Welcome to Vegas! Walk past the ferns and trees of the Mirage arboretum, through the fog of smoke that hangs in the air, down past the spa and the Starbucks with its long lines, around the corner, around the other corner and there, in just a few hundred more yards you’ll arrive at the 2019 edition of TMRE.
As always, this year’s show featured captivating keynote speakers, the promise of disruption, more applications of new and updated technology, and how best to apply innovation. We also saw a dense population of insights professionals; the folks careers rely on making sure their companies keep a sharp pulse on the market, services and products and, of course, a keen eye on the competition. This year the attendees numbered above one thousand with close to sixty percent of the those registered on the client side. Researchers come to TMRE to learn, calculate and above all question, and then question again and this year’s show did not disappoint. The real spirit of the show is to provide a forum for researchers from all types of organizations the opportunity to question and get answers, to learn and be educated.
Here are some of my key takeaways from this year’s event.
Innovate or die, but don’t forget from where you came
Andy Ellis of Lucid led one of the great breakouts, and it was valuable on two fronts. First, he led a review of the history of MR data collection, using stories and photos. We often forget in today’s world of API-powered delivery that online sample came from email-based invitations, which derived from out-bound dialing centers. Before that, in-person data collection (in malls and door-to-door) was both the norm and the predominant methodology. This session was rich with context and history, underlined by how much progress we have made over the last 25 years. Using the history as a backdrop, Andy guided us through the technology evolution at Lucid and then a discussion around modern sample delivery on the whole, the underlying theme being innovate or be crushed. Andy delivered great comparisons to how Uber dominated the once mighty taxicab business and, similarly, how all MR firms need to constantly be on the lookout for new technologies and ways of doing things or risk getting lapped. The key takeaway? Take your latest and greatest technology and don’t be afraid to burn it down and start over from scratch. Don’t get hung up on how things used to be done, even just a few quarters ago.
Do more with segmentation
Segmentation can be calculated in many ways, ranging from demographics to behavioral to attitudinal. This year’s show had more examples than I can recall on using different segmentations. There are so many ways to slice the apple but this year something different surfaced in talks. Most of the presentations I have seen in past years used segmentation to tackle categorical needs; however, some of the best talks I saw this year went a step further and used segmentation to unearth new findings about customers. It is difficult to be everything to everyone so find your segment and then go deep. Learn all about the segment and humanize them versus simply solving something at the category level. I love this deeper way of thinking.
Why buy the shiny car?
A key message resonating from researchers this year is “Make Sure Your Research Counts”, which is a simple yet powerful insistence that you do something with your insights. Several of the talks looped back on this again and again. It reminded me that even if you are not in sales, there is almost always a component of your job that requires you to “sell” yourself and your work. But then take it a step further- ensure it is not only delivered and heard but insist that it is acted upon. I am reminded of Amy Lang from Staples as she took the stage describing how Walmart and Amazon, as competitors, could not rely on price and speed to win. Staples is taking a deeper look at segments that want to come to the store, spend time and ask questions, learn and share something… real-life experiences that online stores will struggle to compete with. From her research she was able to tell this story and Staples is acting on this strategy now. However, if no attention had been paid to the findings and no strategy created – the research goes unused, much like buying a shiny new car that only sits in your garage.
TMRE is the place for researchers to ask questions, be challenged and get answers, and this year’s answers centered around knowing where we’ve been so we know where we’re going, like taking segmentation to the next level, and making the research count. I lot like finding navigating your way through a Casino in Las Vegas.
About Market Cube: Market Cube is an global insights, market research operations and data sciences company. Market Cube owns and operates global panels that span from deep, nationally representative communities to niche, unique audiences. Market Cube provides sample, survey, and quantitative research across a multitude of industries. With access to 4.2+ million people in more than 50 countries, Market Cube provides real-time insights that power insights global corporations and brands www.market-cube.com
About the Author: Ted Pulsifer has over twenty years of executive and sales leadership experience. Ted started his market research journey at Peanut Labs/Dynata before serving as Regional Vice President for Lucid. Today, Ted is Partner and Chief Revenue Offcifer for Market Cube, which empowers faster and more creative data collection globally with best-in-class expertise, technology and services. When not working, Ted can be found hunting for unusual wines, traveling or on the water with his family in Charleston, SC. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tedpulsifer/