Research & Strategy

Senior Strategic Planner

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Portland, Oregon

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Portland, Oregon
Posted 5 months ago

People are weird, fascinating animals. Often what we say we’ll do or not do (especially in controlled research settings) doesn’t match what we actually do. “My privacy/personal information is important,” they’ll say. Yet, year after year the number one password they use is 123456. Why? We say we’d never buy/use a brand that doesn’t line up with our personal values and yet we’ll make an exception if a deal is simply too good to pass up. And happily, give up our Facebook credentials to get it. Why?

That’s where you come in. Our creative/strategic planner will question everything. Use conventional methods (qual/quant) and unconventional methods (you tell us) to generate creative briefs that inspire Merit and our clients to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. To recognize that ads may not be the solution to a marketing problem. To create work that gets the morning talk shows talking and makes others wonder why they hadn’t thought of your ideas first.

You’re a social, cultural and philosophical anthropologist. You’re media agnostic. You’re a strategic and creative thinker. You’re a rockstar in your field. And you’ve got the body of work to prove it.

Merit is a band of strategic and creative thinkers. Of Market Inventors. We don’t want to play it safe. We don’t want clients who play it safe either. And neither do you.

Responsibilities include:

  • Leading qualitative and quantitative studies, including conducting contextual and in-depth interviews, developing interview guides, performing content analysis, affinity mapping, one-on-one interviews, moderating focus groups, usability testing, card sorts, and other analytic techniques
  • Ability to plan for and lead a variety of stakeholder workshops to define business needs and goals, including: engagement kick-offs, discovery sessions, ideation, participatory design, or prioritization
  • Superior critical thinking ability in connecting the dots and identifying behavioral patterns in data and leveling-up findings to insights. Generating actionable recommendations and strategic directions, highlighting problems that many may overlook
  • Confidence in presenting research findings to executive stakeholders and clients through engaging presentations
  • Leading the development of creative briefs
  • Close collaboration, strategizing and ideation with creative and client teams to develop well-rounded and highly effective strategies and programs for Merit clients
  • Refusing to use marketing lingo (as in the bullet points you just read) because the non-marketers we’re trying to talk with talk like people


  • 5-10 years of professional experience — with work samples
  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, human factors, human computer
    interaction, sociology, behavioral economics, or related field
  • Well organized with clear, effective communication skills
  • Ability to perform in a fast-paced environment with dynamic job responsibilities and priorities
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting
  • Attention to detail and consistency
  • Willingness to travel and work across multiple time zones when needed – you’re open to new places, new faces and new ideas
  • Not afraid to challenge conventional thinking
  • In-depth understanding of Market Invention and the ability to apply it to every aspect of the job

Merit Benefits Include:

  • Flexible work schedule
  • Bucket lists (we give you bonus cash to have fun outside the office)
  • Summer Flex Fridays
  • Mobile working options
  • Generous vacation package
  • Continuing education options

Candidates must be able to work a minimum of 40 hours per week during normal business hours. This role will report to the Chief Client Experience Officer.

E-mail resume, cover letter and an applicable work sample to: Include “Senior Planner” in the subject line. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Job Features

Job CategoryResearch & Strategy

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