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MrWeb Series – Graeme Lawrence of Join the Dots I InSites Consulting on Ways Agile Research Fails, and How to Ensure You Don’t

My guest today is Graeme Lawrence, Managing Partner at Join the Dots I InSites Consulting. Established in 1998, Join the Dots is a global consumer insight agency that helps companies make better business decisions through a deep understanding of people.

Find Graeme Online:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/graeme-lawrence-4b930a6/?originalSubdomain=uk 

Website: www.jointhedotsmr.com 

Find Jamin Online:

Email: jamin@happymr.com 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jaminbrazil

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaminbrazil 

Find Us Online: 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/happymrxp 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/happymarketresearch 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/happymrxp 

Website: www.happymr.com 

This Episode is in Partnership with MrWeb:

Website: www.mrweb.com 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrwebnews 

This Episode’s Sponsor: 

This episode is brought to you by HubUx. HubUx reduces project management costs by 90%. Think of HubUx as your personal AI project manager, taking care of all your recruitment and interview coordination needs in the background. The platform connects you with the right providers and sample based on your research and project needs. For more information, please visit HubUx.com.


[00:00]

Hey, everybody, this is Jamin, host of the Happy Market Research Podcast. In conjunction with MrWeb, I’ve had the honor of interviewing three of the leading custom panel companies. This is one of those three episodes. If you’re not currently subscribed to MrWeb, I just can’t recommend another resource. He gives you a daily update on happenings, whether it’s HR, M&A, technology releases, companies going out of business, companies starting. I mean there is not a single point of truth that I found to be more consistent and reliable than MrWeb. So check them out. They’re great and I hope you enjoy this episode. 

[00:45]

According to the GRIT report, there has been an increase in the number of qualitative-based tools. This is centric to user experience, customer experience, and market research. However, as with all things, the actual research operations remains to be done and that happens usually outside of those toolsets. HubUx is a solution for that. You plug your tools directly into it; you enter in who it is that you want to talk to, when you want to talk to them, and HubUx literally does the rest for you. If you already have an existing customer list, you can just upload it directly into the tool. If you want to leverage social recruiting, that’s integrated as well. It is the single source for all of your research operations needs HubUx. Check it out. Thanks. 

[01:32]

Hi, I’m Jamie Brazil, and you’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. My guest today is Graeme Lawrence, Chief Client Officer at Join the Dots.  Established in 1998, Join the Dots is a global consumer insights agency that helps companies make better business decisions through a deeper understanding of people. Prior to joining Join the Dots, Graeme served as head of sales for several leading firms, most notably Harris Interactive. Graeme, thanks very much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast today. 

[02:03]

Hi, nice to join you.  I’m really, really excited about having a chat.

[02:06]

It is an honor to have you on the show. I’ve been following the merger/acquisition. We’ll get into what that looks like more specifically in just a little bit, but I like to start off with creating a little bit of context for our audience. Tell us about your parents and how they informed what you do today.  

[02:24]

Well, my mom and dad, Norman and Rena Lawrence, were born in Edinburgh and in war time, in the Second World War time. And they had a fairly tough upbringing actually in Edinburgh, Scotland, and, they’re from quite a working-class background. And my dad left school at 15 and went into printing as an apprentice and stayed there his own his whole career but then was hugely successful I guess after, I don’t know, maybe into his mid-thirties, something like that. Became quite a key business leader in a couple of good companies. Actually, one of them became part of, got bought into the Signage Group, which I know a number of people in marketing know. So, when I was brought up, my dad had the aspiration of kind of learning that he maybe didn’t have and wanted me to go to university and all that, but he was a little bit pressured on me being an accountant and wanted me to be a money guy. I don’t know it just didn’t feel like me. I kind of fell into market research and marketing, which I know a number of colleagues and friends in the industry have done as well over the years.  I guess for a number of years, he really didn’t understand what I did, I don’t think.  We didn’t really have much of a relationship on it, but I guess it’s only been in the last five, ten years where we’ve ended up coming together to talk about running businesses because that’s what he ended up doing in the printing world. And I guess that’s what I’ve ended up doing with there being a kind of a corner affair of Join the Dots and somebody who went through a management buyout and buying out the original founders of Join the Dots, etc.  So it’s only been the last year I think we’ve probably had some things in common around the business side of things and once he got over the fact that I wasn’t a charted accountant. They’re great people, and I’m fortunate that both of them are still with me. They’re old and gray now, but they’re doing good, and they’re always inquisitive and looking to understand a little bit about where the whole marketing and the branding and they try and get into that a little bit more recently.

