In November, I attended The Market Research Event in Orlando, Florida with a colleague of mine, Jessica Ritzo. It was a great opportunity to see familiar faces, meet interesting people and learn about industry challenges, successes and innovation. Upon leaving the conference we felt inspired about the exciting things happening in the industry and wanting more. What follows are a couple of key takeaways from the conference that we felt were particularly helpful to our clients and research fanatic friends!

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Takeaway #1 – We All Want a Deeper Understanding of the Consumer That Leads to Business Results

Researchers want more than a basic understanding of the feelings and thoughts people have and desire a much closer and deeper look at the consumers that buy and use their goods and services. We may want to know more than the consumer knows about themself and would even want to know. Several conference keynotes dealt with the psychological and anthropological reason for our behavior while some sessions dealt with neuroscience and linguistics. The bigger issue is assimilating all this information to create a bigger picture of your consumer. We heard several presenters speak to the issue of being overwhelmed with data and analysis. The challenges in the years to come will be to make all this information that is available usable in a way that drives real business results.

Takeaway #2 – Too Much Choice Is Not a Good Thing

One keynote that stood out in particular, Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, explained that when people are faced with too many choices, especially when the differences are indistinguishable, we may choose not to purchase and if we do purchase we are often less satisfied with our purchase. What this means for brands is that they should limit the choices they offer to clearly distinguishable differences. This will in turn lead to overall consumer satisfaction. So do you think your consumers have too much choice from your brand? This is a question we can help you answer. If you want more information on the topic, you can go to Sheena Iyengar’s webpage at or you can check out this article in the New York Times

Takeaway #3 – Additional Research Choice Means it’s Critical to Have a Trusted Research Partner

The methods we use for gathering insights continue to evolve as well. While traditional methods are still predominant, researchers continue to add new tools and techniques to get access to people and deeper insights. Researchers are using social media to find research participants and spread the word about future research; online communities are being implemented to stay in touch with people on a variety of issues and online virtual ethnographies are being used to collect insights through the collection of various media over a lengthy period of time. Of course this means more options to the purchaser of research and given that too much choice may be a bad thing (see takeaway #1 above), it is important that your suppliers are involved early and help you in deciding which methods are the best given your research objectives.

Key Takeaway #4 – A True Research Partner Will Help You Do More with Less!

How can research departments continue to add value and provide key insights with fewer resources, a reduced budget and a much shorter timeline? That was one of the key questions that kept popping up at The Market Research Event. This re-occurring question highlights the importance of developing strong relationships with your suppliers to understand your strategic business initiatives, provide efficient and effective ways to gather the insights and add-value beyond the research itself. IIM believes in being a true partner and member of your team and develops methodologies to address the ever-growing need for more research insights with tighter budgets within compressed timelines. A great example of this is our same-day quantitative and qualitative hybrid research technique, that allows you to get the data and understand the ‘whys’ behind the data all in one day.

We very much enjoyed the conference and thank all the attendees who came and shared their ideas and stories. We look forward to seeing everyone at the next conference or sooner!