Welcome to the 2019 CRC Series. Recorded live in Orlando, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Kevin Lewis, VP of New Business and Strategy at Cint.
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Hi, this is Jamin. You’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. The next set of episodes are conversations I had at this year’s Corporate Researchers Conference or CRC. This is put on by the Insights Association in Orlando, Florida. I had quite a few interesting conversations highlighting specific companies that exhibited this year as well as a couple of speakers, Wells Fargo, IBM, etc. I hope you have a really good rest of your day and enjoy these short episodes.
Hi, this is Jamin, and you are listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. We are live on the floor of CRC here in Orlando. I have the honor of having Kevin Lewis with Cint on the podcast. Kevin, how are you?
Doing great, Jamie. Appreciate the time.
Are you kidding me? I appreciate your time always. So, what is going on with Cint?
We’ve got a lot of great things going on. Obviously, with the recent announcements with the P2 acquisition, working tirelessly, Katie Gross, Jake Wolff, and the entire management staff. But we’re progressing at a great pace and excitement across the industry and our clients.
Yeah, I mean that was a big announcement. P2’s player, right? You guys are the mother of sample marketplaces.
No, it’s true. I mean 1998, 96 maybe, 98. So like, hold on. [to third party] Ann, I’ll talk to you in a little bit. Are you running around? [Ann answers in the background] You’re going… Okay, I’ll see up there. [to Kevin Lewis] Sorry. I love her.
She’s keeping it real.
Do you know Ann?
Okay, good. She buy from you?
Not directly through me though I’m not sure.
Well, I’d check that out, man. Anyways, so, now back to the podcast. All that’s gone. Sorry, Trudie. She’s going to be so pissed. “You make my job so hard.”
That’s part of being in a conference; it’s real time.
It is totally real time and I really dig it. So, you guys, P2 acquisition, the rationale for the acquisition: obviously more sample, right? We have a product problem in the industry, meaning a supply problem in the industry. There’s not enough people, respondents, or participants to deal with the growing demand of insights. So that has to be part of the investment or the acquisition thesis. Is that right?
Yeah, 100%. In today’s world, reach is important. Technology and scaling and what we’re trying to do is to provide our clients the opportunity to enable and empower them a more efficient way to collect and gather insights. And for us, it’s really identifying and discovering what their current business ecosystem is and figuring out what is the right solution. And sometimes for us, we’re trying to figure out—I always use the banking analogy in today’s world and it goes on the researcher side as well. You’ve got an area where traditionally people would walk into a bank and physically deposit a check. Then it evolved to being able to put that check inside of the ATM. And now it’s more programmatic: being able to take a picture. And depending on people’s lifestyles and how they work internally, traditionally, or if they’re trying to scale more towards technology, they’re in one of those stages. Are they still wanting to stand in line for 20 or 30 minutes on a Saturday to be able to deposit a check or do they walk into the bank and see that, “Oh, there’s 15 people in line, I know that I can deposit this check in the ATM.” Or do they know far in advance where they want to move and say, “Look, I don’t even want to go by to the bank. I’ve got two other things I need to do. I’m just going to take a picture and move on to my day.” And we’re trying to take the technology around our client’s needs and figure out what the viable solution is.
Yeah, when I think about market research in general, the biggest hindrance is not budget. The biggest hindrance is time and difficulty. So like market research in general is a complex discipline. And what technology is doing through creating ease of access and automating the different processes is it’s really addressing the logistical or the operational consideration of research so that it becomes easier to do stuff faster.
Correct. And for us, we just want to be the supply management platform of choice, and we want to understand, from the client’s perspective, their true needs and wants, and for us to find something that’s applicable in regards to whether it’s one department, two departments or three departments, but collectively them talking among each other to figure out their pain points and how potentially we can be a viable solution.
So what do you see then? ‘Cause there’s a couple of different platforms that are out there. You guys won a significant contract with Lightspeed, Kantar Lightspeed. That was a huge win for you. Congratulations.
That was last year, I believe. Or, was it this? Anyway, how are you guys differentiating yourselves in the marketplace?
For us, the differentiator is in regards to us being the engine or the hub because you can have a component of saying, “Look, we can take a marketplace and bring it to you.” But what we’re trying to show the industry is how to use our technology as an engine to do different facets across different business departments within that entity. And it’s a journey because it doesn’t happen overnight and depending on certain companies, they wait ‘til they get to a certain pain point to have those conversations. We’re trying to be proactive to have those conversations upfront now to say, “Look, you probably are in this state, but right now let’s avoid six months, nine months, 18 months from now and have an open dialogue of where you want to move to scale as a company.” And I feel that’s probably one of the biggest differentiators for us in regards to just talking about the simplified marketplace versus how we are going to be the technology backbone for that true client on our end.
