Reflection on ESOMAR Congress 70th Annual Event

Reflection on ESOMAR Congress 70th Annual Event


Sep 19, 2017

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Last week, we had the opportunity to attend and present at ESOMAR Congress 70th annual event in Amsterdam. Strategic director Chelsea Gibbons partnered with client Emily Hsiao from Bare Snacks to lead an engaging presentation on how advanced technology can drive brand growth. Chelsea expanded on how combining immersive video with text analytics led to deeper consumer insights,  while Emily shared how this methodology allowed her brand to progress in an evolving product category.

The 3,000-mile trek was definitely worth it, both from the excitement of sharing our story with Bare and from the valuable takeaways from the conference overall. As we made our way through the three-day event, we noticed a definite theme emerging. Most of the presentations alluded back to the same general consensus: Change is inevitable, and it’s coming- rewriting the meaning of research and insights. As we move into the future, change must be embraced and integrated into our roles as consumer insights professionals.

In particular, we heard a lot about the power of artificial intelligence and its role in driving the future of consumer insights. Technological advances are allowing access to more consumer information than ever, which essentially is opening a window to develop the most complete consumer profile possible.  The key takeaway focused on how in the future, AI will allow the researcher to cut down on the repetitive, large set data driven responsibilities and focus more on the consumer relationship aspect of research. AI is simply a tool for the researcher to do their job better–not one that will replace the researcher.

While many of the sessions focused on “what ifs” for the future of AI,  one research company went so far as to test the proposed theories. They conducted two studies using AI instead of a moderator. The conclusion of the study was to let AI and humans work in collaboration. AI can do that heavy lifting for data behind moderating, but when it comes to the bottom line, human interaction is the key component in creating an authentic relationship with clients.

To sum it up, ESOMAR Congress confirmed what we had already speculated about the fate of research. the industry is moving away from the traditional idea of insights and adopting new standards and new methodologies to keep pace with needs. We must be ready and willing to change. The consumers dictate how we do it, and they’ve outlined the demand for a powerful combination of artificial and human intelligence to drive efficiency and depth in outcomes.

To see how we’ve combined the best of  text analytics software with our qualitative expertise, check out one of our recent search reports: Brand Wars: Airbnb vs. Hotels

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Our relationship with iModerate has enabled us to quickly and efficiently seek the voice of the consumer or customer, and incorporate it into our business decisions, allowing us to become smarter and faster to market. The team iModerate is, in essence, a virtual extension of the Abbott research team – from them, I know that when I pick up the phone and call, on the other end will be someone who understands my business, knows my target consumer, and will always deliver high quality results.

Kristen McLane, Manager, Shopper Insights & Category Development, Abbott Nutrition