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TMRE: The Market Research Event

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October 8-10, 2024
Loews Royal Pacific ResortOrlando, FL

Stepping Up to That Seat At the Table

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler had a chance to spend some time with Christoper Frank, Co-Faculty Director and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, and Thomas Walker, Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at eBay.

As they addressed TMRE and their “Double Session: Getting a Seat at the Table,” Frank and Walker outlined how the discussion to come can help set the foundation for development of an insights culture that has influence and is an indispensable partner in driving consumer-centric thinking and guiding decisions. They will look at why it's critical to shift the role of insights away from consideration as a function to a capability that can drive long-term sustainable growth.

Frank has front-line experience from 25 years at American Express and Microsoft and is a two-time author who brings an ability to connect insight to strategy in a coherent and actionable manner. His work has won him global recognition as a leader in his field as well as an array of industry awards.

Walker is Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at eBay, responsible for ensuring the company’s strategic decisions are guided by a rich market and consumer insight. He and his team are modernizing eBay’s foundational research and insights platform spanning early market opportunity identification, consumer segmentation and targeting, brand strategy and positioning, and shopper experience. Before joining eBay in 2017, Walker spent five years at Kantar Group and 14 years as a trusted advisor to C-level execs and growth driver for billion dollar business sectors at IBM, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

Frank says the question of how to get insights professionals into a closer relationship with company decision makers is critical if they are going to have a significant impact in driving business growth.

“We want to dig into that and just unpack that, and have a real conversation around it,” Walker says.

He adds, “It’s something I think any insights professional has probably talked about in the course of their career. And the conversation usually is around: ‘How can I get a seat at the table?’”

Frank points out, “Thomas and I really bring lessons from the front lines for this session, to discuss this, to share tips and tricks on what we have done, how we've navigated it, how we have answered it.”

Walker says a critical point, one that he makes with his own team, is that the insight professionals have to be prepared to make a statement about the information they’ve developed.

“You are the expert in the room, and no one knows the consumer better than you,” he says. “And so it's a bit of a mindset and how we go into these conversations to command the confidence and the credibility that we know what we're talking about and being confident, to step off the page and really have a business conversation, as opposed to a research conversation.”

Frank says the discussion will include how to be truly committed to insight and express that with the sense of business judgment and confidence to see it through to the point where it has an impact.

See the video for more on Seth Adler’s conversation with Christopher Frank and Thomas Walker on getting insights professionals a seat at the table with company decision makers.