Great to hear from Dr. Nadia Morozova who is Global Chief Analytics & Insights Officer – Brand, Marketing and Communications at EY.
So Nadia, how did you get into the industry, and take us through how you got to this point?
My story with research and analytics started in the 7th grade when I volunteered to write my first ‘research paper’ in economics. Of course, at that time it was just my first attempt at doing analysis and building a big picture. It was so difficult and inspirational at the same time! I remember the feeling of fulfilment that I got at the conference, answering hard and tricky questions, and understanding that all that time on doing the analysis allowed me to feel very prepared.
When I just started my BSc, the second thing I did after figuring out the modules and schedule was finding my first academic supervisor. At that time, I knew about my two big passions – marketing and research. So, when I finished my BSc it wasn’t a question for me in what industry I would work in, the only question I had was when I would come back to the University to do my PhD.
My mission is to blend academic and industry research. I never considered staying in academia after my PhD, because bringing real business value from research, analytics and insights is something that gives me a great sense of fulfilment. That’s why I’m always focused on the ROI for all research, analytics and insights work my team and I are delivering for the business.
Despite my very busy schedule, I stay in touch with academia. I’m working right now in my free time on the publication of my PhD research (here is short video with key highlights: https://enrichedinsights.com/2020/01/13/phd-project-underlying-mechanisms-of-unplanned-impulse-purchases-in-e-commerce/) and serve as a reviewer in the Journal of Advertising Research.
Why should anyone consider a career in market research, data and insights?
I honestly love the industry so much! More than anything else, it’s all about constant evolution and it never gets boring, as every day brings new challenges. In analytics we have to constantly grow our skillset, and it won’t always be easy. For instance, on-boarding data science tools or learning how to build (and most importantly interpret!) predictive models are very important skills nowadays. One building block in the research, analytics and insights skillset enables the next, and you can’t skip any of them. Overwise, you won’t be ready for tomorrow!
Career paths are rarely without challenges. Can you share an honest moment from your career when things didn’t go quite according to plan, but the lessons remain with you to this day?
I think the most challenging moment in my career was when I had to choose between a role that I really enjoyed and an opportunity to do my PhD. From one side, I really liked my role as Consumer Insights Associate for Europe at Cereal Partners Worldwide, where I had impressive opportunities to learn a lot about media mix, strategic insights and product development. From another side, I felt that the offer from Warwick Business School, where I also got a prestigious Chancellor’s International Scholarship, felt like a once in a life opportunity to accomplish my dream. As you already know, I selected the second option, but it was a very hard decision to make.
I would like to use this interview as an opportunity to thank my absolutely amazing manager and role model, Sandrine Daunar, who is right now Global Director of Insights at Rémy Cointreau, for giving me the chance in the first place. Sandrine is an exceptional leader and amazing human being, who invests a lot of time and passion in developing and supporting her team members.
What two things should junior researchers focus on as they progress in their careers?
My first piece of advice, the one which I always share with my team, especially during the biggest challenges, is to remember that you are the voice of consumers in the organization. Some stakeholders may not like it, because it’s not always the most pleasant voice, but you are empowered.
My second piece of advice, always continue growing your business acumen – sales, marketing, product, finance… you name it! It’s all important for you and your career success. Know how decisions are made in the organization, what the business cycle is, and what is most important for each team in the room. It will help you create a story that will last, and will allow you to connect with your business stakeholders.
Do you have any advice for our sector?
I have two pieces of advice for our industry. The first one is to not compromise on data quality and to continue bringing a lot of effort and attention to it. We can apply so many different methodologies, tools, and best practices, but if the data is not correct, we won’t tell the right story. It’s critical for the success of our industry. For leaders in the industry, especially those working on the client side, I have the following advice – continue building your voice within the organization. Currently we see that organizations focus more on data than on insights. We need to continue showcasing that if analytics, research and insights functions stay disconnected in organizations, the leadership will never get a holistic picture.
And do you have anyone who has helped your career so far that you’d like to acknowledge and say thanks or give a shout out to?
I would like to thank the teams I had a privilege to lead so far. I’ve always strived to make my groups as diverse as possible and give everyone room to share their authentic voice. I always feel so humble being part of the growth and development journeys of each of my team members.