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One of the biggest challenges Research faces is getting kids jazzed up about it as a career.  Yet the funny thing is that what we do is cool, we just don’t market ourselves very well.  I had a conversation with a marketing professor who said, “If I ask my marketing class of 50 how many want to go into marketing research, maybe one hand would go up.”  I asked, “How many hands would go up if you asked about understanding what content people want to see on MTV or ESPN digital media?” He said about 15 hands would go up.   Here is a link to an article from AdAge about “Making Market Research cool”.

Please post your thoughts on how to raise the “brand image” of Research as a profession among college students.




8 Responses to “Research is Cool”

  1. Research Guy

    I think a competitive award showcasing innovative research projects that were central to the success of a marketing project is one approach. You would raise awareness of research’s value while encouraging students and their professors to tackle some interesting assignments

  2. Research Pod Resident

    The term “marketing research” has often been equaled to statistics, which is only a part of the story. Whether they realise it or not, people do research ithis and that way every day whenever they want to make better decisions. But they will not consider marketing research as a profession if they cannot see how their skills of research will be appreciated. For attracting young minds, I think marketing research positioins should be made open to not only students in marketing but also sociology, psychology, engineering, art and more.

  3. One of the best research classes I ever had involved a semester long project familiarizing myself with a TV show (tracking its Nielsen ratings, reviews, marketing campaigns, etc.) and organizing questionnaires and focus groups. It was very hands-on and really gave me a sense that research isn’t just about analyzing numbers.

    Overall, I think exposing students to real-world research presentations and case studies would make them see how research extends beyond number crunching and leads to innovation. ARF is an excellent resource for this type of information and I’m really surprised that none of my grad-school professors ever mentioned it.

  4. Jo-Ann Osipow

    How about creating a few video case studies and putting them on YouTube, showing cool decisions that have been made based on research. The videos could also be made available to Marketing departments of business schools.

  5. Robin Brown

    Unfortunately I think the only way to attract talent to our industry is not to increase its coolness but its perceived value. People want a career that does something that is comsidered valuable and important. Research is often seen as marginal and outside the action. That is a much larger barrier to overcome.

  6. Robin Brown

    Nice idea with the blog, Joel – by the way

  7. Hi Joel,

    it was great discovering your message Joel, I’ve actually developed a site aimed specifically at getting people jazzed up about research, it’s called Research is Cool and you can find it at
    At the moment the site caters more for the academic market, but we’re now starting to have visitors amongst people who didn’t consider a career in research but were intrigued by the name of our site and they’re sending us emails asking for more info on how to build up a career in research…I think that’s the solution, providing people with more information about what doing research is all about, making them realise how much fun it can be and also helping them in starting out in research. I think there are a lot of people out there who would like to do research, but no one even mentioned the possibility to them, so we need to reach them and how we can help them out. What do you think?

  8. The entire marketing compass seems blurred these days with so much new technology, the in roads of PR, digital media and e-commerce. I think the market research industry has to implement a segmentation study as to what defines market research. It means so many different things to different industries, customers and companies. We need to better educate the lay consumer as to what marketing is, especially in the college classroom. The breakthroughs of consumer market research in the 60’s and 70’s were profound, and the industry should be noted for the benefits being used in B2B and innovative approaches to new business and strategy development.