FEATURE9 July 2024

Geraldine Trufil – Research Hero

Features Research Heroes 2024

The Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Geraldine Trufil has joined the cadre of Research Heroes 2024.


GERALDINE TRUFIL, chief operating officer and co-founder, SPLIT SECOND RESEARCH

Geraldine has around 20 years’ experience in project delivery and client liaison. She has successfully managed a wide range of projects across various market categories. For Split Second Research, she has been central in helping solve problems for its clients and supporting their ambition to grow. Indeed, her biggest passion is problem-solving, and with a background in engineering, it’s ‘part of her DNA’. 

Geraldine was nominated because: "She is one of a kind. She is a problem solver. SSR clients love her. She makes research less boring and more fun. She strives to make it easy for clients to conduct research, takes ownership of problems and provides clients with the best experience along with robust data and insights. SSR clients trust her because she always gets things done quickly, efficiently, and, most of all, beyond clients’ expectations! She loves to give you more than you bargained for." 

Geraldine was also nominated because she "'is not a ‘regular’ person by any means, a client’s problem is her problem. She goes above and beyond to support clients (brand managers and insights analysts) as well as colleagues and associates to identify the right solutions."

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career? 

When I was a project director at the Transport Research Laboratory some 15 years ago, I had the privilege and opportunity to work with around 500 skilled individuals and renowned experts. I was free to select the individuals required to deliver my projects. However, when I became a start-up founder and owner of Split Second Research (SSR), the big challenge was doing almost everything myself: dealing with finances, managing the day-to-day running of the business, managing employees, handling clients, designing research, and more. Access to immediate resources was very limited. The ambition to grow and scale up seemed almost impossible. 

So, I set up another company in the Philippines to support SSR UK. There are two large universities near my hometown, but no commercial software companies locally to employ their IT graduates. I took the opportunity to establish the first software company in my hometown, and so I could have the pick of the crop. This allowed SSR UK to grow organically. Based on client feedback, SSR is the “fastest agency in town”. Our company in the Philippines has made this possible and it has also allowed us to be very competitive with our pricing. 

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why? 

I believe that objective research methodologies that capture consumer perceptions and attitudes to predict consumer behaviour is the way forward. Only around 15% to 20% of people can articulate their thoughts effectively. Therefore, there could be a significant gap between what people say and what they will actually do. Relying on what people say or their subjective views can be risky. Using objective methodologies based on robust science, such as implicit reaction time testing and neurocognitive techniques, is the way forward. These objective methods are less prone to biases. 

Another trend or development is the use of technology, such as mobile apps, for facilitating and conducting research. Touchscreens are readily available and are easy to use and very efficient at gathering information from consumers.  

Who inspires you as a researcher?  

My main inspiration is one of the co-founders of SSR, Dr Eamon Fulcher. His passion for behavioural science is contagious. He helps clients understand what sound science is and how to do proper experimentation in research. He not only provides solutions to their problems, but he always ensures that they understand why it was done in a particular way. 

Another person who inspires me is Baroness Lane-Fox. She is remarkable. Despite having an art degree, she became a digital champion and a key figure in transforming UK Government digital services. In a male-dominated industry, she excelled without any background in IT and without even knowing how to code.