Podcast: Building a meaningful market research career in with Greenbook's Karen Lynch

GreenBook's new Head of Content Karen Lynch joined our market research podcast to talk about ways to build a meaningful market research career through mindfulness, networking and faith.

In this episode of Now that's Significant, we were joined by Karen Lynch, the new Head of Content at GreenBook. Like Infotools, Karen has been in the research industry for 30 years, largely as a full-time qualitative researcher during which time she also freelanced as a writer for various mainstream publications. She merged her two passions for research and writing when she joined GreenBook, as her role is responsible for the overarching content strategy and influencing the editorial direction of GreenBook’s industry-leading blog, podcast and global events.

She spoke with us about ways to build a meaningful marketing research career and the ingredients she believes it requires, which fall into three main categories.

Mindfulness - deliberate actions that you can take to kind of grow your skills and stay relevant within the industry. Although many people in the market research space talk about “falling into” the industry by accident, that doesn’t need to define the career pathway. Karen talked about how she mindfully entered the industry at a qualitative research shop and continued to grow her skills in this arena as her career progressed. The experience she gained across many aspects of the industry was by design, leading her eventually to the role she has today. She encourages others to take this kind of deliberate approach to eventually secure the career they desire, including looking at the larger research equation to benefit from holistic view of the industry.

Networking - ensuring you continually meet people learning about them and what they do, plus maintaining those relationships. Others can not only give you good advice and guidance, but they can also bring new projects and work your way.  A strong network of individuals who trust you, with whom you have shared knowledge and expertise, can create a collaborative environment that leads to valuable personal recommendations. Karen mentions that women and men network differently and that it is important for women in particular to be aware of this, and be more deliberate about networking, She says “we often we often hesitate to network quite the same way men network very comfortably so it is worth setting goals around your networking practice.” She said that all her big “breaks”, and big client relationships, during her career were through people she had met and built relationships with. She cautions researchers to not go into a networking opportunity trying to “sell” but instead focus on solidifying a friendship or relationship.

Faith (or dumb luck) - putting things out there and having trust in the universe will deliver on your behalf (Karen calls it faith but admits that some people call it dumb luck). She uses a couple of examples from her own career path, when she realized she wasn’t enjoying her job as much as she had before. That’s what led her to seek something different. She articulated it, said it out loud and in just a few weeks found the job with GreenBook that fit her desires perfectly. Karen said this had also happened at other points during her career, where she trusted her instincts and took a leap of faith, despite naysayers and she never regretted it.

We closed up by discussing the role of creative and lateral thinking in crafting a successful career in the insights sector, as well as talking a bit more about Greenbook and the role that it plays in the market research and insights industry. Listen to the complete episode here

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