The moderator serves a significant role in a Mixed Methodology research project, connecting with the client from the initial stages of research to understand project objectives, and bringing the voice of the customer to life before, during, and/or after the quantitative phases by getting to the “why” behind the “what”. The unique blend of skills they bring helps the Radius team provide recommendations backed by deep research and understanding of the customer voice. Maureen Talge shares about her experience as a moderator.
Tell us about your background.
I graduated magna cum laude from Xavier University in 2002, with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Business. I began my career in client management in the financial services sector, then began working for a creative agency, where I developed a passion for consumer research. Early in my career, I had an opportunity to work on global projects and found I enjoy the challenge of conducting research in different regions to better understand market landscapes and explore how consumer insights vary from market-to-market.
What is the main focus of your work for Radius?
At Radius, I’ve worked with a wide range of clients across many sectors including CPG, finance, insurance, real estate, healthcare, and technology. Ethnography and creative testing have become particular favorites for me, and I’ve developed expertise in working with Latin American markets.
Describe your approach to moderating.
Wherever the project takes me, a universal first step in any session is setting the stage with an empathy-first approach. In medical sessions, as well as in other categories such as finance, panelists can have very difficult stories to share. It’s important to listen and let them know they’re understood. Once people feel that initial sense of belonging, they are more comfortable talking throughout the session.
How do you adapt quickly when hosting sessions globally?
Companies want to look at key markets to better understand how their messaging might resonate. Right now, I’m working on a few global projects where we are testing innovation and new product launches for a global tech-based firm.
Because I have a deep understanding of Brazil, I’ve been supporting sessions there, most recently on a project to test potential product names. During the session, we gained helpful insights on the complexities of the Brazilian market and cultural nuances there which gave us important feedback for the client to consider when naming their new offering for that market.
That session also reinforced for me the idea that we can walk into a session with assumptions, and the panel provides new insights that bring deep context to the issue at hand. We are always hearing a fresh perspective that contributes to the research outcome.
What makes you passionate about your role?
Our team is naturally curious, and we enjoy engaging with consumers and learning from them, and from one-another. I walk into every session with an open mind and a blank slate. That mindset helps me focus on listening and hearing what the panelists have to say.
When we’re working on global projects, we’ll often have a group of teams researching key markets for the client. At the end of the project, we re-group and compare notes as we prepare to write our final report story. For me, this is another opportunity to collaborate and learn from my team, and to gain a deeper understanding of various parts of the world. I’m always interested in seeing the impact our work on the ground has in the final recommendations.
In addition to the big picture, I find a lot of inspiration in the day-to-day. In a recent global research session, the panelists were very engaged with the topic, and with each other. By the end of a session, they were exchanging social media information so they could stay in touch. Knowing I’ve done well on the project, and possibly helped people to connect with each other adds another layer of satisfaction to my work.
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