Monday, May 5, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Greg Heist

I recently sat down with The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 keynote speaker Greg Heist, Vice President, Strategy & Innovation, Gongos Inc., who discussed how the role of “the researcher” has changed as well as how the increasingly connected customer has affected market research, among much more.  

We are fortunate to have him share his critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

We are barraged by information - and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new "understanding" into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.

Here is what Heist had to say:

IIR: How has the role of “the researcher” changed?

Heist: Great question.  In many ways, the bar continues to be raised with regard to what executives expect of researchers. In particular, research professionals are being challenged to provide greater context to insights by triangulating them with past learnings.  Simultaneously, they’re being asked to find new ways to bring insights to life in a clear and compelling way.  All of these are broadening the role of “the researcher” from being an objective reporter of results to a strategic catalyst of deeper meaning. 

IIR: Where do you see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the next five years?

Heist: It’s difficult to overstate the importance of data science and how it will fuse with what we think of today as “marketing sciences.” The incredible abundance of data flowing into corporations that is not primary market research data is mind-numbing.  As a result, organizations instinctively know there are significant consumer insights to be unlocked within these enormous and disparate data sets. Traditional marketing sciences techniques are, in most cases, inadequate to meet this new challenge.  As a result, we will continue to see greater reliance on data scientists (and the innovative use of applied mathematics) to unpack these insights and extract new value.  At Gongos, we are so convinced of the significance of this trend that we launched a decision sciences business unit, O2 Integrated, at the start of 2013.  We’ve already seen the ways O2 talent is engrained with clients to help solve some of their most complex business challenges using highly advanced approaches.

IIR: How has the increasingly connected consumer affected market research?

Heist: We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the “connected consumer” will affect market research.  Right now, we’re seeing tremendous investment in mobile technologies on the agency side, with much slower adoption of mobile methods by clients, particularly in the quant realm.  At the same time, there is an uptick in mobile qual methods since they provide a level of immediacy and authenticity that traditional online methods can’t match.  In the future, I believe we are going to see greater adoption and integration of location-based, behavioral and biometric data streams into consumer research, with new kinds of insights emerging as a result.

IIR: Tell us a little bit about your upcoming presentation taking place at The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 entitled, “Reinvent & Realign: The Insights Organization Reimagined.” What can we expect from it?

Heist: As insights professionals, we live in very exciting times. We’re emerging from a relatively stable, collective understanding of what “market research” is and how it’s perceived within corporations.  The currents of change (some of which I referred to above) felt across our discipline are significant.  So significant, that the traditional MR business model and skillsets are not going to be sufficient to meet the challenge before us.  Our presentation will provide glimpses into how to reimagine the role, structure and competencies of the Insights Organization.  Using video-based examples from clients, we hope to provide the audience with a foreseeable vision of the future.  My co-presenter Tom Krause, who spent 16 years collectively at Advance Auto Parts, Best Buy and Pillsbury, is also incredibly passionate about this topic and we look forward to sharing this vision with FOCI attendees.

Want to hear more from Greg in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. He will be presenting a keynote entitled, “Reinvent & Realign: The Insights Organization Reimagined.” To learn more about the event and register, click here:  http://bit.ly/QUSg1I

** As a reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **


About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
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