[04:32]

I just turned materially gray in the last 24 months. I’m terrified. Like I don’t know what’s going to happen in another 24 months. I was just reminiscing with my wife on that point. I think that you definitely earn the…  Getting older as a male and having some sort of connection with your father and him being able to provide some sort of value into your business — that can be a material point of bonding between the two of you. I’m interested though, is there a specific piece of advice or some sort of value that he contributed that helped you along to creating a successful outcome?

 [05:13]

We’ve always had a love of football, soccer I believe you guys call it. And we’ve always had the love of football together, and teamwork has always been something that we’ve always spoken about. And I was kind of interested when he was talking about how he ran the printing businesses that he ran, about the right people being involved at the right time, overall, and that being a key component of everything. And that is something we’ve definitely worked very hard on at Join the Dots around having the right people in combination. I’m a great believer in bringing together strengths of different people within an organization is the right way forward.  For those people that know Quentin Ashby, who was ex-CEO of Join the Dots, him and I are very, very different guys, but the combination of us is something that’s been really powerful, I think, over the years. So yeah, I guess that teamwork thing was a big point, and a sense of loyalty to that teamwork aspects as well. 

[06:13]

There is something to fighting in the trenches, using the wartime analogies that creates a profound bond throughout the organization. It’s actually a really, really powerful way to concatinize [sic] (I don’t know if that’s the right way of saying it) but join brothers and or people in arms, excuse me.  So, that’s pretty cool. All right, well, let’s get into… You guys have had a lot of news, right? A lot of news. So, January, 2019, earlier this year, you launched the Insight Ecosystem. I’m dying to know. Tell me about the Insight Ecosystem. What has that brought to the market? 

[06:55]

I think for us about this time last year, we were really feeling like we’re an online research community business primarily.  So, I don’t really like the acronym of MROC, but I’ll live with it for the sake of people understanding what it is. Principally, the bulk of our work has been in research communities since about when we first started out in probably 2008, 2009 and these are long-term sort of structured ongoing communities on behalf of clients as a full-service agency. And I guess the coming out with a relaunch at the beginning of 2019 under this kind of banner of Insight Ecosystem was a little bit of a response to how we feel that the research community market is changing and has changed and needs to change on behalf of clients.

Look, if I tell the story of what I think has happened in the MROC research community market, 2008, 2009, 2010, that kind of period was the sort of early innovators in that space:  some of them coming from more of a panel side of things; some of them maybe being slightly more qualitative, but those that I guess backed the methodology of an opt-in sample working on an ongoing basis on behalf of the client and we put our chips then on the table at that time around that and it was hugely exciting around the aspects of…  It was the web 2.0 time. It was researched 2.0. It’s participative; it’s collaborative; it’s working with consumers. It’s not a lot of what I was doing on the conference stand. There was old research was parent to child. This research is adult to adult. This was a hugely collaborative embracing the times, if you like. Now what happened here? Like as globally. Certainly what happened here in Europe around 2011, 2012 with the banks crashing and the market’s going belly up and was that the nature of these research communities got shunted and got moved, which was really disappointing in many respects because it got moved very much more to a speed and a price aspect rather than a quality of methodology that collaborated with consumers.  Really disappointed me and, when I look back at it, there’s still a bit of me that finds it a bit upsetting. But I guess that’s what happened that it went a bit very much into the “Ask questions; quickly get responses. And can you do that for me quite cheap ‘cause I can’t afford much more because of the market; we haven’t got the budgets, etc.” from the client side. And I think we went through quite a number of years that that had such a big influence on the market, that clients were playing it that way. We re-emerged from that, I would say somewhere in 2014 and 2015 onwards, but I don’t think we ever quite got the excitement or buzz around the way we had maybe in that kind of participative research 2.0 space that existed, if you like.  And us launching the Insight Ecosystem was almost like trying to regenerate that in a way because we wanted to say, “Look, let’s get away from thinking that the answer to all of our client’s problems lies in asking questions and our methodologies and our tools that we use are way beyond that.” I’m coming in different shapes and sizes and guises around that. I know the launch of our Insight Ecosystem was really around this kind of mantra about “asking, listening and observing” being the key way forward. 

