We are lucky to have so many wonderful sponsors and exhibitors at this year’s Advancing Research conference–and we thought you might like to get to know them better! We’ve asked all of them some questions in the coming weeks that get at the heart of why they’re passionate about ResearchOps, what it’s like to work with them, and what makes their products and services special to Design and Research Operations professionals.
PATTI CARLSON, DIRECTOR OF UX RESEARCH AT MAILCHIMP
Rosenfeld Media: Why are you sponsoring the Advancing Research conference?
Patti Carlson: From the standpoint of someone who has been in the Research field for over 15 years, now is truly an exciting time for us! The demand for quality User Research has ballooned, and that’s reflected in the growing number of events that are aimed solely at Research practitioners and leaders. Sponsoring Advancing Research 2020 gives Mailchimp the opportunity to be a part of that community as we look toward what the next 15 years – and beyond – holds for those of us in the field.
Rosenfeld Media: What excites you about Research and/or Research Operations?
Patti Carlson: In a word – opportunity. Not only is the demand for our work higher than it used to be, the impact and influence Researchers can have is far greater than it was just a few years ago. Researchers have the ability to influence Design Strategy, Product Strategy, and even Organization Strategy. ResearchOps is a huge enabler of this, as it allows us to dedicate resources to focus on the organizational practices that allow us to create flexible Research ecosystems that can evolve as the needs of our stakeholders evolve.
Rosenfeld Media: What is it like for researchers and ResearchOps people to work at your company?
Patti Carlson: It’s a super exciting time to be in Research at Mailchimp. Our company is fast-paced and experiencing high growth as we evolve our platform beyond email marketing into an all-in-one marketing platform. We are actively building a best-in-class Insights team that is truly helping to shape the future of the Mailchimp application. At Mailchimp, we support millions of customers across every stage of their own business journeys, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to provide valuable customer experiences to a huge customer base. We dig into interesting customer problems and there is strong support for Insights at all levels of leadership. Our User Research team has a strong partnership with our Analytics teams, which allows us to triangulate data from multiple sources and tell compelling stories that supercharge the impact of our insights.
Rosenfeld Media: What is your company culture like, and who are the champions?
Patti Carlson: Mailchimp really cares about all of our employees, and the benefits and perks are extremely generous. Work-life balance is a huge priority, and people are genuinely excited to come to work.
Mailchimp as a company is very engaged in User Research. Research is a team sport, and we make it a point to involve as many people as possible. It’s not uncommon to have Engineers, Designers, Content Strategists, and Product Managers participate in ethnographic field visits. Senior Leaders and even our co-founders will often participate in ride-alongs, too. So, while there’s a team dedicated to conducting the research, we make sure everyone, not just the researchers, are engaged in the research.
We have a fantastic team of talented Researchers, but we don’t hide behind theory and methods, and we don’t shy away from difficult conversations with our stakeholders. It’s our job to make sure our products meet the needs of the people using them. A research project doesn’t end with a deliverable tossed over a wall or dropped into Slack — the research is just the beginning. The conversations that follow the research are where the work truly happens.
Rosenfeld Media: Is there anything else our community should know?
Patti Carlson: In 2019, we conducted 212 hours of in-person customer interviews. You can find that fun fact, and tons more, in our 2019 Annual Report: https://mailchimp.com/annual-report/