Interview with Herbert Höckel, moweb & Dominic Fumelli, Talk Online Panel “As much flexibility and autonomy as possible – that's what everyone should experience in their personal working day”

The third Week of Market Research will take place in May! moweb and Talk Online Panel will be there as sponsors. In the interview, the companies talk about their "New Normal", top trends in market research and other topics – such as moweb's live WeLoveResearch networking event on May 12!

Interview with Herbert Höckel (moweb) & Dominic Fumelli (Talk Online Panel)

“As much flexibility and autonomy as possible – that's what everyone should experience in their personal working day”

The third Week of Market Research will take place in May! moweb and Talk Online Panel will be there as sponsors. In the interview, the companies talk about their "New Normal", top trends in market research and other topics.

 

"Digital events are only a temporary hype" - what do you think of this statement?

Herbert Höckel: I think that statement is absolutely not true! Digital is here to stay. In addition to traditional formats, the future also belongs to online and hybrid formats. It will simply be a matter of linking online and offline in a meaningful way. So we're looking at: What has proven successful in digital events in recent years, and what should be permanently linked to the "real" world? Authenticity, proximity and immediacy are of course still decisive arguments for classic, physical events. However, digital elements, used wisely, are an enrichment that no one should do without anymore. For example, in terms of the temporal continuation of program elements beyond the actual event. And thinking in practical terms: Whereas in the past, invited guests could only accept or cancel, there is now also a gray area in between. The digital part of the event, which is therefore independent of time and place, is accessible to practically every interested guest, thus increasing the potential reach for every event organizer.

Dominic Fumelli: Digital events have helped us greatly to stay in touch with clients, partners and as an industry during the pandemic. There are clear advantages to digital events, not least the rather easy accessibility and opportunities to participate at short notice. Why not continue to use that? Of course, the face-to-face meetings and exchange are not 100% replaceable. We hope that big face-to-face events will also take place again soon, we are very much looking forward to it.


At last there is light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is tapering off. What has happened in your company in the last two years? What does the "new normal" look like?

Herbert Höckel: "New Work" is the magic word, which means that my employees are now free to decide when they stay in their home office or come to the office. No one checks their watch in the morning or evening to see when they are coming or going. Everyone should experience as much flexibility and self-determination as possible in their personal working day. Of course, New Work only works if there is a high level of trust within the company and something like "emotional security" within the team. It must be natural for every employee to openly address and express problems, needs and wishes. Before Corona, I could only assume that we at moweb met these internal conditions. But for more than two years, my team has shown me: It works! Every day. And really well, not as a lazy compromise. Nevertheless, my people and I still go to the office regularly so that the togetherness is not lost. But our whole package just fits together: Lean structures, a lot of personal responsibility and tangible appreciation for one another. By the way, we will soon be publishing our own study on "New Work. The most important results will certainly appear again at marktforschung.de.

Dominic Fumelli: Talk has always worked very closely connected across all its locations in Europe. Digital conferences, chats and digital coffee breaks have been part of Talk's working culture since before the pandemic, and now more frequently from the comfort of our desks at home. In the last two years, thanks to these technical possibilities, we have grown even closer together. Still, of course, we still would like to meet in person and are very much looking forward to bringing all our employees from all our offices together more often again. 

 

What do you consider to be the top trend in market research at the moment and what impact does it have on your company?

Herbert Höckel: The fusion of qualitative and quantitative market research. The boundaries are already visibly disappearing. This is having an impact on the questions we ask, the methods we use to collect data, and the way our work is exploited, and is currently generating a certain pressure to adapt that will also raise our industry to a new level across the board. What is just as trendy: The new appreciation of our industry, i.e. a new multi-billion dollar market as evidenced by the recent wave of acquisitions. The best-known examples are the merger of Cint and Lucid or the rejected takeover bid for Nielsen of over nine billion dollars. Does this development surprise me? No. It is rather the logical consequence resulting from the hypercomplexity of the current markets. Socially, politically and technically, we are now observing such a fast pace and experiencing dynamics never seen beforeOf course, this calls for insight, which cannot exist without market research data. So we need agencies that ask the right questions, draw the decisive conclusions from the answers and thus provide their clients with viable scenarios for the future.

Dominic Fumelli: Traditional surveys are increasingly being linked to other participant data to provide detailed insights. It started a few years ago with cookie tracking, passive metering and geo-tracking. Audio listening is now also being deployed. What we are seeing now as panel providers is the tendency of customers to want to collect all the data so they can see the big picture. Access panels will continue to be needed, but classic sampling is joining many new methods of data collection.

 

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO HERBERT HÖCKEL, MOWEB

 

moweb has created a classic with the virtual party series "WeLoveResearch". Now the concept is to take place again on site in Düsseldorf. What exactly is planned? What can party guests look forward to?

