Diane Liebenson, V.P. & Publisher New York American Marketing Association
TMRE always puts on a great conference. The talks are well received and the attendees are highly engaged. The exhibit hall is chock full of interesting companies, and is a key venue for networking among colleagues as well as interaction between attendees and exhibitors. Not that there isn’t some grumbling by exhibitors, as there is at every conference that I’ve ever attended, but my observation is that TMRE wins the prize for happy exhibitors.
The availability of smart, insightful, to-the-minute blogging is a real game-changer in the sense that it is now possible for anyone to catch the drift of what’s happening at TMRE. As a result, this notably expensive conference is now at least partially accessible to anyone interested enough to access the bloggers’ posts. And as someone who went to the conference, I can say with some certainty that the bloggers did a great job of capturing the talks and adding interesting insights. Conference staff must have provided constantly refilled coffee since the blogs just kept coming and were on-task and right-on; most of us have attention spans that last about 20 minutes and that invariably include interruptions to view a few emails or texts, so I fully appreciate what these bloggers accomplished.
The key themes and takeaways for me were:
* Advances in technology are enabling an explosion of change and innovation in the industry, from DIY to MROCs to online;
* Insight is valued over data, particularly if you don’t want the purchasing department deciding who will get the business;
* Insights need to be presented in such a way that they convey emotion, so there is motivation for change to happen; and
* How to get ok with change.
Personally, I loved hearing from Wired magazine’s Publisher, Chris Anderson, that the Apple IPad and its ilk will soon replace laptops and that our devices won’t need much memory since we can use wireless to pull our apps from a cloud on the Internet. Since I’m losing memory cells daily and often feel like everything’s a bit foggy if not totally over my head, I’m thinking this device is a must-have. But enough about me. You can catch some of his talk on YouTube. For an understanding of what this means to MR, Kathryn Korostoff covered this beautifully.
The conference also placed a big focus on recognizing best in breed with two innovation awards. The first is the 11-year old EXPLOR Awards, which rewards the most innovative uses of technology. The second was the new NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award. Tom Anderson noted it was a whole lot harder than he expected to narrow the choice to just one individual, one agency, and one client. Details were provided by blogger Mark Dresner in his post “TMRE Day Two Delivers, Too!.”
Finally, the prevalence of exhibitors engaged in social media research, MROCs, mobile, online and other innovative solutions further highlighted the industry’s focus on innovation in the MR space. Gongos, with its mobile smart phone platform for engaging consumers in market research, is emblematic of new ways to reach out to consumers to gather insights. Clarabridge was one of several exhibitors focused on sentiment and text analytics software to collect, classify and apply sentiment analysis. How long has text analytics been a buzz word in the industry? And Burke Institute’s MR training courses show a marked shift to the new with their courses on social media and online communities.