Editor's note: Amanda Heer is a finalists of the 2022 Researcher of the Year (Supplier) Award which is a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. To find out more about the awards click here.

The first thing that comes to mind is communication – with internal teams and our clients. So much of our job is communicating with others, and most of us will need to invest time and attention to become effective communicators. My advice is to read, learn and observe to build these skills. It’s imperative to always know your audience and put yourself in their shoes. Tell them what they need to know in a way that will resonate.   

Being a good communicator isn’t just about words. Data distillation and visualization are increasingly important tools for us. Pay attention to trends you’re seeing on these fronts in your daily life and in your professional reading to help find new and better ways to tell your data story.    

Be sure to stay curious. Get exposure to as many different types of research projects and clients as possible. Even if you end up doing most of your work in a particular set of industries, there is a lot to be learned from adjacent and non-related fields.  

If you’re able to, I highly recommend working with a mentor. The learning and feedback opportunities you’ll receive from a great mentor are invaluable. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have some fantastic mentors over the years and likely wouldn’t be the researcher I am today without these experiences. 

Finally, embrace flexibility. Sometimes projects aren’t going to go the way you hope. That’s OK. Look for solutions and use the experience as a growth opportunity.  

Many of the changes that are on my mind are exacerbations of things we have already been experiencing with clients and respondents – and can be boiled down to heightened concerns over relevancy.  

Data relevancy. The amount of data ...