Ask the market research experts: Jake Pryszlak, AKA The Research Geek
Written by: Paul Stallard
Welcome to the second of our interview series called ask the experts. We have been busy interviewing people with insight into the world of market research. They might be practitioners, buyers of PR surveys or experts from other industries that use or benefit from research.
The idea of the series is to share knowledge and to better understand the many different ways that research can be used.
This week we interviewed Jake Pryszlak
Jake is commonly known as ‘The Research Geek’ and is a self-confessed coffee junkie. In his words, he prides himself on translating the market-research geek speak into nerd free takeaways for his followers and readers. He is an award-winning market researcher who was recently named the number 1 influencer on social media in his industry. Jake also has his own Forbes column and speaks globally.
Arlington Research: How did you start a career in research?
Jake Pryszlak: The majority of individuals in the research industry have potentially fallen into their roles by accident, whether that is through marketing or other sectors which are closely associated with market research. I was fortunate enough to have been given a really good opportunity to work on a number of projects at England Netball when I was doing my post grad which gave me a really good understanding of market research outside of the university bubble. I gained so many different contacts which I still talk to today. I developed a keen interest for research and the ROI of the insights delivered thereafter.
AR: Would you describe yourself as a workaholic?
JP: Good question! If you ask my girlfriend she will say I am a double workaholic! If you ask me, then I will say I just work! Joking aside, I would say I am a workaholic for a number of reasons. Firstly, my personal brand and blog – Research Geek has taken leaps forward in recent years and I was said to be the number 1 influencer on social media by others recently for my work. Secondly, I am a workaholic because I am very competitive in life and my career. Whenever I talk to university students and when I mentor individuals in the sector, I always ask the same normal question ‘where do you want to be in the next 3-5 years?’ I constantly hear the same answers. So my follow up question is ‘how are you going to achieve that?!’ They tell me how and why they are going to achieve their goals which is great. What a lot of individuals don’t understand is there are many market researchers in the sector. If you put 5 CV’s in front of you, the only clear difference on the 5 CV’s would be their name. Skillsets and experience would be the same. This is why I am a workaholic to win and to beat everyone else to an opportunity I want.
AR: What trait do you think makes a great researcher?
JP: You are coming out with some good questions today! 5-6 years ago I would say a great researcher would be able to analyse data and find various different insights from the data. However, now it’s something different. A great researcher will have a mix of analytical and storytelling skills whether you are at a market research agency or client side. On the other hand, if you are at a brand or client side, then you really have to be strategically knowledgeable, to unpick reports, and feed these back to various different functions in the business.
AR: What is the trend everyone should be taking notice of in the coming years?
JP: 1? That’s difficult! Can I say 2?!
AR: Yes, of course
JP: OK, first is artificial Intelligence
AI is slowly becoming something that is indispensable within the market research industry. However and more interestingly as a trend, I think we will see AI comments used more but in the wrong context and surroundings because people think it is cool and new. AI within market research isn’t new at all, but it is becoming mainstream within the sector and the wider public eye. This means I think we will start to see AI having a bad name for its self when companies and individuals start to use AI because they think they will gain followers or business from the term, even though they might not know what it means.
Time is money at the end of the day. 5-6 years ago most advanced marketers were implementing automation of separate research processes (such as data collection or storage, for example), today though demands something slightly different; where algorithms will manage everything from data collection to its analysis and final reporting. This trend is driven by increasing demand for highly precise and understandable data that makes an impact on the bottom line and also provides a ROI. Whilst automation can take place from data collection to reporting, we will also see automation and integrations become one. If a tool or service is not able to integrate with other services and tools (e.g. slack, sales force, other dashboard tools etc), then it will lose a massive proportion of potential revenue!
AR: Who is the most famous person you have met through work?
JP: Richard Scudamore at the Premier League was an eye-opener of how the organisation works and uses data to impact the bottom line! And as an avid Liverpool fan, I had to make some comments about my team!
AR: What advice do you have for someone starting a career in research?
JP: ENJOY IT! You have to be in a job you enjoy because you are in it for a long time!
And secondly, be different! Don’t be a standard quantitative or qualitative researcher who goes about their business and projects in the same way as everyone else. Play the long game and be different to the person you sit next to. This way, you gain a USP when looking at your career goals. And this is all linked to your personal brand which I think is so important in market research and something not talked enough, a subject I am really passionate about. And you work on your personal brand not for 1 hour a day but you work on it constantly, when you are walking around, talking to people, emailing clients etc. Developing your personal brand within a busy sector like market research is really important. You know if you have a good personal brand if people are talking about you when you are not there!
AR: Who in our industry should people follow/look out for/learn from?
JP: I am glad you asked me this because I want to highlight something. There isn’t just one person who people should follow or look out for, because there is so many individuals and organisations doing great things. You only have to look on Twitter to see the vast amount of knowledge that gets shared on a daily basis all over the world. Its amazing actually how many people say to me, ‘Oh you are the ResearchGeek aren’t you?!’ – To me that means I have my marketing and personal brand spot on. What’s interesting though, is market researchers and agencies spend far less on marketing than any other industry even though we are in a marketing profession. We don’t shout about market research enough, so people think it is dull and boring!