George Head

Meet George Head, Director of UK Sales. Today, George shares his advice to help industry colleagues embrace marketplace platforms, which he knows are the future of market research. Below are his tips to help migrate mindsets from panels to sample marketplaces.

Q. What made you want to join the PureSpectrum team?

A. Stephen Hughes first showed me the PureSpectrum Marketplace Platform in a pub (of course) in Westminster. I looked at him and said, “Stephen, if this platform does what you say it can then I will quit my job and come and work for you right now.” 

The system was fast, it was simple and the reach was incredible. At that time getting 1,000 nat rep completes in a day from any vendor was a tough ask. At PureSpectrum we can do 5,000 in a day. Then Stephen said to me, “You’ll like this.” And he showed me the extremely competitive pricing driven by the high degree of automation within the system and the high level of control that buyers have in the platform by choosing suppliers that will work within their budget. When I think back at all the emails I had sent back and forth with clients agreeing on a CPI… that was gone. 

And so was I! I handed in my notice and 3 months later I started at PureSpectrum. Back then our UK office had 4 people including me and now there are 20 of us. 

Q. What are your observations around the industry’s sample sentiments?

A. Self-service sample or marketplace platforms have been around for many years and are only becoming more popular as ease of use increases. To some, the transition from working with a traditional panel company to a sample marketplace has been a joy. More and more I’m seeing a genuine willingness from our clients to embrace this new tech and discover its benefits. But, for a minority of sample buyers, there is still some lingering resistance.  

Q. How do you ease the fear of marketplace platforms?

A. Over the last two and a half years that I’ve been a part of PureSpectrum, I have heard a lot of excuses for not using marketplace platforms. But in my opinion, clients are really struggling with just three specific challenges.

1. Fear of Change – Based on 15 years in the industry including working for two renowned panel companies, the biggest of these fears is simply, change. People are afraid to change the status quo. However, once you make the change, the benefits do pour into your daily sampling. After all, what would have happened if we’d said, “Do you know what, I just don’t trust telephone research”. Or if we’d rejected online research? And hey, 2021 would be looking pretty bleak if we’d rejected the once controversial idea of working from home.

2. Fear of Time – There are two ways that we currently work with clients. The first approach is when clients come onto the platform fill out their job spec, select their suppliers, and launch the project. These clients use us as a technology company which is what we are. The second type of client initially fails to see the benefits of creating efficiencies in project setup. We have a mark-up on these projects to cover the operational element. Their reasoning being “we don’t have time to set up.” In the majority of cases, it’s because they haven’t grasped how straightforward the PureSpectrum Marketplace Platform is. We do see a repeated pattern of many new clients starting their relationship with PureSpectrum with us running projects for them but then quickly realise that the platform allows them to work at their own pace without having to wait for responses or tweaks to the fieldwork parameters so they usually very quickly move over to running projects themselves. The number of times I have heard “oh, wait that’s it? I don’t have to call you to ask you to do this, I can just do it here?” It dawns on them that it’s faster and saves time to run it themselves.

3.  Fear of Accountability–  Traditionally when a panel company runs a project on behalf of the researcher, there is a clear demarcation of accountability – if anything goes wrong in fieldwork the researcher can point to the supplier and apportion blame there. Our users are typically far more proactive, confident in their own ability and knowledge of the client’s business and needs, so it’s fair to say that the majority of our projects are run by clients who wish to take ownership of their projects, save time and add more value to their clients.

Q. So, what’s waiting on the other side of accepting sample marketplaces?

A. Well, on the PureSpectrum Marketplace Platform, it’s quality data and quick delivery. PureSpectrum has more than 60 panels integrated into our platform giving us incredible reach. This means that projects that were previously considered ‘impossible’ are now done – and done fast.

Q. What does the future hold for PureSpectrum?

A. I like to think of PureSpectrum as a skyscraper. The tech stack we created is an incredible bedrock for research. We’ve laid this solid foundation and we get to keep adding levels and services to our offerings. Every “floor” in our structure is built with intention and a strategic gathering of industry experts. We started as a marketplace and now we are an end-to-end market research platform. Our Insights Platform empowers users to collect consumer insights for any research requirement. Our customizable data analytics dashboards offer powerful insights in one click. PureSpectrum has also developed the industry’s first and only respondent-level scoring system, PureScore™, creating a new standard of data quality for the industry.

I’m excited to continue this journey upwards and be a part of how the PureSpectrum Platform evolves.


Want to learn more about how an exchange platform can better inform your business decisions? Join George at Quirk’s London. With DVJ Insights, he will present a study of football fans across four European countries (ENG, NL, DE, and ES) to understand how they view the game, the connection of the club they support, and what lessons they might provide for brands and marketers in all sectors.

Can’t make it to London? Reach out to George below or connect with him on LinkedIn

About PureSpectrum 

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research and insights platform, helping insights professionals make decisions more efficiently, and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognized for industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum developed the respondent-level scoring system,  PureScore™, and believes their continued success stems from their talent density and dedication to simplicity and quality.

In the few years since its inception, PureSpectrum has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s Fast 500 since 2020, and ranked for three years in a row on the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative List and the Inc. 5000 lists.