So it sounds like when you’re talking about integration, it feels like it’s deeper or more than just the sample automation piece. It feels like what you’re talking about is opportunity growth in the potentially more full life cycle of data management. Is that…
Most definitely. And you hit that on the head because if we think about the P2 acquisition, we are trying to take our current technology along with the extreme background and research and technology acquisition that P2 has over what they bring to us to be able to take the integration to the next level for everybody that’s moving forward and to scalability. And to be a little more concise, it’s basically taking the technical aspect of it and really shore it in to be more, I guess you say, digestible to the industry because everybody fights change, but at the same time nobody wants to lose business to change. And I think people are starting to identify that and I think it’s resonating in some of the conversations and a lot of the presentations that are going around saying, “Look, how far can you take the traditional side and scalability?” And you can’t necessarily go one path or the other versus you’ve got to merge the two and to be able to evolve and we’re trying to work with clients on that solution.
The other leg of the stool here is quality. So one of the things that we’ve seen is there’s been a commoditization of sample in the space, right? Cause it’s definitely the case that price points have fallen. It’s really a degradation of the overall perceived state of quality—I’m not saying it’s real—I’m just saying that perceived state of quality. Now when you’re thinking about continuing to automate the processes, are you also thinking about addressing and creating quality stops or checks along those pathways?
100%. Quality is number one. Obviously, with scale and size you’ve got to understand across the different marketplace and within those individual panel owners of how we’re going to get a unified kind of “Did It” integrity and for that we tirelessly work right now GDPR compliancy. Obviously, like you said before, 20-year-old-plus company Stockholm base. You know, for us, we kind of went backwards from the Nordics to North America, stemming out in North America in 2010 and now with the P2 acquisition, it’s even more in front of us around quality. Because for us we want to make sure the consistency to be able to have the panels normalize and for our AI to take into effect at the respondent level, not the panel level, which is key, because at the respondent level we’re able to see the behavioral and the characteristics of that on how they do surveys.
And I think that helps us from the algorithm when it pushes out to the certain parameters that marketers and research are looking for in their research, that we’re giving them the right mix. And what I also think is the transparency that we bring. So, for example, if I have a client that says, “Hey, I’m doing N equals a thousand completes.” And they come back and say, “Hey Kevin, we have 25 open ends that are a little bit suspect. Can you look into that?” At certain companies they can only go so far into the layers. For us, we can know immediately where that respondent came. Have they been in am offender in the past? And we can have those relationships immediately with the panel owner to identify those needs and then correct it.
Got it. That’s huge. I mean, that’s huge. And I think what it does is it breaks the black box completely open, which is not being done right now. So what I mean by that is we’ve created on purpose these black boxes where you enter something in a request of a profile or whatever, and then you get an insight, right? So surveys, automated, etc., and insight and out on the other side. And we’ve subsequently lost the visibility that used to be part of just grinding and doing the process manually. Now what you’re talking about doing, which I think is really interesting as a differentiator in the market, is, as those gears become more transparent, then it becomes obvious when there is a bad player inside of the machine. And then you can start screening for that person or those behaviors subsequently, which just creates a continuing improving quality sample source.
Correct. And you hit it on the head, Jamin, because think about it like this. If you’re talking about a marketplace where you get your sample, you’ve got your N equals a thousand, being able to capture and the consistency of knowing where that came from and if you have any quality issues to be able to be transparent, to see it, to adjust it. And as you go from your first study to your fifth study to your tenth study, to be able to see how the market within that marketplace and the samples there from a consistency and a quality sample because there might be a panel that has a characteristic that might not be a good fit for that specific product, whether it’s B2B, whether it’s a behavioral purchasing study. If you see that difference, whether it be a scoring aspect of it or a norm, you can adjust that and say, “Okay, for this panel, this panel isn’t necessarily a good fit that’s looking for the quality of level that I’m looking for.” And to be able to have that transparency and identify that is key. Because the one thing I love about our marketplace is that, if a client isn’t aware of all the panels that are out there, there’s an information button for them to click to give all the history about that. So we try and be as transparent as possible and give them the opportunity to choose if this is something that fits their basic needs.
So this is kind of a on the spot and it’s going to be lengthy. So just bear with me. You don’t have to write it down. I just want to get your gut reaction. I’ve got a project. This is real life; N equals 1,000 by a few different countries: US, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Chile, Japan, Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, Nordic countries, the whole lot of them, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. So was that 11? Did do that right? Or 16? 16.
That was over. I was going to say 15 or 16.
18 to 28 years old. A self-proclaimed gamer, whatever that means to them. They are a gamer. That’s it. LOI is like 10-ish minutes. So thinking about the breadth of countries there, is that feasible inside of your ecosystem?
That’s all in the wheelhouse. We’re talking about whether it be from certain countries that is heavily targeted from a profiling depth perspective or if we went from a natural fallout of gen pop where we assumed 15% to 35% of those age groups naturally filed and being gamers, that’s very achievable.
And that’s what actually helps with the P2 acquisition because where we were at Cint where we could more than execute that project if we were to fall short near those countries, that’s where the partnership and the strategic scale that we’re doing with P2 takes us to the next level.
Forwarding the email to you right now for our RP hope you get me a bid back pretty soon.
Thank you, sir.
My guest has been Kevin Lewis; Cint is the name of the company. Kevin, if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?
Yes, that’s easy. Just be able to get me at Kevin.Lewis@cint.com. I am the Vice President of the Western Region for New Business and Strategy.
Of course, I’ll include his contact information in the show notes. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
Thanks for your time.