POSTED BY: Katie Ittenbach | November 29, 2017
The following interview with SMARI president Katie Simmermon in advance of her participation in the panel discussion at Pivot 2017.
PIVOT is an innovative, Indiana-based conference for entrepreneurs, business professionals and community leaders looking to leap ahead and grow their organization. See more details and register here.
Effective marketing is one of the most crucial aspects of succeeding in today’s business world and it is always becoming more important as technology improves and the marketplace becomes even more saturated with competitors. With Pivot 2017 upon us, it was like the perfect time to catch up with Katie Simmermon, the President of SMARI Research. SMARI Research is a company dedicated to providing vital market research for large corporations, and Katie is an expert at collecting and interpreting vast amounts of data to better understand competitive environments.
Katie began her engagement with SMARI as a Research Specialist. She started out in an entry-level position and was eager to get her hands dirty. “Being the ambitious, fresh-out-of-college worker, I wanted to take on new responsibilities and challenges. I was the first to take on more work and/or to volunteer to a project,” Katie explained. Katie was hungry, but she also found an environment to thrive in at SMARI. Katie said, “[SMARI] being a small company, these opportunities are abundant. People often wear multiple hats in a smaller organization and I seized that opportunity.”
In a corporate environment in which it’s common for professionals to continually jump from company to company in search of better pay and benefits, landing at a company where one feels at home and supported is a fortunate and priceless occurrence. Katie explained that SMARI’s corporate culture is perfect for inspiring creativity and teamwork. She said, “A whiteboard is in every room in this office. There are no solid doors – everything is open and visible. We want people to work together. When you combine great minds, you achieve great outcomes. When people enjoy who they work with and feel tied to purpose, job satisfaction increases. As people enjoy their jobs, they have fun in the office. We embrace fun with team events, celebrations, in-office games, and volunteer days. It is a snowball effect that can’t be tied to any one change, but it started with an environment and philosophy that was fully backed and personified by leadership. From there, culture creates itself.”
Accurate, actionable market research can be more valuable than gold. How does SMARI provide this service for its clients? Katie explained,
“Data is in abundance. Everyone has data. SMARI isn’t just a data providing company. The reason we have survived through 35 years of economic change is that SMARI interprets data. Our team is specifically recruited for critical thinking, abstract reasoning, and idea orientation. We are experts in understanding the data and finding unique insights that most companies do not have the resources or special skill set on hand to discover. It is SMARI’s goal to synthesize the data and make connections for our clients. It is not a data point, but a series of layered data points around a unique client objective that creates an insight. When done correctly, this insight lays out the course of action.”
How does Katie Simmermon fit into Pivot 2017? Katie said, “At Pivot 2017, I will join a panel discussion to discuss innovation, both from a personal perspective as well as what we are seeing trend in the marketplace from a client perspective.” With enthusiasm, she stated that she’s most excited about the “renewed energy” Pivot is sure to bring this year. She continued by saying, “I love being around business individuals that are in a constant pursuit to learn and grow. I look forward to hearing about how others are approaching and harnessing change.”
Katie’s optimism and anticipation for Pivot 2017 are contagious. We concluded the interview with these as Katie’s last words: “I hope to achieve energy, excitement, and idea sharing. Change can be difficult to navigate. The more leaders work together to support each other in that pursuit, the better.”