ESOMAR 2013: World Congress Wrap

October 1, 2013

The 2013 ESOMAR Congress has come to a close. Staged in Istanbul, a city thronging with energy and ideas, the event did the city justice.

Congress proved to be a great forum to discuss where the research industry is, and the new themes coming through. We have many learnings, met great people, and taken in the ‘vibe’ of the city, but we walk away with three main findings from the Congress itself:

1 The combination of Big Data and qualitative is the way forward.

2 Increasing the role of the consumer.

3 Dropping backward looking research.

Big Data and Qual combined

Firstly, Big Data is clearly dominating the horizons of many of the global companies that spoke, Viacom, Intel, AOL, Pepsi Co to name a few.

The general consensus being a very considered, ‘it can tell you a lot, but not everything’.

“Practically, when you have an issue and a budget of 20k, having 6 MIT graduates try to write you an algorithm may just not hit the timelines or budgets you have.”

Overall, most agreed, that the behavioural data that now circulates most of our lives can be a very important tool to help understand a target group. Yet without some understanding of what is going on behind those numbers, decision-making can be a dangerous game! Hence the call to combine the two; qualitative with Big Data. There was also debate about the timeliness of information in this regard, but we can save that for another time!

Dialing up the Consumer’s role

Secondly, there were a few papers submitted about projects completed whereby the method involved consumers doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

It appears in Europe, clients and companies alike are more attuned to the use of co-creation methods. In this instance, the definition of co-creation needs to be treated liberally.

Product development, brand definition and creative development were all left to the consumer rather than internal teams of clients and agency people. The results were encouraging, and we can expect to use this a lot more as the web enables many new means of bringing (increasingly savvy) consumers deeper into the process.

Drop backward looking research

Thirdly - Intel, AOL, Viacom and Mars all had one very similar conclusion. Less research designed to understand what has happened in the past. Replace it with work that is geared around helping you grow, to tackling a specific challenge or looking into green fields.

The Intel speaker was most dramatic – urging listeners to every year drop one research component of your budget that looks to what has happened retrospectively.

On the radar

Overall, along with the above three themes, there were many topics discussed. The measurement of emotions, the structure of insight departments, ways we as an industry can get a bigger seat on the board table, GPS tracking systems and the role of the researcher in the new age of research.

The five days there provided The Lab with an excellent perspective on what is happening around the world in our field, and leaves us excited to keep pushing hard to remain a world class company.

If you would like to understand any of the above-mentioned topics, please feel free to contact Paul.

Here are some the city's sights for you to enjoy:

Shop display in Istanbul.

 The Blue Mosque, Sultanhamet, Istanbul.