After 30 years of working with some of the Springfield area’s most well-known employers, Jerry Henry knows more than a few things about marketing.
The president and CEO of H2R Market Research cites time learning from names like Peter and Jack Herschend, Johnny Morris and Jim Anderson as formative to the market research company he runs today.
“Their mentorship, influence and the opportunities they provided over the years have enabled and inspired me to grow in the field of consumer insights and market research,” Henry says of his humble, two-person shop beginnings as Jerry Henry & Associates in 2004.
Six years later, Henry and Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. partnered on developing H2R as a separate unit of the business, but the company wasn’t done growing. Within a few years, Henry had acquired HFE’s share of the business and partnered with longtime colleague Jill Renner Mowris.
During the creation of H2R, the company cut its comparable costs by 25 percent through a transition to digital qualitative research methodologies and picked up a J. Desmond Slattery Award for professional excellence in innovation from the International Travel & Tourism Research Association.
While Henry considers the award a notable feather in H2R’s hat, he’s most proud of the company’s growth over the past six years. Today, H2R has nearly 200 clients in the United States and works on projects around the globe.
Assessing the marketplace and consumer needs along with delivering recommendations is part of the grind for the market research consultant, but putting a personal touch on his professional influence is how Henry keeps H2R at the top of its game.
“Serving as an industry thought leader has enabled me to amplify the voice of the consumer and influence people locally, nationally and internationally,” Henry says. “Professional influence may not be the same as personal influence. It is my mission in life to provide both.”
That personal influence is Henry’s biggest strength, according to Jim Anderson, vice president of marketing and public affairs for CoxHealth.
“His communication with his audience is outstanding,” Anderson says. “Jerry doesn’t just communicate the market research results; he provides tremendous and insightful analysis of the findings.”
Henry also works to increase engagement in the professional marketing community. Since 2012, he’s served as chairman of the Global Marketing Outlook Forum’s marketing committee, which has increased industry conference attendance by 48 percent over the last three years.
In Springfield, those efforts are focused at the academic level. H2R offers an internship to area university students, and Henry works as a one-on-one mentor with Evangel University marketing students and entrepreneurs, hosts field trips at the H2R offices for Missouri State University marketing students and recently served on that department’s board of advisers.
“As John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,’ and I could not agree more,” Henry says. “This sentiment is at the very heart of the mission of H2R Market Research.”