In honor of SSI’s 40th anniversary, we are sitting down with some of the organization’s employees to ask them a few questions about their years of experience in the MR industry.
Mark Lepine, Managing Director APAC, has been with Survey Sampling International since 2014 and is based in Hong Kong. He is responsible for all sales and operations in the Asia-Pacific region including Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
Q (The Editors): What is best thing about being the managing director in APAC?
A (Mark Lepine): The diversity of the region – its people, food and cultures. From the Aussie charm (yes, it does exist!) to the Indian food and welcome, the food and scale of China’s recent resurgence, the modernity of Singapore and the other-worldliness of Tokyo. It’s a wonderful place to work and spend a life, that’s for sure!
Q: How long have you been with the organization? What positive changes have you seen over the years in the industry?
A: I have been in SSI for three years. The online panel industry has become a lot more professional and competitive. The weak players on quality and service have been found out, and the stronger players try and keep up with us. It shows SSI in a good light, the quality through sales, delivery and support functions.
Q: What is the single greatest challenge facing the market research industry today?
A: There is a growing tendency to look inward and focus on cost or process. I think the whole industry would be better served by focusing on innovative ways to help the customers.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re off the clock?
A: I work in Asia, so we have to stay awake all hours to help our American cousins through their day…but when I do it’s mainly filled with my wife and two sons.
Q: What role would you play in a group of 20 people in a post-apocalyptic scenario?
A: I’m the guy who slaps sense into the people who panic.
Q: How do you think market research will evolve over the next 40 years?
A: The fundamentals of MR haven’t changed in a hundred years – get the most representative group of people to answer some questions. Offline, online, through email, phone or social – the fundamentals I think will remain, just the way we contact people has differed – that’s what I expect will change.
Fun facts about Mark:
I will use this space to beg: I haven’t had a drop of alcohol for nine months which will end at a year (and cannot come soon enough) in order to raise money for a breast cancer charity. If anyone feels generous they can sponsor me, here. Thank you!
Mark has served in management roles in the research industry in Asia over the last 18 years, including at Gartner, Forrester, WGSN and SSI. He has been based in Hong Kong since 1995 and is married with two sons.