Elizabeth Oates is the Director of Consumer and Brand Insights for Kohl’s Department Stores. While completing her MBA in Market Research at the University of Wisconsin, she worked on research teams at Lands’ End and American Family Insurance. Upon receiving her degree, she worked for General Mills for five years before finding herself at Kohl’s, where she has been since 2011.
Fueled by Passion and Self-Improvement
With over a decade of experience in her field, Elizabeth has determined that her position as a market researcher is, first and foremost, to be the voice of the customer. To her, acting as the customer brings passion into the role.
“Speaking for the customer is meaningful because it allows me have an impact on our organization, our strategy, and how we move forward. Having everyone in this organization be customer-centric is my goal.”
Elizabeth explained that she often finds herself recommending strategy that balances customers and the company. She notes that while the customers’ wants are important, they have to be balanced with what’s in the best interest of the company. “It’s a tough but critical balancing act!” She remarks. “But we also can’t just do what’s right for us. The important thing for me as a market researcher is not just understanding customers and how they think, but also understanding the business and how we operate. The pendulum can’t swing too far one way or the other, or your actions will get distorted.”
This mentality is something that drew me to sit down with Elizabeth in the first place. She is committed to making the best decisions for her organization, the customers they serve, and the team she leads. Her success is fueled by her constant efforts for self-improvement.