Top Tips from our Leaders and Innovators

5 April 2022

Sage advice from leaders and legends across the market research, consumer insights and data-driven marketing sectors.

5 min read
5 min read

This first quarter of 2022 has been a period of challenges and triumphs for the industry and the world. So, as 2022 kicks off, it is another ideal time to review the sage advice that I have gathered from the ‘Insights from the Insight250’ series for ESOMAR’s Research World from leaders and legends across the market research, consumer insights and data-driven marketing sectors. 

The following is a rundown of top tips from a dozen experts who span a spectrum of points, perspectives, companies, agencies and countries. These individuals provide helpful advice to any professional, whether they are just embarking on their career or have extensive expertise. I hope that having these insights organised in one place helps you focus on kicking off a great second quarter to 2022. 

I’ve split these top tips into themes to produce this latest collection of expert insight. If you want to hear more from any of these innovators and leaders of our profession, you can find all of the interviews on - from there, you can access the articles on the ESOMAR/ResearchWorld websites. 

So here’s what the innovators and leaders whom I interviewed last quarter gave as their “Top-Tips”. 

Energetic Engagement 

Michelle Gansle, Vice President, Global Strategic Insights, McDonald’s 

“Go to conferences, network with peers outside of your company, and take time to take the occasional supplier partner call to continue to upskill yourself in what’s new in the industry.”

Jem Fawcus, Owner and Group CEO, Firefish 

“Play an active part in the discussions as we continue to work out how our industry can have the biggest impact on issues like helping to solve the climate crisis.” 

Look Forward 

Vanessa Oshima, Founder, Heart-Data, Inc. 

“Stay curious – as Clint Eastwood once said …if you think you know everything, you are done. You are either repetitive, boring, or both.” 

Kristi Zuhlke, Founder and Board Member, KnowledgeHound 

“There is almost always a possibility to pilot technologies, so don't skip out on the opportunity to understand how they can add real value due to a price point. Just ask for the pilot.”

 Focus on the Purpose of People

Darren Henry, Head of Insight & M&I, ATOS

“Always remember to ask questions in the way people think & feel as it will help improve the volume and depth of feedback provided. In short, the surveys/feedback need to be human-centred in their design and delivery.”

Danny Sims, the Founder and Chairman of DJS Research Ltd. 

“Create a purpose-driven and inclusive culture where you listen to staff and harness their ideas – you will uncover hidden talents that will help fuel growth and business improvement.”

Maintain Purpose and Perspective 

Lucy Davison, Founder & Managing Director, Keen as Mustard Marketing 

“Define and communicate your purpose, upskill and invest in getting impact.”

Martin Squires, Director of Advanced Analytics, Pets at Home

“Always remember, even on the high-stress days, this is a great way to earn a living, getting to interact with all areas of a business, and influence decision making. My grandad was a coal miner and then served in the RAF. When I think it’s heavy going, I just look at his picture and remember how lucky I am to be doing this stuff. Keep going, keep learning.”

Engaging Expertise

Rob Key, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Converseon

“If you're looking to forge a career in quantitative analysis, unstructured conversation data still represents a compelling and largely "greenfield" opportunity. With unstructured data growing at an exponential pace, there is a palpable need to better mine this data for critical insight. The ability to transform this messy, wild data into effective business intelligence through applied AI, data science and some savvy subject matter expertise is in high demand for a world where speed to insight can't come fast enough.”

Look Forward 

Dan Hall, Vice President, Escalent

“Much attention has focused on the tipping point of the operating costs of EVs as they compare to traditional gasoline vehicles. Perhaps more important, research into consumer adoption of EVs needs to focus on solutions to minimise the behavioural changes that are currently required to own and operate an EV. Once consumers feel that an EV will fit into their current lifestyles, then adoption will rise.”

Find Balance

Sinead Jefferies, Founder, Vela & MRS Chair

“Take time to figure out what helps you be the best at work, and then take ownership of achieving that for yourself. Find the best way for flexibility to work for you and go out there and get it.”

Georgie White, Group Insights Director, BT (British Telecom)

“We spend more time at work than time with any of our friends or family, so make sure you enjoy what you’re doing and have the right balance in your life!”

Thank you again to everyone who is contributing to the Insight250 Winners series. As always, keep messaging me with Winners that you want to hear from, and let me know the topics you’d like to me to cover in these interviews. 

I hope you find these tips as helpful as I did - here’s wishing everyone a fantastic coming quarter, and do keep an eye out for the upcoming 2022 Insight250 Award announcement. 

Crispin Beale
Senior Strategic Advisor at mTab, CEO at Insight250, Group President at Behaviorally