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Engaging next generation market researchers in the MRIA

by Raj Manocha.

Many of the posts on the AskingCanadians blog have focused on change, and how the industry needs to keep moving forward.  Today, instead of writing about what the industry needs to do, I’m glad to tell a story of what the industry is doing.

The MRIA, and Research Agency Council (RAC), have recognized that change is needed to ensure the continued success of the association, and have created a sub-committee called the Emerging Leaders Task Force (ELTF).

I have the honour of serving as the chair of the task force during its first year and it’s motivating to see just how many people agree with this new initiative.

The task force was created to stimulate participation by next generation market researchers in the MRIA and to develop programming that will be specifically aligned with their needs.  One of the biggest criticisms of the MRIA, over the last several years, has been the lack of youth that are involved in the association, or attending any events.  So who better to solve this problem than those who the MRIA is trying to reach?

There were a couple of criteria for members of the task force;  they had to be working in the research industry and be under the age of 35.  The beauty of the ELTF is that it has representation from many parties within the research community–from big shops to small, quantitative and qualitative, end clients and vendors, MRIA members and non-members and from the east coast to west coast.

The interests of all are well represented to give a holistic picture of what’s important to this segment in the industry and how we can provide a positive impact in creating a more complete association.

Initially, the task force will liaise between the RAC and the 2014 national conference committee to participate in the Saskatoon conference and to recommend programming and events that will be specifically designed to encourage more next generation market researchers to attend the conference. Further to this, the task force will work towards a more holistic plan to engage next generation market researchers via other channels with the hope of increasing interest and overall membership in the MRIA.

My fellow task force members are all extremely keen to be part of such a drive for change, knowing the impact will resonate for years to come. If we get this right, the MRIA will be that much more robust organization, and could be the model that many associations follow as to properly engaging the millennial population.

[Photo: © Thomas Pajot – Fotolia.com]