As a kid I was always fascinated by the far-flung countries of the world and especially the people who lived in them. At Uni (studying Spanish & Portuguese), these interests started to converge in Madrid working at Research International as part of my student year abroad. Despite the office being in the perpetual cloud of cigarette and cigar smoke it piqued my interest and I ended up back at RI after graduating, but this time in London (and thankfully a non-smoking office!). After four years at RI Consumer Division and a nine month pit stop travelling across South America, Asia & Australasia I continued my agency side training with NOP, especially enjoying my time in the New Media team there, before crossing the divide: to T-Mobile International and then to Nokia, becoming a client side researcher. In those roles I focused on NPD and segmentation, helping develop and launch many products including the amazing Lumia 1020 super-camera-phone.
I went client side because I wanted to encourage/cajole stakeholders to really use the research and I figured the best way to do that was as an insider! Having spent a total of eight years on the other side of the fence and now back agency side, I truly believe developing a close relationship with clients is absolutely critical, as is trying to learn the client’s business and sector as much as possible – whilst remembering that they are the expert in their business and you are there to provide the specialism on the research side.
I’m now in my sixth week in Winchester with Marketing Sciences having joined Ian Ralph’s excellent Tech, B2B and Financial team, with my remit on the tech side. So far I’ve worn both my client hat and my agency hat in brainstorming sessions which is fun, as well as sitting in as a client on our fifth Insight Innovation workshop, (Embracing Insight Innovation in the Modern World) and then describing it from both perspectives in this blog . I’m also learning what makes the company so special; I think it’s all the little human touches, as well as being really good at what they do, which is what makes so many clients stay with Marketing Sciences. Long may it continue!
A day in the life:
09:00am – Arrive in the office after a 50 minute commute – I live 30 miles away in Farnham but it’s quite a pleasant drive against the traffic followed by a 10 minute walk from the car park past some lovely historic buildings; I’m still stopping to photograph them in the winter morning sunshine!
09:30am – After checking my e-mails I like to have a scroll through my Twitter feed to see if there are any interesting new articles out there. It’s a good way of keeping up to date with the MR industry, clients and also sometimes some more leftfield anecdotes and interesting facts for proposals or blogs
10-11.45am – working on a proposal for a tech client, which will involve interviewing tradesmen in Western Europe – an interesting challenge in a hard to find group. I hope they’re more reliable than our plumber.
11.48am – I buy a sandwich from the sandwich lady who comes to the office. I look at it for 30 seconds – then eat it. Another morning lunch…
12.30pm – a fascinating Lunchtime Learning session – The Packaging Journey – from our head of Qual Guy Maxwell and our packaging research guru Chris Peach. There’s a healthy learning culture at Marketing Sciences as I am finding out.
1-1.45pm – a successful trip to the local Winchester shops to buy my victim’s colleague’s Secret Santa present for the Xmas party next week. At £2.50 from a toy shop I decide to splash out on an accompaniment to reach the £5 limit, what the heck…
2pm – Back to my tech proposal, including collating the international costs and trying to barter some agency partners down on certain elements (“you know you want the project..”)
4pm – A bit of business development idea time and writing some slides for a Lunchtime Learning session on my client side experiences. Possible 7 yard walk to the tuck cupboard for a bar of something chocolatey.
5.30pm – Home to see my little daughters (aged 1 and 5) for some precious chatter and bedtime stories before their lights out at 7pm