Always a Step Ahead: Interview with Claudia Gelbe

Published Jun 25, 2024

Claudia Gelbe, Managing Director DACH Toluna I Harris Interactive I MetrixLab

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Claudia Gelbe, Managing Director DACH, Toluna | Harris Interactive | MetrixLab


Hear from our DACH Managing Director, Claudia Gelbe, in conversation with Wirtschaftforum. The original interview (in German) can be found here.

Market research provides businesses with the critical insights needed to navigate the complexity of modern consumer journeys. It supports informed decision-making, helps in crafting effective marketing strategies, drives product innovation, enhances customer experiences, and ultimately contributes to business growth and competitiveness.

Toluna Germany GmbH, based in Frankfurt, offers businesses an agile end-to-end market research platform –  Toluna Start – which delivers consumer insights in real time.

Economic Forum: Mrs Gelbe, what makes your solution stand out from other platforms?

Claudia Gelbe: Our platform combines the best of technology, research science, global panels, and a customised service. It’s designed to scale with our customers’ businesses and reflects our motto, “Research without limits.” Delivering integrated consumer insights in real time, the platform hosts research solutions that are user-friendly, highly automated, and adaptable to the needs of our customers.

Most other platforms on the market offer standardised and less flexible solutions. Our platform has been developed to offer a dynamic and constantly evolving research environment geared to adapt to the research challenges of today and tomorrow!

In addition, many industry competitors use third-party consumer panels to conduct research and will have little influence over the quality and speed of their data supply. At Toluna, our experienced panel management team takes care of our in-house panel, which currently comprises more than 79 million members from across the globe to ensure an enhanced level of data quality and speed that our clients can rely on. Basically, we control the entire value chain and its quality.

Last but not least, clients have complete flexibility in how they choose to work with our platform, often determined by the level of project complexity. For example, clients can choose to use the platform directly (DIY), or our team can assist in specific aspects where more support is requested. Alternatively, we can deliver the entire project on their behalf.

Business Forum: What do your customers appreciate about working with you?

Claudia Gelbe:  I believe our customers appreciate that Toluna is much more than a platform. The platform is our research tool, but our client support services and research consultancy are just as important. We are more than just a data provider. We implement a comprehensive approach that ensures robust data quality and insightful output.

Our customers understand that it’s important to work with partners with expertise in their specific industry sectors; for example, in healthcare or the automotive industry. The ability to understand industry specific nuances makes for more robust research projects, producing higher quality insights and delivering more impactful outcomes.

Our customers have always appreciated our research solutions expertise, and we continue to grow here too. Toluna gained significant expert knowledge in product innovation, as well as brand and communication research, because of last summer’s merger with MetrixLab, a leading global market research company. It’s an exciting development that has enhanced our overall capabilities offer.

Finally, and above all, customers appreciate consistency in service delivery. Our global structure offers that assurance – enabling us to seamlessly deliver consistent high-quality standards across our 30 international locations.

Economic Forum: What are Toluna’s most important target groups now?

Claudia Gelbe: We are strongly positioned in the areas of FMCG, healthcare, technology, and finance. In addition, we see promising potential for the future in the retail sector and the automotive market.

Economic Forum: How did Toluna grow into the company currently on the market?

Claudia Gelbe: We started as an online survey platform at the turn of the millennium and have always endeavoured to be one step ahead of the industry. An important step was defining our solution as DIY. As a result, we have created a global consumer panel that our customers can access via SaaS for solutions and advanced reporting.

Over the years, we have strengthened our research expertise through various acquisitions; the mergers with Harris Interactive in 2014 and with MetrixLab last year were important milestones. We now employ over 2,500 employees around the world. In Germany, our team consists of 50+ employees, and we successfully compete with the big names in the research industry.

Economic Forum: What are your goals for 2024?

Claudia Gelbe: Our main goal is to drive the integration of our various brands, because we want to continue to engage as a team with our comprehensive research offer.

Of course, we will continue to stay abreast with and implement the latest technological advances. Artificial intelligence is a keyword right now and it is exciting our industry just as much as it is others. However, I would like to emphasise one thing: while technology is critical and makes many things possible, our business is ultimately about people; they are our main focus. We work with consumer insights that are important for the future of the brands, products, and services we know and love today, as well as those that have yet to be imagined. Technologies such as AI and augmented intelligence will continue to evolve, but all of them work in support of, rather than replace, human intelligence.

Economic Forum: How do you address the persistent shortage of skilled workers?

Claudia Gelbe: The shortage of skilled workers is a major issue in our market. We are growing and it’s critical we position ourselves as an attractive employer to continue to attract talented individuals who contribute to those growth goals.

In support of that effort we offer a hybrid working model, place an emphasis on having a good work-life balance and have developed a company culture where people feel valued and included. We have also created a trainee program with our Jumpstart Academy that is particularly suited to young talents. This helps them become familiar with different areas of the business and fast-tracks their career development.

Business Forum: Where would you like to see Toluna Germany on the market for the long term?

Claudia Gelbe: Our long-term goal in Germany is to be the first research company our target audience thinks about when they have a need for “on-demand market research”. And through our consulting efforts and insights, we want to ensure our customers, their companies, and their brands continue to gain a real competitive advantage.

Contact Information

Toluna Germany GmbH
Wilhelm-Leuschner-Straße 41
60329 Frankfurt am Main

+49 69 74227600

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