I had the pleasure of joining fellow researchers and research supporters at the Office of Research & Innovation's 2017 Applied Research Day. The Office truly knows how to celebrate its researchers and partners and to cultivate industry relationships. It was an uplifting event and showcase, where I had the opportunity to provide the latest update on Job Talks. In the bottom right is Research Assistant Benjamin Millard giving a sneak-peek of our initial video series. The overall event was a hit!
I recently participated in a panel discussion on social isolation with other experts on The Zoomer, hosted by Marissa Semkiw. The show aired nationally on VisionTV. In Canada, one in five people say they don't participate regularly in any social activity. StatsCan estimates that more than 30% of Canadian seniors are at high risk of isolation. I brought a comparative perspective to the discussion (Millennials vs. Zoomers) and warned Millennials relative comfort with being alone in the Digital Age and why this may be concerning for the future. Watch the show HERE
I was featured in the February 2017 edition of George Brown News. It was very nice of the college to publish this interview. I gave the most thought to the question in the top-right corner. It's always rewarding when a student who "gets it" ends up getting the job they wanted. Click image to enlarge.
On May 4th, 2017, I will speaking at the Association of Fundraising Professionals South Eastern Ontario Chapter's Annual Conference at the Ambassador Hotel & Resort in Kingston, Ontario.
The theme of the conference is Building the Future of Philanthropy. It will bring together over 100 fundraisers from all sectors of the region for a 1-day opportunity to learn, network and source new and innovative ways to fundraise.
I will be delivering a talk on the underlying drivers of Millennial donors who give regularly, along with strategies for reaching and keeping them.
Regsistration information is here: https://goo.gl/NfGZ6E
In November 2016 I was interviewed in studio for CBC Radio's Spark with Nora Young about the emotional state of Millennials. The interview aired across the country and internationally two times and CBC provided a write-up to accompany it. While the title "Millennials are bored, stressed and sad" is a catchy headline created by CBC Radio, it's worth noting here that there is more to say about the Millennials' current emotional state, which I unpack in the interview.
The title, like most catchy headlines about research studies, generalizes an entire generation, when the fact is that not all Millennials are facing such emotional challlenges. Rather, from a standpoint of statistical significance, members of the cohort are more likely to report experiencing such emotions compared to older generations. I make this very clear in the interview.
Click on the image below to be read the article and click 'Listen' to hear the full interview on CBC Radio's web page.
On June 17, I was formally awarded a $240,000 SSHRC CCSIF research grant to launch what will be the most comprehensive study of its kind about the personal values that motivate individuals across various careers. Job Talks will improve the alignment between high school-aged students and the careers they pursue through post-secondary education. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minster of Science, attended a ceremony at George Brown College to announce the award winners.
Personal values are the principles and emotions an individual believes are most important in life. As defined by psychologist Milton Rokeach, values are a set of “centrally-held, enduring beliefs which guide actions and judgements across specific situations and beyond immediate goals to more ultimate end-states of existence.”
By studying the values held by groups of individuals (i.e. those in the same industry/field), Job Talks will help high-school-aged Canadians identify a career path founded on more enduring and endearing ideals, rather than a socio-economic rationalization of what makes a job “good.”
Currently, Job Talks is undertaking a pilot study centred around one of the most misrepresented elements of the Canadian workforce: the skilled trades. After the pilot study is complete, the research team hopes to answer questions like:
Looking to the future, Job Talks plans to extend its concept to other fields. Planning is underway for similar research and marketing projects centred on the technology, health care, hospitality, and business sectors. To improve all future iterations of the Job Talks concept, the research team is working to conduct its state-of-the-art survey on the “millennial” cohort, as well as Canadians as a whole.
This overview was written by Job Talks Lead Research Assistant, Benjamin Millard.
I am happy to finally officially announce that I will be writing Pearson Canada's next marketing research textbook. Given that there are currently only two Canadian editions of marketing research textbooks in Canada, and that the subject is a required one in all college and university marketing programs across the country, this is a great honour. I am also honoured to have my friend and colleague, Ted Langschmidt, as my co-author. Ted is an acclaimed marketing researcher and a brilliant research scientist and strategist. Over the past four decades, he has conducted over 2,000 client-specific research projects and presented at over 300 industry conferences.
Our textbook will be called Marketing Research for Marketers. As the name suggests, our goal is to to train future marketers to perform essential marketing research tasks for their company and prepare them to work face-to-face with marketing research professionals when the occasion calls for it. The marketing research industry has had to adapt to the shift in expectations of clients and consumers brought on by rapid advancements in software and technology. While competing textbooks have more or less acknowledged this change, there is a need for one that actually embraces it and equips learners with the skills required to participate confidently in the kind of research-based projects they are likely to encounter in their future marketing and business careers.
