TMRE Recap: From AI to Survey Trends – Exploring the Future of Market Research

TMRE AltRecently, I was fortunate to attend my first The Market Research Event (TMRE) conference in Denver. For those unfamiliar, TMRE is an annual conference that serves as a gathering point for hundreds of insight leaders eager to network, discover the latest innovations and tools in the industry, and find inspiration. It’s basically Disneyland for us data and insights enthusiasts. Equipped with my trusty notebook and a phone that doubled as a covert ops device for capturing presentation slides, I jumped right into a plethora of presentations.

Let’s talk about AI for a minute. The theme of leveraging AI tools for market research was infused throughout the four-day event. It seems like everyone wants a piece of the AI pie these days. Several innovative AI-centric companies served as sponsors and speakers at the event, making it a popular track among attendees. My key takeaway? While AI can certainly help us sift through mountains of data, it’s still us humans who have to make sense of it all and turn those patterns into actionable insights.

During the conference, I was reminded of the close relationship between our industry and psychology, sociology, and anthropology. One of the most enlightening presentations was given by cognitive neuroscientist and clinical psychologist Dr. Heather Berlin. Her keynote focused on how understanding our brains can help us become the best version of ourselves. Of course, in market research, we’re interested in understanding others, reminding us that behind all these data points are real people with real motivations and behaviors. Moving forward, effective market research will entail delving deeper into the subtle nuances of insights, such as understanding not only why a customer rated something a five or six out of 10, but what prevented them from giving it a seven or eight.

Speaking of surveys, emerging research trends suggest that the optimal survey length can vary based on a respondent’s age. Recent studies from YPulse Syndicated Research indicate that for individuals under 40, keeping a survey under 10 minutes is crucial. I particularly appreciated the advice for keeping a survey concise: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Reduce unnecessary questions, Reuse information available elsewhere, and Recycle: What can I estimate, augment or extrapolate without asking? Additionally, a staggering 87% of respondents under 40 utilized mobile devices to take surveys, prompting researchers to prioritize mobile-friendly designs.

Oksana Sobol, Insights Lead at the Clorox Company, delivered a standout presentation on the Future of Insights, emphasizing the importance of getting the business closer to consumers. Clorox aims to go faster, spending less time on process and more time on better capabilities, and being leaner, making sure top priorities are aligned with business needs. Sound advice from Clorox encourages us to start not with the right questions, but with the right decisions.

As TMRE fades into memory, I’m left with more downloaded presentations than I have storage space for, a handful of business cards, some “cool” branded swag, and a desire to keep pushing for innovation in our industry. For those inspired to sign up, TMRE 2024 is on the horizon, promising another round of insightful presentations and networking.

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