Seit über 15 Jahren arbeitet die GIM bereits mit dem Full-Service Marktforschungsinstitut Morpace zusammen. Das US-Unternehmen sitzt in Detroit und Los Angeles und hat zudem Dependancen in Shanghai und London. Insbesondere im Automotive Bereich, also der Automobilmarktforschung, haben wir schon sehr viele internationale Projekte mit den Morpace-Kollegen auf fast allen Kontinenten gestemmt.
Wir freuen uns deshalb sehr, dass sich nunmehr Dave Emig vorstellt. Er ist Research Director bei Morpace in Detroit – und hat in den Jahren 2009-2011 den US-amerikanischen Part eines großen Innovationsprojekts im Bereich E-Mobility (Fokus auf Car Clinics) koordiniert, das die GIM seinerzeit für einen deutschen Automobilhersteller durchführen konnte. In seinem Beitrag für Radar beschreibt er, wie er dieses herausfordernde Projekt damals erlebte.
Hi, my name is Dave Emig. I am a Research Director at Morpace, Inc. (www.morpace.com), a market research firm located in Detroit. I started at Morpace in late 2004 as a Research Analyst on the Product and Advertising Team, working primarily on car clinics (I often describe to others this means I get to show consumers future cars and analyze their reactions). In October of this year (2014), I will have been with Morpace for 10 years. The time has flown by so quickly!
I have made many friends and met countless good people while at Morpace. I even found my best friend, and wife, Jessica during my time at Morpace. But during my tenure at Morpace, I have also had the opportunity to meet a lot of good clients, one of which are those who work with GIM.
The first project – WHAT a project…
My first project with GIM was in 2009. Prior to this project, I had no knowledge of GIM – where it was located (at least I knew it was a German company), what its focus was, what its acronym meant, or any of the staff. I knew nothing. I was a junior staff member at a mid-sized market research firm with a solid reputation in the consumer research space, notably product development research. This study with GIM would be my first opportunity to lead a project.
It is my belief that most car clinics are complex. When conducting these types of studies, I am a researcher who moonlights as a party planner. I have to be prepared to handle, organize, and oversee many details, while always having backup plans in place. Sure there isn’t a lot of pizzazz to it, but there are a good amount of dots to connect.
While I have the best, most experienced staff to work with, there are always issues that arise and solutions to be explored. For this project, the level of complexity, for me, was far more than I was accustomed in the early stages of my career.
So, what made this one so tough? There was the perfect storm of specifications that commanded constant attention to project developments and initiate several brainstorming sessions. In a nutshell, there were four main differences:
- The recruit was extremely complicated. Respondents were to be recruited in New York City and Los Angeles with each location requiring specific vehicle targets (quotas) from several segments, and there were multiple experiences within each segment. To be honest, I had not seen clinics with so many Qualitative sessions at that point in my career. To make this all work seamlessly, we needed to program our telephone recruiting system precisely so we had all the right people going to the right experiences, staying for the appropriate amount of time, and getting paid the correct incentive. Aligning all of this, along with the vehicle targets in each segment, involved a multitude of testing. That was after we needed to revamp of our system to account for the quota lines that were required to track the recruit.
- The vehicles were not all available in the U.S. There was one vehicle that was not for sale in the U.S. Consequently, we had to go to Canada to get the vehicle and bring it to the U.S. That’s not as easy as it sounds. We actually had to purchase the vehicle in Toronto and then ship it to the U.S.
- There was a large mural that needed to be hung on three walls of the main exhibit room where the vehicles would be put on display. This required plenty of planning. Eventually, we had to zip-tie wood boards, with Velcro stapled to them, on truss to hang the mural. All this had to be done in conjunction with the normal setup activities such as carpeting, pipe & drape, furniture, etc. We had one day in each location to bring it all together.
- We had to incorporate a test drive element as an adjunct exercise for a separate sample. So, more recruits, more staff, and an actual drive route needed to be developed.
In short, I had several sleepless nights filled with anxiety, nervousness and fear.
The pilot study in London
Lucky for me, the GIM team thought it best for me to travel to the U.K. for the first leg of the project to evaluate exactly what would be required in the U.S. Thank you!
I had never been to Europe before, so this was a welcomed trip, but it soon hit me… I was not only meeting GIM for the first time, I was also meeting my Morpace U.K. colleagues who work in our London office for the first time. I nearly had a panic attack when I landed at Heathrow, all by myself with no knowledge of London or what I should do. GIM though made it easy, having provided me with a driver to my hotel, where I was able to get a quick nap and head to the venue.
