Bj’s 30 Years in 30 Days—June 19 That’s a Very Interesting Question, Part 2

  Bj Kirschner      20 June 2022     

The month of June marks my 30th Anniversary in market research. Since 30 days hath June and I love a good countdown, I have decided to do a Market Research Thought of the Day each day in June. Enjoy! Bj

Bj’s 30 Years in 30 Days—June 19 That’s a Very Interesting Question, Part 2

The mail has been piling up, let’s dig in.

Incidentally, I assume everyone has figured out the theme of each day’s post titles, right?  I thought so.

Okay, here we go…

Q: Aren’t people like you the ones who are pushing incentives up?

A: I assume this refers to last week’s series of articles on recruiting.  Someone I know very well sent in this question, so I know why it was asked.  If I were responsible for incentive trends, I would be thrilled.  I would cure cancer the next day and solve global warming the day after that.  Sadly, no one controls incentive, it’s a process.  Incentives go up for a few reasons.  The first is life.  The cost of living goes up, salaries go up, everything follows.  Inflation hits market research as well.  Second, one of the best weapons in the recruiting arsenal for last-minute recruits, for very difficult recruits, etc. is raising the incentive.  Once you open Pandora’s Box, it cannot be closed.  You pay a physician more than he or she has ever been paid before because it’s an emergency, try going back to them with a lower amount the next time.  It won’t be pretty.

Q: Can you please discuss Fair Market Value incentives?

A: Oh, is there a theme to this Q&A of which I am not aware?  FMV needs discussion all by itself.  The reason I have not addressed it yet is because industry organizations are finally starting to address it, asking people from all parts of the industry to come up with best practices and explanations.  I would love to see that process play out organically because it will have addressed the issue with all concerned parties.

I make this offer to anyone: email me or call me, we can discuss this topic.

Q: What are some of the funniest moments of your career?

A: There are none.  Joking!  I have a lot of them.  Some of the stories are not Rated PG, others are under gag orders from court cases still pending.  Though most of the funniest stories seem to be from way in that past, that might be because running a central location facility brings you into contact with humanity in ways you never imagined possible.

Good times are the result of the people around you.  I have been very fortunate in my career to have worked alongside some people who are as warped and kooky as I am.  They knew how to turn any situation into a laugh riot.  To anyone with the opportunity to attend a conference in Las Vegas, take it.  I guarantee you will leave with stories.  Something about that place makes anything possible!

Q: Not really a question, but I’m kind of new to the industry, and it’s really cool that so many women are running it.

A: That is absolutely true!  It has been for as long as I have been in it, but it started long before that and will continue long after.  The people who were pointed out to me as the original founders of this industry as we know it were almost exclusively women.  I met and worked with many of them and they were all very unique people with large personalities.  I have heard many theories on why women are drawn to this industry and no doubt it’s a mix.  Or maybe it’s because women are smarter.  I’m a man and I agree with that assessment 100%.

Q: Are there any topics you wish you did more of?

A: Yes and no.  I made a conscious decision to learn more about healthcare work and for more than a decade now, I have worked exclusively in healthcare.  To me, there was more to learn on the healthcare side and that makes it appealing.  However, I learned more about human nature and how market research works from tobacco studies than any other types.  While I do not miss them specifically, I’m happy they were part of my education. 

People who know me know my main passion in life is theatergoing.  There are only a handful of others in this industry who feel the same way and have turned it into an opportunity for research.  I was fortunate enough to work with most of them, which was a pleasure.

Q: You said something about all of us being patients.  Can you elaborate?

A: Gladly!  Every human on this planet, past, present and future, is a patient.  People need to remember mental health counts just as much as physical health.  Caregivers count.  Often someone who doesn’t get sick counts.  My grandmother died at 95 and weeks before she did, the doctor said she was developing emphysema.  She had been smoking packs a day since age 13, so 82 years later, she was just developing a condition that her mother and sister did not survive.  What a perfect person she would have been for a study with smokers who don’t develop lung conditions, what a perspective! 

Many years ago, one of my clients was doing research on a very rare condition that I just happen to have.  It was suggested that I be interviewed.  I declined, how could I be objective?  My client, with the full support of his end client, insisted.  I am a person with this rare condition and this potential new treatment would be just as valuable to me as anyone else.  Obviously the market research techniques and blinding and such would be abbreviated or skipped, but the root questions of how I felt about this potential treatment were as valid for me as anyone else with the condition.

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