In deciding on key focal points for this textbook (I will not publish chapter details until I receive permission), the real-world practices of workplaces have been considered. Why focus so heavily on advanced analytics with SPSS when most offices are conducting simpler analyses using Microsoft Excel? Why give equal attention to ethnographic and observation research when companies are devoting more time to the creation of customer feedback surveys and training their employees to track and interpret digital campaigns? Why focus on how to buy marketing research services when companies are increasingly shaking up the industry by conducting their own do-it-yourself research in-house? Why not equip future marketers with the measurement currencies and research lingo in regard to media—a $12 billion industry in Canada alone —instead of overlooking it entirely?
Finally, what will further differentiate this textbook is the "digital first" nature of its design, including giving special consideration to the way students increasingly read, watch, and learn—on mobile devices in a variety of setting, and even on-the-go.
The following SSHRC application summary is considered a public-facing document. It was a challenge describing the background and overview of a 3-year project in just one page!
Job Talks: Innovative Study and Website for Recruitment in the Skilled Trades
According to Skills Canada, the skilled trades sector will be facing serious shortages in the near future, with Canada in need of one million skilled trade workers by 2020. In a 2014 national survey by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) of educators across the country, only 57% agreed that “Skilled tradespeople are respected in society.” Among the suggestions to challenge negative stereotypes were:
Through a national survey, we will identify segments of tradespeople according to their core values, which will show a new perspective on the skilled trades for students and parents. Recommendations will be made in regard to recruitment strategies for women and youth who are either Aboriginal, immigrant, or first-generation. Through 100 recorded interviews with men and women who are passionate about their careers in the skilled trades, we will discover common themes that may be useful to employers, recruiters, and educators. Through an interactive website called “Job Talks,” we will mobilize a new understanding of tradespeople by allowing the public to interact with the research findings, view videos of passionate tradespeople, and access career information. The project will be completed in three stages:
Stage 1: Core Values Survey – With support from Q.I., a private, unique research company that specializes in the study of underlying values, emotions, and perceptions, we will conduct a national survey to identify new segments of occupations in the skilled trades based on the core values of its workers. CAF will use its extensive network to help us survey 1,000 tradespeople across Canada.
Stage 2: Interviews with Men and Women in the Skilled Trades who Love their Jobs – GBC students will record 100 “job talk” interviews with tradespeople who love their jobs. They will aim to offset gender stereotypes by interviewing one male and one female from each occupation. Subjects will be provided by Skills Ontario, a not-for-profit organization promoting careers in the skilled trades.
Stage 3: Job Talks Interactive Website – Each visitor may complete a profile that will reveal which values segment they align with most. An interactive map of segments of tradespeople can be clicked to show interviews (“job talks”) of men and women who are passionate about a particular career. Each video page will have links to career resources and geo-located institutions for formal learning.
The rapid adoption of digital media by marketers has resulted in the creation of new digital media marketing programs across the country and internationally, along with numerous “how-to” textbooks for aspiring digital media marketers. These books (along with countless blogs, articles, and whitepapers available for free) have done a thorough job of explaining the how, what, when, and where people share online, but not the why. This is because the latter question cannot be adequately answered through surveys and quick polls. To date, no college textbook in digital marketing exists that deeply examines the emotional and rational drivers of online sharing. While any student can learn how to develop a digital media marketing plan, the key differentiator lies in justifying why it will work. My book intends to address this critical gap.
This primary text goes deeper than quick polls and surveys by actually talking to the generation whose members share the most about themselves online—Millennials. This text is one that college professors in digital marketing related programs can assign to students to position the issues in digital media and discuss their planning implications. As a result, the always changing “how-to” blog posts and articles that are currently being assigned may become secondary material that can be applied to this primary text, the themes of which evolve comparatively slower. To aid in this process, questions for class discussion, debate, and writing will be included (at the end of each chapter or as a supplement).
The five key themes that I identify and examine in regard to Millennials’ use of social media are as follows:
- Seeking acknowledgement
- Real friends vs. the rest
- Passively less private
- Trusting ‘the system’
The intended audience for this text is college diploma students enrolled in programs related to social / digital media marketing, one of the fastest-growing applied disciplines today. As a designer of a college post-graduate diploma program in Digital Media Marketing, I have been unable to find a single book that addresses the foundational drivers of peer-to-peer interaction on social media sites and positions them in a marketing context. As colleges internationally begin to respond to the demands of the career marketplace by developing programs related to social / digital media, there is an essential need for a text that examines why people use social media in the way they do.
Between February 16th and March 3rd, 2015, students in my Applied Marketing Research course conducted a needs assessment of the proposed Job Talks project to support a SSHRC funding application. Data were collected by surveying 448 high school, college, and university students across Ontario.
The students did an outstanding job developing the questionnaire, launching the survey, and reporting the results. Key findings are as follows:
I'm a marketing professor at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. I'm currently authoring the new marketing research textbook for Pearson Canada, Marketing Research for Marketers (2019).