TMRE 2018

Isobar Marketing Intelligence returned to The Market Research Event (TMRE) as Gold Sponsors in Scottsdale, Arizona this year. In addition to having a large presence in the expo hall, Eric Paquette led a panel discussion focused on the CX in CPG/Retail with Sephora, Coca Cola and Georgia Pacific. Panelists discussed how they are using digital to influence the CX and how that has influenced the type of marketing research they are doing.

Later that day Eric took the stage to talk about how retail brands must “transform or die” and provided guidance on how they can address unique behaviors and expectations of the new shopper generation. On Day 2 Amit Ghosh presented a MindSight Direct demo to a packed audience, showcasing how fast and easy it is to set up and launch a study with the tool.

Our team enjoyed the many sessions and one-on-one conversations with brand marketers throughout the three day event. Though there are several interesting topics to dig into, we found the common themes to be focused on these major buzz-words, disruption, transformation and innovation. Here are their POV’s on each:

Disruption influencing the rebirth of traditional research?
Eric Paquette, Vice President

I found the content at TMRE 2018 to be a real hodgepodge of topics that is indicative of the disruption happening in business and the tools available in the marketing research category.

It’s evident that disruption is happening with our clients’ businesses. A number of sessions (including my own) focused on the next generation(s) of consumers – both Millennials and Gen Z – and how they differ from their predecessors and one another. There were also sessions focused on macro-factors shaping the world today including demographic shifts, wealth inequality, the trend from globalization to localization, etc.

There is more focus on UX than in the past and that has implications for both how brands organize internally and the type of research they are doing. We heard a lot about consumer insights departments becoming more integrated with other parts of the organization, particularly those focused on UX and UX research and testing. There was more discussion about Journey Mapping research than I’ve heard before, and we had discussions with a number of consumer insights clients who are individually and organizationally struggling with what to do with their recently completed Journey research.

There was a lot of discussion about the interesting mix of new (sources of data, AI, passive research), new-ish (online communities) and old (focus groups, observation/ethnography, segmentation) techniques that are blending together to provide a more complete understanding of consumers and their experiences. While there is a lot of chatter about how big data, first party data and AI are going to disrupt traditional research, at least it’s clear that market researchers are finding what they learn from that to be insufficient. Many of the traditional, and even old-school techniques still have an important, evolving role and there were a number touting the current trend as a rebirth of the importance of qualitative research.

Transformation in industries, brand teams and Peyton Manning 
Kimberli Murphy, Vice President

There were a couple of standout themes from my POV:

  1. Accelerating change and the need to adapt and transform to stay competitive and prosper. In Beth Comstock’s keynote she shared a startling statistic – that we will have 20K years’ worth of progress in this century vs. previous years. In order to manage and capitalize on this emergent change, we need to imagine and adapt and not be afraid to fail. Peyton Manning touched on this in his keynote and shared an example of how he had to reframe what he thought of as his window of opportunity to throw the ball because that window is much narrower in the NFL compared to college. He was able to pivot and went from being the rookie who allowed the most interceptions to being a Super Bowl MVP.
  2. Consumer at the center – companies have the ability to connect directly with their customers and have access to more information about than ever before. This is changing the way companies learn about their customers and the way they market to them.
  3. Retail – it was interesting to hear how companies are adapting to consumer needs in a rapidly changing retail environment. Some examples: merging Digital and Retail teams to create a more holistic view of the omni-channel market, creating in-store collateral and experiences to deliver on customers’ emotional needs and creating experiences that resonate with consumers at each of the various touchpoints in the journey.

How to Win the Future
Elliot Savitzky, Director, Client Partner

NYT bestselling author Jeremy Gutsche was the keynote speaker on Day 2. His topic focused on how to think differently about Innovation, linking what seemed to be six totally unrelated topics as a way to illustrate his approach.

What could the width of a horse (4 feet 8 ½ inches) have to do with the Space Shuttle? Hearkening back to the Roman era, 4 feet 8 and ½ inches is the width of the trenches Roman chariots left in the mud while patrolling their borders. If farmers wanted to transport their goods, they had to build wagons that fit within the width of these trenches as the mud dried. After that, all wagons were built with this design in mind, followed by trains using this as the standard gauge for track. When constructing components of the Space Shuttle booster rockets, engineers needed to design the components to fit on train cars so they could be transported to the launch pad. Hence the link between the Roman horses and the Space Shuttle.

Innovation is all about observing patterns and making connections. Repeatable tasks are reinforced by coatings of myelin sheaths around our nerves. In order to create new innovative solutions, we must learn to brake these reinforced connections.

Uncovering and understanding emotions remains key theme for brand marketers
Amit Ghosh, Director, Research & Strategy

A common theme that continues to hold importance is the need for “deeper” insights to better understand “why consumers do what they do.” We at Isobar hear this every day from our clients and we wanted to focus on that spirit of understanding the “motivational forces” behind consumer behavior. My session, “Fast, cheap, and DIY: Uncovering emotions that matter to optimize product launches” presented three key thoughts:

  1. There are two kinds of motivational forces driving behavior, and understanding both these forces is critical for marketing success.
  2. Measuring emotions is challenging, and using traditional research techniques (e.g., asking respondents to describe how they feel) gets us nowhere – primarily because of two barriers – can’t say or won’t say.
  3. Measuring the level of emotions is not enough – we need to understand the type of motivational emotions.

This session showcased our “DIY” platform for using Isobar’s proprietary MindSight Emotional Measurement tool which uses a “rapid exposure rapid response” image based exercise to measure nine core human motives to understand the emotional forces behind our actions.