Interview with Hilary Fischer – COO, USA at ALL GLOBAL

online panelsBrief background of Hilary Fischer:

Hilary Fischer serves as the COO for All Global’s North America business unit. In the years prior to joining All Global, Hilary held leadership positions at Kantar Health as Vice President of Global Operations and Compliance from 2008-2011 and at Ziment as Vice President of Research Operations from 2005-2008. Hilary has also been active in the Marketing Research Association, serving on both local and national boards and was the most recent recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Service Award.

At All Global, Hilary is responsible for setting the strategic vision of the North America business and is responsible for creating an efficient and effective client oriented sales team and culture, along with creating an efficient operational infrastructure to deliver best in class services to all clients.

Online MR: What is your definition of leadership in today’s recession hit economy?

Hilary Fischer: It is just too easy to get caught up in the negativity that tends to come in times of economic hardship. This is where you need to be creative as a leader, in terms of keeping the team around you inspired, motivated and excited.

Regardless of the economic climate, most people want to feel fulfilled at work – and that is not always tied to financial performance or rewards.

It is about feeling as though you are making a difference, an impact.

It’s about making sure that you know who you are and what you are about and focusing on that – and not trying to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Many companies make the wrong decision and don’t remain focused on what they are good at when times are tough, only to find themselves in trouble by failing to deliver on products that are outside their expertise.

Online MR: All Leaders should be AWESOME Marketers – do you support the idea?

Hilary Fischer: I think you need to be able to sell your vision to both your clients and your own internal team if you are in a leadership role.

It is not about marketing per se, but about being able to communicate clearly what you are trying to achieve and convincing others to buy into your vision and join you on your journey. Then you need to have a fantastic group of people supporting you who are positioned to help you achieve that vision.

I am lucky at All Global to have a great team surrounding me who are ideally suited to support me in this respect – Matthew Walmsley as my Vice President of Research Operations; Jonathan Taylor as my Associate Director of Research Operations-Data Processing; Vinny Burke as our Director of Global Panels; Bill Hoover, SVP Market Research, who serves as the head of my sales team; and Anja Dreyer as our phenomenal Head of Marketing and Social Media.

Online MR: How are you adding ‘value’ in this price driven industry?

Hilary Fischer: We talk about this every day at All Global. In the simplest terms, it is about redefining how we see ourselves in the broader research paradigm.

The one thing I have been trying to impress on my group is that we are researchers first and foremost and the market intelligence, research expertise and healthcare insights we can, will and should provide to our clients must be our highest priority.

Online MR: 2012 – what are your business plans for this year?

Hilary Fischer: As a relatively new leader at All Global, I am focusing on how we can offer better, deeper and more meaningful insights to our clients as well as promoting our ability to reach those difficult audiences that our client really need and want to talk to – such as payors/KOLs and patients.

For me, it is all about knowing who we are and what the key strengths are across our organization both in North America and in Europe and beyond.

Online MR: Healthcare panels – most lucrative panel offering but difficult to build – how did you achieve it?

Hilary Fischer: Over the years, All Global has built trusted relationships with thousands of carefully selected healthcare professionals across the globe.

We now have one of the most powerful, far reaching and responsive panels in the industry, giving unsurpassed access to the opinions of highly targeted, relevant professionals across North and South America, Europe, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Why do we have a responsive panel? Because physicians are clients, too. We engage our panelists by designing user-friendly surveys, ensuring the maximum number of complete and often achieve great results in record timescales.

Native panel managers with a deep cultural understanding of local healthcare systems and cultural sensitivities ensure that our clients’ surveys won’t get lost in translation.

Online MR: What challenges your team faces in terms of reaching out to healthcare specialists? How do you overcome them?

Hilary Fischer: This is all about focusing on using the right channels to speak to the right people. In the world of healthcare, it is knowing how to reach the target audience and it not always via expected methods – especially in emerging markets.

This especially true in the patient world and we are very excited about our exclusive partnerships with Health Engage and Inspire – both of which will provide our clients with unparalleled access to patients – Diabetes, Oncology, etc. – who have not been accessible via traditional online panels.

