Fifteen years ago I worked on my first marketing research project. My client was a major men’s sportswear manufacturer, who wanted feedback on some new jean designs. “Do men prefer jeans with five pockets or four pockets?” was the focus of his inquiry. I did my best to get the answer to the question, but along the way was a lot more interested in the larger, contextual questions, “What are you carrying in your pockets?” and “How does that impact your preference for four or five pockets?”
That’s a good example of the perspective that I bring to my work, which is an outgrowth of the earliest days of my professional life. I practiced as a clinical psychologist for ten years, after receiving my doctorate from Harvard University.
As a marketing researcher I always strive to bring a wider, and deeper, perspective to my projects, whether they are new product inquiries, branding studies, advertising and messaging research, or ethnographic profiling of consumers. I’m still curious about what people are carrying in their pockets.