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Industry Trends and other Takeaways from CRC

Tim Lawton • 30 Oct 2019

Less than a week out from the Corporate Researchers Conference (CRC) in Orlando and our team is still processing all we learned and all we were inspired by.

One buzzword and theme that emerged over the course of the few days our team was there was that of ‘curiosity’. In session after session it seemed as though it was the continued mantra of looking past the safe assumptions, digging deeper, staying inquisitive. There was literally one session titled, “Unpacking Curiosity: What It Is & How You Can Mobilize It for Greater Insight”.

The broad representation by brands, researchers, and technologies showed a continued evolution of the industry in not only the way consumer insights is approached, but how that work is done.

Not only does change create opportunity for everyone involved in the industry, but it gives purpose and reason for growth. And that is to the benefit of us all!

Industry Shifts

To that end, one of the other themes that emerged on the first day and certainly continued throughout was the industry is in the midst of this seismic shift.

As markets matured around mid-century and “marketing” became a more central role to selling products, things were all analog.

The second wave, with the rise of technology, brought along digital tools for engagement, analysis, and reporting.

The third wave of the insights industry is all about meeting consumers on their terms, where they connect with each other.

The economy and consumers have changed dramatically in a short period of time. How they purchase and how they choose to engage with brands is forcing researchers to re-think how they begin to understand consumer behavior.

Brand & Vendor Partnerships

Insights work will continue to become multi-dimensional. Meaning that brands will have to think through which solutions and partners serve which particular use case.

With the exponential increase in the amount of data captured and the changing dynamic of consumers, getting to the final destination can’t happen on a single lane road.

  • New technologies and the associated buzzwords, should not be scary and should be used to help scale your conversations with consumers (e.g. AI, ML, sentiment, NLP, etc.);
  • Sample quality + transparency will become increasingly important and should be able to engage with a variety of methods to include mobile, desktop, SMS, and communities;
  • Insights instrumentation: multi-dimensional approach to problem solving - picking the right tool for the right mission;
  • There will be a growing democratization of insights. In order to move at the speed of the consumer, all members of an insights team will have to be enabled throughout the research process

But as one wise man said, “just because you have a scalpel doesn’t make you a surgeon.”

Safety first people!

The Future of the Industry

“This is a sexy industry!”

If anyone knows this, it’s Simon Chadwick, Founder and Chairman of Cambiar Consulting. Point being, the change we’re seeing in the industry is exciting and a cause for increased curiosity around what is possible. There is that word again!

There is so much potential and room for growth within the Insights space right now.

The future of the industry, as in “where do you see things in 3-5 years from now”, will be multi-faceted. Meaning that there will be an increase in different specialties that all feed into each other. The ‘story’ of the consumer will be more robust and insightful, and hopefully by utilizing technology, will be easier to tell.

The challenge, and subsequent opportunity, will be to mix and match those talents/tools/partners to be able to synthesize your research into that coherent story for your organization, your C-Suite, your team.

It has always been about telling the story of your consumer. But in this ‘third wave’ of industry change how we are able to tell this story has changed dramatically.

One all-encompassing bit of advice we took away was this…

“Experiment, take risks, encourage people to go beyond their limits, allow them to fail, and most importantly celebrate successes in major ways.”

We look forward to celebrating with every company, brand, partner, insights professional, and friend of ours in the coming years of exciting change.

Personal Growth

It was actually on the first day of the conference that kicked off with a riveting talk by Viridiana Álvarez Chavez, an entrepreneur and accomplished mountaineer, laying out her “Decalogue of Goals” she learned in her quest to summit Mount Everest.

Given that myself and my co-founder, Naira, are also high altitude climbers, this was the perfect (and preferred) way to kick off a conference!

The parallels between climbing, entrepreneurship, and insights were clear and definitely inspiring:

  1. Break paradigms
  2. Appreciate what you have
  3. Have a positive attitude
  4. Step out of your comfort zone
  5. Pay the price
  6. Define your goals
  7. Conquer yourself
  8. Trust in yourself
  9. Go fast and Dare
  10. Find your passion

The best part is that no matter the role or company that the attendees represented, the lessons Viridiana shared got us all thinking about our own personal, and certainly organizational, summits.

Stay curious my friends!

Members of the SightX team attending CRC

Tim Lawton

Tim Lawton

Tim is the co-founder of SightX and our expert in sales, M&A deals, and financing. Tim graduated from West Point and served as an active duty Army infantry officer. He received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and worked on Wall Street before diving into the world of research tech.

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