And we very much put that out there as our thinking around how communities should be viewed and should work in a way to say, “Look, you’re not going to get great insight, and you’re not going to get great commerciality from just asking questions, asking questions, asking questions.” They’re not the best observers of their own behavior, blah, blah, blah.   All the stuff that we know from the behavioral science. So it was us of going repackaging, going back out there. We’re trying to sort of energize clients’ thinking around what a structured, ongoing community can be about in a way to highlight that it’s got an ecosystem, got a number of different tools that you can combine. Dare I say it: Join the dots?

[11:23]

Yeah, right. When you think about the value prop, obviously, it sounds like it’s one part building a real connection with the community as opposed to more of a speed or efficiency, cost-savings point of view. And then the other part of it that I hear you saying is it’s centric to incorporating new methodologies or tools into the data collection. Is that what I’m hearing? Is that right? Or… 

 [11:47]

In this period of the last three or four years, we’ve known that when we’d been at our best, we can provide a combination between speed, price, and quality.  it’s the trilemma, the whole kind of…

[12:00]

Yeah, the three-legged stool. 

[12:12]

Can you live in that tension?  Well, one – I want to think at the end of the day that we have to live in that tension because if you’re going to be a successful insight supplier… 

[12:22]

You’ve got to be there. Lenny Murphy, every grit report that he produces, he continues to come down with the fact that at the end of the day innovation is driving those three things. 

[12:02]

Yeah. And, as you say, innovation is being driven in that way, regardless of whether it’s a research innovation, is innovation in the kind of commercial world as a whole. So, yeah, it was a way of reframing that to say, “Look, it can be done. Sometimes we’ll do it quick. Sometimes we’ll ask questions quickly. Sometimes we’ll make quick observations on consumer behavior, and that’ll be nice and cheap probably. But sometimes we will actually take a bit longer over this to bring a better quality into it. We’ll be more immersive. We’ll do more observational work. We’ll have various stage gates.”

[13:02]

How big are the communities that you manage for companies? What’s the range? Small and big. 

[13:09]

Yeah. We’ve honed in on a kind of a…  It depends on the nature of the client. Yeah. But if you’re a one-brand, one-market service provider, say, we would potentially be working with 2,000 or 3,000 people.  We are getting responses, which vary between 30 to 50 people on something that’s in depth and immersive through to a couple of hundred people on something that might be more survey-based, asking-based dynamic. And that’s the kind of scale size that we can kind of play in. But they do vary: we’ve got so much more small intense ones; we’ve got a few bigger ones that because they’re multi-brand so, but it is that kind of territory that we play in

[13:54]

On July 2nd this year, just a few months later, InSites Consulting announced its acquisition of Join the Dots. That was a big deal in the space. Tell us what in the world…  What was the thesis? 

[14:10]

Yeah, I think we’ve known each other for a long time. You mentioned great fellow gritless people.  I’m heavily involved with ESOMAR, people like Niels, who’s been ESOMAR president recently. We’ve seen each other on the conference stand. As agencies, we both feel we’ve given back a fair amount in terms of bringing clients to the conference stand and showing case studies and highlighting our innovations in such a way that we think it helps everybody move forward. In the first instance, there was a contextual backdrop of like-minded agencies and like-minded agencies with a slightly different global footprint, with them being really strong in Western Europe, us being strong in UK and Asia, them not being in Asia. So there was a kind of global footprint. The interesting part as well, which in terms of client situation, our largest clients weren’t theirs and vice versa. So there was a really nice and neat fit there. And, more importantly, a very similar outlook when it comes to communities and the importance of ongoing online communities, structured programs, and similar tools but, us having some that they don’t have, them having some that we don’t have and in terms of some nuances. So just like a kind of a really a nice fit overall to be a situation where we feel we can have a situation where we can be a scale proposition for global brands. We both work for big global brands. We’re both working multinationally. And we are only wherever we are six, eight weeks after deal or whatever. But it’s beginning to…  We’re getting some really interesting sample already about how that’s beginning to play out. 

