To celebrate the launch of ZappiStore in Canada, our own Joseph Chen hosted an audience of market research professionals to hear what a panel of insights managers and Kantar Millward Brown’s Sharon Flynn had to say about the challenges faced by the industry. The panel also shared their predictions for the coming years, as we enter the era of automation.



Hosted by Julie Sylvestre, the panel included:

Key highlights

Expectations of consumer insights 

Joe kicked off the discussion around what is expected of CI teams by stating there is a growing expectation for consumer insights teams to act as strategic advisors to executives within the business. That senior stakeholders are not seeking data, but opinions and solutions which can boost their business performance right away.

Elric echoed his thoughts and added that the role is becoming more similar to a consultant, who is familiar with the business and works with marketing, sales and strategic decision makers to provide guidance in driving the business forward.

Challenges faced

shutterstock_391111147The rise of big data has created a challenge in connecting the dots of multiple studies data sources and studies, according to Elric. He added that in some cases there is too much data, which can turn it into a distraction from the real story that is harder to access as a result.

However it’s not only consumer insights teams who are trying to connect the dots. Joe pointed out that marketers are increasingly turning to Google Analytics and Google Surveys for answers, and while it’s easy for researchers to sneer and disregard those tools as ‘not real research’, sometimes the results are close enough to bring confidence in a decision.

He cited the main challenge for researchers is finding the ability to act at a pace that is competitive with the availability of information from alternative sources.

Finding the right talent

When asked if they had to start today, what skills would they hone in on, the panel agreed that analysis skills were the most important to assimilate information from other sources of data and suggested that a better understanding of marketing strategy would enable better communication with business stakeholders on how the insights obtained could steer the business strategy.

No love for digital advertising


According to a study by Kantar Millward brown, while TV viewership is continuing to decline, 33% of viewers said they enjoyed TV ads. Converse to the growing consumption of digital ads, of which only 20% of desktop users approved of the ads they were seeing, which then drops to 14% for mobile.

Sharon stated this ultimately means that up to 88% of viewers did not like the digital videos ads they were seeing, despite having control of the option to skip an ad in 77% of the time.

She concluded that unengaging advertising can not only damage a brand, but can drive down purchase intent by as much as 6%, meaning advertisers would have been far better off if they hadn’t launched the ad in the first place.

Previously, the cost of TV advertising has justified the need to pre-test the content amongst its target audience, however with the accelerating pace of digital, automated tools like LinkNow for Digital are an ideal solution to get a fast read on how an ad will be received before it goes to market.

After Sharon delivered her keynote, the event began to draw to a close with an audience discussion about how agencies and clients can work more closely in an automated world, followed by some networking over hors d’oeuvres. To find out more about what ZappiStore is up to in Toronto, get in touch with Joseph Chen on LinkedIn.

Daniel Evans

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Daniel Evans

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