#MLleeds Speaker Spotlight: Duncan McCallum

Duncan McCallumAs part of the build-up to next month’s Marketing Leaders Masterclass, I put a series of questions to our industry experts, in order to reveal what inspires and drives them each day.

In today’s post, Duncan McCallum, Founding Partner of market research consultancy McCallum Layton shares his take on the research industry.

What inspired you to get into a career in research?

“I originally was invited to fill a position in brand management but as part of the graduate training scheme I had to spend some time in the research department; I liked its mental challenges and the multi-faceted nature of the work so much I ended up staying in research.”

Best advice you would give to a someone starting their career in research?

“Always think about how the results can be used – wear your client’s hat and for each of your findings ask yourself the question “So What?”  If you cannot answer that question the information is of no use.”

Best advice you have ever received, which has helped you in your career?

“When I was starting out in my career I worked for Armstrong Worldwide Industries and was eager for promotion.  My American boss said; “Start work an hour before everyone else and finish an hour after everyone else and actually do some work and don’t sit around drinking coffee; that means you’ll work more than an extra day every week, and given a 5 day 40 week working year will equate to 2 months’ more work a year than your colleagues – if you can’t get promotion after that you don’t deserve it”.

What is your biggest pain-point about the research industry?

“There is sometimes too much emphasis on methodology when what is really important is the outcome; this often carries over into clients being more interested in using a ‘new methodology’ than choosing the right tool(s) for the job.  If you’re in court and hire a barrister you don’t ask how he/she is going to defend you – you assume they know what they’re doing, similarly you don’t go to an accountant and ask them what new accounting methods they have this month.”

Your dream client and why?

“Every client is a dream client – without them I wouldn’t have a job.”

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