Interview with Terence McCarron – MD, North America at Cint AB

online panelsBrief background of Terence McCarron:

Terence McCarron serves as the Managing Director for Cint’s North America business unit. During his career in multi-sector quantitative market research services, Terence has helped grow several leading global organizations while developing expertise across multiple methodologies. During the decade prior to joining Cint in 2010, McCarron held leadership positions with Greenfield Online, as Senior Vice President until mid-2008, and Kantar’s healthcare panel firm All Global, as Executive Vice President following its acquisition by WPP.

McCarron joined Cint after learning about the market research technology firm’s disruptive business model. Cint’s core values of transparency, quality and client choice resonate deeply with him as does its commitment to growing a company “the right way”, as a long-term partner in the market research industry. He recognizes how Cint’s approach can solve many of the problems facing online market research today and is passionate about sharing this vision throughout North America.

Online MR: What 3 things you prioritize the moment you sit in front of your laptop every morning?

Terence McCarron: Since the US is a relatively new market for Cint over the last couple of years, I can comfortably say there are many competing priorities every single day. Some are really pertinent and essential to build the business while others are more fundamental to sustaining a company. At this point in our evolution, my top three priorities are:

1- Training & Development- It’s important to us that we constantly invest in our people. This is often something that falls by the wayside in budget crunches. I’m proud of the budget we have allocated in 2012 for training for our team members and I think we become better as a company by doing this.

2- Business Analytics – We have a very diverse team in North America in all disciplines which leads to a variety of ideas and approaches to helping Cint grow. It’s important that as we take advantage of that diversity, we measure which approaches work so we can share our successes while also learning from mistakes.

3- Building value for Clients- Cint is set up as localized business units supported by a very strong global core team, including my boss, Global Commercial Director Richard Thornton, our SVP of Global Supply Sandy Casey, and a world-class Operations group led by our Global Head Ryan Jay. With that kind of muscle, it enables me the luxury to constantly focus on our clients and how Cint can and should support their work daily.

Online MR: What are the biggest challenges faced by a leader in these recession time?

Terence McCarron: I think a huge challenge in difficult economic climates is keeping the external doom-and-gloom media messaging out of the daily reality and culture in our company.

I will confess this is perhaps easier for us because we are a newer, innovative player who has so much market share still to capture in North America.

So, our “startup” business phase, combined with advanced technology products coming from a gifted development/product group, led by Marcus Almgren and Oscar Carlsson, tends to create enthusiasm and interest internally and from the market. This has helped propel validation in the form of revenue and supply milestones for Cint USA.

Online MR: How are you shaping up CINT to be different from other market players?

Terence McCarron: The core vision and approach that Cint has taken since its inception, long before I arrived, is so different that I just have to make sure we continue to communicate these unique qualities in North America.

Values we rally around include: transparency, empowering consumer brands and publishers to tap into their loyal consumer base, giving MR firms choice without quality erosion, and panel supply partnership expansion by diversifying from an overplayed value proposition.

Our technology platform, the OpinionHUB, helps us capitalize on short-term opportunities while still progressing to our long-term view of what Cint can be for the industry.

Online MR: Which new markets are you looking up to expand your business?

Terence McCarron: Cint has grown dramatically internationally over the past few years under Richard Thornton’s leadership.

We have feet-on-the-street in 15 countries which has enabled some extremely deep online sample reach in more than 50 countries while also making us a global player in our space.

As I think about our North American expansion opportunities, our 2012 priorities include using our technology model and unique supply generation approach to solve the industry needs in B2B, Healthcare and ethnic population segments.

These are perfect complements to what we do so well globally in the consumer arena and enabled by current and future technology products in the Cint portfolio.

Online MR: How has online panel business changed in the past few years? How has your company changed to keep pace?

Terence McCarron: There has been real change in the online panel business over the past few years.

To name just a few, we have had: Consolidation among the larger panel suppliers leading to fewer global vendor options; stagnant panel sizes in major markets combined with escalating pricing pressure; emergence of sample blending and multi-sourcing methods as a necessity to combat newer concerns about long-term supply sustainability.

