Posts Tagged ‘QRCA’

I sit here in the CLT airport on a short layover before my flight home to Dallas and my mind is still on info overload from the past few days.  This was my third time to attend the QRCA Annual Conference, and it will definitely not be the last!  In my opinion, attending the annual conference is one of the biggest member benefits for QRCA members.  The amount of education, networking and fun that occurs over three days is amazing.

QRCA has played a tremendous role in my market research career.  In 2007 when I joined D. Gustafson & Associates, Dave asked me to start early (Friday instead of Monday) so that I could attend the Philadelphia Chapter’s QRCA meeting.  That meeting was my first day on the job as a qualitative researcher, and the beginning of several close friendships.  The way in which QRCA’ers come together and share in mentoring and collaborating is something of a rarity in the world of professional organizations.  I know many preach of collaborative spirit, but with QRCA, I can honestly say I look forward to connecting with friends every conference…..it just happens they are also qualitative researchers!  Some of my first projects, upon starting Spych, have come from QRCA friends and I know this is true of many other members as well.

This spirit of collaboration was very strong at this year’s conference, and the topic of many sessions, like the one by Carla Essen and Amy Winstel.  The positive outlook for qualitative research relies heavily on the notion of collaboration and community.  The only way we can evolve the industry in a timely fashion and keep it on the forefront of the innovation spectrum is to collaborate and work together to educate and help mentor our quali peers.  I had great conversations with Renee Murphy, Kendall Nash and Lynn Greenberg about the need to educate our QRCA peers and industry colleagues on the world of Social Media Research, and to help position QRCA as a leader in the scene.  A few folks even brought up the topic at the Town Hall meeting yesterday afternoon, and expressed interest in helping out.

One of my favorite aspects of this year’s conference was seeing the continual growth of “young” researchers!  I say “young” because as I explained at the conference, “young” to me is young in age, young at heart, young to the industry, or young in the organization.  If you’re interested in joining the newly-formed QRCA Young Professionals Shared Interest Group let me know!  We are looking for mentors and those with experience and knowledge to share with our youngsters as well.  Kendall and I were VERY excited to have over 20 people attend the YP SIG dine-around on Wednesday night!  It was a huge success, and I hope it is a true indication of what is to come from the group!  There is a huge need to help educate others about qualitative research, and perhaps the YP SIG is a great way to do so.  Also, a huge shoutout to our International Scholarship Winner, Sophie Van Neck, from Belgium.  She was also in attendance at the YP SIG dinner, and has done some extremely interesting research work.  Get to know her and thank her for adding to the talented young researcher pool!

Going forward, I hope that after next year’s conference I can report about having the biggest conference in the history of QRCA.  I really believe this is possible, and hope that everyone will spread the word.  QRCA is a MUST for researchers that live in the qualitative space.  You will not find a source of information, education, friendship, and partnership related to the industry of qualitative research, as compelling as QRCA.  It has made me a better researcher, a better mentor, a better educator, and a better business owner.  I have made friendships with other QRC’s that I know will be ever-lasting, and I know that the organization will continue to provide these values to its members.

See you in Vegas for the 2011 QRCA Annual Conference!

Astronomical ClockConference season is in full swing, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to speak at this year’s AQR/QRCA joint conference in Prague, as well as the MRA Annual Conference in Boston this week! Both conferences were phenomenal, and the atmosphere and energy at both were uplifting and inspiring.

There is definitely a theme of evolution, growth and new outlook in the industry. For some, maybe it is getting involved in more online research. For others, social media is entering their toolbox. Some look toward experiential and scientific methods. Whatever the vehicle ends up being, the fact is simple. The industry is quickly growing and evolving, and the professionals I have spoken with over the past month are eager to learn and grow.

The buzz of expanded online, social media and MROCs is here to stay, and the reception to learning about these new platforms is increasing steadily. I want to thank everyone who has attended the presentations I have given over the past several weeks, as I truly value your support and guidance! We are all in a learning mode and I am happy to help our industry grow and thrive.

I am definitely looking forward to QRCA in October, and seeing many friends in Philadelphia! I am excited to have the opportunity to present and look forward to hearing and learning from the plethora of experts!

Thanks again for all of your continued support!

-Ben

SEEKing the Next Big Thing

Posted: March 6, 2010 by Ben Smithee in Market Research, QRCA
Tags: , , ,

SEEK Research Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to the OH/IN/KY chapter of QRCA at SEEK Research’s new headquarters in Cincinnati. If you are ever planning on being in the Cincinnati area you definitely should drop by and check out their space! I posted several pictures and a video of their slide on our Spych Facebook page for your viewing….and laughter!  And, yes I meant it, a slide. We are not talking a little mini slide either, we are talking about a 2-story, 50/50 Olympic luge style slide! Go check out the videos!

