B2B NewsPet industry newsMeet Our Leaders: Part 1

Meet Our Leaders: Part 1

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Over the last 25 years, B2B International has grown from a single office in Manchester, UK, to a global business with more than 100 employees, spread over 13 offices and 3 continents!

As a result of this business growth, so too has our leadership team grown and now counts on 150 years’ collective experience working at B2B International and reflects a diverse set of backgrounds, knowledge, and skillsets.

We therefore wanted to share each of our leadership team’s stories with you, including their experiences working at B2B International and in the market research industry, the personal achievements they’re most proud of, and most importantly, the lessons learned along the way and their advice for aspiring leaders.

 

Meet Our Leaders

In part 1 of our ‘Meet Our Leaders’ series, we’ll be sharing the stories of:

To learn more about all our leaders, view the full PDF here.

 

 

Meet Our Leaders - Nick Hague

Nick Hague

Head of Growth | Manchester

 

How long have you worked for B2B International?

Since the very beginning! Time flies when you are having fun – I can’t believe it has been 25 years!

What’s your favorite thing about working for B2B International?

I think it would have to be working alongside the great team we have here, but also working closely with the diversity of clients and in the wide array of different industry sectors across the world. I have been very lucky to travel to some amazing places from the work we do at B2B International and I have met some inspiring people in the companies I have worked for that I would also count as good friends. Every day is different at B2B International and that keeps things fresh and challenging.

Why market research?

It’s in the blood! My father was a market researcher and so it ended up being a natural progression for me even though I studied Geology as a degree. I suppose always being curious and wanting to know the answers to many questions meant it has kept me interested throughout the years.

What’s your favorite thing about working for a Merkle company?

Their beliefs are very much aligned with B2B International’s and so it is very much a perfect match. Their beliefs are:

  • People matter
  • Clients matter
  • Teams matter
  • Effort matters
  • Principles matter
  • Fun matters

I think all these beliefs typify perfectly what business is about but also to have some fun along the way!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

You are only as good as your last job. I have always looked to ‘wow’ clients in the delivery of insightful data that they can act upon. However, once one job has been completed and presented, there is always another waiting in the wings and so you cannot afford the luxury of congratulating yourself on a good job done as who knows what tomorrow’s project will bring? You can never be complacent in this industry!

Which personal achievement are you most proud of?

It has to be growing the company and therefore our team to be a 100+ strong family with people dotted around the world from Los Angeles, USA through to Sydney, Australia.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders?

There are leaders everywhere you look at B2B International; not just on the leadership team. My advice to anyone starting out in their working life is to just do the best you can at the job that you do. Be adventurous and put your hand up for trying new things as well as sharing your ideas openly about doing things differently along the way.

Our leadership team has been built over the years from a diverse number of people with all different backgrounds. Therefore don’t have it as an end goal; it is just a result of doing the best you can in the role you do and who knows where you may end up!

 

 

 

Meet Our Leaders - Matthew Harrison

Matthew Harrison

CEO | Manchester

 

How long have you worked for B2B International?

21 years! When I first joined the company we were a small, entrepreneurial company based in Manchester with around 10 employees. 21 years later we have more than a dozen locations across Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, and have worked for the majority of the world’s largest B2B companies.

What’s your favorite thing about working for B2B International?

I truly believe that B2B International is the global leader in business-to-business research, and consider myself lucky to be doing a job I enjoy for a business that is a leader in its field. As market leaders we are constantly challenging ourselves to give our clients access to the best thought leadership; the best advice; the best footprint & resources; and the best people.

Why market research?

Our job is to help our clients meet whatever business or marketing challenges are facing them at a given in time – by listening to decision makers and influencers within their customer bases and throughout their markets. This means that the job brings with it a huge amount of variety; as every challenge, every business, every market and every customer base is different.

Working for a B2B research consultancy requires people that are curious, proactive and adaptable; and who love working in a diverse multinational environment.

What’s your favorite thing about working for a Merkle company?

Being part of Merkle is a fantastic opportunity for us to deliver more of the services that our clients want. We share a dedication to delivering world-class customer experiences and the insights, marketing and tech expertise that we offer together make for an exciting combination. Just as importantly they’re great colleagues.

Which personal achievement are you most proud of?

Within work I’m exceptionally proud of the work we’ve done to first of all make our offering truly world-class, and second to bring this offering to a global audience. We’ll always be proud of our expansion throughout the Americas, mainland Europe and Asia and the fantastic team we’ve built.

