We’ve been a small but successful Market Research and UK Marketing Agency for nine years now. And whilst it’s had its trials and tribulations, we’d do it all again in a heartbeat. A lot of that has had to do with the connections we’ve built along the way – our community. Today we speak to one of our long-standing clients, Simon Riley, Founder of Shore Qual, to hear his personal experience of working with us at Podengo Market Research. 

Hi Simon, thank you so much for taking the time to meet our audience today. This obviously isn’t our first meet, but for anyone reading this that’s not familiar with you yet, please can introduce yourself and your business?

“Many won’t know me; I haven’t been out much recently! But yes, I’m Simon Riley, I’m from Northern Ireland originally and live in Oxford these days, and I am very happy to say I am a qualitative* research consultant. I wouldn’t want to do anything else – it is an endlessly interesting job. 

I get to focus on what I’m best at too, which is lucky indeed. Shore is my qual business. Sometimes it’s just me, and sometimes it’s me partnering up with collaborators. I freelance for agencies and also do projects directly for end clients – it’s all good.”

It’s brilliant to speak to someone who is as passionate about Market Research as we are! When did your journey with Shore Qual begin? And what was your spark of inspiration for the business?

“I set up Shore in 2010. By that point, I was a qual research director at Ipsos MORI, which I really enjoyed, but a couple of things prompted me to go solo. One was that I found myself doing more management and less of the fieldwork and analysis I most enjoy. So I wanted to get back to that. The second was being a dad. I already had one young child, and we were in the process of adopting a second. Getting approved for adoption involves thinking hard about family life and I realised I needed to be around more. So working from the home office here in Jericho and having more control over my schedule was just essential. So it all made perfect sense. 

“Shore is also a kind of idea about qual. The shore is a liminal, in-between, but the connecting place between the land and the sea. That is, I think where qual research stands too – I love that about it. We inhabit that place between our clients and the people they need to understand, with a foot in both worlds. And the shore is also where you get away from the daily grind. You get some fresh air, and you can think big thoughts about life. It also allows me to choose nice pictures for my website. I spent way too long doing that!”

When I asked Gemma (founder of Podengo) if I could interview one of our clients, naturally, you came highly recommended. When was the first time you worked with Podengo, and how have you found the experience?

“Wow, that is going back. The first I can definitely remember was in 2013. It was a significant project for me, for a big insurer, and it was about people’s different attitudes to risk in life. It was a three-stage affair, starting with creative groups pre-tasked with scrapbooks and ending up with research films on each segment. It was quite a bold approach for this particular client – they were up for it but a bit nervous. We needed really good, interesting participants for the whole thing to come off – we needed them to share some really personal stuff. Podengo came through for me in spades, and they have been my recruiters of choice ever since. 

“I’d met Gemma when we were on a qual course together and knew she was a great qual researcher in her own right. When she started offering recruitment, I thought, “Fantastic, someone who knows what great qual research needs, in charge of getting my participants. Gemma vets very carefully, and it’s that guarantee of good, thoughtful, articulate participants that I keep coming back for. Gemma and the team’s service ethic is brilliant too.”

Do you have any advice you can give to any start-up businesses, looking for a UK Marketing Agency or considering our Market Research services?

“I always advocate working with the best quality people, and that is Podengo. Partnering with them takes the stress out of recruitment, a part of the project that can make or break it. You need to trust your recruitment agency, and I completely trust Podengo. Gemma and the team are also incredibly resourceful and can help out with many other aspects of a project. They introduced me to film guy Tim Crawley for example, and he’s been a valued collaborator of mine for years now too.”

Market research is all about helping brands to improve their products or services. We thrive off feedback, as you know. Is there anything Podengo can do to improve our service for future clients?

“Just keep doing what you are doing. Keep talking and keep ringing. I am always happy to hear from Podengo and look forward to working with you again soon.”

Thank you, Simon. It’s been a pleasure to work with you and we look forward to more of the same in the not so distant future! Want to learn more about Shore Qual and the service Simon provides? Click here


*qualitative research evaluates the quality of a product or service rather than it’s quantity. 

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