Advancing Women in Research: An Interview with Kristin Luck

By WomenAdvancing Archives
Cover image for  article: Advancing Women in Research: An Interview with Kristin Luck

Kristin Luck has a deep history in research. She was one of the original pioneers of multi-media online research when she joined Nielsen to develop proprietary capabilities. In 2000 she left Nielsen to co-found OTX (Online Testing Exchange) where she drove strategy and operations.

Luck launched Women in Research (known as WIRe) as an informal industry group in 2007. It has evolved into a global enterprise hosting events twice annually in 10 cities and supporting a one to one mentoring program, a monthly online business Q&A and a webinar series. Luck is the leading keynote at the May 14 conference at Crossroads Technology Xchange Big Data 2015.

“I believe that women play a more important role than ever in our growing global economy, with 85% of all brand purchases today made by women,” she says. “Yet, incredibly, only 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women. The future of successful brands (and successful research) is female informed. Women are key drivers of economic success; both in the board room (female led companies are 15% more likely to be profitable) and in the home, but routinely remain an afterthought to both marketers and researchers.”

The statistics she relays are staggering. “Although women provide the muscle behind more than half of all research conducted today, less than 10% of Honomichl’s 25 largest research firms have a woman at the helm,” Luck notes.

Charlene Weisler: What advice can you give to women who are currently working in the research field?

Kristin Luck: Don’t overanalyze the future. Dig in, work on what excites and energizes you and stay that course. I didn’t spend much time in my career thinking “I want to make VP by age 30” or “I really want to start this business but I’m not sure it’s going to work” or  “I want to have kids by 35 so maybe I shouldn’t ask for that promotion.” As it turns out I made VP at 26, built and ran (and sold) several super successful companies and still haven’t managed to find the time to have kids. But I’ve had an amazing ride because I just dug in and made it happen.

CW: Let's talk about your philosophy regarding data. How do you decide which data is good (for correct decision-making) and which data is superfluous or even misleading?

KL: If you pay close attention (data is) literally everywhere. What’s “good” data and what’s “bad” is the subject of much debate in the research industry today. A few weeks ago Networked Insights (one of the featured participants at the Crossroads Big Data event) highlighted its research which attached a movie studio box office value on Twitter posts. I posted the article online and it prompted a fierce debate among some of the best known theatrical researchers in the business. There are a lot of differing opinions on the value of certain types of data and the utilization of primary versus secondary data.

CW: Tell me about the Big Data conference.

KL: The Crossroads Big Data event is on May 14, 2015 in Manhattan. I’m thrilled to serve as conference chair and I’m honored to have been able to collaborate with industry leaders and innovators in the Big Data space, including LG, AOL and Pandora. As conference chair, I was also really committed to making sure we have a diverse speaker lineup. I think we’re the first Big Data conference in history to feature two female keynotes (Leslie Bradshaw of Made by Many and Inmar Givoni of Kobo) and nearly a 50/50 gender split across all presenters. In one day, we’ll be covering Big Data topics including machine learning, text analytics, mobile, virtual reality, the quantified self and social media predictive analytics. We also have the marketing measurement industry thought leaders, including Gian Fulgoni (comScore), text analytics guru Tom Anderson (Anderson Analytics), Lauren Moores (dstillery) and Pranav Yadav of Neuro-Insight. It’s an unparalleled line up of brands and data wonks, making Crossroads the Big Data event of the year.

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