[15:54] 

So it sounds like the one-plus-one-equals-three scenario here is you’ve got little overlap on geography. So, in other words, you’re growing the global footprint. You’ve got complementary customers; so, there’s no cannibalization happening there. And you have complementary technologies in many cases. Both of you have done consulting, do consulting for your customers. So it’s not just a strict technology platform:  use it and then use somebody else to do the consulting. The consulting services also complementary or are they very similar in…? I guess the real question that I’m trying to get to is: Has the value prop — obviously, it’s expanded ‘cause you’ve got broader reach immediately, and then also obviously on the technology side there’s some benefit — but is the consulting also bringing an additive benefit to the customer base?

[16:46]

Yeah, massively. We’ve got big hopes for it on that part. I think I would give you a couple of examples, which would maybe help you see those. We’ve talked about us launching this sort of ecosystem around “ask, listen and observe.” And that wasn’t something that they were doing in terms of a framing exercise for their clients. And so, we were doing, I guess, a research methodological framing and mechanism there, and, interestingly, insights.  We’re doing a lot more framing around understanding things like key specific areas like branding or innovations on behalf of their clients that we were doing a lot of work on, but we didn’t necessarily have the proposition kind of framed that way or necessarily kind of put out to market and not in the same way. So there’s a really interesting bringing together of some nice consultative minds, who are methodological short-category. We were heavily kind of invested in our sectors in terms of our clients’ sectors and understanding sectors. One of our big dots in the dot joining of the dots was the culture-and-trends unit that we’ve got. We’ve got a team of ten that have always been looking — we’ve had in place for about four or five years now — looking at secondary information, secondary data, looking at desk research for the common times, if you like, for the common digital age. Those guys have sort of done a bit of that, but insights didn’t have it framed the same way as us to have that kind of, “This is what’s going on in sectors and trends that are happening in sectors.”

[18:18]

And incorporating…  This is a theme, by the way, across all the brand interviews that I’ve done.  It’s just no longer the case that you can go forward with a primary piece of research. You’ve got to be able to triangulate that against — if it’s going to find purchase in the organization — against behavioral data or some other secondary data sources just to again set the context and help aid in the overall storytelling and narrative.

 [18:43]

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And we’d been working hard on that.  InSites have been strong in that as well, but not necessarily plugging it in quite exactly the same way. So that’s an exciting two different ways for us to do it. They’ve been very good on almost a sort of slightly academic side of brand and brand development, whereas we’ve not been quite as strong on that. So there’s really nice consultative pieces that are beginning to come together on them on sort of web projects that we’re doing now to bring the organizations together. 

[19:13]

Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. Congratulations by the way. 

[19:16]

Thank you.

[19:17]

That’s a big deal. 

[19:18]

It’s interesting. Yeah, we did a management buyout as a leadership team back in 2017, and  that to some extent we didn’t know where that was going to go and we were fortunate to do a deal with our original founders that we managed to make happen and didn’t necessarily think this would happen as quickly as it has, but there’s a real right-time feeling about it.

[19:41]

It’s interesting is the…  You kind of like canvas. Obviously, I’ve been heavily involved in M&A over the last five years in the space with Decipher to Focus Vision and Focus Vision doing the acquisitions that it did, primarily under Eric Grosgogeat’s leadership and, framing that out now where the market is, it’s become much…  There’s always been acquisitions, like that’s always been part of the ecosystem, but it feels like the roll-up acquisition and the combining of forces is becoming, in a lot of ways, a strategic advantage for companies, uniquely creating moats and filling out capabilities. We’re seeing a lot more of it now than we did even three years ago. 

