Editor's note: If you’re an end-client researcher and interested in participating in a Q&A with Quirk’s, please e-mail me at emilyk@quirks.com.

Jess Noteware: In many ways, I think the biggest challenges in moving to a client-side research position have been the most rewarding. Prior to joining Chobani, I worked for NielsenIQ within their BASES Innovation Practice, where I was responsible for consulting on the activation potential for new innovations.

When I made the move to Chobani a year ago, I was excited to learn more about the “behind the scenes” of new product launches. With this excitement came the challenge of learning the end-to-end innovation process – and I found it takes a village. I quickly gained exposure to various aspects of our business; whether it was learning about food development with our labs, new product development, and R&D teams, watching category development, sales and retail execution’s effort to optimize retailer relationships and sell in new innovation, or discovering the partnership between creative and marketing in bringing new products to life on shelf and in campaigns – all roles were new to me, but important to learn for my research to have the greatest impact. I had to challenge myself to extend beyond initial survey results and accommodate the realities of the business. This has taken form several ways – whether it’s recommending the “second best” flavor to optimize margins, identifying ingredient alternatives when supply chain disruption limits availability of existing ingredients or prioritizing initiatives based on warehouse capacity. Navigating these challenges enabled me to create more cross-functional relationships, which is a rewarding aspect to my work. Gaining line of sight into all factors of a successful innovation launch has also helped me develop as a researcher, opening the door for deeper, more consultative research. 

With a richer understanding of ...