Editor’s Note: The following interview features a GreenBook Future List honoree, Salam Beasan. 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 Salam Beasan
Forging her way forward through creative thinking and passion, Salam is a leader of multidisciplinary industry-shaping insights products. She is hyped about coupling technology with behavioral research, and aspires to build and nurture sustainable products with a global reach within the digital insights realm. An alumna of the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, Salam holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering and Management and an M.B.A. degree, with a career spanning various roles in successful companies including Toluna, eBay, and, most recently, Similarweb: the definitive official measure of the digital world.
What’s a fun fact about yourself that would surprise people to know?
In a parallel universe, had I not pursued a career in tech and insights, I would have loved to be a chef. In my free time, what I enjoy the most apart from hiking, CrossFit training, and reading is spending time in my kitchen – cooking, baking, and using some of my homegrown fruits and vegetables, and homemade spices and syrups.
As a nature and animal lover, I grew up around or had a pet most of my life. My first pet was a pony named Rocky, and today my crew consists of Oscar the dog and Hiccup the parrot, both of which like to participate in my meetings and engage with my colleagues.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your career, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Among other things I would do, if I had the opportunity to time travel, I would go back and tell my younger self to stay fearless and keep pushing boundaries, to invest in lifelong learning, and to create her own opportunities! This is the same advice I offer whenever I am invited to speak to academic students and young people about my own journey in hope that it will inspire them to commit to their goals and to encourage them to embrace curiosity.
Being in the right place at the right time does not guarantee success, but being in the right place at the right time equipped with the right tools is far more likely. Build and shape the trajectory of your career by learning meticulously, sharpening both your soft and hard skills, and by stretching your brain muscle to its utmost potential.
What do you consider to be key characteristics or qualities of a leader? How does this play into market research?
In any discipline, the best leaders are typically those who have influence, whether they have direct authority or not, and who are trusted – those who you would want standing by you in an event of an apocalypse. If I were to name the top qualities I seek in leaders when considering new opportunities, or when I look back at the leaders who had the most impact on me throughout the years, I would name:
#1 Accountability and credibility
Ultimately, every one of us in the tech and insights industry aspires to deliver products, experiences, platforms, processes, and tools that meet the highest quality standards, are delivered on time, and answer to their sole purpose. All of the above are heavily reliant on fulfilling commitments and effectively communicating among stakeholders. Accountability and credibility – owning success as well as failure – are traits I highly value and believe are imperative in leaders.
#2 Critical thinking and informed decision-making
Very often, forming a judgment involves partial knowledge or ambiguity. What I am highly fond of is the approach that leads to those judgments where it is an evaluation of the given facts and information followed by a data-driven, reinforced approach, in order to form a solution. My greatest admiration is for leaders who invest time and resources into understanding all the facts, challenge approaches, and reference data in order to make informed decisions.
#3 Leading by example
Not only once have I found myself naturally and unintentionally following leaders, and upon reflection, I came to the conclusion that their most defining characteristic was leading by example. Those leaders lead with passion and they delegate responsibility and empower others, and their way of conflict resolution sets an example of how a leader acts. Most importantly, they operate in an ethical manner with a high level of emotional intelligence, always putting the people first.
What are your market research predictions for the near future?
#1 Democratising research
We see the increasing need for research to be conducted by non-researcher personas, brands, businesses, and individuals. Insights are needed faster than ever before, and as a direct result, insights platforms will take centre stage in 2022. Insights platforms will be fueled by expanding data strategies and investing more in data quality and accuracy.
#2 Behavioral Data is the answer
2021 has been an interesting one. We witnessed the shift of many offline activities to online. This motion and the increasing demand for online touchpoints, transforms Behavioral Data into a key enabler to a plethora of new solutions, providing indisputable insights into how and when people are engaging online. The increasing demand for Behavioral Data in 2022 will be followed by new technologies that will emerge in this space.
#3 MRX re-imagined
2022 looks to be the year where MRX will move towards adopting a more agile approach. New efficiency and speed regimes will ignite software and platforms, mandated to keep up with the fast-paced technological disruption. There will be less traditional MRX and more automation.
What are some of your most used, go-to resources, tools, and/or platforms in insights? What do you like about them and why are they top of mind?
Nothing beats a handful of data and examining each bit and byte to get an understanding of the pieces that research is built upon and conclusions are drawn from. Interestingly enough, this is a luxury we cannot afford due to the sheer volume and scale of the data. This is where platforms, whether DIY or ADIY, come into the picture to provide us with a level of insights that would be cumbersome enough to obtain elsewhere.
My most trusted resource is Similarweb, which gives me real-time access to the latest market trends, helps me identify growth opportunities, and informs me about players disrupting the market so that I can form an educated strategy and gain a competitive edge.
As my go-to resource for use cases where I need fast, high quality, and representative consumer insights, I often turn to Toluna Start.
I usually visit the GRIT Report to gain an understanding of trends and emerging technologies that affect MRX and to be informed about what is new.
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?
Of course. Willingly or unwillingly, there are people who are easy to follow, and by force of nature, they are the spearheaded leaders that leave their mark on the people they encounter.
The mentorship I received along the way from such unique individuals has been an immense blessing. I have had mentors who have taken it upon themselves to nurture me, point out the areas I should mend in order to become the person I am today, then work closely with me on sharpening those areas.
I have been influenced greatly by my mentors who have taught me to translate creative thinking into action, then lead action to its course towards delivering results.
My mentors know who they are, and I thank them dearly for their impact on my career trajectory.
But first and foremost, my greatest mentor is my spouse, who is a leader in the field of Mechanical Engineering. He shares my dilemmas, picks my brain on crucial decision-making, and keeps me focused on my long-term mission goals.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Are there areas where you’re looking to level up? A company you want to launch? A new milestone you want to reach?
While I am proud of what I have accomplished, I am still not my best self. In my quest to learn and explore new things, I am constantly seeking out new areas for improvement in both professional and personal pursuits.
In addition to my professional career, I would love to devote more time to volunteering and giving back to the tech community. Therefore, I decided to join the board of a global organisation dedicated to bridging the gender gap in tech. The organisation endeavors to empower women to further develop their professional and personal skills and advance in the tech industry. I additionally continue to volunteer in various workshops conducted for high school female students in order to encourage them to pursue STEM.