Thursday, October 6, 2011

Keeping Up With A Changing Industry

This post was written by Julie Kurd of Affinnova, sponsor of TMRE 2011, and co-posted with the Innovation Evolved blog.


If you haven’t gone to a major conference in the past year, maybe it’s time to put that money into the budget. So many new things are going on in the market research industry that it would be a shame to miss out!  This year, there's still time to sign up for the IIR's TMRE (The Market Research Event) because it’s in November. And if your 2011 budget is gone, it's critical to get that back into the budget for 2012.

As for the upcoming IIR TMRE, the program format is well honed, and here’s what to expect:

  • - Strategic Thinking. My favorite sessions are of course from the Fortune 500 speakers. Often, they begin with a slick video clip providing a 50,000-foot overview of their company, then break into a gallop describing the strategic motivation for the research, before a quick 1-2-3 dive into the details of the program that wraps up with how it helped them make key business decisions. Whether it’s our research or someone else’s, we could listen to representatives from the Fortune 500 talk all day.
  • - Innovation. At TMRE we get to hear a lot about the fuzzy front end of innovation and how some of the fastest moving consumer packaged goods companies sift through that fuzzy front end and create or refresh their blockbuster product lines. These explorations are invigorating, and run the gamut from market identification, awareness and usage (who’s the audience this stuff addresses) to product and message optimizations (what are the highest potential product names, taglines, reasons to believe, emotional benefits, imagery, flavors, prices, etc.). They’re using all manner of techniques to disrupt the status quo at shelf with the goal of a blockbuster product, package or positioning. Still others seek that torqued extension product that gains them an edge.
  • - Future trends. There’s usually a trendspotter who talks about what’s out there several years away but that we need to begin. This conference will have the founder of the ever so edgy Trendhunter. In past IIR TMREs, I learned about mega-trends including aging global populations, changing family structures, poverty, information addiction, little luxuries, interactivity and gamification: trendspotters bring us to the altar of the world of tomorrow. They help us keep one foot out of the present.
  • - What’s hot now. The event is full of insights people, and we all are naturally curious about the wider world of research. That curiosity is what makes the participants more intrigued by the new. This month I’m enticed by new companies like Scorebig and apps like Spotify and Overdrive. At a conference, I always collect a half dozen new things I had never heard of to go off and explore.
  • - Authors. There’s always a founder of something structurally unique, and many authors come out and talk about the things they’ve been researching. This year it's the authors of Herd and The Art of Choosing.
  • - Vendors. With so much happening in research, there's literally a small city of vendors who can show you the latest in qualitative and quantitative techniques and how they can be useful as you grow your business. It's important to have your stable of trusted vendors and yet it's important to branch out and see what else is out there. Sometimes you can find intriguing ways to meld world class qualitative and quantitative research together in your process: get some case studies to see how others are using and fusing together various platforms, technology and research techniques.
  • - Face to Face. While we can easily find out what each other is up to professionally and personally thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, it’s critical to connect and reconnect in person, to laugh, listen and learn. Affinnova will be at the IIR TMRE, and at many events in the coming year, so be sure to reach out to us and say “Hi!”

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