At IIeX EU 2017, hundreds of eager researchers descended upon the vibrant city of Amsterdam to hear about the latest learnings and innovations in market research. What was once considered futuristic technology just a few years ago had since evolved methodologies with exciting new tools on offer and stories from both clients and agencies alike. 

A few of key takeaways stood out for us:

MRX gets tech savvy: A.I. was the hot topic this year, with more examples of its application in managing big data and even more speculation on what will be possible in the coming years. We also saw competition heating up amongst a growing number of exhibitors offering non-conscious methodologies that incorporate neuroscience, facial coding or virtual reality. 

Clients becoming entrepreneurial: Fail fast was the common consensus from clients keen to try new, experimental concepts, continuously iterate and innovate, while drawing inspiration from their own research and performance data. 

New faces, new voices: We heard fantastic thoughts from fresh presenters of the New Research Speakers club, adding unique perspectives to the mix from psychometric analysis to community management.

Humans? What are they good for?

To kick off the conference, Simon Edward and Seda Tokcan, IBM, discussed the continuing impact of machine intelligence and its potential benefit on a wide range of issues that humanity will face over the coming decades. 

Simon described the huge amount of data available in organizations today that continued to further exceed human cognitive capacities to analyze and interpret. As a result, this leaves us with a real need for machine learning and artificial intelligence to bring valuable insights to the forefront. 

More importantly, Seda questioned the role of human expert in this new world of technology. Together they discussed what unique aspects of human intelligence will not be replicated by a machine.

They concluded that tomorrow’s top intelligence professionals will be freed from the boring work and will be free to focus on their expertise, ingenuity, use of technology, consultancy and communications. 

Robots Vs Researchers: Will they ever be friends?

In our first presentation, Paul Albert, Tony Costella and Iain Rack talked about the unprecedented rate of change seen in multiple industries as a result of automation. Comparing advertising in 1997 to today, they highlighted the increased rate of content production and that current research business models can not support this.

Instead they encouraged the audience to embrace automation in research, as Reckitt Benckiser had done in partnership with ZappiStore and Kantar Millward Brown. Not only didReckitt Benckiser see their overall ad effectiveness increase from 45% to 59%, they also increased their spend with Kantar Millward Brown by 34% – a win-win for both teams! 

The Nature of Consumer Emotion

Dr. Reid went on to share a series of product and political case studies on how emotions drive consumer behavior. He cited examples that quantified emotional change by comparing explicit opinions on Trump’s travel ban versus consumers implicit attitudes towards Muslim immigrants.

During the same presentation, he demonstrated facial tracking that enabled an analysis of the tone, music, and imagery to orchestrate Budweisers uplifting and inspirational Super Bowl LI ad that saw millions of views before it was even aired at the event. 

A SWOT Analysis of Automation

Stephen Phillips hosted a roundtable discussion with clients and agencies to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that automation will have on the market research industry. 

Some of the key strengths of automation covered freeing up staff time, a greater accuracy and volume of research and leveling the playing field by creating a lower entry point for SME’s to undertake research. Weaknesses included a lack of flexibility and a need for human design, which could be prone to error.

There are also opportunities for faster, cheaper and better research and the potential to combine this data with an A.I. for better stories. However the technology also created threats to the research profession by simplifying the process, and potentially leading to a loss of knowledge and skill required of staff.

New talent debuts at IIeX

Presenting in front of a crowd for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience,  yet all the new faces delivered cucumber-cool talks  with special thanks to The New Research Speakers club and Annie Petit for their support!

Congratulations to all the new speakers. Left to right: Tom Sil Cheung Cantle, Malaika Fazal, Sophie Zimmermann, Saida Isamova, Lily Snyder, Baileigh Allen, Asim Burney, Patricia Webber, Maarten van Grinsven, Gabrielle Flinn, Keza Kyanzaire, Vuk Pavlovic

Are we moving as fast as our clients?

Hearing candid client opinions on the rate of change in market research, Babita Earle hosted a panel of insights professionals. Together, they described how their businesses are demanding faster reaction times and are innovating to achieve this.

In one example, Jessica Salmon described how Telefonica was striving to integrate their data sources, create predictive analytics with real-time dashboards, and move away from reacting to change by automating the grunt work involved in making impactful business recommendations.  

This is Led Zappilin

Broadcast live on Facebook, we were delighted to share the celebratory spirit of IIeX with those at home, with a performance of classic rock music from our very own house band – Led Zappilin. 

IIeX 2017 was an incredible conference and it seemed that ideas we had once considered to be science fiction just a few years ago had matured into a commercial reality. We heard discoveries into human behavior from some of the greatest innovators in market research, witnessed an ever-growing range of non-conscious research methods and applications of artificial intelligence to address the pressing questions that will ultimately help us to better understand each other, how we truly feel, and at scale. 

Daniel Evans

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Daniel Evans

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