. It could mean being proactive in the communications that you should be maintaining, if not increasing, to your valued clientele. It could mean putting together a new hotlist of potential clients and cultivating a (virtual) relationship. It could include taking some online courses or certifications you’ve been meaning to do for a while but couldn’t find the time.
Yes, many of us are currently acting not only as dry-docked MR professionals, but as daycare workers and teachers for our kids, or as delivery people for our quarantined elderly parents. However you slice it, if we continue to address these new hardships with rationale thought, a renewed sense of optimism, and a motivation to rise above that which has heavily landed on us all, we will surely be the better for it.
Not just in positioning ourselves for the long run, but in helping us to psychologically cope with, and hopefully defeat this scourge with the aforementioned “can-do” spirit that is inherent in all of us as contributing members of the human race. It’s all about faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in G-D if applicable for you, and faith that if we stay the course, good things will happen. Stay healthy, my friends.
Question: How do you keep yourself mentally prepared for a world in which the new normal seems to be evolving a bit more every day?