Ep. 435 – CRC 2021 Highlights: Mike DeGagne, Vice President of Sales at Quantilope

Welcome to the CRC 2021 Highlights Series. Recorded live in Dallas, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors, speakers and attendees at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Mike DeGagne, Vice President of Sales at Quantilope.

More about CRC 2021: https://www.insightsassociation.org/conference/crc-2021 

Find Mike Online:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaeldegagne/ 

Website: https://www.quantilope.com/ 

Find Jamin Online:

Email: jamin@happymr.instawp.xyz 

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 


“Clap Along” by Auditionauti: https://audionautix.com 


Jamin Brazil: Live CRC. Gosh, I don’t even know how many of these I’ve done. But this is an honor to have Quantilope with me. I’ve got Mike DeGagne, VP. Quantilope is the name of the business. They actually started out in Germany and now have a global presence. Mike, welcome to the podcast.


Mike DeGagne: Thanks for having me. It’s my second time.


Jamin Brazil: I know. Now, the first time was a long-form interview that we did.


Mike DeGagne: I think it was, yeah.


Jamin Brazil: And pre-pandemic, is that right?


Mike DeGagne: Yes. It was my first month on the job so I didn’t know anything. But I hopefully sounded like I did.


Jamin Brazil: Well, a lot has transpired since that particular moment and time. Let’s talk a little bit about Quantilope. Tell us about the business.


Mike DeGagne: So I think it was three years ago when we did the initial one. I was the first US hire. Now, we have about 70 people in the US. We’ve grown considerably. I have 40 people on my team. We are hiring like crazy for sales, consulting, research, office administration. The whole deal for New York. We’ve grown out of our capabilities. We started out as a Quant solution for automation. We automated all these point solutions for doing research for the survey system, the data cleaning, waiting, fielding, visualization, stats package. Now, we’ve recently acquired and built on top a qual solution, video qual solution. We are combining qual and quant together. We are trying to overcome the insights dilemma.


Jamin Brazil: The qual solution that you’ve bolted on is asynchronous, correct?


Mike DeGagne: Correct.


Jamin Brazil: Got it. Some of the competitors like Voxpopme comes to mind. Any other companies that you like seeing that framework?


Mike DeGagne: I mean it’s usually a needs case. We are not going to be like a company that competes for in-home ethnography or online focus groups. For some people, this is going to feel like a video qual solution. And for others, this is a new question type for quant. What they haven’t been able to do.


Jamin Brazil: That’s kind of the interesting thing about it. Quant, we all understand I mean it’s euphemism for survey. But qual all over sudden, opens up this well, what are you exactly? I appreciate that clarity. I really see video qual or asynchronous qual as a material growth opportunity. Because eventually we will be doing qual at scale. As I said many times, a survey is literally just a conversation at scale. Video of course being the way that we have conversations in many cases now. Being able to be able to take that data in a video format, and then being able to analyze it and subsequently report on it is pretty important.


Mike DeGagne: For us, the way we think about overlaying qual is with quant, we get a tremendous amount of what data and how data. What do they do, and how much do they do, and how often they do it. But with the qual data, when you bring it together on a unified platform you can quickly and seamlessly actually go ahead and get the why. That’s what’s missing with quant. It’s all how’s and what’s but not the why.


Jamin Brazil: That’s good. And definitely as we heard today from a number of speakers, one of the things that quant does a great job is generate the underpinnings of the validation of the point of view. Thinking about like the scientific method. But what qual does a really good job of is humanizing that data and turning it into a real story that is repeatable around the virtual water cooler.


Mike DeGagne: That is true. That is very true. We are finding that one of the challenges as well in the world that we are living in with GDPR and California legislation. Companies also can have six or seven different data processing agreements. Six or seven different companies storing their data. Seven different salespeople. There is now a need to consolidate to platforms that are able to do much more at the same quality.


Jamin Brazil: Interesting. We are in-person again, finally. How is that going for you?


Mike DeGagne: It’s going well. I live in Brooklyn with my lovely fiancée and my little dog, Marlin. In Brooklyn, we never really had a moment. Although things changed with restaurants and wearing masks. There has always just been people around. But it is weird to get on a plane. It is weird to be in a hotel. It is weird to remember that I have favorite restaurants at the New York International airport.


Jamin Brazil: There is definitely like as a fellow traveler. You definitely get this accustomed experience of like I can’t wait to eat at that place or that. You know what I mean? It is not a second home but there is cheers element to different places that we stop and frequent. That’s hilarious. You spoke today at CRC. What was your topic?


Mike DeGagne: It’s the idea of humanizing insights but with the focus on driving impact. A lot of what our jobs as insights professionals has become is moving data around. And building and following processes about data collection, data methodologies, data visualization. But we don’t focus on the impact to the data until we actually have the PowerPoint. These horrible PowerPoints slides. Then we try to find three data points to justify the $100,000 we just paid the full service agency for. We need to flip the script there. We need to focus and start the conversation on impact. We have a framework called the impact assessment framework that we introduced here that looks at start with the why, collecting qual and quant data. Getting real with ourselves about leveraging technology and stop making excuses in special cases and caveats on why technology won’t work for your organization. It was very full organization. I’m sorry. Very full room with a lot of really good questions.


Jamin Brazil: That’s awesome. Do you have a favorite speaker aside yourself?


