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The 20 Capabilities Clients Were Looking For At IIeX

Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Philips, Heineken, AIMIA & Lowe's conducted over 80 private meetings with Market Research suppliers last week at IIeX Europe. What were they looking for?

client needs

IIeX Europe was last week in Amsterdam, and once again it can only be described as a huge success. Much has already been written about the public facing event (see here, here, here, here and here for examples), but that is just part of the story.

We’ve been very clear that IIeX serves multiple purposes, but in essence I see the events as a funnel to accomplish 6 things:

  1. Connect  client-side research organizations with new potential supplier partners
  2. Connect established MR suppliers with potential new emerging supplier partners
  3. Connect emerging and early stage supplier companies with clients and partners
  4. Connect emerging and early stage companies with funding or acceleration opportunities
  5. Serve as a thought leadership platform and inspiration source for the entire industry
  6. Become a bridge for trade organizations and new players

Of course there is more to it than just these basics and lots of other great byproducts emerge from the process, but those 6 priorities lie at the heart of why we launched this initiative to begin with.

To make this happen it all starts with working with our Corporate Partners to understand what they are looking for and building the event around those needs as much as possible. Part of that is a public process such as the Insight Innovation Challenge, but even more happens in private consultation with the Corporate Partners.

For IIeX Europe the partners were  Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Philips, Heineken, AIMIA & Lowe’s. The culmination of their work with us occurs at the conferences: right before the event we share with them a list of all attending companies with descriptions of their core offering and then set up private meetings during the conference for them to meet with the companies they find interesting. It’s a great win/win for all and we continue to expand the program to partners globally.

Obviously we cannot talk about specific meetings or vendors, or even which Corp Partners are interested in what approaches, but in a general sense looking at the classification of vendors from an offering perspective is enlightening.  58 suppliers were selected to meet privately with the Corporate Partners for a total of 84 meetings (yes, some were very much in demand), so although certainly this can’t be considered quantitative it is strongly directional of the types of things these large client companies find most interesting right now. Of course the implication is that they are interested because they believe they can address business issues within their organization, and that is incredibly useful to know as the rest of the industry continues to adapt to the changing marketplace.

Here is a breakdown for you:


Category # of Suppliers % of Suppliers Selected % of Total Meetings
Emotional Measurement 9 16% 11%
Advanced Analytics 7 13% 8%
Insight Consultancy 5 9% 6%
Mobile Research 4 7% 5%
Neuromarketing 4 7% 5%
Facial coding 3 5% 4%
Social Media Analytics 3 5% 4%
Visualization Software 3 5% 4%
Behavioral Economics Consultancy 2 4% 2%
Big Data Consultancy 2 4% 2%
Single source big data platform 2 4% 2%
Visual Analytics 2 4% 2%
Asia Pac focused FS Agency 1 2% 1%
DIY Platform 1 2% 1%
Gamification 1 2% 1%
In-store Testing 1 2% 1%
Microsurveys 1 2% 1%
Prediction Markets 1 2% 1%
Qualitative 1 2% 1%
Text Analytics 1 2% 1%
Wearables 1 2% 1%
Suppliers 55
Total Meetings  84


And to show things a bit more visually, here is a chart (click on it to make it bigger)

IIeX Meetings


For our purposes we continue to draw a line between emotional measurement (which I define as more implicit or cognitive based approaches), neuromarketing and facial scanning but obviously, despite the apparent low uptake registered in the most recent GRIT study, clients are still keenly interested in the approaches and collectively they accounted for almost 30% of all meetings. That should be a big wake up call for the rest of the industry: clients want to get to the unconscious drivers of behavior and are looking at many solutions to achieve it. My personal belief is that any firm that can address the speed, cost, and scale issues related to data collection will quickly grow at the same pace that we’ve seen with social, mobile, and communities.

The other big winners echo GRIT: social, mobile and analytics. All were well represented, with analytics being of especially high interest.

Another in demand group were companies I classify as Insight Consultancies: these companies have largely moved away from internal data collection resources or a focus on method and instead are focused more on providing strategic consulting services informed by a broad array of research approaches. They are also often niche focused: innovation, marketing planning, engagement strategies, etc…

For some of the other approaches listed this chart can be misleading: remember, there were a total of 84 meetings scheduled but only 55 vendors participating: some companies had meetings with multiple Corporate Partners. Since in a few cases those are highly specialized firms with very distinct offerings that many in the industry are aware of I think it would be divulging too much to offer that level of analysis, so take my word for it: just because a category here may look low should not be taken as small interest. The safe position to take is that each of these categories represent growing trends in the industry that will likely only continue.

As we move forward with our Latin American, North American and Asia Pac event this year we will continue to track this and share with the industry what we can. Since IIeX is focused on connecting supply and demand we’re uniquely positioned to understand what’s happening and share that to help everyone thrive.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw a plug in here to wrap things up:

If you’re a client organization and want to join us as a Corporate Partner, send me an email at [email protected]. We’d love to help you as well.

If you’re a supplier, remember that in order to meet with our Corporate Partners you actually have to be in attendance. Book your spot at one of our future events right now so you can be in the consideration set.

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5 responses to “The 20 Capabilities Clients Were Looking For At IIeX

  1. Hi Lenny, Sorry to have missed this great event in Amsterdam, but all I have read indicates it was a huge success. Congratulations! As I scanned this list, I was formulating the same observation you made first – how to reconcile the big interest in “nonconscious response” methods in these meetings with their low current and projected use in the most recent GRIT survey.

    I think your hypothesis that buyers are looking for improvements in speed, cost, and scale in these technologies is dead on. The fact that these large, premier, early-adopter companies came to IIeX and invested so much time with these vendors implies that they know their needs and are looking quite aggressively for a solution (or solutions) to meet those needs. But the GRIT results imply (on a broader canvas than just these leading companies) that the suppliers have not yet communicated solutions that are being accepted and adopted by the mainstream buyers who dominate the GRIT results. Thus, the “planning to try it” results continue to outweigh the “trying it” results.

    It also looks to me like these premier buyers are taking a very ecumenical approach to their interest in nonconscious responses and do not see any one solution — whether implicit emotional response, facial coding, classic “neuromarketing” (EEG and fMRI), or behavioral economics — as the holy grail. Yet vendors today seem to be largely specialized on single-technique solutions. It may be time for vendors themselves to become more ecumenical, and begin working together or combining to provide truly integrated, multi-metric solutions. One more requirement to ad to faster, cheaper, and more scalable!

    1. I completely agree with you Steve; you have nailed the entire issue better than I can explain it. I am a big believer in mashups, and in this case I think it’s especially worthwhile to look at combining approaches to deliver more value, impact, and information to clients.

  2. @Tom, I’d define it as any technique that demonstrates the ability to measure emotional states or reaction, or non-conscious drivers of behavior, without connecting the consumer to a measurement apparatus.

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