10 smart market researchers you should follow

10 smart market researchers you should follow

In my new ebook, The Smarter Researcher, I set out 10 ways that market researchers and insight professionals can survive and thrive in today’s changing environment. In this post I highlight 10 market researchers I think exemplify the tips in my book.

Jeffrey Henning  - Smart Researchers You Should FollowJeffrey Henning (ResearchScape International, USA)

Jeffrey is a serial entrepreneur and a frequent speaker, blogger and contributor to new MR thinking. A key strength of Jeffrey’s is his ability to spot interesting trends and to link them to current thinking and practice—connecting the future with the present. To see examples of his thinking, check out his post on the alternative to long surveys and his weekly roundup of most re-tweeted industry content.

On Twitter, you can follow Jeffrey at @JHenning.

Betty Adamou  - Smart Market Researchers You Should FollowBetty Adamou (Research Through Gaming, U.K.)

Betty is a leading proponent of using games and gamification to revolutionize the way market research data is collected. Betty has shown that traditional surveys are not working and that there are more effective alternatives. Visit Research Through Gaming to access several of her articles and papers.

Follow Betty on Twitter: @BettyAdamou.


Jan Hofmeyr - Smart Market Researchers You Should FollowJan Hofmeyr (TNS and Intellection Software, South Africa)

Jan has been a major innovator in market research. One of his biggest achievements is introducing the ConversionModel, a market research approach that considers both the customer and the market, in the late ’80s. More recently, Jan has been championing the use of expert systems and the integration of surveys with social media predictive analytics to disrupt the world of brand and image tracking.

A regular in industry conferences, Jan also regularly contributes to GreenBook. 

Stephen Paton  - Smart Market Researchers You Should FollowStephen Paton (AGL, Australia)

Stephen is Manager Insights at AGL, one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies. Stephen utilizes two-way relationships with both customers (for example he is currently using an insight community to develop customer intelligence) and the market research industry through various industry initiatives and events. For a taste of Stephen’s work, check out his recap of Merlien Institute’s Mobile Research Mobile World.

He is also on Twitter at @stephengpaton. 

David McCaughan  - Smart Market Researchers You Should FollowDavid McCaughan (BiblioSexual, Hong Kong)

David has been entertaining market research clients and audiences with his imaginative and impactful use of storytelling, especially when drawing attention to issues that may have been overlooked. A speaker at TEDxTokyo, he recently left McCann after 28 years to focus on storytelling.

The best way to follow David is through LinkedIn.


Sue York - Smart Market Researchers You Should FollowSue York (The University of Queensland, Australia)

Sue is a co-author of The Handbook of Mobile Market Research, a member of the Australian Research Society’s professional development committee and is a frequent workshop leader and conference presenter. She recently curated a mobile special feature for the Australian Research Society.

Follow her on Twitter at @1Sue3.


Fiona Blades - Smart Market Researchers You Should FollowFiona Blades (MESH, USA)

Fiona has been a driving force for change in MR for many years. Pioneering innovations in mobile and in-the-moment research, Fiona has also pushed for changes in the way market research is organized and recognized. For example, she created the Ginny Valentine Awards, an annual recognition for research pros who exemplify bravery and courage. A leader in innovation, her approach to research is consistently human-centered.

Read about her real-time campaign tracking article from Admap, and follow Fiona on Twitter @FionaMESH.

Lenny Murphy - Smart Market Researchers You Should Follow

Lenny Murphy (GreenBook, USA)

Lenny has been a leading voice in terms of reviewing all the MR innovations and new market research trends and creating meaningful patterns from them. One example of this role is the GreenBook Industy Trends (GRIT) report, a highly anticipated bi-yearly report that provides a snapshot of key trends in new market research.

Follow Lenny on Twitter @lennyism.

Denyse Drummond-Dunn - Smart Market Researchers You Should Follow
Denyse Drummond-Dunn (C3Centricity, Switzerland)

Denyse has a background on the client-side (including Gillette and Nestlé) and formed C3Centricity to focus on putting customers at the center of the business-planning and problem-solving process. In 2015, she released her book, Winning Customer Centricity: Putting Customers at the Heart of Your Business-One Day at a Time.

On Twitter, Denyse is @Denysech.

