The 3 futures of market research

2 days, 81 presentations, 135 speakers and over 700 market research professionals. Those were the ingredients for yet another successful edition of the IIeX Europe conference in Amsterdam. The main goal of the Insight Innovation Exchange is to introduce new ideas and innovations in the world of insights to market research professionals, so let’s have a look at what we took away from the 2018 edition.

The future is optimistic

Market researchers across the world acknowledge that we are living in the fastest-changing environment ever. For decades, market research was in a stable, comfortable position, but it is now forced to evolve and even revolutionize to keep up with the rapidly changing society. Let’s be honest: these are scary times for market researchers. Data quality, participant recruitment, traditional methods and even the purpose of market research as such: everything has been subject to doubt and it all contributed to a growing feeling of unease.
However, it seems that in 2018, we are finally getting over our fears and are now embracing this change rather than trying to outrun it. Didier Truchot (founder and CEO of Ipsos) opened the congress with his “Impressions from an optimist”, a trend of positivism which could be spotted throughout the congress. As Stan Sthanunathan (Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever) wisely said: “It’s time to make insights great again”. And the only way to do so, is by moving forward and by having an optimistic outlook on the future.
Stan Sthanunathan_Make insights great again

The future is human-machine

Whereas last year’s conference was dominated by talks about Artificial Intelligence, robots, automation and how all of this would endanger our jobs, it seems like this year we came to a different consensus. The future is not AI. The future is not humans either. It’s not about a contest between mankind and technology. The future lies in the collaboration between humans and machines.
An interesting presentation by FlexMR proved that the true added value emerges when man and machine work together, providing the optimal mix of structure and context, of speed and quality, of objectivity and empathy. The message is clear: let’s shake hands with the robots and collaborate for more, better and more impactful insights.

The future is ANDplicit

It seems that in the past few years, we have realized that consumers make a large part of their decisions emotionally and irrationally. And this is not something we have realized overnight. We probably knew all along that the consumer is not acting like a Homo Economicus, yet technology and methods available were limited, forcing us to do with what we had: rational questioning techniques for irrational behavior. However, the rapidly evolving technologies have opened doors to never-ending possibilities as for measuring implicit decision-making.
The panel discussion led by Annelies Verhaeghe (InSites Consulting) made clear that we are all on the same page: implicit is important, it is not a trend, it is here to stay. Does this mean we should completely abandon everything we know and have been using up until today? The answer is “No“. Research methods as we know them today still have their value. However, this time we have the possibility to match the right techniques with the right questions.

Eager for more insight on the market research industry? Check out our Market Research Today, Tomorrow and the Day after Tomorrow infographic featuring an insight into the future of the market research industry according to corporate researchers.

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