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Sharpening the Saw: The Market Research Technology Event

Market Research is bifurcating - becoming at once more grounded in real people through the rise of ethnography and shop-along interviews where real people bring you into their real-ish lives (or as much as they can given you are an interviewer).

Editor’s Note: In just a few weeks IIR is bringing us The Market Research Technology Event, the 2012 incarnation of the Technology Driven Market Research event that was launched last year. I’ve been privileged to be on the Advisory Board of this conference working along with a world class team of leaders in the industry to develop an agenda that focuses on the forefront of the new research paradigm: the conjunction of market research, business intelligence, and advanced analytics through the lens of social media, mobile, CRM, and “Big Data”. I will also be playing a co-hosting role with Ben Smithee during the conference, so I won’t have much time to blog during the event. Have no fears though; I have two folks who will be helping to keep you informed on all of the great learnings that will be coming from the conference. GBB regular Tony Cosentino will be on hand, as will industry rock star and new GBB contributor Kelley Styring!

Kelley is simply one the coolest and smartest people in market research; she is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune,  numerous industry periodicals and is a frequent keynote presenter and chairperson at industry conferences. Kelley is going to be live blogging at TMRTE and I hope contributing to GBB on an ongoing basis afterwards. She has a unique perspective and voice and I think you’ll love her take on things. Here is her first post in preparation for TMRTE; stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!

By Kelley Styring

Whenever my 12 year old daughter and I want to talk about girl things in the presence of men, we just start talking about shoe shopping.  You can see their eyes glaze over as they go off into a happy place, annoyed and bored to death about women’s shoes.  Then we can say whatever we want – because they aren’t listening anymore.  The same thing happens to me when someone starts talking about Technology.  One whiff of Gigawhatevers and Appwhatnots and I drift off to a happy place.   Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge user of technology – a gadget early adopter – and I would take my iPad to the grave before I’d give it up in a dark alley.  But here’s the thing – I like to drive the car, not know how everything works under the hood.  Put the key in, turn it and go!  Then, I’m happy.

The problem with my attitude is that Market Research is bifurcating – becoming at once more grounded in real people through the rise of ethnography and shop-along interviews where real people bring you into their real-ish lives (or as much as they can given you are an interviewer with a giant video camera in their very very clean house) and at the same time, MR is becoming more Technology centric and dependent.   And, it is the intersection of these two where some true beauty happens in terms of human understanding.

So, to be an expert in the real human, we must also know the Technology that helps us reach them in masses, or track them more elegantly, or even know them more deeply because sometimes, they’re more honest alone in a room with a Flip camera than squeezed into the bathroom with you and me and the cameraman.   I must embrace my demon and learn as much as I can about Technology and how it is impacting – and even driving the future of my industry.  It’s only with this knowledge that I can delve into and help create the future.

I’m attending The Market Research Technology Event to sharpen the saw on my command of Technology and how it is impacting Market Research.  Join me there for provocative presentations and interact with leading researchers who are driving Technology ahead for all of us.   I plan to walk away with at least ten new ideas for research applications, new tools to develop, and new contacts for future collaboration.   And, the next time someone  speaks in Technobabble to me, perhaps it will actually peak my interest and spark new ideas.   Otherwise, I should stop researching and just go shoe shopping.

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Kelley Styring

Kelley Styring

Principal, InsightFarm Inc