Great to catch up with Mark Langsfeld, who is an expert in AI and customer analytics and currently serves as CEO of mTab. Prior to mTab, Mark led product and engineering at VoiceBase, a leading voice analytics company, and was President and co-Founder of ListenLogic, a leading social media analytics company. In 2016, Mark was named by SmartCEO magazine as “Innovator of the Year” in analytics. He’s an expert skier, tennis player, a husband, and father of two children. Mark also had some awesome advice for junior researchers. I particularly liked his idea and encouragement to seek out a mentor, approach a senior leader and ask if they can help you grow professionally.
Great to catch up Mark. Let’s crack right on shall we! So, how did you get into the industry, and take us through how you got to this point?
I started in market research back in 2010 when I founded ListenLogic, a social media analytics company. At that time our primary customers were internal MR and CI teams who wanted to understand what customers were saying online. The uptick in market research interest was incredible. For the next decade, I had the pleasure of working with many of the largest CPG, pharmaceuticals, and financial services firms, helping them align social media insights to survey data so they could get a 360 degree view of their customers. In 2020 I joined mTab, which has served the automotive and MR industries for over 35 years. Now we’re reinventing the way in which enterprises discover and analyze market research. It’s an exciting opportunity given our long-standing relationships working with MR providers and enterprises.
And if you had to distil everything you’ve achieved right down, what would you say are three secrets to your success so far?
I am passionate about building innovative technology businesses and shaping new products. The three (3) secrets of my success probably are: 1) making sure the business is solving a hard problem, something that can’t easily be replicated by others, 2) validating that there’s an established market of buyers for the product or service, customers who will pay so you can make a profit, and 3) working with people you trust, colleagues who will grind through the challenges to build something new and compelling.
Not being in the office and around colleagues, it is incredibly challenging for younger researchers to thrive. What two bits of advice do you have for a junior researcher, working from home in lockdown, on how they can best stand out and impress their teams?
This is an excellent question and one that we’ve seen playout first hand. As much as technology has enabled many organizations to not skip a beat with remote work, the segment most negatively affected are the younger researchers. It’s hard for them to absorb work habits and skills in a remote setting. My advice to young researchers would be to seek out a mentor, approach a senior leader and ask if they can help you grow professionally. Also, take some time to experiment with new tools, become proficient in analyzing unstructured data, become an expert in more innovative forms of market research. Both tactics will help you stand out and impress.
And thinking more long term now, what two things should junior researchers focus on as they progress in their careers?
Push yourself to work on challenging accounts and projects and grow from those experiences. Also, make sure you’re staying up to date with the latest methodologies and technologies that help customers better understand their customer.
Do you have any advice for our sector?
As with all agency and service sectors, technology will continue to play a key role in the evolution of market research. I would advise MR providers to continuously look for ways to remove customer friction and make it easier for enterprises to consume and act on insights. Every customer is looking to become more data-driven and the providers who remove friction will be the ones who win.
And do you have anyone who has helped your career so far that you’d like to acknowledge and say thanks or give a shout out to?
Paul Slaats, I had the pleasure of working with Paul at ListenLogic as we solved new innovative use cases for pharmaceutical and financial service customers. Paul is a private equity investor and serial entrepreneur and is a sounding board for me with difficult decisions. We are working together at mTab so it’s great to get the band back together again!