Vincent Hofmann is South African Qualitative Market Researcher, FirstStep.co.za caught up with him to see exactly what he does and what it is that gets him up in the morning.
Name: Vincent Hofmann
1. Current Occupation:
Qualitative Market Researcher
2. So what exactly is it that you do:
I gather insights from consumers on a variety of different projects, be they technology oriented, brand focused or simply just acquiring spontaneous responses from consumers relating to a particular ad.
3. Why in the world would you choose career?
Firstly very few jobs offer the potential to research human interactions, mine does. Secondly market research proffers perpetually more information relating to any number of topics – so you’re never going to find yourself reinventing the wheel – humans are by their very nature servants to change..
4. Did you study, how did you go about learning your trade?
I did study, I majored in psychology and sociology and went on to get my honours in Sociology, there is a Masters in me somewhere but I’m afraid work has both my mind and time at present. My trade is a mix of three skills, namely, interpersonal interaction which I learnt whilst teaching and on the job every day, secondly the basic elements of qualitative research are grounded in academic theory which I encountered daily whilst studying and lastly market research itself which can never be mastered and is always teaching me a thing or two on the job.
5. Give us a brief run down of your average working day?
My average working day includes; compiling reports in various stages of development, analyzing raw-data from transcripts, keeping my colleagues concentration levels at bare minimum by muttering random nonsense, overseeing an online panel of young thought-leaders and ensuring that said panel is always fed new ideas and content. Sometimes I get the opportunity to stand up but that is very rare.
6. What type of challenges do you face on an ongoing basis?
Keeping current is a real fear, market research parallels the advertising world and thus keeping my finger on the pulse of such a dynamic field is very stressful but equally rewarding.
7. Do you recommend studying to get into your field?
Definitely, I’m at a distinct advantage in that I was trained to understand and appreciate human behaviour and whilst doing was afforded the opportunity to practice and development the methodologies which I put into practice daily.
• Quick questions:
1. Funniest moment of your career: Putting my foot in my mouth in front of the CEO of a large beverage manufacturer when I less than politely asked him to hold on because his points were both jumping the gun and incorrect. My boss at the time didn’t appreciate it, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
2. Highlight of your career so far: Getting told that I’m good at what I do by my boss, its always the small gestures of appreciation which count. Monetary rewards and back slapping from clients is nice, but I really appreciate the “thank you’s”.
• Your favourites:
1. Favourite food: Pizza from Mamma Lucianos in Durban
2. Favourite Country: South Africa
3. Favourite City: Durban
• Your message to young South Africans:
To those of you who have been afforded a decent South African education grab the opportunity to acquire knowledge – forget about skill sets and salaries – you should at the very least try to understand the world you are in and always keep in mind that you’re the underdog as a Saffer, and everyone loves the underdog.