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My Life as a Moderator: Leslie Earls

by Radius

What kind of work do you do at Radius?

I’ve been an Insight Strategist for 10 years, covering a broad range of products and services across many different industries. I love the interaction of speaking to consumers face-to-face and also the value of observing their home environment. When consumers allow you into their homes, you get a more robust picture of who they are and can understand more deeply what drives their purchase decisions.

I’ve also been conducting shopper research recently — helping CPG clients uncover what drives shopper behavior at shelf on issues such as discovery of new products and trading up or down. It’s so interesting to observe how consumers shop and learn how they make their decisions at shelf, which are often split-second decisions.


What led you to this career?

In college, I didn’t even realize moderating was a career option. I was a journalism major and graphic design minor at the University of Kentucky. I originally wanted to work in a creative role in advertising. After college graduation my desire to travel and see the world led me to a brief career as a flight attendant. I did get to see the world (and loved the experience). As a flight attendant my days were fast paced and I interacted with different types of people from all walks of life, which is like being a moderator.


Leslie Earls photo and quote


How did you ultimately make your way into moderating?

Life happened. I had three kids in quick succession and was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom when they were very young. When my youngest was five I decided to go back to work. I worked in ad sales for the Baby Guide, a national publication targeted towards new mothers that’s zoned city-by-city. It was a great way to dip my toe back into the workforce because I worked with clients, and also designed the ads, produced the photo shoots, and really got to dig into the process.

I then moved on to multi-media ad sales and the model was very data and market focused. And without realizing it, I had built a skill set that was ideal for market research and moderating.


As you look to the future, what is next for qualitative research?

Over the past few years there have been quick and significant changes in how consumers shop and what drives their behavior. With all the different shopping methods available, we want to understand for example, what drives online versus in-store shopping. This is an area we’ve been exploring deeply for a couple of years, and there are so many ways to examine the issue from a social media and online experience perspective, and also with research in the store. We can really examine these issues and help companies meet consumers where they are to deliver what they want and drive growth for our clients.


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