We interviewed Significant Insights Global 30 Under 30 Nominee Iosetta Santini who works at Keen as Mustard Marketing and is an Account Director, and her mission is to put insights into words for everyone to read.
Great to catch up Iosetta, take us through your industry journey so far? How did you arrive at this point?
My journey towards insights probably differs to many others. I haven’t landed in this industry as a researcher, but as a PR and marketing expert. I started my career in communications as a journalist – in the editorial team at a busy newspaper (La Nazione) in my home town in Italy. I came to London for my MA in Political Communications then I started working in B2B PR. My first encounter with the insights world wasn’t until I joined the Keen as Mustard team over two years ago, as a Junior Account Manager. For those who don’t know, at Keen as Mustard we are a specialised marketing and communications agency which works mostly within insights. Led by our founder Lucy Davison, we help research agencies and insight clients communicate their research. Whether internally, or to the media, we give visibility to the industry, shining a light on great insights that could otherwise go unnoticed.
I can’t say I knew much about the MR world when I started, but not only I’ve learnt a whole lot about it in these years (thanks to my team, clients, and the MRS certificate), but I also now fully feel part of this sector. The people that make up this industry welcomed me from the start, I feel like I’m part of an active community with shared interests, mentality, and curiosity – which is ultimately what makes market researchers strive.
I’ve been fascinated by the great minds operating within MR, and I’ve been inspired by a multitude of pieces of research. Helping the insights industry achieve more visibility and recognition amongst a wider audience is what drives my day-to-day job and combining my vocation of communication with the everyday discoveries that the industry provides is what makes me love it. I might have not always known that my career was going to be within insights, but I’m glad I landed here.
So, what’s so inspiring about our industry?
I’ve been asked this question when I was interviewing for Keen as Mustard, and at the time my answer was “because it’s relatable”. Having worked in B2B PR I’ve dealt with multiple industries, some of them very technical, and linear. What first attracted me to insights is that it appeals to your human side. It’s not just data and numbers, the human element is what really makes sense of any piece of research. So really what I find inspiring (and this might sound a little self-centred) is that through research I can learn more about me, the people around me, the world I live in, how it’s shaped, by what and what will shape it in the future. Insights is the starting point for every industry. Data is what modern world is built on.
As time went by and I became more familiar with this industry, I also soon learnt that every day is a school day. I think everyone who works in this industry can agree with this. There’s not one day that goes by, when I haven’t learnt something. A new piece of research, a new technology, a new way of helping brands grow…the sky is the limit! I’m very lucky because in my job I get to talk to a lot of brilliant people. It’s basically impossible for me to not be inspired!
What message do you have for anyone considering a career in our industry?
Go for it. If you like learning, understanding more about the world that surrounds you (and great events!) this is the place for you. There are many possibilities for those who want to join this industry, even if you’re not a researcher. I don’t think there is enough awareness around the different roles that the industry needs. Marketers, recruiters, copywriters, designers, the insights industry starts with research but goes beyond it. So, if you have an interest in this sector, but you’re not particularly strong with numbers (me!) or think of yourself as more creative (me again!), don’t think that this industry isn’t for you. Just find your own way in.
How do very junior researchers stand out?
As I said, I’m not a researcher. But I do know a few things about how to stand out, so here are my two cents. Let’s apply some PR principles to this, to be noticed you need: awareness, expertise, and differentiation.
So, for young researchers that want to raise their profiles I’d suggest going to as many industry events as possible and talking to as many people as possible. Introduce yourself and raise your awareness by following that up with a strong social media presence. Something simple like adding people on LinkedIn can go a long way.
Have a good CV to showcase your expertise – it doesn’t matter if you don’t have years of experience under your belt, show that your interest in pursuing a career in insights is strong. Again, social media can help you with that. Read and reshare interesting articles and talk about what you know and what you’d like to achieve.
The MR industry also offers plenty of opportunities for young researchers, for example ESOMAR, or the MRS, they both have great communities aimed at guiding young researchers. So don’t miss out on those opportunities, join as many groups as you can and learn from them.
Last but not least, differentiate yourself. Why are you the one to hire? When facing an interview, or when introducing yourself make sure to communicate what makes you unique. Is it your background? Is it your personality? What are the traits that make you different from your competition? It’s not always easy to pin these down, so make sure you take time to think about it and nail your answers.