"Secondary research is integral to what we do"Interview with Stephen Williamson (Euromonitor)
Stephen Williamson is the International Research Development Manager for Euromonitor International, one of the major providers of secondary research based market data for consumer markets.
marktforschung.dossier: Euromonitor has been doing business in the market for around 40 years now. What have been the milestones? What changes in the past - or current - have shaped the company the most?
Stephen Williamson: The key milestone in our history was the emergence of the internet and the launch of our online products in the late 90's. Before this period our business was based on the sale of market research reports in hard copy but the Internet enabled us to distribute our content to our client base through online products such as GMID and IMIS. These products then enabled us to provide market research with a global perspective for our clients.
marktforschung.dossier: How has the acquisition of secondary data changed in the age of digitalization, especially regarding your personal impression?
Stephen Williamson: Before the digitalization of information, we used to have a library which contained all of our magazine subscriptions in hard copy. We now no longer have a library as we now subscribe and access the vast majority of magazines online.
marktforschung.dossier: You offer a very wide range of market data and market analysis reports – you thereby serve absolute niche markets and regions. How are you able to maintain and ensure the high quality of your data regarding the fact that also the quantity of Euromonitor researches is quite big?
Stephen Williamson: We apply the same checking processes to all of our research regardless of market or country. That is how we maintain a high level of quality across the board. Whether we are researching a market in the USA or Vietnam, we will apply the same checks and quality control regardless of the country. It is also worth mentioning that we will make the necessary planning and investment for our research teams when expanding our research coverage. So if a decision is made to expand our country coverage or to launch a brand new industry, an investment in our resources will be made in order to make allowances for the increase in volume of content.
marktforschung.dossier: In your opinion, what kind of technical qualification is necessary to be a good secondary researcher?
Stephen Williamson: We require our researchers to have a good understanding and background in numbers e.g. economics, market research. It is also important that our analysts possess curiosity about consumer markets and are enthusiastic about understanding them.
marktforschung.dossier: Can you think of any branch that has a higher demand on secondary research than others? How about regional differences?
Stephen Williamson: We find that there is more information available for some industries compared to others. Some industries such as consumer foodservice or consumer finance are heavily regulated by government and so this results in an abundance of secondary research being available. Secondary research is important for all of our industries and so where some industries are lacking in available content, we will compensate by gathering information through interviews and surveys of manufacturers who sit within the consumer space. This scenario also applies regionally as well. Some countries have more information available than others and so again, we have to compensate for this lack by acquiring information through interviews.
marktforschung.dossier: Secondary research is often described as the "stepchild" of market research – do you have an opinion on that particular expression and are you able to relate to it?
Stephen Williamson: This is certainly not our stance towards secondary research. Secondary research is integral to what we do and our research approach means that it is a key component – alongside the trade survey – in the production of our data and analysis. So we would not view secondary research as a "stepchild", but rather as something much closer.
marktforschung.dossier: Thank you very much, Mr. Williamson!