Simon Chadwick im Interview: Bedenken hinsichtlich der Qualität von Online-Daten bleiben bestehen

Simon Chadwick, Cambiar LCCHamburg: Simon Chadwick, Geschäftsführer der Cambiar LLC, stand zum Interview zur Verfügung. Befragt wurde er von Dr. Lars Watermann, dem Gründer und Geschäftsführer der auf Transaktionsberatung im Marktforschungsumfeld spezialisierten Watermann Agens GmbH in Hamburg.

2007 was a further growth year for the market research industry. What will 2008 bring?

Worldwide growth will slow, although segments of the market (Asia, CEE) will continue to outperform the market. Online will continue to grow in the US and Europe, but at slower rates, while it will accelerate in Asia and Latin America. M&A activity will be concentrated on niche acquisitions by the Big 5, as well as mid-size mergers. However, the rate will slow in the second half of the year, especially as private equity funding dries up. Excitement will revolve around Research 2.0 and 3.0 applications and companies, but worries about online data quality will persist. KPO growth in India will continue apace, especially as MR firms struggle to keep costs low.

What trends do you see for the global market research industry over the next five years?

There will be a trend to much more holistic approaches which will incorporate secondary data sources, competitive intelligence, ethnography and passive measurement. This will be driven by client needs to bring true insight to the corporation, rather than just data. Research 2.0 and 3.0 applications will multiply and the true value of online research will begin to be mined. New multinational research groups will be born, but will not be based in North America or Europe – instead they will be Latin American, Indian and Asian.

What do clients expect from a market researcher today?

Clients expect true sector knowledge and expertise; the ability to bring information and insights from a variety of different sources and to integrate that into a whole; they expect superior communications skills that enable the story to be told at senior management level; and they expect deeply consultative relationships.

How can market research institutes meet these requirements?

By spending less on infrastructure (e.g. CATI facilities, qualitative facilities, in-house data processing) and more on high-end consultative personnel. Research companies will need to hire people (both younger and older) who bring different skill sets – not just research and business knowledge, but also experience in and understanding of new technologies, gaming, video and communications.

In 1996 the Global Top10 earned 37% of worldwide turnover while in 2006 they achieved 60%. Do you think this concentration process is going to continue?

Yes, but to a more limited extent. The Top 10 are still acquiring and most of their growth will come from acquisitions. They are (and will be) continually challenged by “insurgent” groups – new multinationals from around the world, more consultative companies and more technologically-capable companies. It will become increasingly difficult for the Top 10 to continue to innovate in the face of such insurgency and maintain share.

What role will small and mid cap companies play in the future?

There will always be room for small, boutique companies in the industry. However, the real growth will come from start-ups and from mid-sized newer companies banding together to provide a challenge to the Top 10 on an international scale. Top 10 dominance of some of the newer regions in MR (e.g. Latin America) will be severely challenged by the emergence of such groups. These will be the companies that will push the envelope in terms of innovation.

Private Equity companies increasingly invest in market research institutes or even take over 100% as it was the case with The Nielsen Company. What do you consider as opportunities and threats of these co-operations?

I suspect that private equity deals will dry up later this year and that we shall see a hiatus in their involvement in the industry until economic conditions improve. However, the industry has definitely established itself as being attractive to private equity and, in the long run, we should expect to see more involvement by the private equity community. This will create an interesting condition in three or four years time, when many of the existing holdings will come up for sale as PE seeks to profit on its first round of investments. That should mean a new round of M&A activity, as well as the potential for a lot more MR companies to seek listings and go public. Generally speaking, the involvement of PE in market research is beneficial as it provides capital to smaller enterprises to build and compete with the Top 10. There is obviously the risk in some cases (e.g. Nielsen) that PE over-concentrates on stripping out cost without necessarily adding value, but I think overall that the norm is for value creation rather than destruction.

gravitas ( is the first global consulting group dedicated to the market research industry. What was your motivation for founding this expert network?

Management consulting companies specializing in the market research industry are a relatively recent phenomenon. As in the case of Cambiar, they have arisen for two reasons: (1) because, in this increasingly complex world, managing a research company has become more difficult and complicated, and so there is a demand for consultative assistance; and (2) because a number of highly experienced executives are exiting the corporate MR world and are available to provide that assistance. In Cambiar’s case, we concentrate our efforts in four specific areas (strategy, human resources and recruiting, sales performance and M&A). However, clients also were requesting assistance in other areas (accounting, legal, operations, technology) as well as consulting help on a multinational scale. Gravitas was therefore formed to bring these types of expertise to all our respective clients around the world in one place under a label that would serve as reassurance of quality and deep experience and expertise.


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