TMRE Event Recap – Shifting Views in Market Research

Robert Clark, Vice President, Ugam,

Having attended a number of TMRE conferences in the past, I have had the opportunity to observe a ‘shift’ in this conference in particular, and our industry overall over the past 10 years or so. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the noticeable shifts that I’ve seen over the last few years.

Based on the tracks I attended at TMRE, I observed a number of common topics of conversation:
  1. ‘Trend spotting’ is emerging in a big way.  The ‘grass roots’ collection of local themes in various geographies is exploding.  The early identification of trends continues to be a focus for suppliers and clients.
  2. ‘Big Data’ is buzzing.  The lack of clarity around Big Data and the limited success of delivering on its promise have led to confusion among MR firms and clients.  While no single point of view was presented, it was clear that our industry needs to try to put some parameters around big data and to develop insights from various sources for clients.
  3. ‘Field of vision of data sources’ is emerging.  Specifically, ideas about social media as a ‘feed’ into the development of insights, what and how to use it, and how to measure it were common threads of conversation. 
On a slightly different but important topic, I’m always impressed by the level of congeniality that I see at conferences like TMRE. Like many professions, the Market Research and consulting fields have close-knit groups that connect throughout the year and at conferences.  Unlike other fields I know of, the intense connection we have with our colleagues is quite unique.  Perhaps because of the nature of our work (identifying critical business questions and addressing them head on) or the paradigm shifts (trend watching, big data, data visualization, research operations etc.), we as a profession are in a unique place at the right point in time to make a real difference in business and society. We are lucky to work in such an impactful field, surrounded by incredibly curious and intelligent people.

Our Professional Future:
Based on the attendees I saw and interacted with, we are at an exciting point in time for our profession, and TMRE showcased the potential upside as well as identified areas of concern.

We are at a point where clients expect MR and Consulting partners (external and internal) to not only bring answers, but to identify the correct business questions to ask, which wasn’t always the case.  In addition, they expect us to integrate disparate data (primary, secondary, competitive intelligence, social, etc.) into concise insight and recommendations more quickly, and less expensively than ever. I’d say we’re in an interesting field at an interesting time.

The Author:
Robert leads the sales and marketing efforts for Ugam’s market research offerings. He brings over 30 years of industry experience and prior to joining Ugam, he served as a Senior Vice President at Nielsen, where he led research and consulting projects from inception through delivery.


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