Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards finalist Harry Gove, acting research director, OnePoll 

Editor's note: Harry Gove, OnePoll, was selected as a finalist of the 2022 Oustanding Young Researcher Award which is a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. To find out more about the awards click here.

What is your secret to a good work ethic?  

A good work ethic starts with a good work-life balance for me. It’s impossible to motivate yourself to do the tasks you need to do within your working day if you aren’t taking time out to relax and properly “clock off” outside of work. Working in a role which is very screen based, it’s important to clear your mind and spend time outside or taking part in activities away from technology in your free time – for me this means heading out on my bike or for walks in the countryside, as well as exploring new places to eat and drink in Bristol.

Allowing yourself enough time to relax outside of work, and making sure you separate your work and personal lives, means that when you are at work the ideas will flow better and you’ll find yourself being more creative and motivated. If there is a problem at work you are trying to solve, taking that break away from it often means you can come back refreshed and with a clear head.

At work, I find the best way to keep motivated when you may feel that you have a lot to do, is to divide up tasks into more manageable chunks. By writing down everything that needs to be done in a day and prioritizing based on what is going to be achievable in that time makes things easier to manage. If things are piling up, I find it best to try and cross off a few easy-to-fix items first to reduce the amount that needs to be done and motivate myself toward the bigger challenges. Enough can’t be said about the benefits of setting yourself on “do not disturb” to free up from any distractions!

Working at a full-service research agency, I get to work on projects from start to finish, going from receiving a client brief and working through the best ideas to delivering research that will have an impact, to delivering summaries of results. Working on a whole project, rather than just certain parts, really allows me to delve into every part of it and feel connected to the work.Uncovering interesting findings and getting to present those to a client gives a great sense of achievement and helps to motivate me for future projects. Especially when a client is clearly happy with the research. 

Describe how you got into marketing research.  

I came into market research from a deep passion about understanding human behavior. I took psychology as an A-level and was hooked from there, particularly when it came to the practicalities of research. A few months into my course I decided that this was something I wanted to pursue further at university.

My first foray into research came while undergoing my B.S. in psychology at the University of Bath, during which I took a placement year at TARG [Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group] at the University of Bristol. I spent time working with a variety of research methods, both in assisting to run laboratory studies for other researchers and building my own dissertation research. The research I helped run was published in BMC Public Health later on, which really cemented my desire to carry on in this field.

During my final year, I planned to continue in the academic route of a postgraduate degree, but after four years of study I was keen to get some real world experience. When I came across the opening at OnePoll I leapt at the opportunity!

In 2018, I began my time in market research as a research assistant and in the four years since I have worked my way up at OnePoll to the research director position. I’ve taken on learning opportunities as frequently as possible, attending numerous MRS talks and training sessions. These learnings have further built my passion for market research.

Working on complex topics such as the gender pain gap and period poverty has shown me that market research can tackle important questions in society and deliver meaningful data, while also giving brands the opportunity to understand and connect with their customer base.

What are your goals as a researcher?  

As a researcher, it is important to keep learning and building new skills as often as you can. With this in mind, I am currently undertaking the MRS advanced certificate in market research to develop my knowledge of industry methods more and particularly to be able to assist clients to make sure the research they carry out meets their goals and will provide valuable insight. By building those skills, I aim to become a highly skilled researcher in the future to deliver meaningful insight.

My goal is to further build on research I have done before for social good – such as the period poverty and gender pain gap examples previously mentioned – and eventually specialize in this area. As researchers, we have a responsibility to look into topics which are affecting the public at large and dig deep into how people are coping with these. On the same note, the topic for my MRS advanced certificate focuses on food bank prevalence. Being able to work on research which has positive outcomes emotionally, socially, economically and environmentally is what drives me and being able to help clients understand the importance of placing insight at the center of their business to not only reach their goals but make the world a better place at the same time.

I have a strong desire to inspire young people to join the industry and to also help those who have just begun their research journeys. I think market research is an excellent place to build a career in research, as the broad variety of work means that there is something for everyone. I’ve been able to guide others on their journey here to find the areas of research that most interest them. This is something which I aspire to build on further in the future.