Tell us more about the award and what it means to win? How were you nominated for the award?

I won the so-called ‘Young Talent of the Year Award’ by the MOA, the industry organization for Marketing Insights, Research and Analytics in the Netherlands. Both market research agencies and client companies are members of the MOA, and my award jury consisted of senior CMI professional from Heineken, Nestlé, AEGON, the Dutch Ministry of General Affairs and a publisher (NPO).

I was nominated by our CEO Bram van Schaik, and was asked to send in a presentation to make my case for the jury, with questions like “illustrate what you have contributed to the research industry so far’’ and ‘’where do you think the industry will be heading in the future?’’. From this I was selected for the Top 3 Young Talents, this is usually followed by a live presentation for the jury. However, due to COVID we were asked to do a digital presentation this year.

In my presentation I stated that I am an out of the box thinker, and a creative problem solver.  I tried to illustrate this by turning a negative into a positive. This was also a unique opportunity to make a much more personal presentation since I was presenting from home. I included pictures of things in my apartment that supported the points I made in the presentation. The session ended with a 30 minutes Q&A, after which the jury decided who the winner would be. 

The Award Ceremony was a great evening, despite the restrictions in place. Winning this award means a great deal and I feel very honoured, also considering the talented other two nominated women I was ‘competing’ with.

I try to give 120% every day, and I try to think of new innovative ways of doing things to help our clients in the best way and start up internal and external initiatives that can bring us all further. This has definitely encouraged me to continue to do those things and to even go a step further.

Maron van der Krieken
“I try to think of new innovative ways of doing things to help our clients in the best way.”
Maron van der Krieken, researcher, Netherlands

Tell us more about your role at Kantar.

I’m a senior Brand Strategy & Guidance researcher at Kantar Netherlands, with a background in Media Effectiveness research. I help clients answer questions around brand positioning and tracking and am particularly interested in finding answers to questions that are on the cutting edge of brand and media – especially if we can use analytics to answer them. 

Since the crisis hit Europe in March this year, I have also been the local lead for our Global COVID-19 barometer, so I know a lot about the impact of corona on consumer welfare, attitudes and behaviours. 

I’m also an Account Manager, meaning I build strong relationships with Research and Marketing professionals at companies like Albert Heijn and Starbucks. Finally, I became a team manager within our Branding practice 1,5 years ago. I support 6 of our Brand professionals and manage and coach them to learn and grow.

What has been key to your career development?

There are a few things I feel have been key to my career development. I’ve been very lucky to have great female team leaders early in my career, and still now that act as role models and encourage and challenge me to think bigger and to aim higher. They have all recognized I need to be challenged to learn and have gave me a lot of responsibility early in my career. I managed one of our key accounts within a year and I think many others would have thought it was too early to give me that chance. They did it anyway, and I learned more in those 3 months than in the year before. Seeing them in their senior team manager role in my first years, realizing I could also one day do that and feeling encouraged made a huge difference. I’m hoping to be a female role model to other ambitious ladies in the business too one day! 

Another thing that has been key to my development is based on a piece of advice that our CEO Bram van Schaik once gave me. He probably doesn’t remember saying it, but a story about his early years at Kantar basically led to the conclusion ‘’ it's better to apologize than to ask permission’’. I’ve personally translated this to ‘’If you have a great idea, don’t wait to get permission for it; just do it.’’ I’ve already tried it out a few times and so fa, I haven’t had to apologize 

What’s next for you?

I love my work as an account and team manager, so I’m hoping to continue to do that in the future. I’d love to grow my list of accounts and manage a bigger team, and at the same time grow my knowledge and abilities in brand strategy and help build our analytics practice.

I honestly believe the focus in our industry will gravitate more and more from data collection to (big) data management, and most importantly extracting actionable insights from that data. 

If we can connect internal client data and survey data in a smart way, and make more use of combination of artificial and human intelligence, it will change our industry forever. I’m excited to be part of that transformation!