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15 Unmet Needs Of Client Researchers & 17 Companies Rising To The Challenge



In preparation for the Insight Innovation Exchange European event coming up next month in Amsterdam (register now before it sells out!) we launched the second phase of The Insight Innovation Challenge.

The Challenge is our attempt to understand the unmet needs of client-side researchers so that we can identify solutions and bring them to the IIeX conference series. Here’s a link to the last Challenges we identified from the previous round.

We take the submitted challenges and identify companies that can meet them, then give them 5 minutes on stage to present to all attendees. We also arrange private meetings between our Corporate Partners and the Challengers at the event to help facilitate doing business together. For this round, Challengers (as well as all other suppliers attending) will have an opportunity to be selected to meet with representatives from Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s Soup, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Philips, Unilever, Heineken, Ericsson, and AIMIA to understand their critical business issues; those they are unable to adequately address because they can’t find supplier partners that have the right solutions.

We reached out to the client-side community to find out what those unmet needs are today we’re presenting the 15 issues they submitted, as well as the firms we reached out to present on stage at IIeX Europe.

The challenges run the gamut from the perennial “more insights, less data” to requests for solutions around using 3D visualization and 3D printing technologies and harnessing the power of mobile and wearables to get closer to consumers.

While by no means should this be considered quantitative in nature, it surely is a highly directional peek into the types of solutions clients are looking for and allocating budget to. The real question is how many MR firms can rise to the occasion to help meet these needs? We’ll see at IIeX in Amsterdam as entrepreneurs, tech companies, and established suppliers meet with our Corporate Partners to present their solutions for consideration.

Here are the top 15 Unmet Needs for this round of the Challenge:

How is mobile internet changing lives in emerging markets?

Unlike developed countries where the first internet experiences were shaped by a PC, emerging markets are more likely to have their first internet experience through a mobile phone.  This first mobile internet experience in emerging markets will likely involve exposure to a major social network, but is that sufficient to keep consumers engaged?  What benefits are mobile consumers in emerging markets receiving from access to the web?  Entertainment? Information? Education? Health?  Employement? Shopping?  Is mobile internet fundamentally different from internet over the PC?  Understanding how mobile internet is changing lives will be a crucial insight as phone manufacturers, mobile operators, governments and major consumer brands seek to connect to individuals.

A picture is worth a thousand words & EMOTIONS

Creating and sharing images over social media -Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr is a reality. There is wealth of information in each of these images posted. Is there a way that a tool could analyze these images and seek insight into consumer habits, patterns, personality and most important the “emotions/mood”. Brands in turn could leverage these insights emerging from unconventional images, graffiti, and visual imagery in their marketing campaigns that can take consumers by surprise, make an impression, and drive certain emotions.

Creating Business Impact, Not Data

For New Product Development in FMCG, there are loads of new tools, generating more and more information. The paradox however is that the value of this information is very rarely getting better. Clearly, we need to do something different with all of this information, and create more impact.

Impact is the ability to use the information available to score the goal. To feel it in your heart, and focus on your goals.

The challenge is to find ways to increase the impact we are making with this information within an entire FMCG organization. How can connect and engage an entire organization with consumers, make bigger impact and innovative products consumers love.

Creating disruptive category innovation

How do we tap into the creative power of consumers and combine that with creating products to disrupt categories? Where does the next breakthrough product that redefines a category come from? How do we create, refine and optimize product concepts for market introduction in a cheaper, faster, better way?

Micro-level observation to lead to macro-level insights

I would like to observe actual consumer behavior across smartphones, tablets and PCs from start to finish of a major purchase cycle that occurs a few times a year and is mainly online. Ideally, this would be comprised of any and all category-related marketing exposure (e.g. email, search engine marketing, pre-roll video, TV, print, research websites) and consumer response to these as they are planning their purchase. This also would be overlaid with profiling and surveying of consumers to understand their view of the purchase process throughout.

User friendly text analytics for small base sizes

While the growth of text analytics for large volume, large base research and text has been astounding over the past few years, there is also an underdeveloped segment of text analytics for small base size research with large text output.  Specifically, I’m looking for text analytics that can be used to streamline/speed analysis of qual ethnographies or video research with transcribed text outputs of 75-100+ pages.

Some vendors may offer analytics within their own platforms, but features like “tagging” aren’t sufficient to step change the time investment in analysis.  Additionally, the large volume text outputs that can be characteristics of ethnographies and transcribed video research are actual barriers to adoption.  In my company, a reason why people still choose to go talk to people face to face is that they believe the time needed to sift through high volumes of text is actually counter-productive (i.e. it costs them time to do online vs. face to face ethnography).