[20:19]

Yeah, we obviously have.  We all do, don’t we. We all keep an eye on the market and especially within our own regions about what positions that are going on. And, as you say, there’s been a number of changes to the dynamic of that, whether it be, obviously, trends…  We have trends very much in the UK and around sort of marketing services companies buying research agencies and research tech agencies. And then it moves to things more like the management consultants buying and also situations now where we’re seeing things like Big Data companies who are maybe taking on agencies, research agencies or research tech agencies as well. So there’s been a real sort of…   You could see the trends ebbing and flowing on that. I guess it’s bizarre. Not bizarre, but I guess this is slightly telling that we brought together like-minded people that we’ve known for a long time rather than going to bed with them where they need those kind of scenarios. I mean who knows what’ll happened further down the line. But I think the coming together of O and O agencies that look similar is quite rare. So then when those kind of opportunities come up, I guess if you can get them to slot together, it is something that you’re going to look at.

[21:33]

Yeah. So, post acquisition, right? You guys have gotten a lot of press, I mean a lot of press. What are you guys offering? I know it’s a breadth of things. I want you to really focus in on one offering. What is the thing that you’re offering that’s getting some purchase right now and some material lift inside the industry? 

 [21:49]

We were getting some really good movement on the aspects around the “listen and observe” and moving it away from “ask.”  And I think InSites have been doing the same: so, things like the sort of digital ethnography, more immersive stuff and trying to combine that with things like social listening and trend analysis.  We were talking offline before we started about innovation. Everyone’s desperate to innovate. All the big brands are looking at innovation opportunities ‘cause there’s so much disruption going on from smaller organizations that they feel that they need to be part of it. Big global brands have found it hard to play in that space. And that’s why it’s interesting that they often end up just buying the startups. But I think that they’re all beginning to feel like we need to get our acts together around innovation processes. I’ve just had lunch with a big, big FMCG player about how they’ve had to reappraise their innovation and milestones and aspects of how they reframe the whole research process on innovation. And disappointingly, we’ve not been involved but we just missed out on it. But it’s very interesting to hear. 

[23:09]

We’re playing the long game here. 

[23:10]

Yeah, exactly. And it’s interesting here too.  I think this is where consumer immersion, understanding people and aspects is a phraseology that both sides of our joint organization is very intrigued by, and it adds to me that’s trying to, in terms of the three-legged stool that you talking, it’s kind of just trying to keep remembering that don’t just do the two-leg cause you’ll fall down.

[23:40]

That’s right.  You need to pay attention to all the legs.  

[23:43]

Because I think agile speed is priced agile-speed price.  You can throw a hundred ideas against the wall. But if you don’t spend enough time working out the quality aspects of it, it’s just not going to work. And I think we’ve got to be careful about going too quick.

[23:58]

I totally agree. Quality is one of the legs and at the end of the day we are the rudder of action inside of the organizations that are making, in some cases, $100-million or billion-dollar decisions on market research data. So we really need to be thoughtful from a tool empowerment perspective and consultative perspective to ensure that methodologically…  Like that rigor is really important. 

[24:26]

I’ve heard a bit of a…  This is probably a bit of a British phrase: bee in my bonnet.   I’ve got a thing for many years around how I failed the future of market research and consumer research and understanding consumers has… We’ve let ourselves down in many respects in terms of how we have that interaction with consumers:  length of surveys, all that stuff. It’s just kind of wrong, and I think it’s got to be back on the consumer’s terms. And I think you have to go back to your original question. Give me a couple of examples. There’s really some things that already the joint organization around sampling, which I think is interesting. At the end of the day, some consumers are, I think it’s Forrester’s work, which says 98% of good validation people to speak to in research 90% are good curation people and 1% are creative. Now, the InSites Consulting Group bought ICurve, the creative panel company, which I’m sure you’ll be aware of and others out there will have hear of. Fascinating to have such a creative panel out there to go to for co-creation in our space and I think that’s exciting.  InSites have been doing great work with employees and stakeholders. I think employees and stakeholders at big brand organizations can play a big part in the curation part. They know both sides of the fence, if you like, rather than just us getting caught in big samples of the validators that aren’t going to get you anywhere necessarily. They play a role; of course, they do, but I think there’s aspects around sampling and getting the right people to interact with you in the right way at the right time is something that our… I’m excited by what we’re thinking about here. 

