Editor’s Note: The following interview features a GreenBook Future List honoree, Mark Resnick. The GreenBook Future List recognizes leadership, professional growth, personal integrity, passion, and excellence in the next generation of consumer insights and marketing professionals within the first 10 years of their careers.
Introducing Mark Resnick
Mark drives change at the largest consumer insights, marketing, and brand departments by implementing agile technologies to conduct world-class innovation and advertising market research. Mark is not afraid to disrupt standard practices within the industry and has redefined solutions facing insights teams. Academia and thought leadership hold a place close to Mark’s heart. After completing his Master’s in Market Research from Michigan State, he has continued to mentor students entering the market research industry. Currently, he is the Senior Director of Business Development at Zappi.
Since starting your career in market research, what would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment to date has been completing my master’s degree in Market Research from Michigan State while working full-time. I started the Michigan State program a few months before the entire world went into lockdown so beyond juggling work responsibilities during the day and demanding classwork during the evenings, I was anxiously worrying about what the pandemic would do to the entire insights industry. Thankfully, through support from family, friends, and colleagues, we all persevered, and I earned my degree in 2020 while also earning a promotion at Zappi. It was a challenging, yet unique time in my life that I will always appreciate. The master’s degree has helped elevate my thought leadership and has produced value both at my immediate company and for my customers.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your career, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Pay close attention to company culture, and when applying to jobs, try to find an organization that matches culturally what you need and who you are. When I first started my career, my entire focus was on the salary and the job title, regardless of the role, responsibility, and company culture. Ultimately, those jobs ended up not being a great fit. I think too often we tie those metrics to how “good” a job is when we are younger. However, as I reflect on my career, I have had the most success at jobs where I truly enjoy being there due to the culture, which has led to success. My advice is to start with the basics: Be happy with what you do, enjoy the people you do it with, and know that all the other career successes will quickly follow. I truly believe that at the end of the day, the company culture is what motivates us to wake up and try our best every day.
What do you consider to be key characteristics or qualities of a leader? How does this play into market research?
Active listening is crucial for anyone in a leadership position. Leaders need to realize that everyone has an important voice in making an organization successful. When employees feel like they do not have a voice, they begin to lose trust in an organization and leadership as a whole. Leaders must recognize that employee feedback is a gift and should actively seek it out with open ears. If active listening does not start from the top-down, failure will bubble from the bottom up in an organization.
And this should be no surprise to anyone in our industry. Our entire job as market researchers is to be a listener and hear what the general population is saying about a product, brand, advertisement, etc. Without listening, consumers can become unhappy, uninterested, or unmotivated, which can lead to a company’s failure. Active listening is crucial both from an organizational standpoint and from a customer-centric perspective.
What are your market research predictions for the near future?
We have all heard the need for results to be ‘cheaper, faster, and better’ for years now. I believe that ‘cheaper’ and ‘faster’ will become table stakes moving forward, and insights partners and vendors will start differentiating themselves with their philosophy on what ‘better’ results mean. I also believe that proprietary technology will be at the center of companies’ version of ‘better’. I believe panel companies will begin to use technology to better verify who is taking surveys and/or using technology to find better ways to engage with modern-day consumers. I also believe platform and insights companies will find better ways for data to be organized and visualized, making the stigma of DIY being time-consuming less prevalent.
Lastly, I think the ever-increasing buzz around the Metaverse will push our industry to the next level of integration with technology. Brands will want to understand how consumers interact with their new environment and will look to insights professionals to understand this new space, so we’ll see research vendors start playing in this area.
Do you have a mentor or role model who has made a large impact on your career? If so, who? In what way did they make an impact?
My father has always been an influential role model in my career in market research and sales. As a salesperson himself and entrepreneur, he showed me the definition of grit and how hard work can make your dream come true. He has taught me how important relationships matter when it comes to sales and how spending the extra few minutes to get to know someone can be the difference when understanding what they are looking for in a new research partner. He has also instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in me which continuously motivates me to take my customer relationships to the next level.