Create Tomorrow Today

Last Thursday, the annual Febelmar Congress took place in Brussels. ‘Create Tomorrow Today’ was the congress theme: finding answers to questions on how the research industry should prepare itself today in order to be ready for the challenges tomorrow. Being born after 1985, that was our ticket to the event, but also a central theme during the congress. We (Millennials) are already a generation which interacts and communicates in different ways with brands. But how about Gen Z… How will we get to the insights of the new generation? And how will market research evolve in this new world?

The future is now

Tele-transported into 2025, Nils Müller (CEO and founder of TRENDONE) fascinated the audience by giving us a glimpse of new customer technologies. Müller’s view ‘The future is now’, was also the backbone of our Gen Zurveys presentation, where Annelies Verhaeghe and Katia Pallini took us in the research time machine to a Gen Z-dominated world beyond 2020.
What does it mean? It means that it is time to act, to change and to create new ways to conduct market research! Drones and satellites can now capture anybody, anywhere and at any time – making it easier for brands to determine the most strategic location for their store. People walking in the streets can be tracked, but also the conversion rate of stores in the street can be captured: which stores do people enter, which ones do they walk past? Robots that, or should we say who, interact with customers as human beings can read emotions and engage in conversations. But also virtual reality already has taken its first steps towards a new experience of reality, creating new ways and opportunities for advertising. These are all (r)evolutions that can lead to new consumer insights. All of these and many other technologies will make it easier for the consumer and brands to interact with each other and help them in making their consumer decisions. But this also implies more and more data. Data that will need to be monitored and used in a way that it continues to create an impact for the brand – so that brands aren’t overloaded with data and that no data gets lost in this rapidly moving world.
Consumers may think that drones, robots and virtual reality on an individual level are still far away, but this is a future which will enter our world sooner than we expect.

From segmentation to 1-on-1 engagement

BV Pradeep (Global Vice President, Consumer & Market Insight & Market Clusters at Unilever) has a vision on the future of market research. A strong point he made was that we are moving from segmentation to 1-on-1 engagement, as a consequence of the rapidly evolving world. Consumers can no longer be put into categories or labeled; instead they control their own decisions. In the end, they want to be appreciated and recognized for their valuable opinion. And this is something Unilever understands. It is important to see consumers as individuals and to go into 1-on-1 conversations with them. The segmentation era is over. The time has come for brands to engage with consumers and create relationships with them. This is not a completely new point of view but a more and more valuable one.

Young Talent Award

The final event of the evening was the Young Talent Award. Organized for the first time by Febelmar, the award allowed the industry’s young and talented professionals to pitch their future-proof view on the future of data collection, analysis and the impact of market research. Having submitted their ideas along with many other talented hopefuls, three nominees were selected to present theirs at the congress: Bert Hendrickx (GFK), Maarten Elen (Haystack) and our very own Alieke Stubbe.
With the question “How much would you want for having a market research chip implanted in your wrist, tracking your every movement?”, Alieke took the very first Young Talent Award home. According to her, this is the future of market research. A chip so smart that it can capture your behavior, the brands you are using, your emotions, moods, thoughts and attitudes. A chip interconnected with your bank account, smartphone, car, etc. While tracked metrics can be used anonymously for commercial purposes, the chip can actually act as a personal coach for the one wearing it, providing them with real-time insights and guides on how to achieve their personal goals. So… who’s in for $500? Who’s in for $1,000? Who’s in for… $10,000? Alieke is in for free!

Alieke Young Talent Award Febelmar


The Febelmar evening congress with the focus on Create Tomorrow Today (#CreateTT) had interesting speakers, with very inspiring stories. The realization is there, evolution is a fact, now it’s up to market research to change today in order to survive a new world. And of course we couldn’t be more proud that Alieke took the Young Talent Award home.

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