[26:11]

That’s really interesting. I completely agree with the point of view that we need to start at the fundamental level of respondent quality and make sure that we are getting the right… one – real people and then secondarily — or maybe additionally primarily — the right sample frames lined up. What do you see as the biggest issue that is facing today’s market researchers?

[26:32]

This is a fascinating question, but I think we need to keep challenging ourselves around the combination of the right tools with the right people and being open- minded. You mentioned rigor before. I’m a big fan of a lot of what’s been cornerstone of our industry, but I’m also at the same time that the other side of that coin is the spin, excuse the French:  There’s been a lot of shit done. An interesting area, for example, is to what extent are we truly understanding the threat from things like Big Data and social media analysis, etc. We’ve got to work out how we’re playing in that space and how we’re part of that landscape. 

[27:23] 

Yeah, give you some real data here. According to ESOMAR, you’ve got fairly flat growth inside of the global market research spend over the last few years. Meanwhile, customer experience — which some people would argue is inside of market research or should sit inside of market research, and we all know it doesn’t now — it is projected to be a $23-billion space in 2023 growing at a 23% CAGR, which is freaking insane. So when you think about… and you look at the types of research that are being done…  In fact, I’m participating in (I’m fortunate enough to be a member of a user-experience research Google group in the Bay Area. That Google group recently created a list of about a hundred terms that are used inside of, I’ll call it research, customer experience, user experience and market research. And they’re trying to define that and then also identify which pieces fit into which disciplines. So it’s just fascinating to me that the one big piece of differentiation is the nomenclature inside of those three disciplines. But the actual execution or the work that is being done is, for all intents and purposes, it’s the same type of stuff.

[28:42]

I’m not surprised. I’m not as close to that stuff, but I’m not surprised by that kind of commentary. And I think it’s about…  I don’t know if we call ourselves being in the traditional market research spaces about us embracing and breaking laws. Though we were involved for a long time in user-experience stuff and usability research and it ended up becoming almost a slightly separate discipline here in UK and Europe and still kind of is.  And I think you’re right: I think CX is kind of spun out of that to some extent as well. But, ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about understanding people and understanding why people are doing things such for a commercial outcome and what our industry should be about. And you will get marginalized if we’re not careful. 

[29:28]

Yeah, that’s right. And that’s why I think if you actually look physically at how the organizations that are structured to leverage insights quickly, right, they have the insight function sitting really close to, in a physical proximity and from a hierarchy perspective as well, to that insight professional, right? So product is sitting or UX researcher is sitting by product. for example, right? That’s the thing where we as researchers need to make sure that we are outside of our pseudo-kingdom and making sure that we are actively integrating and integrated into the decisions that are being made. And the other thing that’s interesting to me from an opportunity is that like Facebook has over 600 user-experience researchers, which is a big number, and they have far less than that market researchers.  Well, there’s an opportunity for researchers to be mentors to this division. I think that as we see ourselves as enablers and really creating a safe framework for insights inside of the organizations, then we help secure our future inside of this growing space.

[30:35]

I haven’t thought of it like that before, but I think that’s an interesting way of seeing where the opportunities lie on the client side.  We’re seeing a lot of examples now of clients that the old market research, the good parts of the old market research principles are beginning to decay on the client side and not be kind of there. I don’t want to sound like I’m an old traditionalist on that, but the best parts of it, you want to be in the mix. 

[31:06]

Let’s do that. 

