The importance of humanising research and decision-making

Day One Podcast: Insights Room 101

Episode 17 – Indrajit Mitra – Blog

In Room 101, a guest describes three of their worst insight industry pet peeves and aims to lock one of them away forever in Room 101, much like the popular British TV show. Our guest on this episode is Jit Mitra, who is market research and analytics lead at Merck in the US. Jit is currently working on the launch of their fantastic new brand in PAH, Sotatercep. Jit joins us on The Day One podcast to share what things in the industry he’d like to see banished to Room 101 forever. The main pet peeves Jit describes are: the perception that the respondent can solve your problem, the attitude of “it’s always been done this way”, and the idea that “research needs to be grand”. Jit provides meaningful criticism during our conversation, and we hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: Anything Jit says reflects his personal beliefs and in no way represent his employer.

Jit is one of the first guests on our Day One Podcast who is client side, and so it has been a fantastic opportunity to chat with him on this episode.

Before diving into Jit’s nominations for Room 101, he shares the true version of events of how he ended up working in market research and data analytics. His story is the epitome of being in the right place (in this case the men’s room!) at right time.

We look at the future of market research and where it might be headed the next 5 to 10 years. Jit discusses how the market research industry, particularly in pharma, can be quite conservative due to the potential impact on people’s health, when it comes to adopting new ways of working.  We look at how practices from other industries can be adopted to improve pharma market research and innovation. Will the future be a combination of tried and tested with some “enhancements”?

Jit reveals his first nomination for Room 101 as “the perception that the respondent can solve your problem”, when this isn’t always the case. Jit finds that sometimes in market research we have become desensitized to our respondents, and we can ask questions that serve no value, are biased, or even insult our respondents’ intelligence or expertise. When they don’t respond, we call them “bad respondents”, but maybe they’re on to something. Should we reflect more on the questions we’re asking? We can’t assume the respondents can tell us all the answers.

Diving deeper into a potential solution for this, Jit believes we should have more empathy in our questionnaires, keep our business objectives and research objectives separate and finally do a sense check to make sure we’re asking the right questions.

Jit then presents his second choice for Room 101. Questioning the “well it’s always been done this way” mindset, we explore the balance between innovation and proven methodologies. What areas of market research are ripe for disruption?  As a consultant on the client side, Jit is in a position to look at the problem, and the solutions, from both points of view. We also discuss the diverse talent that’s coming into market research without this “learned helplessness”, who are starting to push back against this “it’s always been this way” approach.

As his third and final topic for Room 101, Jit proposes putting the idea that “research needs to be grand” into Room 101. This doesn’t always have to be the case, and we explore the benefits of breaking down research into smaller, more manageable chunks. We take a comprehensive look at research methods and innovative approaches to gain more emotional and practical insights.

Diving deeper into humanising research and the role of decision-making, we look at the idea that making decisions based on science isn’t always the only factor that comes into play.  Acknowledging the irrationality inherent in human decisions, we examined the need to ensure that our questions do not humiliate or shame respondents. Jit shares his tips for making research more human.

Hannah, Abigail and Jit agree to banish the mindset and the approach of “we’ve always doing it this way” to Room 101.  We enjoyed the conversation, and we hope you do, too.

About – Jit Mitra

Jit is a seasoned consultant & market researcher with 20+ years of market research/consulting experience having led projects that range in scope from US domestic to multi-country global projects for the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Jit is currently market research and analytics lead at Merck in the US. He collaborates closely with the global brand team leads and other key stakeholders to define market entry scenarios from a global perspective including, but not limited to, global market segmentation, patient journey, LCM valuation, positioning and messaging. He also works closely with other support functions as necessary to ensure efforts are coordinated to address business questions with all relevant information and support related strategic efforts (e.g., forecasting, performance reporting, and competitive intelligence).

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Abigail Stuart