2022 Top tips (part 2)

4 January 2022

As promised last week, here's a second article highlighting some of the top-tips from the interviews in 2021

8 min read
8 min read
top tips

As promised last week, here's a second article highlighting some of the top-tips from some of those I was lucky enough to interview in 2021.

This past year was another that featured both challenges and triumphs for the industry. As 2021 comes to a close it is an ideal time to review the sage advice that I have been able to gather from the ‘Insights from the Insight250’ series for ESOMAR’s Research World from leaders and legends across market research, consumer insights and data-driven marketing. 

This is a rundown of top tips from these experts that span a spectrum of points and perspectives, but can provide useful advice to any professional, whether they are just embarking on their career or have extensive expertise. Here is hoping that having this insight organised in one place helps to kickoff a great 2022. 

If you want to hear more from any of these innovators and leaders of our profession you can find all of the interviews on www.insight250.com - from there you can access the articles on the Research World website. 

I hope you find this as useful as I did - here’s wishing everyone a fantastic 2022 and don’t forget whilst at insight250.com to nominate your choices for the 2022 Awards. 

Keep Connected

Nikki Lavoie, Founder & CEO, MindSpark Research International, France

“My top tip would be to never lose sight of the value of human connection; conversations with people are still data, and oftentimes are the most powerful forms of it.”

Jennifer Perry, Managing Director, Respondi, UK

“Keep talking – on any platform. As an industry of talkers and storytellers as our craft, we often forget to just ask “how are you?” or even “how am I?”

Maintain Purpose

Fiona Blades, President & Chief Experience Officer, MESH Experience, US

“Remember that staying true to your purpose helps you to take brave decisions when you need to.”

Be Customer-centric

Pete Markey, CEO, Boots, UK

“My top tip is to be the voice of the customer for your business. Be the person who is “customer obsessed” and brings the voice of the customer, vital to your business and brand, into every relevant meeting, be it in the day-to-day or the regular rhythm of an Executive or Board meeting. This is the way to help harness a culture of bravery and use these customer insights to drive true and meaningful innovation.”

Danny Russell, Chief Advisor, Danny Russel Consulting, UK 

“I would echo what Pete said, and perhaps go even further and bring a customer into your meeting. Seriously, there is no hiding place when you are facing a customer with a real story to tell. That’s real bravery right there.”

Ian Menchen, Director of Consumer Insights, Disney+, US

“I have two, depending on if you are talking about being an insights professional, or just related to consumers. First, deliver insights in such a way that they are most actionable to your stakeholders; get to know them and anticipate what they might need next. Second, recurring revenue businesses are all about maintaining a strong relationship with subscribers, continually surprising and delighting them to create the most long-term value.”

Stephan Gans, SVP & Chief Insights & Analytics Officer, Pepsico, US

“PepsiCo’s mission is to create more smiles with every sip and every bite. We want to create joyful moments for people through our delicious and nourishing products and unique brand experiences. As we all tend to get caught up in our individual day-to-day priorities, I always remind my team to stay focused and always consider the people consuming our products and that mission of creating smiles.“

Be Unique

Julia Polyakova, Head of Market Research, Toyota Motor, Russia

“Never be afraid to think differently from others, always look from different angles on your current business tasks and targets and find a proper way to optimise and enhance your routine processes.”

Lexi Airey, CEO, Gateway Bank LTD, Australia

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Make It Bright

Wim Hamaekers, Founder, One Inch Whale, Belgium

“Use the right colours and colour tones to nudge consumer behavior and purchasing decisions.”

Embrace Differences

Jan Gooding, President, Market Research Society, UK

“When people disagree with you, remember that they might have a point.”

Make an Impact

Nick Baker, Global Chief Research Officer, Savanta, UK

“Research has no value until it’s used’ (J Gambles). Make it impactful, drive decision-making through ensuring activation not in-action. Our roles are to enable others, this doesn’t mean data, it means applied data, direction, and commercially viable solutions not bland ‘recommendations’. That final ‘recommendations’ slide in so many presentations should be banned, what it means and what to do should permeate all we do.”

Be Practical

Laurent Flores, Professor of Marketing, University of Paris, France

“Again, new is good, but there’s nothing so good as a practical theory – embrace innovation but always in the light of a good and practical theory.”

Embrace Mistakes

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, US

“Mistakes are OK, learn from them so you don’t make the same one twice.”

Embrace Insights

Kingsley Wheaton, Chief Marketing Officer, BAT, UK

“I always liked the David Ogilvy line about relying too much on research by using it like a lamppost for support, rather than for illumination. So, my tip is to try and use research, data and insights, as much as you are able, for illumination and not for support.”

Keep Control

Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman, S4 Capital, UK

“Take back control. I think marketers have surrendered too much control.”

Build Your Brand

Melanie Courtright, CEO, Insights Association, US

“You are a brand. And every single thing you do in your profession either adds to or detracts from the value of that brand. Be intentional about your brand value and attributes, and build ethics and professional code knowledge and adherence into your personal brand.  Create a brand you can be proud of and that is an asset to you and to everyone you work with.”

Embrace Progress

Mariela Mociulsky, Founder & CEO, Trendsity, Argentina

I believe that the most important challenge for researchers, as for most professions, will be to evolve in tune with society’s digital progress; to add, create and articulate new methodologies and approaches, and integrate us with other data and information producers. We must be able to ensure that research methods are reliable, ethical and aligned with our business customers’ needs by working as partners. Business models are changing, all industries are resignifying themselves. The knowledge we provide enables decision-making in the pursuit of brand growth. In a world where many of the variables that socially constituted us change, the ability to anticipate, clarify, deepen and reduce uncertainty will be increasingly part of our task. If we are able to provide not only adequate answers but better questions in a saturated context by the information access, we will be authentic information curators: a generating tool of concrete business value.“

Be a Thought Leader

Victoria Usher, Founder & CEO, GingerMay, UK

“Post regular thought leadership content on LinkedIn: with quasi-working business models and individuals still not attending in-person events, LinkedIn now attracts more business eyeballs than ever before. Ensure you are posting content on breaking issues that affect your clients at least once per week. Aim to make the posts short, around 300 to 400 words, and make them action-oriented using lists of three tips to help articulate your point clearly.”

Be Disruptive

Scott Spirit, Chief Growth Officer, S4 Capital, Singapore

“If you want to be disruptive there are lots of opportunities out there and I would encourage people to give it a go.”

Embrace Enthusiasm

Alex Batchelor, Chief Financial Officer, Behaviorally, UK

“When looking for any partners for any endeavour then always choose enthusiasm over any other characteristic.”

Embrace Ethics

Ray Poynter, Chief Research Officer, Potentiate, UK

“When in doubt, apply the parent/child test – if you would be uncomfortable if your parents (or if older, your children) found out what you were doing, don’t do it.”

Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to share their perspectives for this series  and to all those who have suggested topics and individuals for me to interview. I have found this truly fascinating and am delighted to see ESOMAR and the Insight250 championing so many “superheroes” in our profession. In today’s troubled world our profession provides a beacon of hope, a shining light of clarity. We deal in facts, using data and evidence to champion truth and providing insight to deliver understanding and improvements. Long may we lead and innovate to this end and let’s continue to champion all those around the globe who are leading the charge. Thank you everyone and Happy New Year.

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