[31:07]

I’ll give you an example actually as well. About two years ago we were looking to hire a research director, classic research director, to work on our communities, classic market research, lots of validation. You kind of work a bit of the immersive work blah de blah. And I met a woman who had been working in social media listening but was a traditional researcher by trade, but she’d been in that space for a couple of years and then the organization that she was working for, she didn’t know where her role was going next. So she thought she better look back to her past.  And I was talking to her. I was really intrigued by her passion around what we now term “social intelligence” because what she had done in her role in this quite boutique company was actually to bring the principles of market research to social media listening, which I haven’t seen much. I haven’t seen much of, and I haven’t seen done very effectively and, personally, had a little bit discounted social media listening as part of the mix of an agency like mine, like ours, spend more time with the sort of work that she was doing and when… This is fascinating when you link it back to the issues I’ve thought about it before about sampling and whether you’re getting the right data and how you’re making that join up as part of your list, your sort of understanding of consumers, we’ve really integrated into Join the Dots excited by having it in Join the Dots/InSites consulting as well because I think it’s a really interesting new area.  I call it a new area; it’s been going on for ages: scraping, text analytics, sorting, but doing that with a big qual head and some qualitative principles of understanding our own analysis and some kind of neat methodologies around analysis from our kind of part. What a lot of people would call our past, if you like, is bringing some really interesting results. Now, we’re not doing it in isolation necessarily; we’re then moving it onto consumer dialogue and getting consumers to work with some of the findings and vice versa. So joining the dots on the kind of things that are going on there. But I think now some example of how our industry, I saw loads and loads of social media analysis, conference papers. We scraped; we texted; and we did text analytics. And it said, “24% of the people don’t chew gum in Seattle.”

[33:21]

Yeah, the application of that. 

[33:22]

Well, well done you. Yeah, but where’s the insight in that, you know?  And so, bringing back some of our principles and trying to layer them in clever ways with the technological basic collection aspects…  I understand the people that run those social media scraping companies. The best way for them to make money is on the tech. And the best way for them to make money is to get the analytics out and to get data to big organizations. I get that. But if you want to be a consultant, do something else with it slightly. 

[33:51]

I think application of the insight, right? 

[33:53]

Exactly. And I think there’s some interesting things going on in that space. The question you asked is what’s the biggest issue facing.  The biggest issue facing is us not adapting with our old principles in the right way, but also the biggest opportunities as well. And there’s two sides of the same coin. 

[34:11]

All right, last question. What is your personal motto? 

[34:14]

If it looks wrong, it is wrong. That is a kind of a nice start point. I think I do like that one as a kind of thinking about it from an analysis perspective when I still get involved in analyzing client stuff. And the other one I kind of really, really like is the…  I guess I don’t know if it’s a motto, but I guess the one is around this: I’m a big believer in qual and ethnographic work, and it’s bizarre that I was brought up on ad tracking quant, but market research started by observing. That was where it starts with anthropological stuff and all that kind of thing and…  Let’s understand people. Let’s watch them. Let’s see what they’re doing. Let’s make that a big part of what we’re up to because if we don’t have a window to people’s lives, we’re not giving true consultations to our clients, I don’t believe. That’s the nature of a sort of agency I want to be involved in and want to be involved. So, I’m not quite sure it is  a motto, but I guess it’s a kind of a belief.

[35:24]

Perfect a way to go out. If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that? 

[35:28]

I guess they would email me or look me up on LinkedIn. So, it’s Graeme, G R A E M E.Lawrence@JointheDotsMR.com or just look me up on LinkedIn. Reach out and maybe leave a message to say you’ve heard this.  Happy to see anything I would’ve been saying is a load of nonsense.

[35:49]

Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ve said anything that’s particularly contrarian. That would have been, actually, a lot of fun. We’re all fairly like-minded.  I do think as I frame out this episode in my head right now, I continue to see one of these last points that we’ve been discussing of the growing change inside of the insights function, cross Venn diagram of UX or whatever, right? That could be something really interesting for people to get your perspective on. You’ve dealt with many of the largest brands in the world.  So I’ll do my best to create that sort of conversation on LinkedIn. My guest today has been Graeme Lawrence, Chief Client Officer at Join the Dots. Thank you, Graeme, very much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast. 

[36:34]

Thanks everyone, take care. 

[36:37]

Everyone else, if you found value in this episode, please take the time to screenshot, share it on social media. It means the world to me. Our audience, we’ve now exceeded 50,000 downloads. I really appreciate the ongoing support that we get as we post these episodes. The only way that people find it is either through social media; obviously, water cooler as well as your five-star ratings on whatever platform you’re using.  Have a wonderful rest of your day.

[37:08]

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