Great to hear from our 2023 Global 30-under30 honouree, Kristy Ward, who is a Senior Research Manager and the US Lead for Brand Communications frameworks and solutions at SKIM, Analytical Inc. Along with project and people management, Kristy has a passion for Communications research, especially in claims and message testing.
I attended Clemson University as an undergraduate Marketing major, and in my Sophomore year I took a consumer behaviour course with Dr. Anastasia Thyroff. I instantly recognised consumer behaviour and striving to understand how customers make decisions piqued my interest, so I spoke with her about how to grow in this area. She then told me about the Master of Marketing Research (MMR) program at the University of Georgia. I then “tailored” the rest of my college career to help prepare me by taking courses and interning in roles that would align with the skills necessary to succeed in the MMR program! I started working at SKIM right out of the MMR program and have been here since.
Earlier this year, I was chosen to be the US Lead for our Brand Communications frameworks and solutions, a role I have always been interested in! It has been exciting for me to think back to all of the studies I have worked on that prepared me for this position!
Try to gain as much experience as you can in different types of research and industries! Working on a diverse portfolio of studies as an Analyst helped me understand that I wanted to focus my career on Brand Communications.
Then I would recommend maintaining a strong focus on continuous learning. I have learned so much over the years from various co-workers, clients, colleagues in the industry, and even doing desk research that contributed to my development as a researcher!
You are making an excellent decision! I have been so thankful for my time working in marketing research, and I am truly happy that I found this sector! The work can be challenging, but it is so rewarding when I get to see how the research I do helps companies better understand their customers.
I think with the rise of new technologies, it is very important to make sure we take the time to develop our own skill set in these areas to better assist our clients on studies related to them. For example, I have been spending a lot of time trying to understand the landscape of AI and prompting within these tools, in order to be able to help bring an additional insider perspective into AI-related research.
I have so many people who helped me in the past and in present who I would like to acknowledge, and hope that I am not forgetting anyone!
As mentioned before, Dr. Anastasia Thyroff truly helped me in understanding what marketing research is, and that I could make a career out of it. There are many people at SKIM that I am incredibly fortunate to have learned from who shaped me into the researcher I am today! While this is not an exhaustive list, I would love to thank Remy Thim, Cori Deutsch, Fabienne Rawat, Brady Silva, Nikki Westoby, and Elizabeth Kadrich for their help and guidance the past 6 and a half years I have been at SKIM!