I recently went to see Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris movie and I am still thinking about it. My husband and I have been talking about it in snatches since we walked out. It is what you might call a thinking person’s movie.
In Allen’s movie, Gil, the protagonist, seeks the intoxicating time in Paris that followed World War 1, the 1920s, when so many writers and artists lived and started careers in Paris. Yet, we only know so much about their lives in the 1920s and we only know about their successes and dramatic failures, if any. Gil – and we -- are not able to “live” the day to day toil and grind that T.S. Elliott and Faulkner faced as they produced work after marvelous literary work. Yet, it was the detail and grind in which they spent their lives that produced the masterpieces that we are all so familiar with.
What Roger (my husband) and I took away was a blatant, clear realization that although the past– near and far- often seems so much better, more fun and exciting and . . . . fill in the blank, the absolute best time is the present. It is now -- today -- that we can experience the changes in the world and make our own mark.
The world of market research is so different than it was when Chadwick Martin Bailey started in 1984. Back then it was all about the advent of personal computers and software that we could use to analyze data that could only be previously analyzed on mainframes. Market research startups started with a flourish. Opportunity was everywhere.
Small companies that could never use market research or have it available to them were able to gain market insights that previously were only available to large companies. Some used it well and prospered. We know them as household names today. It was a revolutionary time in market research and it was fun. It was also hard work and for our employees, it was a continual learning experience.
Today, market research has evolved! It has grown up, it is everywhere and new technologies and developed databases allow for insights that we could never conceive in the 1980s. Now consumers get questionnaires almost every time they buy something. Samples, data collection techniques, analysis methods – all have changed and continue to evolve. Things are moving so fast, one has to constantly be learning just to stay abreast.
Is the change for the better or worse? As in Allen’s movie, it is easy to look back and be nostalgic. Yet, when you think of what is possible today, when you think of what we can do by combining technology with perceptual market feedback and then analyze for insights, we are living in an exciting time, the present time- the time to leave our mark.
Woody Allen was right. A prior era, the 1980s, was a wonderful time to be in market research. Today is even better- filled with new possibilities and great opportunity.
Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.