Marketing Spotlight: Sanjay Vrudhula, President of Customer Research International (CRI)

By Michelle Vrudhula, Past President of AMA Austin.

CRI, a full-service market research firm, provides market research strategies and solutions to clients that span across numerous industries. One can clearly see how much Sanjay loves employing the technical aspects of his business in identifying successful solutions for his clients.

 Please tell us a little bit about your role.

As the co-founder and President of CRI, I oversee strategic planning, marketing, operations and finance.  I’m responsible for setting both short and long-term goals within each of those areas.

What do you love about your job?

Every workday begins with one question: “Where do we go today?” The answer to that question arrives through our marketing, finance or operations department. I love the challenge of figuring out which department has the answer on any given day.

What do you think is the most important characteristic of being a leader?

I have quoted the Disney movie “A Bug’s Life” for many years to my team. “The first rule of leadership is that everything is your fault.” I love that. It takes great discipline to take accountability for EVERYTHING. Once you do, then you find the truth in most matters.

What advice would you give to professionals new to the marketing profession?

Find the correct paradigm for which you should market your product and service. Make sure you are “believable” to whom you are marketing. For example, you wouldn’t use TV ads to advertise market research services. But, you could use a properly placed and priced exhibit booth at the correct tradeshow. Be believable, not cheesy.

Are there any common misperceptions about marketing that you’d like to set straight?

Marketing without research is expensive guesswork.

What are some trends you foresee having a big impact on marketing professionals?

The availability of high-speed fiber (i.e. Google Fiber network) will change EVERYTHING in the future for everybody.

 Have your customers’ needs/expectations changed over the past decade?

YES.  As a research and data collection company, our customers expect us to employ a number of different modes to collect information about their products and services. We must work hard every day to stay on top of the newest trend or convince our customer that they will exceed their expectation through a traditional method.

How has AMA benefited you and/or your business?

AMA helps extend the reach of our brand. Our customer list has grown. Our professional network is larger. We have met great people. I know immediately where to start when I want to hire someone thanks to AMA.

 Many thanks to Sanjay for his time and support of Austin AMA. CRI holds a group membership to AMA. More details about AMA’s group membership can be found at Membership@austinama.org .