A Day in the Life of a Planner

Sabine Stork

2nd April 2015
What's your official job title?

Founding Partner at Thinktank International Research Ltd

How would you describe to your parents/grand parents what you do?

Before spending lot of money on new or improved products or advertising companies want to check that their ideas have a chance with the people they want to sell to. So I work on behalf of large companies and interview people like you on products and services and brands – I then give them advice on how to fine-tune their decisions so their ideas have a good chance of success. I do this both in the UK and abroad.

How would you actually describe what you do?

Qualitative research is all about helping decision making by interpreting consumer behavior and attitudes in the light of client objectives.

Please could you write a sentence or two on what you were doing at the following times today/yesterday?
9am

Caught up with my colleague who moderated groups last night –mix of getting a heads up on initial findings and gossiping about our disorganised client!

11am

Call with a client who wants us to present research findings to an internal team – we had worked on quite a foundational piece on a business area which affects several units and this particular one didn’t come out of the research very well. Good to be prepared so you’re not treading on people’s toes when delivering implicit criticism of their work …

1pm

Catch up with research and marketing clients on last night’s groups . We started in the UK and will roll the project out across Europe next week. We made some recommendations on changes to the stimulus – concepts for a new product – inject a bit more emotion into currently quite dry ideas.

3pm

Wrote short credentials presentation for a potential new client. Could have done without this task before Christmas – the time of year when everyone remembers they have a bit of budget left for last minute research. Feast or famine is the bane of my life as a small business person – you’ll have periods when you’re too busy to woe new clients but if you don’t keep on trying you’ll end up with very long stretches of no work.

5pm

Just finished a client call on interim findings. Nice call – they were very appreciative of our work. They work for a technical company who are not normal qual research users so easily impressed! But still, what a nice change from jaded overworked marketing people!

7pm (or whatever time your work day generally ends)

Wow – what a week! I’ve deserved myself a drink! But quite happy all in all – projects going reasonably well and I was really glad working with a new-ish member of staff who seems to be coming into her own. I like seeing young people develop.

If you left your job right now, what wouldn't happen as a result?

I’m indispensable so the company would collapse. Well … maybe they’d get on perfectly without me who knows but my business partners are semi-retired or too junior to do it all by themselves so it may be tough for them.

What's the most interesting thing you've done in the last month?

I’ve done lots of interesting things … I really enjoyed working in a new sector, gaming. Seeing the world through a different lens is one of the main reasons why I like doing this job – often feel as if I’m discovering new parallel universes!

What's the worst thing you've done in the past month?

It’s not been a bad month but I didn’t enjoy working late yesterday writing a proposal. Didn’t have enough time and felt I didn’t do it justice. I could have done a better job with a couple more days …

What are you wearing today?

Blue dress, flats – quite feminine. It’s Friday and I can express myself a bit more. I pay quite a lot of attention to what I wear and feel I need to adapt: bit more formal/frumpy – more trendy depending on client and unintimidating casual for moderating.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give someone trying to get your job?

Get quant training and keep up with technology

What's the one thing you wish you'd known before you started?

Have had an OK run … maybe would have been good to know how big a part technology would play. I may have learned how to code – but I suppose could still do so now

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