Complacency. Inertia. Same-old, same-old.
These are perils that we all face, whether we are client-side researchers or research suppliers.
Unless you work with a wide variety of clients on a regular basis, there's a danger of becoming stale...and if you let that happen, you're doing a disservice to yourself (and your career!), your company, and your clients.
I think I've heard every excuse in the book for why someone may not want to pursue training or continuous learning:
"I can't travel"
"Our training budget was just slashed"
"I don't like face-to-face events because I'm an introvert and don't know anyone"
"I do very specialized research, outside training just doesn't apply"
"There's nothing out there for me"
"I'm too junior-level..."
Come on folks! No more excuses - it's time for some tough love. No matter your budget, age, type of research, there ARE training opportunities out there. Let's review some of the wealth of resources that are out there:
There are a number of fantastic market research blogs. Add them to your reader and peruse on your own time. If you don't already have this blog in your reader, I suggest you add it. Then, take a look at Next Gen Market Research blogroll for more.
How about some lunchtime learning? You can often catch a market research webinar over your lunch hour. Because you're not working over your lunch hour...right? If you're interested in specific technology, suppliers often have webinars that provide an overview. Or, if you're more interested in market research practices and theory, there are options for you too. And they always have the attendees on mute, so don't worry...no-one will hear you munching on the potato chips. I'm a fan of the webinars that Revelation and Communispace produce.
Have nothing to do on your commute, other than listen to NPR? Consider downloading market research podcasts to your MP3 player and listen to them while driving, riding the train, etc. Research Access has some great ones to start with, then search iTunes and Google for more.
Training via social media? Yes! Follow the #mrx hashtag on Twitter and the members of the market research community will link to articles of interest that will keep you reading for days!
I have a particular love for face-to-face events. Partially because my company produces face-to-face events, so much of my research focuses on how successful that medium is. But also becasue I feel I get the most out of my training budget when I attend conferences.
When thinking about events to attend, consider what will give you the most bang for the buck. For my company, TMRE is the best bang for the market research buck as it provides us the widest variety of session options (138 of them!), the most people for networking (1,200+) and topics that are relevant to me and my work (mobile, generational research, big data, and more).
I know that face-to-face events are tough for some of the more introverted among us. The prospect of networking can be daunting, especially if it's your first time at a particular. Here's my suggestion - avail yourself of the mentor program so you can receive some guidance as to how to navigate the event, and with your mentor you've made your first networking contact!
There are also some great print resources - what books and magazines would you recommend? Add your thoughts in the comments!