Ownership change will not stop us from doing good business: Richard Ingleton, Kantar

Richard Ingleton, Group CEO, Kantar Insights, says it is not right to associate market research with just survey

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Sep 11, 2018 9:00 AM

Somehow, market research has always been associated with survey. But Richard Ingleton, Group CEO of Kantar Insights, wants to change this perception. The industry needs to understand that market research is not just about survey data, it is about any data, he says.

In today’s data-driven world, marketers have lost count of the types of data they are exposed to. And this is where market research plays an important role. But its role, obviously, goes beyond that.

In a freewheeling chat with exchange4media, Ingleton explains the role of market research and the purpose of recently formed Kantar Analytics Practise. He also talks about key trends with regards to market analytics, talks of Kantar being sold out and where does India stand when it comes to big data:

Here are the edited excerpts:

Kantar Analytics Practice unifies a global network of over 1500 data scientists. Analytics consultants integrate Kantar's unique consumer insights, based on the world’s largest first-party data sets, with clients’ own customer data. What’s its aim?

The aim of Kantar Analytics is to bring more awareness to the market and more awareness internally about our ability to work with not just survey data but with any data (sales, transactional or social media) for analytics. People tend to look at us as a survey company. But analytics can work across all data. As long as it is data, you can put it to common repository, you can clean it, you can analyse it and you can get the answer.
There are multiple places where data is stored. We want to get to all those places. The purpose of market survey is to understand human beings. Survey is not the only way of doing that.

Kantar has been in the news with WPP's leadership undergoing a complete overhaul. Please comment.

We have got a really good business, whether it’s the different data source we have or the ability to work across different solutions such as analytics, research or consulting. We have a very good market reach. Whoever owns us, doesn’t stop us from being good business. We just look forward to who that will be. Whatever happens, there are relationships with sister companies in WPP that are quite useful to us and we would like to retain them in some way.

When it comes to big data where does India stand?

The promise of technology is always greater than what it delivers. It’s not about how big the data is, it’s about how right the data is to solve the problem.

India, for a long time, has been one of the most thoughtful societies when it comes to market research. There are barriers to doing some of the latest stuff in the form of cost. What’s affordable to a US client, UK client or a French client may not be so for an Indian client. People have to be quite clever around the tools that are used to keep the cost down. So Indian market research is right up there with the best in the world, but has to be a little more creative in terms of the way they get their answers and because of the cost barriers, particularly around the use of technology.

There is so much happening across the globe with regard to data privacy-- there is GDPR in EU and even India is now very aggressive about data protection. What is your take on this since digital, data and privacy must now be balanced at your end?

It’s an interesting issue because different societies have different views on this. Most of the data we use is either permissioned or anonymous or both. In terms of our everyday business, it does not have a big impact. But then if you look at society’s attitude, for instance in Germany, it’s very strict. In China, the attitude to privacy is up to government. India is somewhere in the middle.

How important is it for a marketer to take sides in the present day situation?

Taking sides as marketers is becoming more dangerous than ever because it can lead to alienation. This is an interesting question for marketers.

In today's world, what are client's immediate demands?

It’s true in every professional service. ‘I would like it to be faster, better and cheaper.’ I am fine with the demands as long as they are invested with us in doing them properly. The brand has to be very clear of what they want. If they are not clear of what they want, how are we going to do it faster, better and cheaper?

How does the future of market research look?

It’s looking positive. Every business, since the beginning, needed to understand its market base. The way you understand customer is now harder than ever. There are multiple data sources. Opinions are becoming polarised. The nature of customers is changing. I think we are more valuable and needed than we have ever been. That’s the positive.

My main concern is that industry and clients associate market research with surveys. I would like them to remember that market research is market research regardless of the tools we use. As long as clients remember that, it’s a healthy future for the industry.

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