Online MR: How can a company create a unique brand identity in a ‘Fish Market’?

Hilary Fischer: For all of us at All Global this is a timely question as we just launched our new branding earlier this year. We spent a lot time debating on how our branding should represent us; we spoke to our clients, our internal teams and our panellists.

It was amazing how aligned their feedback was and it really helped us in terms of defining ourselves from a branding perspective. Our brand is a promise that creates expectations and for our audience it is an experience, determined by our performance.

I absolutely love our positioning – “We know, we are All Global” – as it encapsulates exactly who we are as international healthcare data specialists.

We have cultivated relationships for well over a decade to gain unsurpassed global, regional, national and niche stakeholder access. The trust and rapport that we have built with our stakeholders – be they payors, HCPs, KOLs or patients – results in better response rates and stronger data for our clients.

We know the right channels to use to gain clear and considered insight that can be delivered to quickly and easily. We work in partnership with our clients, combining qual and quant, online and traditional routes – whatever it takes to deliver bold and insightful solutions.

We are not afraid to take on difficult projects or to introduce new technologies or techniques before they are main stream if we feel that will give both our clients and ourselves a competitive advantage.

Online MR: Your views on the current raging debate on Proprietary Panels v/s Panel Aggregation.

Hilary Fischer: Panel aggregation gives the impression of broader reach and representation as well as ease of use/access, but questions regarding duplication, quality and validation of respondent identities are relevant.

I believe that there is a benefit to controlled ownership and oversight of panel resources. And for me, the key question always is response rate. You can say you have the largest panel available, but can you deliver what your clients’ need?

It’s not necessarily quantity, but quality, which is paramount.

Online MR: Today there is a BIG Question mark on the credibility of the data collection – your take on it.

Hilary Fischer: This debate has been going on for as long as I can remember, regardless of the methodology.

From my perspective, data collection today is as valid as it was when I started in this industry. Knowing where your sample is coming from is key to trusting in the data that is collected – and this means partnering with your data collection providers and asking the right questions.

Here at All Global, we pride ourselves on our commitment to quality in data collection and this is why we are a founding member of the Trust Alliance, whose main mission is to advance industry standards, develop and promote best practices and preserve and foster trust in online physician research. The four areas of focus for the Trust Alliance are:

1. Authenticity – proactively monitoring and protecting against potentially fraudulent responders.

2. Transparency – ensuring transparency in the data collection process.

3. Data integrity – ensuring integrity of data collected.

4. Response quality – promoting measures to encourage physicians to provide thoughtful views and responses in support of healthcare company decisions.

Online MR: What 3 qualities ‘MUST’ be present in your team member to achieve desired results?

Hilary Fischer: I am always looking for creative, motivated and passionate team members. It has been my experience – having managed many teams over the past decade plus – that those who present these three key traits always excel regardless of the role they hold.

One of my mentors, Howard Ziment, used to say “Be momentarily happy…but never satisfied”. This sums up exactly the type of person I love to have working on my team.

Online MR: In research industry with tight deadlines – work life balance goes for a TOSS!! – How do you avoid this trap?

Hilary Fischer: By always remembering that you are a better partner, manager and employee if you take the time to step away and live your life to the fullest.

You cannot help yourself or others if you are burned out. My friends and colleagues have always been slightly amazed at the fact that when I am on vacation, I am on vacation.

I leave the blackberry home and focus on my friends and family during these times away from the office. When I am at work, I am 100% focused on the business; but I am the same in my personal life as well.

There must be a balance. I encourage my team to have the same approach and I am convinced it makes an impact – both professionally and personally.

Online MR: One thing which you won’t part with even for the entire world’s gold!!

Hilary Fischer: This one’s easy – my DVR!

online panelsHilary’s co-ordinates are mentioned below:

11 Madison Avenue

12th Floor, New York

NY 10010, USA

T +1 212 271 1200 ; F +1 212 414 1154

LinkedIn ; Website ; Twitter ;  Blog