Esomar names its annual conference in LatAm a Market Intelligence Fest. And a festival is an excellent definition of what we expect to see in a good conference research nowadays.
“Festival” means celebration and partying, but also implies the exhibition of a diverse collection of pieces, as we would see in a music or a movie festival. This variety of genres coexist without a single theme that unifies them other than being a selection of outstanding objects, oriented to engage the audience. Such multiplicity is certainly a powerful metaphor about the sign of our times as researchers. The boundaries of our profession are continuously disrupted, increasingly vague and plural, and challenged from multiple angles, not only by our own movements but also by the dynamics of many close professions, namely behavioral economists, social listeners or data scientists, to name a few.
In this exciting scenario, the aim of a festival is less to convince anyone about a unique way of being an expert in the market intelligence field and more about showing the many possibilities open to our professional lives.
ESOMAR conferences usually bring innovative techniques and business cases, giving a preview of the future, offering clues about which contents, ideas and methods will shape an industry that has recently undergone an extreme transformation and continues to move at high speed towards roads that are not yet completely drawn. This was not an exception.
In this case the organizers and the committee which I had the pleasure to chair were able to put together a vibrant environment and a good selection of presenters.
We were supported by a record number of submissions this year, with so many superb presentations with scores of very good or higher that we would have had enough to run another parallel conference
Among other topics we could learn for instance, how out-of-home media can now be measured by big data, coming from artificial intelligence reading satellite map images, cell phone carrier data or mobile apps. We could also see how neuroscience, facial coding, or a digital laboratory simulating social media can be used to improve the effectiveness of our communications. Also, how design thinking could be critical to emulate the success of virtual trade leaders, even for the most traditional retail channels. We could learn about some of the endeavors that digital giants like Amazon, Facebook or Twitter are working towards, as well as why the road to happiness in the life of a corporation starts by confronting the naked truths, as shared by some of the interesting stories shared by Coca Cola, Sanofi, Fox, L’Oréal, and many others.
I personally had three takeaways of this conference.
- First, while we could see many innovative approaches, a side lesson was that well applied research – even when using growing technologies as big data, AI or automation – is still less about sophisticated tools and more about good judgment.
- Second, it was wonderful to notice that the quality of the contents was pretty much in line with the finest world conferences in the industry, in terms of both variety of topics and quality. This was not the case in previous editions a few years back, confirming that LatAm research industry has grown significantly and moves to a brighter future.
- Last but not least, there was a wide discussion of our own roles, beyond the business or technical sphere. Is unusual that ethical concerns are put into the table in market Research conference, and this was one of those rare cases. As my friend Joaquim Bretcha, recently elected as Esomar president, put it. “We have a great power as researchers, and a great power comes with a great responsibility”
Programme Committee Chair
CEO & Founder, Fine Research
Diego has been in the international market research business for over 20 years, Has founded and still fully manages Fine Research, an independent MR data collection network in Latin America with offices in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay. The agency focuses in consumer, healthcare and b2b fielding. Created in 2008, Fine Panel, the first and largest medical panel in LatAm, with over 90,000 active panel members in the main 6 countries in the region. He has published books, and articles in leading industry magazines related to MR and also to broader Social Sciences topics (racism, migration, etc.).