Editor’s Note: The following interview features a GreenBook Future List honoree, Brian Peterson. 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 Brian Peterson of EMI Research Solutions
Brian Peterson is the producer and co-host of the Intellicast podcast. Brian is the driving force in the creation and launch of EMI’s annual report, The Sample Landscape, a report that goes into detail about the online sample industry, and the changes that occur. Since its launch in 2019, it has helped EMI generate over a thousand leads and millions of dollars in revenue, while establishing EMI has a thought leader in the market research industry. Brian has also built the EMI marketing program and department from the ground up.
Outside of insights, what are your passions and interests?
Outside of insights or market research, one of my biggest passions is cooking. I love to cook for my family and friends and come up with new dishes. I really feel it is another way to express creativity. I’m getting my kids interested in it too. They love to cook or bake with Dad. Another interest of mine is hockey.
Not only did I play growing up, but I have also been a fan for as long as I can remember. I am a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I try to watch them as much as I can, and even go see them when they come play in Columbus. My basement is even decorated with a lot of Maple Leaf memorabilia.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from market research?
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from market research is that differentiation from your competitors is key. Lots of companies do qualitative research, lots conduct quantitative research, and many provide sample, but each of those organizations does something different that sets them apart from the others.
You really need to understand what differentiates you from your competition and make sure you can communicate that effectively. It can be things like proprietary assets or methodology, your approach to data quality or service, or being a thought leader in a specific area and driving it forward. There are certain things that your competition can’t replicate, and when you lean into it, it can help you connect with clients who find that important.
What do you think the key characteristics or qualities of a leader are? How does this play into MRX?
I think a couple key characteristics or qualities of a leader are the ability trust, the ability to empower, and the ability to accept feedback without taking it personally. When it comes to trust, it is vital that a leader has trust in their team, because without trust, accomplishing goals is nearly impossible. The ability to accept feedback without taking it personally is probably an underrated quality in a leader.
There is always talk about providing feedback, but the ability to hear feedback and not take it personally, especially when it is constructive feedback, can really help foster a more open and honest environment. Finally, empowering people is probably the biggest quality a leader can have. By helping your team do their job, and empowering them to make decisions, you can streamline your organization and build a stronger team. I honestly think that all three play into market research and all are interwoven with each other. Leaders who possess all three qualities in market research build a stronger team that can be agile and innovative to address changes and tackle problems.
What trends do you see making headway on the horizon of insights? What trends do you think will falter in years to come?
One trend I see making headway in insights over the next few years is the focus on better data quality. In the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about data quality, while the actions that have been taken have focused on increased speed and lowering costs. I feel that we are going to see a pendulum swing, led by brands and end clients who will demand better quality and will be willing to pay for it.
This will lead to more innovation in the industry to provide a higher level of quality data and more safeguards to prevent fraud and poor quality. The other trend that I see coming for the insights industry is the impact of new data privacy legislation, and how it will change how certain areas of the industry operate. I see regulations and certifications needed to operate in this space that ensure that data privacy laws are being followed and that platforms and their users do not open themselves up to lawsuits or fines.