It’s September and time again for the annual Esomar Congress; just before the rush at the end of the year begins. This year it took place in Edinburgh; a city in which it seems to be normal to fry almost all food from mars bars to pizza slices. A city which has an old town steeped in history with a special atmosphere of small alleyways running up and down and around corners.
This year’s motto: Transformation – Provoke. Convince. Create. Impact.
Who says “impact” of MR, says ROI in market research, as did Chris R. Burggraeve in his keynote. He published the book „MARKETING is FINANCE is BUSINESS“. And Insisghts are, of course, the fuel of marketing. Burggraeve later compared in his speech market researchers to truffle pigs: so, Truffles as fuel, somehow.
For Robert Adams, Visa, the most important step towards a better ROI in market research is „to know what we know“ and to facilitate access to this knowledge for all stakeholders. Visa and Market Logic, as well as Intel and Course5 Intelligence have presented insights platforms in which „AI technologies increase the revenue per insight“ (Course5 Intelligence). Visa estimates this increase in efficiency with such a platform at 15 %. These tools are kind of search engines. The user enters a question and receives all studies in which the topic has been covered as well as recommendations to similar topics (who searched for that also searched for this). In case the user wants to commission a new study, he requests a quote to the in-house market researchers via a form on the platform. Hence, the general demand for new insights is being gathered and prioritised.
The talks on AI in data collection were particularly interesting with concrete topics such as chatbots and vocal assistants. Ennio Armato (IFF), Anna Martenka and Salomea Swierkowska (Play) and Tomasz Dulinicz (Smartscope) presented very frankly the potential but also the limits and teething problems of these solutions. The LOI, for example, might be longer as with conventional CAWI surveys.
The Investors debate
A lot of money has been flowing into market research over the last few years. Hence, a panel discussion on the cash flows to market research has been highly anticipated by many participants.
After all, Kristof de Wulf, co-founder/CEO of InSites Consulting has leveraged fresh capital from fonds and has since bought several companies. Sören Haefcke as vice-president of Bain Capital, represented the view of financial investors and Lisa Courtade, Merck & Co the customer perspective, in order to show how these M&As are being perceived on clients side. In the end, to make it short: A company should focus on its core competences and strengthen them, to draw in capital, but also when investing into companies (Kristof de Wulf). Investors are not only interested in our industry because of the data. The competence to generate insights and knowledge from this data is what matters” (Sören Haefcke). Nevertheless, it is essential that the contact for the customers remain the same (Lisa Courtade).
A special moment for me was of course the great presentation « Social Media and the Disruption of Democracy – The marketer’s dilemma » held by Jennifer Roberton (our MD UK) together with our client Matt Browne – Founder of Global Progress. An amazing research project exploring the (worrying) impact of social media on democracy. Really really interesting. If you’re interested in the presentation, you’re welcome just ask us.
According to Esomar, the conference drew 1,000 visitors. It felt less-crowded than last year. The exhibition area was definitely smaller than before. As usual, the parties at night were a good opportunity to exchange views beyond market research with colleagues and partners while having a beer. On Sunday, all guests were invited to the already traditional Askia/Lucid party. On Tuesday night, the official Esomar party took place in the national museum including a guided tour, offered by Kantar. For some, the party carried on beyond 1am at Stramash around the corner…
Next year we’ll meet in Toronto, where the Esomar Congress 2020 will take place.
Orkan Dolay, respondi