Things can move awfully slowly from time to time. We have from the on-set of Cint been hell-bent on thinking that consumer access is a commodity, and due to this fact it makes sense to trade that asset in an exchange environment, and do so on a platform where these assets are shared between participants. This should makes sense since it fosters transparency and thus quality, speedier handling by way of immediate access, and it also raises overall ROI for all participants. If we also connect all this through API´s and enable other software services to hook up to this from both ends (demand and supply side), we will also help in creating more efficiency, higher speed and less manual handling. Since Cint doesn´t own any panels at all, we are able to stay firm on quality – since we sell consumer access on behalf of others, we cannot pretend that number of invites per day, or number of answered surveys per day or single-sourced panels, do not matter. Of course they do and panel owners will tell us so. The panel providing industry has been extremely successful in creating a marketplace for consumer access (or B2B sample for that matter) in a very short period of time, but the business model traditionally used by the industry is highly inefficient at times, since it creates reasons for keeping the black-boxed solutions intact and see to that buyers not fully understand what is actually happening. Even here in “little Germany”, meaning Scandinavia, where my workplace is located, we are seeing players that have piped the quality tune for a long time, only to suddenly abandon that, due to the fact that their business model doesn´t hold up anymore (nothing wrong in that per se, things do change, but they should also inform clients that they are changing due process). The possibility for clients, meaning market researchers, to understand how the sample has been generated, how often it is being deployed, what the invite looks like, what the incentive offering is, etc., is slim or non-existing. My old sergeant in the rangers once told me that “trust is good, control is better”, which is so true. It is not enough to just listen to what somebody says, especially not in a still very much serviced industry such as this one, over time the market, hopefully, will only have solutions that allow you to go check for yourself how things have been done. Vertical integration might be very tempting, but it dims the view for everyone on the outside and long-term I simply don´t believe it to be a winning model in this industry. A successful brand building might fool some for some time, but over time it is a losing proposition.
Our position is a software maker´s. As such we need to stay agnostic to trends and changes within the marketplace. Given this industry´s traditionally labor-intensive model, we need to be able to deliver a traditional serviced solution to those that want that, but also keep up-dating the SaaS offering, and finally, making sure that our api´s are both easy to implement but at the same time also offers enough width from a functionality point-of-view, enabling clients to implement these solutions into their own sample management or production systems (as well as straight into survey tools, should they so chose). Over time, clients should be able to pull and deploy sample from different sorts of software coming from other software makers (regardless of what hardware the UI is run on), as well as being able to implement different sourcing solutions and have that sold into the marketplace in an efficient manner. Cint offers both panels and a river solution on the supply side of things, but the key thing to remember here is that we do that in full openness, it is up to you as the client to decide which solution fits your client´s demands and needs. If we can use routing as a way to increase yield for panel owners, and lower the price for the buyer, while at the same time keeping quality intact, then we should do that, but once again, it has to be an option for you as the buyer to use it or not. It shouldn´t be decided by some actor in the supply chain without you knowing.
Cint is growing rapidly for the sixth year in a row, and the amazing thing is that the pace is accelerating. We would like to think that this is an effect of us creating solutions that fit the changing needs of our clients both today and hopefully also tomorrow. It is obvious that we are getting a very clear signal from clients that they like what we do and how we do it. Our only mission now is to see to that we continue to do that in the next years to come. The access market within the market research industry will greatly change again, the change has barely started, and we are more than ready to embrace that change and deliver solutions that continue to be at the forefront of access- and supply chain technology.