Herbert Höckel: To Food, Drinks & Dance! Or how about Party, Talk & Get-Together! I'm sure I can think of more labels, but either way it's going to be great. And it will be real: real people, real live music, real bar and real atmosphere. The networking event will take place on May 12 in a cool bar in the middle of Düsseldorf. By the way: No admission without tickets! Although they are free of charge, they are only available here! An important hint to all guests: don't forget to bring enough business cards for this evening! Do you remember? This haptic relic from a distant pre-digital era that I'm sure everyone still has plenty of lying around the office or at home. You'll need the cards for our "Networking Challenge." More about that on site. By the way, with all the justified praise for hybrid and digital events: This evening, for once, "Back to Normal" is on the agenda. The only digital thing should remain our photographer's camera.

This is the second time you have sponsored the WdM. To what extent has this event format proved successful for you?

Herbert Höckel: First of all, a big thank you to the team of Smart News Fachverlag and succeet, who together created this great format and not only accompanied us through the pandemic!

Speaking of broader positioning: what role does AMR Advanced Market Research play, whose management you took over just a few weeks ago in addition to moweb?

Herbert Höckel: Certainly a very important one! However, we are still in the conception phase as far as joint market and product strategies are concerned. Let me just say this: With AMR as an international CATI specialist and moweb research as an established online institute, we will be repositioning ourselves in the mixed-mode segment. Why? Because already today every single survey mode on its own fails or has to fail in terms of representativeness. Everything else will follow in due course. 

Unfortunately, there is one topic that no one can avoid these days: the invasion of Ukraine. How does this affect your industry?

Herbert Höckel: Corona was and is bad enough. But the catastrophe in Ukraine is man-made, that is the perfidious difference. It signals to us in all clarity what is really important in life: peace and freedom. Against this background, we should all reflect on what is essential in life and not always take ourselves too seriously. Not when thousands of families have to fear for their lives in their homes. I would like to refer your readers to my column "Herbert's World" on marktforschung.de. There I have dealt with this complex of topics in a little more depth and in it I also promote some courageous initiatives which hopefully have something to offer against the suffering.

 

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO DOMINIC FUMELLI, TALK ONLINE PANEL

 

Since COVID-19, you can hardly escape digital offers. How does the increased offer affect participation in surveys via your panel? Is the response rate now worse than it was three years ago?

Dominic Fumelli: As a matter of principle, we monitor the development of response rates very closely. During the pandemic, we did even more so. In all our online panels, fortunately, the response rates remained stable during the pandemic. Naturally, over the summer months we observed a small drop in the response rates when travelling was possible again. Everyone took advantage of this opportunity, of course. We also noticed this among clients and colleagues. Nevertheless, response rates are always an important topic, and we are continuously working on measures and features to keep response rates at a very good level as an important quality feature for our panels. We further counteract the flood of digital offers as a possible reason for lower response rates by continuously recruiting new participants and steadily enlarging our panels so that we keep the number of invitations per participant within reasonable and, not least, methodologically necessary limits.

Talk Online Panel, like DCORE & Mindtake, belongs to the Tito&Friends Group. How do the different companies already work together? Are there plans to add more companies to the group?

Dominic Fumelli: Each company in the group has its own place in the "data value chain" and operates independently in the market. Operational separation is very important to us, especially for us at Talk as a field service provider. It is very important for us to serve all our clients in the same way. For certain projects that require different automated solutions, we work with Reppublika, which offers tools like Campaign Control or Ratings. In other areas, we naturally use the synergy effects of the group, for example in the development of new products and services, in purchasing, and other supporting areas. There are currently no concrete plans for new acquisitions in the group. However, we are constantly exploring possibilities for expansion. If a company fits into the group in terms of content and culture, we are generally interested.

You don’t contribute to the WoM festival agenda, but as a sponsor you will certainly attend one or two events. Which events are you particularly looking forward to?

Dominic Fumelli: There are so many exciting topics and lectures from diverse subject areas throughout the week. I think this variety is great. I am sure all the lectures will offer a lot of new and exciting ideas. The list of lectures I would like to attend is long and I am already looking forward to it.

ABOUT 

Herbert Höckel is managing partner at moweb. He has been a market researcher for more than 25 years. In 2004, he founded moweb GmbH, which he still manages as owner. The Düsseldorf-based company is internationally active and one of the first German market research institutes specializing in digital methods.

Dominic Fumelli is Lead Business Development for the DACH region at Talk Online Panel working from the office in Munich. He completed his training as a specialist in market and social research (FAM) in Nuremberg and has now been working in market & social research and panel services industry for over 13 years. His focus is on consulting for (online) data collection and fieldwork, sampling, questionnaire implementation and data preparation, especially for complex study designs and difficult target groups. 

 This interview was originally published in German on marktforschung.de - here.

 

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