“What Really Matters in MR Innovation”

Collaborata Interview with Kristin Luck, Growth Strategist / Board Advisor


Everybody talks about innovation. Where do you see real innovation coming from in marketing research over the next one to three years? 

I’ve been pretty outspoken that I’m concerned about the lack of innovation coming from within the industry, but there does seem to be a marked increase in innovation coming from outside firms that are realizing the massive opportunity that marketing measurement represents. That said, I’m inspired by companies like Lieberman Research Worldwide, who has effectively pushed VR into the industry, as well as firms like Kantar that are making major investments in startups that bring new technology and methods into the industry. Let’s hope this signals a trend that traditional full-service firms understand the business imperative to evolve.

With so much new technology — especially when it comes to methods of collecting and analyzing data — how should users decide what to adopt and what to ignore?

My biggest challenge has been avoiding the distraction of whatever shiny new product or tool appears on a weekly basis, because the amount of new tech flooding into the marketing-measurement space can be really overwhelming. I’ve always been guided by two things: what am I interested in and what is an easy win? By that I mean, where does something fit naturally into my research model? How excited am I by the technology? And then, of course, ensuring that you’re working with an implementation team (both internal and external) that has at least a basic understanding of research and is willing to go the extra mile to get new solutions integrated seamlessly. Lastly, do you have a client who is willing to partner, experiment, and then evangelize new methods? Client validation and acceptance, which is often the most challenging part of adoption, can’t be ignored.

What’s the difference between working “in your business” and working “on your business”? And, how have you implemented knowing the difference in your work?

If you’re a business owner or exec, working “on” vs. “in” the business should be a top priority.

Working “in” the business is a pretty straightforward concept — it’s all the time you are spending doing jobs that other people could be doing (like micromanaging a research project or booking travel for your team). Working “on” the business is something quite different. It’s taking a step back and focusing on what will strategically add value to the business. Maybe that’s your client-development strategy, or some sort of new product development brainstorming, or ideating on a global expansion opportunity. It’s about giving yourself space to grow and evolve your business.

In general, it’s easy to work “in” the business, so that’s what we tend to do. For example, it’s easy for me to manage all my own invoicing because QuickBooks is easy to use and it’s mindless busy work. It doesn’t take me much time. I actually enjoy it. But every minute I spend on a task like this, which I could easily pay someone else to do and which adds no value to my clients or to my consulting practice, is a waste of my time. So I don’t do it. “In” work is generally an avoidance to working “on.”

That said, we all occasionally get sucked into “in” work; the point is that it shouldn’t monopolize the majority of your day. If you’re spending more than 50{29e78b6e26326b1649d4ab11262bfd04e3540596afa6b27f244224b044ac33b5} of your day working “in,” it’s likely time to push the reset button and figure out how you can get back to “on.”

Can you explain the significance of the term jugaad? How do you see this concept relating to market research in general? How does it specifically relate to the ideaof Collaborata?

Jugaad is a Hindi and Punjabi word literally meaning, “hack.” It’s frugal innovation at its best.  It’s about doing more with less, which I think is really the essence of Collaborata. As an industry it feels like we’re still in the early stages of adopting frugal innovation. With a push toward more agile research methods, I think more firms are considering “hacks” and also embracing collaboration opportunities — particularly on the tech side of the business.

What advice can you give clients, big and small, who may be concerned about co-funding projects with competitors on Collaborata or through any other connection?

My advice really relates back to your first question about innovation. What makes you special or different? I see so many industries engaging in “collaborative competition,” where everyone competes with everyone else by doing exactly the same thing. Cindy Gallop gave a great talk a few years ago about the future of business being driven by a new concept of competitive collaboration. This concept is driven by transparency, where everything a company does now is potentially in the public domain anyway, thanks to the internet. Transparency demands that companies be more open about their business dealings, to the world and each other. This in turn offers opportunities to share solutions that help grow and innovate markets, while putting the responsibility on each company to identify its own strengths that make it uniquely competitive, and therefore able to succeed.



Kristin Luck is a serial entrepreneur and a globetrotting internationally recognized keynote speaker on marketing measurement. She’s a futurist and growth hacking expert, specializing in nontraditional marketing and branding strategies, and regularly contributes to both the commercial (Fast Company, Forbes) and academic press (Research World, Journal of Brand Strategy) where she explores emerging marketing and research methods. 

Kristin is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 sales and marketing experts to follow on social media. She most recently served as a partner and President/CMO of Decipher until its acquisition in 2014 and currently works as a growth strategy consultant for early and mid-stage companies preparing for funding or acquisition.
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Jimmy Zollo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Collaborata -- a Chicago-based tech startup serving the insights and marketing research world. Collaborata is the first-ever platform that enables organizations to share research costs and insights. Collaborata was a finalist for the 2017 Midwest Digital Startup of the Year, the 2016 Insight Innovation Award and has been featured on Business Insider, BuiltInChicago, Greenbook, Quirks, Research Live, MRWeb, and Market Research World. For more information, please visit: http://www.collaborata.com Jimmy developed his passion and enthusiasm for the Chicago tech community, while driving growth at GrubHub for four years. He helped develop GrubHub's industry-leading restaurant network, traveling across the country to launch new markets and grow existing ones. Following GrubHub's IPO and merger with Seamless, Jimmy transitioned to the corporate team, leading partnerships between GrubHub and many of Chicago's leading law, consulting, tech, and marketing firms.