Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards winner Maia Chang, consumer insights managers, Ferrara.

Editor's note: Maia Chang is the winner of the 2022 Outstanding Young Researcher Award which is a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. To find out more about the awards click here.

What is your secret to a good work ethic? 

I don’t think there is a secret to a good work ethic, but I do think enjoying the work is absolutely necessary. I know I’ll always do a great job when I feel excited about my work, and that continues to drive my work ethic. Being curious and excited about the consumer and research is key to finding the work enjoyable and always motivates me to want to provide the highest quality work. Of course, it helps that I have great cross-functional partners and insights teammates that make the work enjoyable as well. Finally, working in candy always makes the work interesting and exciting! Knowing that I’m contributing to new candy innovations and brands’ stories is always a strong motivator to conduct good work.

Describe how you got into marketing research.

I’ve always been interested in understanding consumer behavior and was especially intrigued by the field of behavioral science when I was a student at the University of Chicago. While studying that subject, I became intrigued by research aimed toward understanding unconscious, irrational behavior and knew that I wanted to understand this field better. In my junior year, I interned with a market research firm and that summer confirmed my suspicion that I would enjoy market research work. I was excited by the opportunity to work directly with consumers and understand why they’re motivated to do the things that they do.

What are your goals as a researcher? 

First and foremost, my goal is to always build consumer understanding and help embed consumer empathy as part of the decision-making process at my organization. As the “voice of the consumer” I feel responsible for continually encouraging my organization to seek to understand consumers’ attitude and motivations, to be curious about understanding what makes consumers do the things they do and how our products are part of their lives. Part of this goal involves building trust and understanding of consumer research in my organization and making sure that consumer research is an integral part of key decisions.

My other main goal is to ensure that the research my team conducts has an impact within our organization. This means first ensuring that we are working closely with our cross-functional partners to ensure that we are asking the right questions and second that results are presented in the method that will be most useful and intriguing for our cross-functional partners.