Friday, October 25, 2013

Live from #TMRE13: Day 1 Recap: Ensuring Your Seat at the Table, Evangelizing Research, and Thumb Wrestling!

-Cross-posted from The Market Research Event blog-


Hi folks! Each day of #TMRE13 I'll recap key insights from several of the sessions I attended. Follow the blog for daily recaps and don't forget to follow the #TMRE13 Twitter stream for up-to-the-minute updates.

It was a whirlwind first day of #TMRE! Sessions kicked off right at 8:30am (good morning!) and ended with a rockstar keynote by Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken (I recently wrote about her here).  

As many of you know, I'm on the client side and I was pleased that several key client-side themes came up in multiple sessions today:

**We're all looking for "a seat at the table," to prove to our customers (either internal or external, depending on your research gig) that we researchers exist to provide strategic, actionable insights and to help guide strategic insights. As Susan Topel of Centene highlighted in her session "It's Just Not That Hard - Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage" we are not in the job to be order-takers and if you're not being invited to sit at the table, show up anyway!

**As client-side researchers, to be successful you'll need to budget part of your time to evangelizing the research and insights function. If you do your job well, you'll have internal clients asking "what voice of the customer research has been done for this [product launch]" before decisions are made, as has happened to Melanie Wing of Equifax, mentioned in her "The Magical Intersection: How Combining Customer Insights  Competitive Intelligence and Customer Analytics Creates Optimal Business Results" session.

**When you're under the gun for quick turnaround on a project, remember that in addition to going out and getting insights from new data, there may be opportunities to mine your own data to help quantify or bolster those insights. Sarah Ryan of TNS and Ramona Harvey of eBay shared this in an excellent case study of a 3 week + 30k project that yielded insights looking at both existing and new data. 

**Find the right tools and implement some solid process structure in order to be nimble with your research, as there's not always a lot of time to outsource to a research partner. In his session "Lessons Learned from Improving Strategic Market Intelligence Function," Adam Kowalik of Ernst & Young Poland introduced us to the FAROUT framework: future oriented, accurate, resource efficient, objective, usable, and timely. 

Other highlights from today didn't just focus on client-side research. We heard a lot about "reporting" vs. "storytelling" and how to get from one to the next, both in practice, and in perception by your clients. You don't want to become known as the department that just sends out unwieldy reports. For example, in the eBay presentation mentioned above, Sarah and Ramona shared that one of their deliverables for a key project (there were multiple deliverables) was a mobile-optimized infographic sent to their marketing teams that highlighted 5 key insights from the project.  We talk a lot about user expereince in the market research community, and several speakers reminded us to think about your client's user experience with your deliverables.

At the end of the day, Jane McGonigal had us play an epic game of massive multiplayer thumb wrestling to invoke positive "gamer emotions" - thousands of researchers holding hands (well, thumb wrestling) at the end of a busy day!


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