I remember riding in the cab to the venue getting lost in the scenery, yet having occasions of anxiety – what would I say? Will there be a grand entrance? Would I even make it past security? Soon enough, I was there and it was time.
From the moment I walked in the door, I soon realized the full complexity of the setup, but more importantly, who GIM was – they were upbeat, hardworking, courteous, organized, friendly… they were human! They accepted me immediately as a colleague and a partner, making sure that I was comfortable and getting the information I would need to field the study in the U.S. My few days in London were very busy, sometimes frantic, but it was great! It’s an experience that I will never forget.
Back in the US for fieldwork – and: teamwork
When I returned to the U.S., I had one goal – execute a flawless project: for Morpace, for GIM, for the client, and for myself.
As the project grew near my anxiety became more intense. Yet as it was unfolding, my colleagues at GIM were extremely calm, willing to roll with the punches. They allowed me and the team to have control over the project. They were interested in the issues, welcomed solutions, provided direction and deferred to our best judgment. They trusted us! This was a different experience than I had expected. I had just met them a few weeks prior. They could have easily taken the route of micromanaging everything, but they didn’t. It was refreshing.
Needless to say, after all of this, the project went off without a hitch… in both locations. Sure there were some bumps in the road for each execution, but nothing we couldn’t overcome as a team. And the recruit? We met nearly every quota, close to 100 in total.
Since that first project, I have managed nearly 10 large scale projects for GIM, from non-lux to the ultra-lux, quantitative to qualitative to a mix, and developed countless proposals to aid in their pursuit of business opportunities. We have worked with GIM in the U.S., U.K., and China. Each project seemingly has similar complexities as the first, but they are much easier following those learnings.
Working togehter with GIM colleagues
I think what makes these projects intriguing and enjoyable is the challenge. There is not a whole lot that comes easy. There are always a few wrinkles. Sure there is stress, but the results are rewarding, personally, for the other Morpace teammates, our vendors, for GIM, and most importantly the end client.
I would be remiss to not mention the team at Morpace because our team as a whole is instrumental to the success of our work with GIM. The team we have at Morpace, from the moderators to the analysts thrive in part because they are good researchers, but also because most have been involved in these types of studies throughout their career. This is an obvious advantage, but what truly helps is the dynamic we all have with each other, which is the main reason I like working at Morpace. I enjoy the camaraderie, the friendships, and the genuineness of the people. Together, we are a team. We help each other succeed, often by working across teams, to deliver high quality service to our clients. Subsequently, I believe that’s why we work so well with GIM – we share a similar enthusiasm for our work, team and company.
Although GIM will always technically be a client, I also consider the individuals whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with and know, my true friends. Over the years I have had the distinct honor of getting to know each person well (I primarily work with Kerstin, Christoph, Stephan R., Ulla, Stephan K., Sabine, Frank and a few others sprinkled in here and there). We have all had countless laughs. I’m not talking about the occasional giggle, although we have lots of those, I’m talking about the ones where you laugh so, so hard that your stomach still hurts the next day.
We have had barbeques (“patio parties”), nights exploring the town (PJ Carney’s), frequent visits to the Stone Lodge (in Los Angeles in what has become a tradition), “prancersizing,” World Cup soccer bets, and we’ve even showed them how to make S’mores.
While we have had a lot of fun, the best moments are the ones following a long day where we sit in uncomfortable seats around a small, beat-up table and tell stories. They aren’t the stories you’d hear around a campfire, but the ones about previous experiences, the trials and tribulations of being a researcher, the ones about their family and pets, about the activities they enjoy and the adventures they’ve been on. They are the stories that make them human, that make them genuine people and all of us good friends and partners. These are the experiences that make it hard to say goodbye at the end of a project. I always look forward to my time with the GIM team and I hope for many more opportunities to enjoy life with them.
Visiting my friends at GIM in spring 2014
On a more personal note, when I visited GIM this year, the team took time out of their daily routine to show us (my wife came with me) Heidelberg and some of the surrounding area. They took us out to eat and we enjoyed many of the similar times we had done so much while on projects. While my wife and I travelled to other places such as Paris, Florence, and Venice, this was some of the most fun we had on our trip.
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