Power the Future of Insight Automation at MRMW

MRMW was a fun, informative and well attended show this year. Located in the heart of CPG land, Cincinnati Ohio, the speaker line up was amazing as were the exhibitors. The venue and space between speakers created a unique opportunities to have deep connections with partners. Dan Foreman (Zappi; Dalia; Bakamo; Veylinx; eYeka; MindProber; Haystack; Course5i; Voxpopme; Borderless Access; MRSS) & Baileigh Allen (ZigZag Research & Insights; Haystack, MindProber) kept things on track and fun!

The speaker lineup was among the best I’ve experienced. MRMW started with Kirti Singh, P&G’s Chief Analytics & Insights Officer and Gayle Fuguitt, Foursquare’s Chief of Customer Insight and Innovation who both gave inspirational and informative talks about the current and future state of the market research industry. Some of the other speakers included:

  • Jeffrey Hamilton, BMW
  • Rama Mallika, PayPal
  • David ludica, Facebook
  • Hetal Thaker Patel, iHeartMedia
  • Tia Maurer, Procter & Gamble

As the official podcast of MRMW, Happy Market Research had the honor of doing onsite interviews. Here are 14 of my favorite…

1. Brian Lamar, EMI Research Solutions 

For those that don’t know Brian is the best kind of people…fun, smart and humble. In this interview we talk about the role podcasting should play in your businesses along with the genius of my friend David Buttler’s recent creation, the viral Mars video:

Have a listen to Intellicast, Brian and Adam Jolley’s podcast, which offers a fresh perspective on the market research industry, sports, life and joviality.

2. Carol Shea, Olivetree Insights

In my conversation with Carol Shea, Olivetree Insights, we discussed one of today’s most important topics, “How can research move from a support function to a growth function?” The place to start is to understand what your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) will be for the research as it is often hard (*cough* impossible) to track to Revenue. For example, a KPI could be,

“How many times is the voice of the customer integrated into the business plan?” 

We also discuss tips and techniques for managing our next generation of researchers:

  1. Context vs checkbox management styles
  2. Collaboration 
  3. Get to the “Why” of the research 

You can find more information about Olive Tree Insights at https://www.olivetreeinsights.com/.

3. Courtney Akel, Georgia Pacific

Take the time to listen to this episode. Courtney talks about how market research is evolving and how that impacts us all in two ways: 

Firstly, partnerships are evolving. For example, instead of a wholesale outsource of the entire project, brands may opt to program the survey internally and then use their partners for the analytics.

Over the last 23 years in the space, we’ve seen in times of economic retraction that firms will move their cost basis outside. Over times of economic growth, firms invest internally on systems and people. The good news is regardless of the economic state, partnerships play a key role in delivering and activating insights. 

Secondly, we need to stay current with our skills. This is something I continue to hear as we are seeing more and more emphasis on data science. For her, this means learning both… 

  1. Python
  2. R

Learning to program is a lot like learning a new language. The good news is there are a ton of resources to help you. Courtney is using Codecademy

4. Gus Valen – Curator Video 

Research is a continuous process vs an event. This is picked up straight away by Gus in this insightful interview. His point of view of how market research is moving along w/the evolving customer journey is refreshing. We have all felt the tension between Observation vs Stated behavior. While Stated is easier to get, Observed can be more accurate outcome. But, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Curator Video is an end-to-end video management technology. If you have not seen them, I’d highly recommend checking them out.

5. Guy White – Catalyx

Founder Market Fit is a real thing and exactly how I started Decipher. Guy walks us through his founder journey and provides tips for early stage firms. With a background at P&G, Guy fell in love with the pain not the solution. This is key to successful innovation. If you are a technology looking for a problem…you will fail. 

Catalyx helps brands persuade more consumers to buy more, more often. They sit right in the middle of the innovation process. Find out more at http://thecatalyx.com.

6. Jill Kushner Bishop – Multilingual Connections 

Think translation and transcription are not innovating? Think again! Jill founded Multilingual Connections and has been applying technology to streamline internal work flows for faster and better deliverables. Jill tackles her business from the point of view of a seasoned expert in the field. 

