"We do not believe that Germany needs another research agency, we feel that clients need another way of doing research."

Interview mit Stephan Knäble und Lucas Hulsebos, DVJ Insights

Nicht das größte, aber das beste Institut in Deutschland möchte das aus Utrecht stammende Institut DVJ Insights werden. Dazu haben sie erfahrene Marktforschende rekrutiert, um ihre Vorstellung von besserer Marktforschung auch in Deutschland zu verwirklichen. Deutschland-Chef Stephan Knäble und DVJ Gründer Lucas Hulsebos dazu, was DVJ von anderen Instituten unterscheidet und welche weiteren Pläne das Institut für Deutschland und international noch hat.

Interview Knaeble Hulsebos DYJ 2021 Beitrag (Bild: DVJ)
Interview mit Stephan Knäble (l.) und Lucas Hulsebos (r.), DVJ Insights (Bild: DVJ)

Help us first with the name: What do the three letters DVJ stand for? And how do you pronounce it?

Lucas Hulsebos: DVJ Insights was founded from a passion for growth and research. To realise growth, research and analyses must provide insight in where growth is possible and which drivers for growth should be used. That’s why DVJ Insights focuses, more than other agencies, on D – Data Quality, V – Value Added and J – Passion and Joy.
Fulfilling this promise can only be done when listening carefully. To our clients, the broader market, the consumer and the academic world. That’s why we have integrated these values in our way of working and the way we work together. Listening enables us to continuously develop solutions which really help companies.

How do the market research markets in Germany and the Netherlands differ from each other? And what do they have in common? 

Lucas Hulsebos: Market research in different markets show more similarities than differences. Our approaches are based upon these similarities and, therefore, we have developed a global approach. We see too often in market research that global companies are a patchwork of different approaches. This means that it becomes difficult to harmonise across markets. The biggest similarity is the need for marketers to create better advertising, develop winning new products and build strong brands. Our solutions are based on these needs. 
The differences lie in the details and the way consumers bring this to life. Therefore, we have developed our "MassQual" approach that brings the local view in every market to life. Another important difference is the foundation of how we do research. DVJ has a history of working closely with the academic world and, therefore, we do a lot of validation research. Based on our first experiences in Germany, we notice that this validated approach resonates even stronger in Germany than in other markets.

Let me ask you directly: Why does the German market need another market research institute? 

Stephan Knäble: We do not believe that Germany needs another research agency, we feel that clients need another way of doing research. Based on our own research amongst CMOs and marketing directors we have learned that clients need guidance and real insights. 

The industry is more and more focused on automation and efficiency and tends to forget that market research is a profession.

The need for translating data into information and information into decisions is growing amongst marketers and there is a strong need to deliver this. That is why we believe that the need for a new approach is strong, also in Germany.

At first glance, DVJ Insights offers exactly what all other institutes already offer: Tracking, pre-tests, consumer journey. What is really different about you? 

Stephan Knäble: There are no differences in what we promise. As all other market research agencies we promise to help in making better ads or understanding the journey better. The differences are in the details and the way we do research. 

The best way to explain this is by using the example of a doctor. If you have a cough and you go to the doctor, the doctor examines your throat and will guess what is wrong with you. Based on experience the doctor comes to a diagnosis. The DVJ doctor examines the entire body to get the full picture. This means we do not only know what is wrong with you, but we also know why this is the case and what needs to be done. 

The way this becomes visible in market research is in how we ask questions, how we analyse data and how we interpret the results. We believe that by focusing on the details we can answer the questions from our clients better.

Is the impression deceptive or is DVJ primarily a catch-all for ex-GfK employees? 

Lucas Hulsebos: We believe that research should be done by seasoned practitioners. In contrary to other new agencies, we decided to invest heavily in experience and people. These practitioners come from many different companies. Within DVJ, we have people that have worked for all types of companies in the industry. The thing that unites these people is the fact that they believe that research should be done differently with a strong focus on quality and added value. 

What are your three-year goals for the German market? 

Stephan Knäble: Become the best research agency in the market. 

Not the biggest, but definitely the best. 

We realise our ambitions by asking continuous feedback from marketers, integrate academic thinking, and are open to improvements every single day.

After Germany and the UK, what other countries will DVJ expand into? 

Lucas Hulsebos: We see DVJ as one team regardless of the markets where our people work. So, the ambition is not to open offices in other markets, but to support the global team with relevant knowledge and experience. If this comes from other markets than we are currently located in, that is fine, but it is not a strategy in itself.

Über die Interviewpartner:

Lukas Hulsebos, Gründer – DVJ Insights (Bild: DVJ)
Lucas Hulsebos is co-owner and CEO of DVJ Insights and has been active in market research for over 20 years. Lucas started out at GfK, has brought an eye-tracking agency in the Netherlands and Germany to the market and was responsible for all global brand and communication research at MetrixLab. Lucas is board member of SIRE, staff member of the brand boardroom, involved in the RvA of the University of Groningen and SWOCC, and is the only researcher in the Netherlands to have been chosen twice as researcher of the year by the MOA in 2015. Next to that, Lucas regularly publishes in different media and has contributed to different books on marketing and research.

Stephan Knäble, Deutschland-Chef – DVJ Insights (Bild: DVJ)
Stephan Knäble ist Managing Partner bei DVJ-Insights und verantwortet das in 2020 gelaunchte Deutschland Geschäft. Seit 30 Jahren sammelt er Erfahrung in strategischer und operativer Beratung von Firmen in den Bereichen FMCG, Retail und Media. Während seiner Station bei Nielsen initiierte Stephan den Launch in Consumer Panels in Deutschland und etablierte das weltweit erste Single Source Panel mit passiver Messung von Käufen und Media Kontakten. In seiner Zeit als Global Head of GfK Consumer Panels gründete er Advanced Business Solutions, eine Abteilung für Daten- und Analyse gestützte Markenberatung und war bis 2019 Mitglied des Europanel Management Boards. Zusammen mit Google führte Stephan das Media Efficiency Panel global ein.

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