The Knot Research & Insights Team

The Knot Research & Insights Team

  • The Knot Insights team surveys thousands of couples, guests and wedding professionals each year to get a comprehensive view of the industry and wedding trends.
  • With a combined 35+ years of wedding industry expertise, Kirsten Francis, Emily Hightower, Natalie Wilson, Sam Joneswood, and Mark Barna have a pulse on consumer preferences.
  • The team’s industry reports are cited in major outlets in such as Wall Street Journal, CNBC and CNN.

The team is responsible for all quantitative and qualitative research for The Knot to closely monitor consumer behaviors, industry trends and user satisfaction.

Who's on the Research & Insights Team

Kirsten Francis, Director of Global Insights

As a client-side market researcher with over 15 years experience in both qualitative and quantitative methods, her efforts to better understand customer mindsets have directly led to the development of brand and product strategy. Prior to joining The Knot Worldwide, Kirsten led research initiatives on the agency-side for brands such as Campbell's, Johnson & Johnson and other Fortune 500 brands. She received her degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship from Babson College Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business.

Emily Hightower, Market Insights Manager

Emily joined The Knot Worldwide in 2019 and helps uncover knowledge around consumer behavior through quantitative and qualitative research methods. She helps facilitate the full life cycle of research initiatives focused on topics like company branding, industry trends, and the wedding planning journey from both the couple and vendor perspective. She graduated from The University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management.

Natalie Wilson, Market Insights Manager

Natalie has nearly 15 years of market research and consumer insight experience leading research at both agencies and client side. She has experience across multiple industries in everything from personal finance to music. She is passionate about understanding how landscape and customer insight can fuel brands and how data can support smart storytelling, and has supported TKWW since joining the team in 2022. She is an alumnae of The University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce.

Sam Joneswood, Market Insights Manager

Sam joined The Knot Worldwide in August 2022 bringing with her experience in qualitative survey writing and quantitative television research from HGTV. While there Sam was involved in measuring fan favorites such as Home Town, Fixer to Fabulous, and Flip or Flop, providing valuable insights into viewer preferences. Today, Sam helps manage consumer research projects on topics such as attire, bachelor/bachelorettes, and ad-hoc projects such as AI use in weddings, and wedding planning stress. She holds a Bachelor's in Marketing and a Master's in Data Marketing Communications from West Virginia University.

Mark Barna, Insights Manager for International

Market researcher with 7+ years experience in quantitative methods, exploring brand and product strategy in different markets. At The Knot Worldwide he leads the research for the company's international wedding brands including and Mark worked for Thomson Reuters and, on the agency-side, for brands such as McDonald’s and other Fortune 500 brands before moving from Brazil to Spain in 2021 and joining The Knot Worldwide in 2022 . He received his degree as Bachelor of Science & Technology from Ufabc and a MBA in Digital Business from the University of Sao Paulo.