As an example, I want an analytics solution that can 1) help me identify themes of 10 pages of text output in minutes 2) with as few as 8-20 consumers/topic and 3) with a platform I can learn to operate in a 1-2 hour training.

Eye Tracking with webcam, tablet or mobile device

Utilize the rear facing camera to calibrate and track eye movements on the smart device.  This will give information on attention for mobile ads and videos.

TRUE Single Source Data

How about delivering on the over-promised hype of “single source” data? Give me real understanding of the consumer journey and a way to understand and engage with them across all of my brand touch points. It’s not “big data” that I need, it’s meaningful data that will help me drive my business.

Freedom from scanner data

Scanner data is fine in some respects, but it’s expensive, slow, backward looking and doesn’t give me much insight into broader consumer behavior. It seems silly that we haven’t found a way to integrate shopping apps into the research process. Consumers flock to them in the millions so why hasn’t anyone turned all that data into a replacement for scanner info?

I understand the limits compared to in-store, but in-store also has limits and all evidence indicates that the online/mobile shopping category will only continue to grow.  Let’s get ahead of the curve and create solutions that will embrace these trends and deliver real value to insights professionals.


Eye tracking studies . Using Google Glass to make this an affordable research tool!

Neuro scale and cost efficiency

We’ve spent a bundle on EEG over the years and have gotten some great results, but the cost and invasiveness of the process is hard to validate. How about someone innovating on the mechanics of how to provide scale and cost efficiency to applied neuroscienece for marketing insights?

Real Time 3D Visualization and Printing

With all of the advances in 3D Cameras, Virtual reality, Image Manipulation and 3D Printing we should be leveraging those tools for real-time interactive concept testing and product optimization. The tech exists and is becoming increasingly cheaper for consumer use. Imagine being able to take 3D shots of products or spaces and manipulate them on the fly in a group or community, and then print prototypes for testing in a CLT setting. The efficiencies gained in the product development lifecycle would be immense.

My company manufactures hard lines for the home and we’d be all over this if a supplier would work with us to bring it to market. Find those solutions and bring ’em to IIeX!

Integrated systems to manage the research process internally

we do most of our research internally due to the budget limitations. There are too many disparate tools and the process is too complex. We need a single “OS” to manage various research applications across data collection and analytical/reporting phases. We need something to take the pain out of process so we can focus on the insights. The current paradigm is TOO LABOR INTENSIVE!

New ways to engage consumers at the point of experience

we need to utilize tools to truly engage with consumers in a transparent way to understand their behavior at the point of brand experience to help us deliver more insight impact. we do not need more surveys, we need more insight.

Digital Metrics which measure ROI of marketing activities.

Currently Digital Metrics supplied by agencies  are driven by what is available in stead of what is needed to evaluate the impact

After reviewing these challenges, we started scouring the globe to uncover companies we felt could deliver on these needs. The goal here was to identify companies that were not already presenting at the conference: certainly some of the companies already on the agenda could be candidates to solve these challenges and will have an opportunity to meet with clients. The same goes for attendees in general as well as the Insight Innovation Competition entrants. For our purposes we wanted to focus on “the unusual suspects”; emerging players from within and outside of MR and give them a shot on stage to explain how their solutions can specifically be used to meet these needs.

The companies we have picked to present are:


Big Sofa                










Roamler – Mobile Workforce

In addition, a special exhibition area called The Insight Innovation Experience by LRW will allow a few additional companies to showcase their technologies in a more interactive way. Those companies include:



Leia Display Systems

Lieberman Research Worldwide Virtual Reality

Look for more info on The Insight Innovation Experience by LRW soon; trust me, it is going to be VERY cool!

Take a good hard look at both the Challenges and those companies we have picked to be Challengers: this may be the first time you’ve heard of these issues and/or these companies, but we’re certain they will not be the last and as the insights industry shifts gears to focus on 2014 and beyond, it would be prudent to begin planning for how you’ll adapt to an industry that is increasingly looking for non-traditional solutions to business issues.

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5 responses to “15 Unmet Needs Of Client Researchers & 17 Companies Rising To The Challenge

  1. A shame but also symptomatic of a data gathering addiction in MR that the Need 9.2 in previous round related to integration tools did not get through the cut. Is it a need that suppliers or clients are just not interested in? Or are there just no suppliers?

    1. We did address the need for integration tools @Martin; we had several companies in #IIeX Philly focused on that piece of things. This round I think it is implied, but we certainly have firms that are focused on data integration presenting in Amsterdam as well.

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