Outside of work I love long-distance running and have a habit of railroading my wife and daughters into centring our family holidays around this. To some extent I’m proud of some of my marathon and half marathon times, but I think I get the biggest kick from some of the strange training sessions I’ve done over the years: the 2am run around Beijing when I had jetlag; the snowy day when I was forced to run up and down the stairs for 2 hours.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders?

I would say first of all make sure you’re in a profession that you intrinsically enjoy; second find employer that wants you to achieve your potential as much as you do; and third set out to learn as much as possible.

 

 

 

Meet Our Leaders - Conor Wilcock

Conor Wilcock

Director of Business Development & Sales | Manchester

 

How long have you worked for B2B International?

All told, it’s been 15 years since I started as a telephone interviewer in our fieldwork center (which incidentally is where most of our current global leadership team began life at B2B International!) I started full-time as a research analyst 11 years ago.

What’s your favorite thing about working for B2B International?

I love the variety of work that comes our way, given that we cover all B2B sectors. It keeps me extremely motivated and engaged. On a typical day, we could be researching everything from industrial valves and metal cutting equipment, to packing solutions, marketing automation platforms and chocolate…!

Why market research?

I wouldn’t say I “fell” into market research but it wasn’t exactly a career I had planned for when growing up – simply because I wasn’t aware it was an option for me. In reality, market research did a great job of satisfying my core interests and skills: statistical analysis, creative writing, strategic thinking, and presenting/public speaking.

What’s your favorite thing about working for a Merkle company?

It’s great to be closer to some of the fruits of our research labors. Seeing our creative, media and ecommerce colleague act upon insights about our clients’ target audiences shows the direct and significant influence that world-class research can have on marketing outputs and strategy.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Which personal achievement are you most proud of?

Probably running a few marathons and triathlons, although my wife would (rightly) argue that raising our two boys is a more impressive feat of endurance… Ask me again in a year when I’ve (hopefully) got my private pilot’s license!

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders?

Ultimately, the most valuable “asset” we have as a business is our people. Anyone wanting to lead such an organization needs to be aware of that, and demonstrate an ability to connect with, respect, motivate, support, and help develop employees.

 

 

 

Meet Our Leaders - Oliver Truman

Oliver Truman

Head of Research & Analytics | Manchester

 

How long have you worked for B2B International?

I’m approaching my 15 year anniversary at B2B (although I had to check!).

What’s your favorite thing about working for B2B International?

The sheer variety of work we do: Every project is different, whether it’s different client objectives, vertical markets or product categories. Getting to grips with the (often esoteric) nuances of business-to-business value chains is endlessly fascinating – I’ll robustly defend against the claim that b2b markets are boring!

Why market research?

Like most in this industry, I didn’t have a burning ambition to be a market researcher when I was growing up – the sector found me, really. B2B research is one of those professions that draws on a broad range of skills and interests; it’s both a scientific and an artistic discipline. That appeals to me a lot.

What’s your favorite thing about working for a Merkle company?

Probably the sheer breadth of capability that’s available in the broader group – not just within Merkle, but Dentsu as a whole. Our job as researchers is a bit like that of a doctor – to understand and diagnose the pain points of customers. Because of the resources and skills now at our disposal, we’re now in the position of being able to ‘prescribe’ best-in-class solutions to many of the marketing challenges our clients face.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

It’s possibly not the most upbeat maxim, but some derivative of Murphy’s Law – ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’. The niche markets that we’re researching mean things that one might take for granted – like being able to reach the relevant audiences – often cannot be assumed. The upside to having to ‘worry things through’ is that it always prepares you well for inevitable challenges that crop up on studies.

Which personal achievement are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of what we’ve managed to collectively build here at B2B International. The company is now an order of magnitude bigger than when I first joined – even so, the same underlying ethos, approach and values from those early days remain. Being able to have that success while also doing things in the right way is very rewarding.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders?

As much as being leader is about dealing with here-and-now issues, it’s important to never lose sight of what the future could look like. Thinking through these different versions of the future and making the right choices is what lies at the heart of good strategy.

 

 

 

Further Reading

Meet the Rest of our Leaders

Meet the Rest of our Leaders

 

 

If you have any questions or want to discuss your research requirements with any of our leaders, the contact details for each office can be found here or by clicking below .



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