Find them online at: https://multilingualconnections.com/

7. Justin Coates – Eastman Chemical Company 

Justin has been doing consumer research for over a decade and was recruited by Eastman to build the consumer insights function. As a manufacturer of chemicals, consumer insights is a new function that sits in corporate innovation.

Most of the industry is looking at the Qualtric’s acquisition by SAP for $8B as an insane multiplier. But! I’d think we are at the beginning of the J curve. Why?

When you look at the top performers in the SMP 500, you see Consumer Insights playing a key role in the decision-making process. Conversely, under performers don’t.  

The impact? As companies seek to become consumer centric, our industry is poised to crush it! Eastman Chemical Company is a perfect example of a massive firm that has historically done little to no consumer research but is right now making the shift.

8. Ludovic Depoortere – Haystack 

Ludovic had the best presentation of all time! Sorry to everyone else. 🙂

Ludovic did an experiment with the entire audience where we ate chocolate while listening to different types of music and how the music set a mood which impacted the taste. I hope he links the deck in the comment section. 

So, what does Haystack do? It is a multi-sensory research consultancy that focuses on multi-sensory, implicit, emotive, and contextual research. Creating an emotional connection to your brand is paramount. Haystack can help.

Check them out! https://haystack-international.com/

9. Maryana Stepanova – Borderless Access

A vet of MRMW, I couldn’t agree more with her about the value MRMW gives to participants and speakers. Maryana’s company is a full-service agency that has a proprietary invite only panel in 34 countries that validates respondents via social media. 

Yup! They have a website too: https://www.borderlessaccess.com/

10. Nihal Advani – QualSights 

Getting to “why” is vital. I believe we are at the beginning of a new era in market research where qualitative will play an increasingly dominant role in the insights function. 

Why? Research is basically a conversation at scale. You really don’t need to do quantitative research when you are a small firm…because you are already talking to your customers. But, as you grow that just isn’t feasible. 

With the rise of AI and Machine Learning, now qualitative tools like QualSights and Remesh give researchers the opportunity to have a conversation at scale… 

…which provides the quant perspective you’d get from a survey, e.g. “This is bigger than that” along with understanding the consumer’s “Why”. 

For more information on QualSights, please visit https://www.qualsights.com/

11. Niklas Anzinger – Dalia Research 

Dalia is a primary research firm with a proprietary mobile technology that emphasizes quality and depth of data. They uniquely enable organizations to feel the pulse of people around the world specializing in highly niche sub groups. 

As brands continue to tailor communication to niche customer segments and even to individuals, Dalia helps firms understand and successfully connect to their targets. 

Find out more: https://daliaresearch.com/

12. Rob Pascale – MAi Research

MAi Research develops custom market research solutions to address important challenges. They focus on 4 areas. Our chat centered more around their Text analytics platform which delivers broad concepts vs straight definitions. They uncover the true product and service consumption drivers. 

As an example, Rob talked about diapers (a topic I can relate to having 5 kids)… 

“People didn’t just care about leak protection but also absorbent jell. This pivoted the brand’s communication to protection from diaper rash yielding an oversized return for the company.”  

This is something every brand should checkout: https://www.mairesearch.com/

13. Rudy Bublitz – Digital Taxonomy

Digital Taxonomy has created an application that combines AI and human judgement to transform unstructured text into actionable insights. Their app is uniquely designed to be usable by literally anyone in the consumer insights ecosystem. They also have a set of open APIs. This is a neat company that is in the hyper growth stage.

Find them at: https://www.digitaltaxonomy.co.uk/

14. Will Krieger – Research America

Will has been a long-standing employee with Research America. He talks about how they have successfully managed their M&A strategy (16 acquisitions in 5 years). It all starts with employee “Fit”. For Research America, they have collaboration & integrity that helps them mesh together as a team. So rarely do you hear this from acquired firms…tons of positive energy in this episode.

Research America focuses on delivering high touch solutions to their customers for consistently delivering best in class consumer insights. 

And, finally: https://www.researchamerica.org/

CONCLUSION

I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s MRMW NA. Thank you Merlien Institute along with the fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

You can hear the full interviews at www.happymr.com. As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.

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