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Today’s market research landscape moves very quickly, and the pace of change in 2016 isn’t about to slow down. To keep your industry knowledge fresh and up to date, it’s critical to keep up with the latest thinking in customer insight. Following market researchers who are known as industry experts is a good way of doing that.

Last year, I shared a list of 10 smart market researchers worth following on social media. That post generated a lot of interest and discussions, so I want to expand that list, this time with a more global focus.

Here’s a list of 10 professionals who embody the qualities of market researchers that thrive in today’s business world.

  1. Tomoko Yoshida

A freelance qualitative researcher, Tomoko has taken a lead in advancing research thinking in Japan, in particular through her work with the JMRX group, an innovative group of Japanese researchers who focus on new market research methods and ideas. She shares global developments in the market research practice within Japan and provides the rest of the world with updates on what’s going on in Japan’s research landscape. (Japan is the sixth largest research market in the world but has developed many features special to Japan, such as dealing with a culture of reticence and hierarchy.)

With over 25 years of experience in qualitative research, Tomoko is a familiar face at both global and Asia Pacific research conferences.

Learn more about Tomoko’s style of thinking and presenting from this presentation from the 2014 Insight Innovation (IiEX) Australia conference. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

  1. Pravin Shekar

Pravin is the principle at India-based agency KREA. Often appearing at conferences, Pravin is known for his infectious energy. Like several people on this list, Pravin works as a conduit, funneling global ideas to India and taking Indian ideas—such as applying India’s jugaad (or frugal innovation: solving problems with limited resources)—to the wider world of market research. Pravin is showing how frugal innovation can be used in market research when the conventional tools are not available.

I recommend checking out Shekar’s blog and following him on Twitter.

  1. Annie Pettit

Annie is the chief research officer at Peanut Labs, a sample provider that utilizes and monetizes third-party sites as its source of participants. With over 10,000 Twitter followers (as of January 2016), Annie is one of the most widely read and followed market researchers in social media. In addition to her influence in the blogosphere, Annie sits on committees, speaks at events and teaches at workshops. Annie’s dual passions are quantitative research and the right way to do things.

Annie puts lots of time and effort into industry working groups, sitting on ESOMAR and GRBN committees looking at privacy and being editor-in-chief of the Canadian market research VUE magazine.

There are lots of ways of connecting with Annie, but you should definitely follow her blog and tweets at @LoveStats.

  1. Doug Place

resources_ster_kinnekorDoug is currently the chief marketing officer at the South African division of Nando’s Chicken, a multinational casual dining chain. Before that, he was marketing executive at Ster-Kinekor Theatres, South Africa’s leading cinema chain. Doug is a great example of a marketing executive on the client-side who evangelizes the potential of market research to drive business results. He has previously spoken at both the EMEA and North American Vision Critical Summits.

Check out this video from the 2014 Vision Critical Summit to learn how Doug leveraged research to grow audience numbers at Ster-Kinekor.

  1. Suz Allen

Based in Australia, Suz is the director of sensory and consumer science at the consumer goods company Campbell Arnott’s, specializing in the APAC region. A major advocate for research best practices, Suz is a member of the AMSRS board, the Australian trade body for market research. She combines her knowledge and experience (as a scientist, research provider, and client-side user of research) with the ability to communicate in a very accessible and direct way with researchers and research users alike.

Watch this recording of a recent NewMR webinar to learn Suz’s views on what clients are looking for from research presentations.

  1. Anouk Willems

Anouk (@AnoukW1) is the Netherlands head of insight activation studios at the consulting firm InSites. A frequent speaker at market research events, Anouk is a passionate advocate of new approaches to research, people-focused methodologies and the integration of technology with qualitative research.

The video below—which also features Annelies Verhaeghe (a past winner of ESOMAR’s Young Researcher of the Year and currently managing InSites in Romania) —provides a glimpse into Anouk’s thinking.

  1. Stephen Phillips

Stephen is the CEO of the U.K.-based online research provider Zappistore. He has been pioneering a new approach to market research, using technology and automation to provide agile insight solutions.

For an example of Stephen’s innovative thinking, check out his 2014 IIeX Europe presentation exploring why “good enough” might be better than “perfect” in market research.

  1. Dangjaithawin (Orm) Anantachai

Orm is the managing director of Intage, Thailand, a large Japanese-owned research company. Known as a regional leader in the research world, Orm is a market researcher who sits on boards and committees and speaks at a wide range of events. Orm’s focus is on customers and participants as humans as opposed to economic agents, researching the cultural implications of actions and reactions and highlighting that people in different countries respond to stimuli in different ways.

This video, from IIeX APAC, shows you the sort of thinking and imaginative research that Orm is associated with.

  1. Kyle Nel

Kyle (@Kyle_Nel) is the executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs at Lowe's Home Improvement in the U.S. Over the last few years, Kyle has been at the forefront of several client-side initiatives to evaluate and use innovative research solutions.

In the TEDx video below, Kyle talks about the future of retailing and showcases his interest in innovative approaches.

  1. Shobha Prasad

Shobha, the director of the Indian-based consulting firm Drshti Strategic Research Services, is a renowned presenter and a leading expert in qualitative research. As one of the leading market researchers in India, she’s most known for blending insight from different strands and cultures to provide greater illumination about the performance of brands. In markets such as India brands tend to blend Western and local influences and their decoding is therefore best addressed by accessing both cultures.

To learn more about Shobha, watch a recording of her recent NewMR webinar on the value of negative stereotypes.


This is just a sample of the many market researchers helping to globally transform the industry. If you think I missed anyone important, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

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