Mike DeGagne: Yes. But he’s on our board now. When we launched the, we call it inColor, the new qual solution. He was with me on the line so I stole some of his little narratives and stories. He didn’t join mine which is good because I straight up stole some of his stuff. Ripped some of it.


Jamin Brazil: Perfect. 2022 is around the corner. What do you see is the trend that’s developed in the last 12 to 18 months that will carry us forward into 2022?


Mike DeGagne: People are sick of the word agile because it means nothing. This is my hot take.


Jamin Brazil: Now let’s pause really quick because agile has meant something historically.


Mike DeGagne: Yes. For me, agile jumped a shark when we saw sample providers that are still doing research and still providing the same services as 15 years ago now touting agile. Agile isn’t just talking about doing something faster or a word that’s on a booth which we look around and we actually will see that word in a lot of places. It’s actually meaning that it’s an approach that takes things like speed and substance but doesn’t sacrifice quality. It’s just kind of like a word like value. We throw around the word value way too much in sales and in client relationships. That’s my hot take that I think that people are already getting fatigued and will move beyond. Even the vendors will move beyond agile.


Jamin Brazil: As a word? As a term?


Mike DeGagne: As our industry. It’s a paradigm shift of 15 years ago. Everybody was talking about paradigm shifts. Nobody uses that phrase anymore.


Jamin Brazil: Or blockchain maybe five years ago.


Mike DeGagne: Well, I don’t even know what that is today still. But just kidding. I do. I like to tell people blockchain, startup, investor funding, coins, ICO’s. It’s the same thing.


Jamin Brazil: Exactly. That’s super interesting. You see a vernacular change. But when you think about the substance of what we deliver and how we deliver it, what do you see as a trend?


Mike DeGagne: I’m hoping, and this is a hope. This was the big kind of controversial thing I guess you’d call it is that I challenge everybody to take a look at how they are doing research and not the platforms they are using. But all of the caveats and those little exceptions that they are making and they don’t know why. A lot of researchers are changing their ability to actually work with different partners because of well, we’d like eight attributes instead of six. We know the industry is used to doing it this way with this waiting. But somebody built this waiting things five years ago and we have to use it. We need to look at what is style, versus what is truly function. What do we just like to have versus what is needed to have great research in the organization. I think when we actually look at that and challenge those things, most of the things that we hold as the most important re just style.


Jamin Brazil: Do you have a specific example?


Mike DeGagne: It’s a lot to do with waiting, piping, logic. When you start to go into some of these relationships and historical data, and you are like why is this so complex? Why is this a 45-minute looping study for the people? It’s like well, we’ve been doing it 15 years and some guy named Alan. If you can’t explain in under 15 seconds to a lay person why this has to be this way, then it should be challenged.


Jamin Brazil: Interesting. I totally agree with you in terms of the sacred cows that we have in the industry. I recently responded to somebody on LinkedIn who asked a question about why do we still ask industry questions relative to market research and then terminate them? Especially in the context of market research being more commonly part and parcel with everybody’s job description. There is definitely this just we’ve always done it this way and that’s why we are just going to keep doing it.


Mike DeGagne: I don’t work in market research. I work in technology so I can get into the survey. We are slipperiest group out there. We know what the rules are. I think we just need to challenge a lot of the assumptions that are causing us not to adopt the things that will lead to better impact.


Jamin Brazil: Mike, thanks for joining me on the podcast.


Mike DeGagne: That’s it? You don’t want me to sing, dance?


Jamin Brazil: Next time.


Mike DeGagne: I will throw out, and we did this last time. If any brand is out there and is interested in trying out either the qual, quant, or combination. We do a free pilot for brands so include samples. We’ll see you guys soon.


Jamin Brazil: Got it. Where do you get your sample?


Mike DeGagne: Everywhere and anywhere. We are panel agnostic. We believe that every question and every research need, you need to actually go and weigh the pros and cons. Gen pop, thoracic surgeons in Malibu. One company cannot own the perfect panel. We use great partnerships with Dynata, DISCO are two of my favorites. I really love the people at both those companies.


Jamin Brazil: Are using exchanges as well?


Mike DeGagne: We are in some cases and we have something that’s coming out really soon that I can’t comment on. But something is coming with the fun acronym APIS and things like that.


Jamin Brazil: Sounds like an exchange. The challenge of course is we’ve black boxed through the exchanges, as we black boxed the participant experience really and sourcing. We’ve seen a tremendous influx of bots. Of course, my listeners are so sick of me hearing. But you know what? Fuck it. This is really important point that we are missing I believe in favor of cheaper CPIs. So, it will be interesting to see what solutions you provide to that as we thing about moving into an election year of 2020 to where I mean there should be an increase of about 20% of participant engagement. We are already looking at a 30, 40% fraud rate in open exchanges. All over sudden, you’ve got a real concern around where are the ballots of the people coming from. Anyway.


Mike DeGagne: I think the thing is any partner, if that is a concern for you, and it should be especially in the election grouping. You should want to talk to this company center of excellence. They should be able to answer that question and answer it really concisely. Unfortunately, I lead the go to market in the US. But we have a guy named Troy who’s amazing, and he has a lot of experience. His job is exactly that. If you have questions or if you want to talk to him, we can make an intro.


Jamin Brazil: Thanks for joining me.


Mike DeGagne: Thank you.