By Mary Aviles
Let’s face it. Our business, by its very nature, can be a bit dry sometimes. Even if we weren’t constrained by confidentiality agreements, much of what we do wouldn’t make for entertaining cocktail party conversation. And, even if there weren’t conflict of interest issues, as researchers, we are very much the behind-the-scenes marketers–not often the recipients of cool perks like box seats, backstage passes, etc. However, there are some personal perks to wallowing in the down and dirty details. Here are some insights I’ve picked up along the way with useful application in my personal life:
– Respondents for a national wellness pet food chain enlightened me about the dangers of corn in dog food (Note to self: do not buy dog food with corn as one of the first three ingredients. For those of you who already knew this, no judgments please!)
– A project with a major insurance organization opened my eyes to some business insurance-related issues I’d have never learned about otherwise and educated me on my options (and as small business owners, it inspired us to make some adjustments to our coverage)
– Research into aspects of the financial services industry motivated me to set up regular time with my financial advisor to become better acquainted with (and take more responsibility for) my retirement planning
– On another insurance front, work with a retirement community introduced me to the details of long-term care insurance, prompting some healthy discussion with my parents about their retirement options
– After researching the infection control category, I am even more religious about hand-washing–and dry cleaning my husband’s ties (He’s a physician and apparently physician ties are a common MRSA-spreading agent. Delightful. I don’t even let him bring his OR clogs into the house. Those of you who don’t know what MRSA is, sometimes ignorance really is bliss.)
– Conveniently-timed ethnography with a major appliance manufacturer informed the purchases of both my refrigerator and my front-loading washer and dryer
– Research with both national olive-oil and Italian sausage manufacturers have dramatically improved my mad cooking skills and prompted some fruitful Pinterest activity
– Fat-free and skim milk are the same thing, which are distinct and different from one percent. (Based on our research, that has been confusing more than just me…you’re welcome)
– But, the best–and certainly one of the driest–of our projects was the first one Sandra and I worked on together. It was nine years ago with a medical device manufacturer and the start of what has proven to be the most collaborative and stimulating time in my career!
We would love to hear some of the personal insights you’ve gathered from projects you’ve worked on. Please share!