Our March “coffee with” series is with Andrew Wiseman, director at analytics specialists Honeycomb.
Andrew joined Honeycomb in March 2018, to help launch the brand in the market. Andrew has nearly 25 years’ experience in both analytics and research agencies, and has a broad range of experience, most notably in FMCG / consumer goods and technology / telecoms. Andrew is also a mentor on Leeds University’s Nurturing Talent scheme, which helps today’s undergraduates prepare for the world of work. Outside of his time with Honeycomb, Andrew is a long-suffering fan of Bolton Wanderers, a lover of Music, especially early nineties ‘Merseybeat’ and mid-noughties angular indie, and you’ll find him in the kitchen most weekends, creating culinary delicacies alongside his love for craft beer.
Start by giving us the background as to how you became a director at Honeycomb?
I studied Economics and Econometrics at university, and was fortunate to land a role with Nielsen in their global analytics business. That experience turned me from fully-fledged data nerd into a commercial consultant using data for marketing and advertising issues. I’ve never really looked back from that. Since that time, I’ve had various detours into quant research and business management, but my heart has always been in analytics. A chance conversation with one of the Mustard directors (who I worked with previously) – and the rest is history, I joined Honeycomb and so far it’s been fantastic!
What has been exciting or inspiring you so far this year?
First off, getting Honeycomb up and running, and through the first year has been hugely rewarding! We’ve done some pretty cool stuff with data, and we’ve got lots in the pipeline to hopefully put to market this year. The one thing that’s for sure, the world of data is awash with opportunity, and we feel we’ve got the perfect blend of skills to deal with it head on!
What’s your favourite research project that you have ever involved with…?
With nearly 25 years’ experience, this becomes ever more difficult to answer, but it was a project for a telecommunications brand where we developed an agile testing platform for a new technology stack they were implementing – it was the most ‘real-time’ piece of work I’ve been involved with, and opened my eyes to the complexities of large scale infrastructure investments.
…and the most rewarding?
I’d probably reference a whole client here. At Nielsen, I managed the global analytics business for Allied Domecq (RIP). The relationship was built entirely on collaborative working, with the client and agency equally invested in the work we were doing. I remember pulling 40 hour shifts to get some work done for their Mexican JV, and didn’t once complain!
How would you describe the current profile of data within the boardrooms of global companies?
It’s rapidly evolving into a norm now, with most organisations having c-suite Chief Data Officers. Ironically, it’s something the insight sector has been trying to achieve (with limited success) for over a decade. At Honeycomb, we view insight and data as two elements that complement each other – so hopefully we can see the emergence of insight and data officers at the top table in the not too distant future.
What do you see as the biggest threat (or biggest challenge) facing the market research sector?
Data and automation. I remember writing an article about big data for the research trade press back in 2010, and to be honest, it’s only in the last two years that the opportunity (or threat if your glass is half empty) has moved up the corporate priority list. Of course, a lot of the talk right now is about the threat of AI – but let’s not forget that these algorithms are programmed by humans, so perhaps aren’t as artificial or intelligent as we’re led to believe!
What should be the priority for research agencies in 2019…?
Focus on strengths. Whether that’s through innovative methods, through research type, through industry sector. Become known for something – otherwise, what’s the USP?
…and what would be your message for research buyers in 2019?
Don’t look at research in isolation. Research is just one strand in an increasingly complex information ecosystem. Use existing research and data to enrich what you’re working on, and find other new lenses through publicly available to give your insights the competitive edge.
What is going on outside of work-life that people need to know about!
I’m getting a lot out of my relationship with the University of Leeds just now. I was a founding member of their ‘Nurturing Talent’ scheme back in 2013, and take great pride in having being able to help a number of undergraduates on their routes to the world of employment. It’s fantastic to be able to share my experience and really wish I’d had access to this when I was a student. I’m also spending a ridiculous amount of time pressing the refresh button on twitter on the #bwfc hashtag, awaiting positive news about a takeover of my beloved Bolton Wanderers. The one thing I’ve learnt: Don’t hold your breath…
First and last gig/concert attended?
First I genuinely can’t remember the order! It was either Happy Mondays, The Wedding Present or The House of Love, somewhere around 1988. Last is much easier, that was my favourite band ever, Maxïmo Park, at Leeds Beckett University in January this year.
Any book recommendations?
Workwise, The Choice Factory is a great read, and one I’m looking forward to finishing when @MustardIrina returns it! Non-work, I’m currently trying to read more classic literature, and am half way through The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
Fire up the DeLorean. You can spend the weekend time travelling – where are you going and when?
Wembley Stadium. 28th April 1923. White Horses. Bolton 2 West Ham 0.
Should you wish to discuss data science, analytics, Bolton Wanderers or the noughties indie-scene with Andrew, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org