Thoughts from THE Market Research Event 2015

Cover of conference promotional booklet

I just returned from IIR’s 2015 THE Market Research Event in Orlando. As always, I came away with my head filled with inspiration and percolating with new ideas. There are three themes that I identified, and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Curation
“Stories are the currency of conversation.” Jonah Berger, Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Insights should be curated, developed and communicated as stories.  I believe we should lead with the story, with everything going beyond insight, pointing toward foresight. The more we converse, the more impact we will have.

2. Collaboration
“Insights. Always on.” Sandra Kang, Director, Brand Insights, Digital Insights & Consumer Affairs for The Clorox Company

Many presenters talked about collaboration between Insights and Business Analytics, otherwise known as “Big Data.” This made me think: Insights has the opportunity to become a collaboration hub within companies, connecting various departments that interact with different audiences or issues, informing all business decisions, instead of just being a spoke on the wheel. Think of it:
·      Insights and Marketing
·      Insights and Finance
·      Insights and Leadership
·      Insights and Shopper Marketing/CRM/Retailers
·      Insights and Research Partners
·      Insights and Public Image/Social Media/Reputation

Here’s a graphic I developed to describe my vision:

3. Connection
“Data doesn’t move people; emotions move people.” Caryn Akons, SVP Research & Insights, Strategy Group Manager for CITI

We as researchers need to connect with our constituents in the same way our brands connect with our consumers – through emotional pathways and stories. Can we tap into their curiosity? Can we bring humans into the equation to create empathy? Can we become experts on organizational behavior and how companies work, so that we can be more effective?

Hub and spoke graphics: one with individual business decisions at the center, one with insights and analytics informing all aspects of the business.

Insights could become a collaboration hub within companies, informing every aspect of the business, according to this graphic by Kelley Styring of InsightFarm.

Most importantly, I found that the word “insight” has become a verb instead of a noun. It’s evolved to mean a continuous process, not the achievement of a single objective.

If you attended TMRE, what concepts resonated with and inspired you?

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