Selective Attention's summer content series of conversations with market researchers is officially launching! Our first interview comes from Corey Hammer, Ph.D. who works in Illinois' Greater Chicago area.
As the Principal of Talisman Insights Corey is a seasoned researcher who holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a focus on Social Cognition from Chicago's DePaul University. He is also a Burke trained moderator. Keep reading below to hear what he had to say about his career, how his academic background informs his research and what industry trends are on his radar.
Could you tell us a bit about your career?
Sure. I started my career conducting product development research with consumers for Sanford Corporation. From there I progressed to pharmaceuticals and proprietary education (Career Education Corporation). I happened to find a great mentor about 2 years into my stint at CEC and from there began to take on progressively more responsibilities till I was the Head of Insights and Analytics for the Career Schools Business Unit. When CEC decided to shut down the Career Schools Unit, I took that opportunity to open my own consultancy as a sole proprietor, Talisman Insights. I work with a gamut of companies across education, healthcare, lifestyle services, hospitality, durable goods, and others doing qualitative and quantitative work.
How did you decide to focus on market research?
It came down to logistics. My true heart is in academia-uncovering the mechanisms by which humans move through the world, making decisions and judgments-understanding how and why people tick. However, family trumped that and so I entered a more applied space where I could still develop an understanding of people but targeted towards helping businesses make better strategic choices.
You hold a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, how does this inform your research perspective?
It comes down to two main components: an understanding of the basic processes that underlay human decision making; and, a focus on the voice of the consumer/customer. 90% of research is about asking the right questions and I help my clients develop the right questions to ask. If you’re asking those, then answers aren’t too far away. Everything I do is custom to my client and making sure her/his specific questions get answered in a way that helps them achieve better understanding.
What industry trends are you currently excited about?
Online qualitative. Working with dscout and Focusvision’s Revelations products are amazing. You can obtain so much better engagement and involvement from your qualitative participants as well as such rich information that (for some qualitative projects) you simply cannot get in tradition research (due to time or cost of doing so).
On the flip side, I’m a little worried about the rise of machine learning, DIY, and AI tools. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have the financial or technical capacity to field “New MR” in the IT space, but that said, I also worry about businesses who think such measures are sufficient to understanding. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great tools but it’s another leg in the stool. In many cases, these solutions cannot tap into a broader audience; only the audience you currently have. For that, you still need insights from custom solutions and that’s where I come in.