Last week, research suppliers and buyers braved the heat and packed the Georgia Tech Convention Center for three days of thought-provoking presentations, workshops, and collaboration at this year’s IIeX North America. I had the pleasure of attending this year; below are three of my key takeaways.
1. Insights innovation isn’t about innovative methods as much as innovative service.
Innovation was readily apparent, though, in discussions of new ways of disseminating insights and new ways of understanding how to bring value to client organizations – whether internal or external. These presentations were compelling not because of methods discussed, but because they presented novel and exciting ways to think about making insights valuable and lasting. This was abundantly clear in the first day’s opening panel: leaders from Clorox, Viacom, Wrigley, and Verizon Telematics frankly challenged suppliers to be more collaborative and helpful in making research “less about the vendor” and more about helping buyers make sound business decisions.
2. For general insights, behavioral science is less about methods and more about a frame of mind.
The number of presentations and round-table conversations about behavioral sciences was staggering. There was an entire presentation track dedicated to the topic. Based on personal observation, a significant number of attendees participated out of a desire to better understand the field. We recently wrote a piece on this interesting measurement technique. To learn more about how you can incorporate behavioral science into your research, click here.
Specific research questions call for specific research techniques, and this is clearly the case for some behavioral sciences: ad testing and creative evaluation, for example, are clearly suited for neuro measurement, facial recognition, etc. to read subconscious responses. But for general application, behavioral science was presented as a use of techniques embedded in methodologies rather than specific methodologies. Rather than proprietary techniques or frameworks, many companies tout the use of projective techniques, metaphor elicitation, etc. as ways to get “closer” to the subconscious. In many cases, definitions of “what is behavioral science” were vague and varying; no one could really nail a definition.
3. Digital (rather than traditional) qualitative is the key for great brands to go deeper.
Traditional qualitative has not progressed significantly in recent years. Presentations that incorporated traditional (in-person) qual tended to focus on tried-and-true frameworks such as design thinking, building empathy, and participant observer mindsets. More research buyers and sellers are recognizing the value of “always on” digital qualitative, capturing behavior, attitudes, and unmet needs via multi-day (or week) digital / mobile interactions. At Maru/Matchbox, we’ve known this for a long time and have been pioneering the use of these techniques for community-based research.
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