What I want to talk about today though is the power of collaboration in finding something new. More and more, I think about the ideas of collaboration within the marketing research industry. In an industry where many successful icons are independent or members of small boutique firms, I am always shocked by the relatively small amount of collaboration that occurs. I personally enjoy working with other research firms and other moderators on projects, and feel like some of the most creative and successful projects are a result of collaboration.

After the meeting, I had the pleasure of enjoying a couple different great conversations with Jim Berling, Kendall Nash and Foster Winter. We talked about the art of collaboration and how our respective companies utilized collaboration to its fullest. Maybe it’s not always bringing in another researcher. Maybe it is bringing in a professional photographer for a project with photo junkies. Maybe it’s bringing in a linguistics expert or an artist? Who knows what types of creative folks you could bring into the mix to really enhance the project and value-added you bring to your client.

What types of creative collaboration have you brought to a project before?

What works, and what doesn’t?

What types of helpful hints can you give other researchers?

’til next time!

Ben

Hey Everyone!!

It’s been a while and so much has been happening!  First let’s start with a few special thanks.  This past month I had the pleasure of presenting to two different wonderful groups in TX.  First was the Dallas Executive Women’s Networking Group.  Talk about an amazing group of DFW women!  Thanks so much to Therese Tetzel from Business Modern for setting that up.  Additionally, we are looking forward to working with the Business Modern team in the near future!

The second presentation was for the Preston Trail Job Network.  Blane Cox asked if I would present to his group on the value of Twitter for the job search process.  We had a great turnout and the audience was definitely engaged and ready to learn.  I have received so many great e-mails from audience members since the presentation and I look forward to the chance to help them out in the future!  If you are looking for a pool of talent in the DFW area, definitely check them out.

I am also extremely proud to announce a few more dates to put on the calendar for 2009!  On August 27th I will be presenting at the AMA Fort Worth Executive Luncheon.  I’m definitely looking forward to meeting the Fort Worth crowd.  October brings the 2009 Annual QRCA Conference and I’ll have the opportunity to help share with my colleagues on how SM is influencing the market research industry.  Last year was my first time to attend the conference and I had an amazing time!!  The QRCA group is such a great group of peeps and one that knows how to have a great time as well.  November is going to be an exciting time as well.  I will be making the trip with my friend and fellow QRCA member Abby Leafe to present in Marrakech Morocco at the 2009 ESOMAR Summit.  ESOMAR is a great organization that really helps to set a standard in market research and having the opportunity to visit Morocco is ridiculously exciting.

Changes and Updates

Coming up in days is something we are VERY excited about – the launch of our new website!  We have been reviewing and testing the pre-launch site has been work, but it was definitely worth the wait as Singularity Design has done such an amazing job.  I know you will enjoy it and we are looking forward to your feedback.

Having a career that puts me on the road and in the air quite often gives me the opportunity to meet wonderful people all over the world.  Recently, I have tried to meet with our online friends and followers in every city I visit.  In the spirit of creating “real life” connections with those who I communicate with online, look for new updates titled “Spych In Real Life.”  These updated will feature the great friends and people I get the chance to meet “In Real Life” on my travels.  If we haven’t had the chance to connect online I look forward to it in the future.  I love meeting our Facebook friends and Twitter followers!

More big changes for Spych in store for the future, and look for the launch announcement about the new website!

This past Friday was the DFW AMA Market Research SIG meeting and I was asked by Paul Maynard of Zachry Associates to present.  The meeting was absolutely great!  To start with, the attendance was phenomenal we had over 40 people in attendance and everyone was engaging and excited to learn and share!

The presentation Keynote is has been uploaded to slideshare.net and can be found here.  Please let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, suggestions or comments!  In fact, @me on twitter, or even give me a call on my cell – 215-501-2341.  I would love to hear from you and know what I can help you do with your business!

So, what’s coming up?  I am in talks with the Dallas Executive Women’s Group for a future presentation, and this Friday and Saturday is the much anticipated DFW Big (D)esign Conference!!!  I am so excited to meet everyone coming to the conference and the pre-conference mixer at Cohabitat in Dallas.  Elysa Rice and I have been working hard and will be prepared to meet the challenges and questions our audience has for the 10AM session.

All of you qualitative researchers out there: If you are not a member of QRCA – You SHOULD be!! Go check it out www.qrca.org.  I am very active and would love to speak with you about it if you have any questions!

Last but definitely not least, I will be in the Bay Area in SF on June 3-5 and am planning to meet for an awesome event with Jenny Blake @jenny_blake, Jun Loayza @junloayza, Jamie Varon @jamievaron and a ton more!  The tweetup is going to be amazing and if you live in or plan on being in SF area, you have to come to the tweetup on June 4th!

Until next time!

-Ben