Interview with Christian Thunig, INNOFACT, and Tanja & Andreas Woppmann, advise research "Managing growth is the biggest task at the moment"

This year's Week of Market Research sponsors INNOFACT and advise research reveal details about the exciting topics they and their colleagues will be presenting at the online festival WoM22 in May. They also answer questions about the "new normal" in their agencies as well as current trends in the market research industry.

Interview with Tanja & Andreas Woppmann (advise) & Christian Thunig (INNOFACT)

"Managing growth is the biggest task at the moment"

In this interview, the WoM22 sponsors INNOFACT and advise research announce details of their presentations at Week of Market Research in May. They also answer questions about the "new normal" in their agencies as well as current trends in the market research industry.


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

Christian Thunig: No, absolutely not. If anything, this event form will continue to establish itself in the plans of event organizers. Depending on the occasion and the scope, digital events will remain an option in the toolbox of event organizers. 

Andreas Woppmann: To be honest, we continue to believe in the success of "face-to-face" events, keyword "networking", but the increased reach and the low threshold and simple possibility of participating in digital events certainly also has its appeal.

Tanja Woppmann: We can very well imagine that both approaches will continue to exist in the future. Partly as a hybrid event, partly also only via one channel. But Zoom, Teams & Co. will certainly carry through, also at events.

You are not only a WoM22 sponsor, but you also contribute to the festival agenda. What can the participants look forward to?

Christian Thunig: The subject of INNOFACT's presentation is a state-of-the-art approach to communications research: the COM@Test system tests concepts as well as advertising media at all stages of development before and during placement. The special feature is: in addition to the security of a normed standard, it always takes into account all customer-specific issues. With unique, qualitative content analysis for optimization.

Tanja Woppmann: The audience can look forward to two exciting presentations. We have been researching the topic of influencers for a very long time because the business with influencers has been booming for many years and our clients have an increasing demand here. We will present various research tools and use case studies to show how clients get insights, for example, into how potential influencers fit with a brand and what impact an influencer campaign actually has on the relevant target group.

Andreas Woppmann: The second presentation is based a lot on our clients' experiences with DIY solutions in recent years. Because operational market researchers are faced with the challenge that they are now expected to handle the same number of projects often, but without additional resources. This usually doesn’t work smoothly. That's why we have a tool in use where a client can automatically commission predefined projects that are customized for them. In contrast to DIY solutions, the entire project work is then carried out by us. A high degree of standardization results in an enormous price advantage here. Here we will use concrete examples to explain how this works and how much time and money a client can save in the process.

Why should your event at Week of Market Research not be missed?

Christian Thunig: The exciting thing about the COM@Test approach is the dovetailing of assessment and diagnostics. This means that quantitative results are substantiated in terms of content and qualitatively and thus become comprehensible. This ensures that rational and socially desirable answers are consistently avoided and that a valid diagnosis of creative, original and emotional content is possible. In other words, what every marketing decision-maker wishes for.

► Sign up for the INNOFACT session "When creation walks away from the product – and how to prevent this with the COM@Test" (May 11, at 3 pm, in German)

Tanja Woppmann: Budgets for influencer marketing have increased by over 700% in the last 5 years and Instagram, TikTok & Co. have enormous growth and reach. In the past, Thomas Gottschalk might have been able to promote his Goldbears via TV on his own. Today, testimonials like his are being replaced by influencers - especially among important target groups like Millennials and GenZ. Because only those who rely on the right influencers will have long-term success. We would like to share this knowledge in the lecture "Match me if you can" - Increase the impact on brands with influencer research".

Andreas Woppmann: In the lecture "Next Stage DIY" we will present a tool that combines lower prices and cost savings per client with an individual research design. And it can be done without making more work for the in-house market researcher.

► Sign up – advise will be presenting:

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

Christian Thunig: One visible sign of the new normal is certainly that we have worked very well and very efficiently from the home office over the past two years – and, by the way, we have been so far-sighted that we have not yet called for a back-to-office campaign immediately after a wave has subsided. We also had a stormy growth phase during this period of all times, which we underpinned with many new employees. Managing growth is the big task for us at the moment. 

Tanja Woppmann: The last two years have been very exciting. In the Corona year 2020, we had the highest turnover in the almost 10-year history of advise. The fact that we were even able to increase this by almost 15% in 2021 makes us incredibly proud and also grateful, as we could not have achieved this without our great colleagues. Fortunately, despite Corona times, we were able to hire almost 20 new colleagues who are not only all very experienced and well trained but also incredibly enriching for the team.

Andreas Woppmann: A positive aspect of the "new normal" is that we now have several colleagues in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Mannheim, and Stuttgart without having to open new offices. Since client briefings and presentations take place online, we don't have to be in contact with each other as often as we used to. What will remain, however, is less personal contact with our clients, especially due to the discontinuation of on-site presentations and generally fewer client visits – which is also a pity.


What do you consider to be the top trend in market research at the moment?

Christian Thunig: Optimizing processes seems to us to be a very important trend. Clients want results faster and faster. This is only possible with "oiled" processes and good standards. Nevertheless, we see that clients still want support and relief – in other words, they explicitly demand consulting and intensive support for the respective project.

