Q: What was your background before joining Dig Insights?
My career started 20 years ago at ABM Research where I learned the important basics. I pulled reports (from paper tables), did sig testing (with a calculator) and helped prepare presentations (on acetates).
I moved to Thompson Lightstone (later acquired by Maritz) and was fortunate to work almost exclusively for one major CPG client. I was soon managing full projects and presenting results (with a computer!).
Realizing the need to broaden my business knowledge, I completed my MBA at Ivey, after which I joined Ford of Canada in a management rotation program. With stops in marketing and sales, I saw firsthand how research was used in the trenches.
Wanting to get back into research, I became a Research Manager at Canadian Tire. (For non-Canadians, CT is a 500-store mass merchandiser… think Walmart + Home Depot + Pep Boys.) This was an amazing opportunity, as I worked on a range of fascinating projects with some of the best research suppliers in the business.
Eventually I returned to the supplier-side, where I have been for the last 10 years. In 2010 I started Dig with Ian, Paul and Michael.
Q: How do you think market research will change in the next 3 years?
More mobile: market research is heading further and further to mobile data collection; I love the idea of shorter surveys completed in-situ. Merging primary and secondary data: some of Dig’s best work has come when we are able to merge our primary research with secondary consumer data. I’m kind of tired of the term ‘big data’, but the power of combining multiple data sources is undeniable.
Q: If you were not in market research, what work would you want to do?
(Caveat – this answer assumes I don’t need to pay my mortgage or feed my kids)
Every year I build a really serious backyard ice rink for my four kids. It’s 68 feet long and 24 feet wide, with boards, netting, and lights. If I could turn this into a business, I would. In many ways building a rink is like executing a successful research project. I learn from my previous rinks. I collaborate with other “rink dads”. And like a good research study, building a great rink takes careful planning, creativity, hard work, and the ability to make adjustments on the fly.
But given the seasonal nature of rink building and the reliance on mother-nature, I think I will stick to research for my day job.