Welcome to the MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series. Recorded live in Cincinnati, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Guy White, CEO & Founder of Catalyx.
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This interview is with Guy White of Catalyx. He is the founder of this company. You are really going to enjoy listening how an internal research at Proctor & Gamble felt a tremendous amount of pain specific-use case and then evolved that evolved that into his own startup. Earlier day trials and tribulations – how he overcame them to ultimately bring to market an ultimately very successful and growing, thriving business. They sit right in the middle of the innovation process. Check him out. You can find information on the show notes. Hope you enjoy this episode.
Guy, Catalyx, tell me a little bit about your business.
So, Catalyx is an insight innovation agency. Our aim is relentless pursuit of getting insight into businesses in such a way that it is going to build brands and make people buy more product. I’m actually not a researcher; I’m a marketer. I’m an ex-Proctor marketer. And I set Catalyx up because I was actually frustrated that you couldn’t access consumers as I felt I needed to from the partners that we were working with in such a way that I would have recommendations to build the business. And we thought we could do it better. So that’s kind of how we started.
That’s super interesting. I think it’s fascinating that you started the business… You started the business?
You started the business out of the context of your own pain.
Which is a completely unique… I say, “Completely unique.” It’s not really completely unique, but in our industry, usually what I see happen is you have technology or a solution that’s looking for a problem.
Which is kind of to the other point, which is… I think Gayle made it this morning if you heard that interview, sorry, talk about how you need to be in love with the pain, not the solution.
Right, absolutely. I saw that. I agree.
Talk to me a little bit about… When did you start the business?
So, first client was 2013.
Wow, congratulations. Tell me about that first project.
The first project was crazy. So, the first project, I was actually moderating an innovation conference in France in English in front of a French-only conference.
[laughs] Heavy lift, isn’t it?
I tell you what at the start you take what you can get. So…
That is a multi-layered…
Just you and…
500,000 French business owners wanting to learn a little bit about innovation. No clue about what I was talking about.
But the first proper project I would say was… We used to do a ton of insight from social listening back in kind of 2013 when people really didn’t know what social listening was and how to use it. And we said, “Well, the trouble is with the platforms; you can’t get insight from a platform. You can get data but not insights.” So we developed a methodology to be able to convert what people were saying online into kind of golden nuggets that people could use. And we did that for a few years as we were building up kind of our crowdsourcing capabilities as well. Yea, so that was kind of the first stuff we did. And that lead onto about five or six other projects with the same client all around how do people shop for hair care online, for instance. What do men feel about shaving? Really, really, not just the process, but why do they shave? And that kind of stuff.
So, talk to me a little bit about what engagement looks like. What are the deliverables? And what kind of time frame is around that?
So, it really depends what you’re trying to do.
What is like a sweet spot for you guys?
So, we work at that stage from one sheet of paper through to “I’ve got a concept or prototype or a stimulus that I’m going to take through to a big contest.” So, our whole aim is to embed ourselves into that creative development process or product development process. So we do a lot of insight discovery work. So that might be building a crowd of your target audience in whatever country you’re looking to do and then working with them over a week or so to really find what makes them tick. So that end-to-end would be about three weeks from setup – live – close. Then we do a lot of stuff around, you know… “I’ve got ten ideas. How do I make them better and which ones should I be pursuing and how should I bring that to life in a consumer context?” I guess they’re kind of the two big…
Your ideal customer looks like what?
Ideal customer: consumer-facing business, probably product or manufacturer normally. So SMCG, with work with pharma medical device, financial. Either has a problem they want to solve. And they believe or they think we can help by embedding that consumer into that problem or is in a mode of discovery, let’s say, and wants to just have a consumer closer. I think we love working with people that kind of understand the consumer and understand the power of the consumer because then you work as a partner as opposed to trying to educate on why this is really important and why you can build better products if you embed your consumer. So that’s kind of who we like to work with, I’d say.
So, you’re a relatively new father and congratulations on that 11-month old.
Thank you very much.
How’s sleeping going?
Hit or miss, I would say. She’s just started sleeping through the night. So, running a business with a new daughter is quite intense.
Hopefully, you have a good team. I’m sure you do.
We have a fantastic team, absolutely. And I couldn’t do it without them, absolutely.
MRMW, is this your first year?
So, I’ve done MRMW Berlin. It’s now in Amsterdam, I think. But last year it was in Berlin. My first one here.
Got it. What do you think?
I really like MRMW, I have to say. So, last year we did a kind of… We went to every conference that we could get our hands on and wanted to see what works and what didn’t. And we’ve come back to MRMW. You see what I mean.
Yeah, I really like it. I like its size. I like that at the end of two days, kind of everyone’s met everyone. And it’s really friendly.
Actually, they uniquely create these opportunities for connection in a very organic way as opposed to a lot of other events. They try to accommodate that, but it feels very forced and doesn’t seem to come across as genuine. Somehow, maybe you’re right; maybe it’s the magic of the 200 and some odd attendees here. So, the size of it could work. I don’t know what it is? But it is a super friendly group.
I completely agree. I think there’s a really nice mix of agencies on the client side. And, yeah, I think everyone is just super interested in what everyone else is doing.
And if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?
And, as always, we’ll include that on the show notes. Thanks so much, Guy, for joining me today. It’s been an honor having you on the podcast.
Not a problem. Thank you so much for having me.