Movers & shakers: Josh Holly, SMS Market Research

  • Updated: June 10, 2012 - 10:11 AM

A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.


Josh Holly



Title: Senior director of new business development

Age: 34

Josh Holly, senior director of new business development at SMS Market Research in Eden Prairie, aims to help companies hear what customers want and expect.

Working to gather and interpret that feedback, SMS then offers guidance in using it to help companies retain customers, differentiate themselves from competitors and develop new product and service strategies, Holly said. The appeal, Holly said, is the opportunity to take part in strategic conversations with companies, to dig into "the why behind the what."

In his new role, Holly said he's focusing on expanding the firm's work with high tech, medical device and manufacturing companies. Holly, who has a bachelor's degree in mass communications from St. Cloud State University, was senior project director at SMS and had been with the firm for four years before his promotion last month. He previously worked in communications and branding research for five years at Padilla Speer Beardsley.

Holly said he gained renewed focus on his studies and on developing a professional career after suffering a broken neck and spinal cord injury in a 1999 car crash. Paralyzed from the chest down and facing a poor prognosis, he subsequently recovered the full use of his legs, arms and hands.

QWhat appeals to you about your new position?

AThe role I'm in now allows me to focus on what's driving our clients' products and services and development plans and how to inform those decisions. It allows me to engage in the part of the process I really enjoy, which is the strategic conversations.

QAre you planning any new initiatives at SMS?

ADeveloping partnerships with marketing communications firms. They are often asked to develop strategic communications campaigns and don't necessarily have evidence of what messaging or strategies are more effective for their clients. I want to be a research partner and help them take a more strategic approach to incorporating the voice of their customers into the design of their strategic communications planning.

QWhat insights have you gained from your accident and recovery?

AIt made me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to. It's encouraged me to take on new challenges and that's what I perceive in this new role, a challenge to help grow this company, bring it in some new directions and continue to develop long-term loyal client relationships.


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