connections management news

October 2016
Vol. 15, Number 8

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
Member News
manny schrager
Manny Schrager

Letter from the President: Who's on Your Team?

Manny Schrager,

First of all, I want to thank the QRCA membership for allowing me to head up the team for this year. It’s humbling to have responsibility for an organization where everyone is not only brilliant but also terrific lunch or dinner companions. (If you’re lucky like me, you could even be married to one.) I want to especially thank our past president, Monica Zinchiak, for being such a dedicated force on the Board for the past five years. When you’re signed into a WebEx with Monica, her sign-in always includes “I love QRCA,” and she certainly showed that passion, continuously thinking about the best ways to move our organization forward. She will be a tough act to follow, but I have her number on speed dial.

I’m looking forward to a year of continued communications improvement. Our website keeps getting better, virtually every time you open it. We have embarked on an SEO program, making our site pop more for potential clients and members alike. We are communicating better with newer members through our Touchpoint program, and with all members through more diverse educational offerings. These are spearheaded by our Content Committee, working closely with our Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). We are also working diligently to improve our marketing messaging, an effort led by our Marketing Committee with the assistance of our long-time support organization, Ewald Consulting.

QRCA relies heavily on member involvement. And, like anything else, the more you put in, the more you get back. Be a volunteer. Perhaps you’ll pick up some new marketing tips, become more tech-y, and even find other members with whom you may wind up collaborating on client projects. Which brings me back to the headline, “Who’s on your team?”

When I started out in marketing research, many clients had large MR departments. One financial institution client had over 50 people in MR, just for the credit card group alone. A few folks would handle the upfront brainstorming sessions, then pass the project off to others on the qualitative (focus group) team, and from there it went on to the quantitative specialists. Each team hired its own consultants/moderators for its particular phase of a project, so, as a moderator, you only had to be good at one thing: face-to-face research.

Then one day, that 50-person department had 40 empty chairs. The ten remaining researchers tried to maintain the old methods, with multiple vendors each working within their specialty. However, as the workloads grew larger and the departments continued to shrink, many research buyers started looking for more one-stop-shopping alternatives—people or companies that could take them through to their ultimate objectives and not just leave them with a report to be translated for the next phase.

As I watched the industry evolve, I realized that I wanted to be the go-to guy when my clients were considering research. This meant I had to learn more about the phases that might precede and follow qualitative, and sometimes let clients know that qualitative research would not get them the type of useful information they were looking for. Importantly, our company has formed affiliations with a variety of other QRCs, quantitative researchers, agencies, digital strategists, and others with whom we can partner to get our clients the answers they need. We’ve done this by asking clients and other researchers who they’ve used or partnered with, reading articles (and yes, advertising) in trade publications that highlight useful methodologies and tools, and actually becoming part of a consortium of companies in allied areas where we have gotten to know each other and can readily recommend our colleagues to each other’s clients.

So, who’s on your team?

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Corette Haf
Corette Haf

Regina Szyszkiewicz
Regina Szyszkiewicz

A Transitional Action! From the Board

Corette Haf,
Regina Szyszkiewicz,

Since the previous edition of Connections, the outgoing Board held its last meeting on September 12, and the incoming Board’s first meeting was on September 19. History was also made when QRCA’s Annual Meeting was conducted virtually for the first time on September 14.

The outgoing Board members were very excited to end their term with the news that membership approved the changes to the bylaws with an overwhelming majority. The proposed bylaws change was voted on by 270 members and 93% supported the more inclusive membership criteria.

The sponsorship drive for the 2017 annual conference is also progressing well — we are already more than halfway to achieving the sponsorship goal.

The outgoing Board also approved MarCom’s recommended logo for QRCA, which was very positively received when it was shared with members who attended the Annual General Meeting.

At the new Board’s first meeting, they welcomed the four new board members: Kelly Heatly, Ilka Kuhagen, Janet Standen, and Regina Szyszkiewicz.

The board approved the Nominating Committee’s recommended slate of officers, as follows:

  • Manny Schrager, President (by succession, per bylaws)
  • Jay Zaltzman, Vice President
  • Tom Rich, Treasurer
  • Regina Szyszkiewicz, Secretary

The Board then heard the results of the 2016 Annual Conference Speaker Survey, and discussed possible implications and potential next steps.

The strategic marketing meeting with Harpeth Marketing went well and the Board will soon be prioritizing ideas around membership and the Annual Conference.

The next meeting of the Board takes place on October 17.

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