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. 

My path was somewhat circuitous, yet fortuitous. Early in my career, I spent a few years as a management consultant and several more running the operations of a foods manufacturer in Nebraska. Seeking to be closer to our extended family, my wife and I relocated to the New York City metro area in the late 1990s. For my next career opportunity, I was seeking a role that provided me with exposure to a broad range of business issues and encompassed both strategy and analytics. While my search was not focused specifically on market research, Pfizer’s Global Market Analytics department checked all of the boxes. My passion for research was ignited at Pfizer and remains strong today.  

After nearly eight years at Pfizer, I was recruited to help build the U.S.-based market research and analytics department of a smaller pharmaceutical company – Organon Biosciences. This “blank slate” opportunity provided me with hands-on experiences within additional insight functions – such as competitive intelligence – while allowing me to hone my managerial skills. My professional growth while at Organon was significant and I carried the lessons learned into my subsequent roles.

Increasingly, functions that generate customer and market insight are being brought together under a single organizational umbrella. This trend doesn’t mean that market research professionals are required to become jacks-of-all-trades. It’s a rare individual who can become highly proficient across all insight disciplines. Rather, researchers are now able to access and integrate customer/user experience information to provide a richer understanding of customers’ behaviors and needs. This access to additional sources of insight requires researchers to be stronger integrators of information and better storyte...