What We Do

Who Am I

Melinda Duker

Dive Master Insights & Strategy.

+61 0405 028 933


Mel has amazing energy that manifests in high volume and high quality output of strategic and tactical initiatives. Mel’s experience base is quite broad across Category management, Trade marketing and Consumer marketing which positions her perfectly to make a positive difference in any organisation. I could always rely on Mel to deliver any task or project with passion and high personal accountability.

Shane Bonello, Sales Director
Pacific Region, The Wrigley Company Pty Ltd

Melinda is passionate about understanding consumer emotions, needs and actions and how these translate into strategies that will drive a client’s top line sales and bottom line business. She is intellectually curious, immersed in the latest thinking on research techniques and provides an insightful & actionable service to her clients. Enthusiastic, and fun to work with, her broad experience give her an ability to speak plainly on business issues. She excels at collaborating with clients to find the best solution.

Katharine Milner ,Director-Qualitative Insights
The Leading Edge

Mel exhibits strong traits as a researcher.  From a project management point of view, Mel is highly organised and motivated, and anticipates next steps displaying strong initiative. From a research perspective, Mel’s greatest skills lie in her inherent understanding of client issues. This understanding ensures that she designs and executes projects that lead to meaningful insights for clients. Mel is a pleasure to work with and comes highly recommended.

Courtney Sullivan, Associate Director
The Nielsen Company

Tales From the Deep

Who would have thought a quote from Ashton Kutcher would be the inspiration for a blog post? Seriously? As an …

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Colmar Brunton’s (Millennium Monitor) theory on 5-7 year stint revolutions means one is coming our way again soon (well they …

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Last week I spent a thought provoking afternoon at the Vivid Ideas Shake, Rattle & Roll event.  I walked away …

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Are We Asking Great Questions?

Who would have thought a quote from Ashton Kutcher would be the inspiration for a blog post? Seriously? As an actor… Nwah. I’m not a great fan. As an entrepreneur and techie. Well that is another matter. So what is this quote I speak of?

“Great questions expose problems and problems are seeds to solutions. Great questions expose roadblocks that are an entrepreneur’s opportunity. A great question sometimes will arrive at a ‘no’, which is a playground for a rebel’s spirit” Aston Kutcher – Renegade Collective Issue#20

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As a researcher and marketer I love this quote but also find it, or the concept of it, incredibly frustrating.

Looking from a client perspective for a moment, how often is a brief rushed? Some top line thoughts typed in, the brief emailed to the agency and they rush back a proposal so we can all get into field as quickly as possible to ask consumers their opinions on topic X.

The precursor to the above quote is “a great question is one armed with knowledge, care and thought; that pierces into the grey matter of the world, the universe that we live in, and looks for problems and inconsistencies and broken things”. Great questions require, actually mandate, time, thought and energy PRIOR to the question being asked.

I am far from against receiving a brief from a client, this is after all my income, but I do want to challenge us as an industry on quality vs quantity. Some thoughts on what this means to getting more from each brief:


 Milk everything we already know:

Time poor marketers and insights managers plus staff turnover make this tough. How many clients can honestly say they are across all the research that has previously been done on a brand / topic and interrogated all the data sources they have available? I would guess very few and it isn’t because they aren’t a great marketer or insights manager. It is just reality of an environment of conflicting priorities and staff turnover.




Question the question:

A brief comes through as a rushed phone call between meetings or an email with a template completed. Great, the project is on, but let’s breathe for a moment. Challenge and understand what we are asking.



Put it in context:

Research to understand is great but in our economic environment we need to be realists and more than likely there is a business decision that has a bottom line impact that will need to come from the research. Step out of the insights and marketing departments for a moment and understand what are the broader implications. Chances are these will build into the questions we want to know.


Image Source: http://bksts.com


As a researcher, who has come from a client side marketing background, I see a researcher’s role as being more a consultant.

1. Reviewing and META analysis of existing should not be a nice add-on to a brief, especially in a new client relationship, but a given that we are knowledgable with the questions we are going to ask.

2. Putting time into a collaborative brief. Question the question.

3. Understand the broader business implications.


These steps are not intended to add pressure to the instigator of the brief, chances are they are already working overtime, but can sit within the process of the researcher if we see their role as beyond just answering a question. Instead we need to look at the value of the actual question we are asking. Put greater collaborative effort into creating a great question before we go anywhere near a respondent. This falls back to the bottom line in delivering quality rather than quantity from our research.

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Melinda Duker
+61 0405 028 933