Andreas Woppmann: The topic of speed, which we have been pushing very strongly for 10 years, can probably not be seen as a top trend, but speed is still incredibly present in project implementation with our clientsIncreased standardization is particularly important here, and we also continue to see the implementation of AI as a current trend in market research. Here we develop a lot of innovative solutions with our programmers (e.g., in the recognition of open mentions) and we will continue to invest heavily in this area in the future.

Tanja Woppmann: In the area of qualitative research, we see a strong trend towards online research. We have been conducting online communities & co. for 10 years, but some clients were a bit skeptical about meeting their target group "only" virtually. The pandemic has resulted in a strong rethinking concerning this. Video focus groups and online chats have increased significantly, and we now conduct online groups or video IDIs almost every day – I strongly expect this to increase significantly in the next few years.




With the INNOFACT COM@Test system you promise maximum advertising impact. What can the tool do that others can’t?

Christian Thunig: Every tool has its purpose and orientation, in this respect we do not want to talk about what other tools cannot do. In any case, what we can say about COM@Test is that it is an innovative, holistic system for evaluation and subsequent fact-based optimization. There is a whole set of approaches to examine any kind of brand communication, i.e. for all media, at all stages of development and for all target groups.

Measuring brand and advertising impact is becoming more and more challenging. There are more and more touchpoints and channels. How does the COM@Test system deal with this?

Christian Thunig: This is indeed the challenge for brand managers: The tool can be used in a very wide field of application, because the process spans the complete spectrum of – in a broader sense – advertising: from initial ideas, concepts, to storyboards, spots, ads, flyers, brochures, websites, digital advertising, PoS material, trade show booths and stores. In this respect, all touchpoints can be covered.

You don't just change advertising effectivness tests when a client is satisfied. How do you get companies that have been using another test for many years to switch to the COM@Test system?

Christian Thunig: In fact, we come into play when clients feel they need to make a change. In this respect, the market research managers usually approach us.  And our experience then is that every company that test us is happy to stay with our client base afterwards and is even happy to recommend us to others.




advise deals intensively with influencer research, among other things. Is there a golden rule that leads every influencer to success?

Tanja Woppmann: I wouldn't say that there is THE golden rule. But we do notice that influencers who remain true to themselves and above all promote products with which they can personally identify are appreciated all the more by their followers. Even though it may be tempting to gain more attention through new collaborations, it is usually easier for these influencers to build up an organic and consistent reach – which leads to success in the long run.

You claim that credibility and authenticity of influencers play an enormous role today. To what extent is the topic of authenticity generally important for brands and their customers today?

Andreas Woppmann: If we look at the challenges of the last few years, insecurity has generally increased in our society. In our studies, we see an increasing need in everyday life to experience a familiar and reliable world, and this is often experienced using brands, products, and services. As one new bad headline follows the next, the desire for authentic products will not decrease. 

Tanja Woppmann: Maintaining authenticity and credibility is the key in today's consumer society and for brands. Consumers no longer believe as easily what is "played" to them; they have become more critical and question more. A personal recommendation from friends or acquaintances is usually more reliable than "classic advertising". This is precisely the original principle of success on which influencer marketing is based. However, the commercial intentions of influencers can no longer be dismissed out of hand due to the numerous collaborations, making it all the more important to enter into selected collaborations that fit one's own image. Maintaining this credibility with their followers is not only important for influencers. Cooperating brands should also pay attention to who promotes their product in order to avoid possible damage to their image.

advise has a strikingly high proportion of women in its team. Why is that?

Tanja Woppmann: That's a good question. First of all, we are very proud that we have so many great female market researchers at advise, also in numerous management positions – which I, as Managing Director, very much support. Whereas we always hire according to qualifications and mindset and not according to gender, that's really secondary for me. Nevertheless, diversity is very important to us, not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of age, nationalities, skills, etc..

Andreas Woppmann: And after all, at least in the management we have a 50/50 balance.



Christian Thunig is Managing Partner at INNOFACT AG. His work focuses on brand management and media. Before that, the business graduate spent 17 years at the Handelsblatt publishing group. Most recently, he was Editor-in-Chief and Object Manager of absatzwirtschaft. He is also on the editorial advisory board of the platform and on the board of BVM. He is also a member of the jury for the Effie (Germany's leading prize for advertising, awarded by the German Association of Communications Agencies) as well as numerous other juries.

Tanja and Andreas Woppmann are the founders and managing directors of advise research GmbH, which now has over 50 employees since its foundation in 2013. Both are active in business development and method development at the company. Andreas Woppmann is mainly responsible for quantitative research approaches and has also been regional director of BVM Baden-Württemberg since 2021. Tanja Woppmann works on new methods in qualitative research - for more than 10 years including digital survey instruments such as online communities or consumer chats. Furthermore, she is also responsible for the portfolio of influencer research. In addition, both lecture empirical research methods at various universities and are members of BVM, ESOMAR, DGOF and the Marketing Club Ulm/Neu-Ulm.


The interview was originally published in German on – here.

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