Key Themes from the 2018 IIeX Event

People listening at a conference

If you missed out on attending this year’s IIeX event in Atlanta, have no fear; we’re here to share some of the key themes we found while attending it. The Insight Innovation Exchange (IIeX) is an innovative, disruptive, and client-driven insights event where companies across North America share ideas and trends happening in the market research industry.

Unilever, Pepsi, Nestle, and many other brands spoke about a wide range of topics from augmented intelligence to AI to ethnography. However, we found three key themes throughout many presentations: behavioral science, agility, and automation.

Solutions Based on Behavioral Science

What if we could identify consumers’ underlying emotions or motivations to improve our understanding of whether they were actually going to purchase a product? Over the past few years, market research has been digging into the “why” behind behaviors to get even deeper below the surface of the insights we deliver to help brands better understand the true drivers of consumers’ behavior.

Many IIeX speakers discussed the importance and rise of behavioral science in market research. There were numerous solutions discussed at IIeX about gathering and analyzing data to understand why consumers make decisions—but market researchers, by and large, are still figuring out how to leverage it.  

At GutCheck, we think big data can be used as a possible solution for at least two reasons. First, it gives us access to more data than ever before, including data based on actual behavior from purchasing, web analytics, subscriptions, and more. As a result, big data can reduce the struggles we sometimes have with differences between stated versus observed behavior.

Second, there are big data sources that allow us to understand motivations of our consumers by examining the big 5 personality traits for millions and millions of people. By understanding different personalities, we can begin to realize if being “extroverted” or “conscientious” drives consumers’ purchasing. One panelist at IIeX suggested that behavioral science and the resulting data on motivations behind decision making will be the new normal for market research. We agree that understanding what people don’t tell us in surveys is as important as what they do. Together, these two types of data give us a more well-rounded picture of consumer behavior, and with the right methodology, you can gain this knowledge quickly. 

It’s All About Agility and Speed

We’ve been talking about agility and speed since we were founded—so this is kind of old news to us. However, every organization, including ours, strives to constantly up the ante when it comes to doing things faster. Startups, in particular, are willing to fail fast and larger organizations have to be prepared to compete with them or else fail to beat them to market. So we all need to do things cheaper and faster, without sacrificing quality, but these things go hand in hand. Luckily, technology makes it less of a tradeoff between the two.

But companies aren’t just increasing their agility for cost purposes, but also doing it to rapidly iterate and get quick answers. So when we say it’s all about agility and speed, we actually mean it’s about faster and better decision making. More specifically, getting better, faster decision making but with new insights and better quality information. We heard the phrase “insights on demand” mentioned frequently. We currently provide our clients with access to our platform so they can see qualitative and quantitative insights as they happen. How? Insights on demand are possible primarily due to automation.

Automation Is Table Stakes

It’s actually surprising to find that automation is still being talked about, as we feel it’s a must-have and should already be incorporated in organizational processes. You have to have some type of automation to be competitive in any industry these days. But we do recognize that automation, in combination with technology, drives our ability to become more agile, so it’s worth talking about. One presentation stated that there are three levels of automation as it relates to market research:

  1. Standardizing processes
  2. Automating methodologies
  3. Interpreting insights

But some market researchers are still on the fence as to how automation will impact their day-to-day lives. In fact, the 2018 GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report showed a decrease in the adoption of automation. But we agree with GreenBook in that “another question to consider is when does automation cease to be automation and simply become mainstream?”

Each year, it’s more likely that we view automation differently and that the automated processes we have adopted don’t feel like automation, but have just become standard. Further, market research is a slow-moving snail and it will take time for automation to have a more recognizable impact on us and our clients. So even if you haven’t yet fully seen changes take place as a result of automation, increased agility, or behavioral science, IIeX tells us you probably will sometime this year.  

To read more about our perspective on the market research industry, check out this commentary featured in the GRIT Report and written by our Chief Executive Officer Matt Warta.

Download GRIT Commentary