Interview with Phil Sutcliffe

Interview: Phil Sutcliffe

Phil Sutcliffe is a board director at Kantar TNS UK with 25 years’ experience working with many of the world’s biggest brands on their market research challenges. At Kantar TNS Phil helps clients identify, optimise and activate against the moments that provide the most growth opportunity for their business. He does this by bringing to bear the expertise of his team in innovation, brand, digital and customer experience. Phil also leads TNS UK’s research innovation capability, focussed on the use of new digital data sources to complement shorter, mobile enabled surveys to deliver stronger insight for clients.

Outside of work Phil likes to spend as much time as possible with his wife and two boys, going on trips in their VW camper van and trying (and failing) to get them to share his obsession with Liverpool FC. Phil recently completed his first sprint triathlon and his mid-life crisis is blossoming with plans for a full triathlon and half marathon in 2018. 

We caught up with Phil ahead of his appearance at this year's Digital Day which is taking place in Glasgow on October 5.

What drew you to the research industry?

What I’ve found to be true over the years is that market research satisfies my innate curiosity in people and why they make the decisions they make. It also allows me to merge my analytical and creative skills to tell stories for clients to help them grow their brands. The honest answer to the question though, is that originally I fell into it!

You’ve said that there are 2 disruptive forces in research: 1. Tech - driving automation & speed, 2. Big Data. How are Kantar responding to these disruptions?

We’ve invested a lot in technology to standardise and automate our approaches allowing us to provide the answers that clients need with incredible speed, for example testing and validating the potential of creative and concept ideas in as little as 24 hours. We’ve also transitioned from being a company that conducts surveys to a more new data-neutral business that uses a range of data sources such as social media, video and transactional data alongside surveys and qualitative insight to help companies make better decisions.

In a world of endless data and do-it-yourself surveys, why should companies work with an agency to conduct their research?

There are many reasons... Asking people questions requires skill in framing the questions properly to derive maximum insight, deep analytical capabilities to generate learning from across multiple data points also requires the specialism that agencies can provide. Perhaps most importantly, the ability to be objective and to think and apply learning from beyond the boundaries of any given client organisation can provide the challenge and stimulation needed to help businesses find new routes to growth.

Phil is joining us at this year's Digital Day on October 5.

Phil on Twitter