As mentioned in a previous post, myself & Lars Groeger (of Soup & MGSM respectively), presented at the ESOMAR APAC conference in Shanghai.
A conference visit is always worth a blog post to summarise, but rather than take you through each presentation and session, which has been done rather extensively here for day one and here for day two, I thought I’d give you the key themes I saw coming through.
By key themes, I don’t mean the presentation that sparked the most interest, but instead what people are talking about between sessions. What are the big issues here and in the near future based simply on conversations…because let’s face it, nobody is going to officially present “my highly controversial opinion based on little if any research”. Think of this as my combination of people’s opinions, with a great deal of subjectivity added into the mix from me.
Being so in touch with reality, you lose touch with reality
Research is pushing everyone in the direction of “the world is a rainbow” and to market anything effectively, you need to cater to several thousand different sub-groups and segments. And that’s just within China it seems.
It’s almost to the point of pushing tailored marketing, messages and products to the specific individual. Unfortunately, the reality is, no company is willing or able to try and achieve that. Who has the budget or the time?
Isn’t it our job to point out the most effective ways to engage all of these disparate groups in one fell swoop? I think we’re getting too caught up in the interesting and forgetting about the practical. Do we paradoxically need to lose touch with the reality of the individual somewhat, to bring back to the fore the reality of the client’s situation?
As innovative as we might like to seem…we’re not particularly innovative
The strange thing is, everybody realises this and feels hamstrung by it. Why? What exactly is holding us back?
- More often than not that the large stodgy fish simply swallow the smaller innovative fish and dilute whatever innovation there was in the first place.
- It’s an incredibly expensive and time-intensive industry to be innovative in…but let’s face it, most industries are, so that’s not much of an excuse.
- Clients are as much to blame as suppliers. Market research is just not considered to be worth taking a risk over. Compare it to marketing which, whilst still having its fair share of luddites, has so many people wanting the next bright, shiny thing.
Beyond these two key themes. A couple of other points of note:
- When presenting to a market research audience (or any audience for that matter), do something with your charts other than lift them straight from excel with default colours and all. Everybody knows…
- When at a conference, be sure to tag along for at least one night out with the conference junkies (you know the ones). But maybe don’t try to keep up with them. They know the good places to go (the Boxing Cat) and, if I were to be blatantly honest, have well-worn company credit cards
- Presenting with another person is actually rather difficult in all aspects. You need a pretty good understanding between each other. All credit to Lars Groeger for putting up with me.
- Ultimately, ESOMAR conferences seem like a pretty well run gig, with a lot of clever people attending for the right reasons. I’d recommend them.
By all means, if you were lucky enough to be at the ESOMAR APAC conference and had a different experience (or indeed just want to agree with me), I’d love to hear your thoughts below…