All of this has happened amidst a technology boom which has begun to change the way we collect consumer data.

Cint is both an example of the technology boom while also being a long-term, quality solution to short and long-term global supply constraints.

Online MR: What plans do you have now to expand your product/service suite further?

Terence McCarron: If you ask anyone working here, I think you’ll find agreement that there is an incredibly rich set of ideas on how to expand our products and services.

For instance we just released a completely revamped Cint Access product. This offering is designed to make our internal teams’ lives easier while also giving our clients a peek into the future, as we see it in our industry.

Cint Access elegantly blends robust quality standards in our online sample offering with sophisticated workflow automation and robust respondent reach.

Online MR: How do you market your products or services?

Terence McCarron: Cint has built up a strong marketing engine to support our global brand.

That’s reflected in our recent rebrand which realigned products to be even more customizable to the user. Cint also fine-tuned our messaging to emphasize the ways in which our solutions can provide benefits to a vast array of buyer profiles; whether you are in need of hard-to-reach insight or a panel owner wanting to build a personal brand.

Our new website launched with this in mind and will continue to expand encompassing more tailored applications of Cint’s portfolio of SaaS products.

Locally, our most successful marketing tactics are creating opportunities for clients to interact with our sales and operations teams.

I have always believed that the Market Research industry was a relationship business.

So, it’s only natural for me to see the success in my region that has come from our personal interactions as we tell the Cint Story and service the client business we are awarded.

Online MR: What role social media plays in your company’s marketing plans?

Terence McCarron: We think deeply about social media in all our marketing plans. You’ve undoubtedly seen a link to our Cint Blog, Twitter account, Facebook presence, YouTube channel, etc.

These approaches have become natural part of all of our communication planning. So, we continue to seek effective ways to tell our story in all effective social media.

Our global marketing team led by Hilary Shapiro, Global Brand Director, and Linn Lindstrom, Online Marketing Director, continually strives to uncover innovative ways to communicate with new audiences around the world.

Social media is a natural fit for this as is the focus on creating online media content.

We realize that our marketplace model is different and we appreciate any opportunity to discuss it from LinkedIn forums to Twitter updates and maybe a video in between.

Online MR: How can we present our panel expertise to potential clients in a way that will have value for them?

Terence McCarron: One thing I have learned in my career is that the MR companies are filled with incredibly educated professionals who have well-honed and data-driven philosophies on sampling and online panels approaches.

At Cint, we believe we can add tremendous value by simply providing access to the typical “off-limits” data that is at the core in the panel business.

We’re not as interested in driving a viewpoint or methodology for sampling as we are in empowering the professionals to do what they do best- make educated data-based decisions to meet their client needs.

Online MR: What should be the top priority for any online panel company?

Terence McCarron: That’s a loaded question! I am sure there are many people who are better equipped to answer that question than I.

However, I think and hope that any or all panel firms should hold as a very high priority a long-term view on ensuring broad-based participation in our industry from as broad a segment of the global population as possible.

Online MR: What’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received?

Terence McCarron: I’ve received many pieces of advice from many role models in my career. Many times advice was delivered verbally, other times it was delivered through observed actions.

But, likely the worst advice I received was to “play it safe”. By nature, I seek inspiration from what I do.

We spend so many hours at work, I find I enjoy the most success when I’m inspired by new ideas and approaches. So, for me, sitting back and playing things safely would lead to inherent job dissatisfaction for me. I’m fortunate to be at Cint in this regard.

Online MR: Do you believe business has any obligation to make the world a better place?

Terence McCarron: I think the best, sustainable business models create value by actually doing just that- making the world, or at least pieces of it, a better place. So, I find it more of a necessity than sheer obligation, if that makes sense.

Online PanelsTerence’s co-ordinates are mentioned below:

Cint USA Inc

16000 Ventura Boulevard, Unit 910

Encino, California 91436, USA

LinkedIn Profile ; Website