As Hanover’s first Primary Researcher, Michael Byington has brought new capabilities to MIC’s research offerings. Below he elaborates on his position and his primary research work.
How have you established your position as our first primary researcher?
The two internships that I held previous to this position really prepared me for my role at Hanover. I interned at a prominent law firm and I was constantly on the phone with influential people at companies that used that firm’s services. My last internship was with the Denver Nuggets and one of that organization’s goals this season was to amp their in-arena experience. I spent a lot of time calling executives of other NBA teams in order to see what they were doing and if we could replicate their experiences in Denver.
What are some of the challenges to primary research?
I would say the number one challenge is just getting people on the phone. I know personally that I never take surveys when people ask me to complete them so I empathize with everyone I reach out to! The second greatest challenge is finding the right person to talk to. With some companies that employ over 5,000 people, it can be difficult to find the one person who knows a lot about my specific research topic.
How is primary research used in the MIC research process?
A lot of the information that our clients ask us to obtain is either sensitive or scarcely written about online. When this occurs, secondary research becomes inadequate to satisfy our client’s request. Therefore, primary research is used to gather information that no one has written about online (at least what is publicly available) and when Hanover speaks with industry experts, we obtain an exclusive view of any given market.
What is the most interesting interaction you’ve experienced since starting at Hanover?
I called a cherry producer in Oregon one time and when I informed the owner that I was writing a report on an element that is used to clean cherries for human consumption, he proceeded to call me a “weirdo” and then began laughing at me, before hanging up. The point of the story is never buy cherries from anyone in Oregon!
What are your favorite components of conducting primary research?
I enjoy conducting primary research because I look at every project as a puzzle that has to be put together. After I have conducted several interviews, I can begin to piece together the answers to our client’s questions and this is a rewarding experience!