Kristin Luck - Smart Market Researchers You Should Follow

Kristin Luck (Kristin Luck Consulting, USA)

Kristin has moved from running a market research business (Decipher) to focusing on educating the industry about growth hacking. Expanding her boundaries beyond market research, Luck founded Women in Research in 2007, providing positive support for women seeking to advance themselves and fellow women in research.

Watch the video below to learn about Kristin’s views on growth hacking and follow her on Twitter at @KristinLuck.

Who would you add?

The market research industry boasts many smart and successful market researchers. This list is just scratching the surface. Did we miss anyone important? Who would you add to the list?

Download the e-book, Winning the Research Revolution

  • denysedd

    Thanks Ray for including me in this illustrious group, I am honoured.
    The one person I feel is missing – is of course yourself!
    You are doing more for the industry than almost anyone I know, and often quietly!

    • RayPoynter

      Many thanks Denyse 🙂

    • Betty Adamou

      Totally agree.

  • Mike Donatello

    I would add the famous Ms. Pettit, of course, as well as yourself. While focusing more on polling and opinion research than marketing research per se, I get a lot of good information from posts by both Paul Lavrakas and Stas Kolenikov. Also, although he’s not a researcher by trade, my friend Howard Fienberg at MRA should be on everyone’s radar.

    • RayPoynter

      All worthy names, especially Annie Pettit.

      • denysedd

        Yes Annie should definitely be there – see what you’ve started Ray!

        • RayPoynter

          Very happy to add Annie, who else should be added?

          • denysedd

            You! No way you can hide from the global agreement above, sorry Ray!

  • John from Daejeon

    Your list is extremely lacking as neither Leslie Moonves or Howard Stern made your top 5. These two men seem to understand their markets like few others…well…I have to add Dick Wolf and Shonda Rhimes to that list as well.

    I have to say that they fit the definition of true, pure market-driven researchers of the highest caliber based on their long-term understanding of their audiences that are pretty much unparalleled among today’s modern researchers. Hell, I guess I need to add Warren Buffet to this list, as well as a few others, but these additions will pretty much gut your list, especially if one were to included the likes of Kelly Kahl and David Poltrack at CBS as the in-house researchers behind Leslie Moonvess and all those that supply the research data for all the others I listed.

    • RayPoynter

      Hi John, are you sure all of those people see themselves as primarily market researchers or insight professionals?

  • Kristin Edwards

    Thanks for the great list. I second Annie Pettit’s inclusion as well.

    • RayPoynter

      Yep, by popular acclaim Annie is on the list – BTW, the list is not ordered by any factor, not is intended to be the ‘best 10’ – but it is a good 10 and covers Asia, America, Europe, and Africa – which is a start 🙂 Please keep the suggestions coming.

  • Lee Ryan

    This is a list of fabulous research professionals, but the list is lacking the diversity of talent that I have experienced in a research role that covered Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. Dave is a very talented man, but there’s something odd about Asia being represented by an Australian who worked in an advertising agency.

  • Chrissy Gaston

    Wow! Thanks for the great list! The comments and analysis of these market reaserchers a re uncannily relevant and correct. However, it is of little use of you do not have an inkling about what the market is about and how it operates. For all that and more, check out:

  • APAC

    Interesting! All westerners. Does this mean not a single market research from Asia can make the list? So we should continue to relocate westerners to Asia to lead instead of hiring locals or promoting locals, even though westerners often do not understand the market AND the language and thus they cannot even understand local consumer language!

    • RayPoynter

      This is a good point and one that has been discussed elsewhere in social media. I think the key point I was making in the book (which this post relates to) was about reading the posts and articles of other researchers. In terms of my personal recommendations I can only fairly mention people who frequently post in English (because of my language limitations). In terms of Asia this tends to include people live Dave McCaughan (1 of the 10 above) who has spent more than half his life in Asia, but relatively few people who speak English as a second language. If we were to widen the net to include people who frequently and impressively present in English then I would quickly add Shoba Prasad, Pravin Shekar, Dangjaithawin (Orm) Anantachai, Tomoko Yoshida, and Manisha Dikshit – amongst others.

      I take your point about Westerners, but I think we should see movement both ways. I spent 4 months in Tokyo earlier this year, teaching market research at a university and running workshops for one of the MR associations, in theory I was there to teach, but in practice I was their to learn.

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