ESOMAR Congress – A Window on Market Research

Author Bio

Author Bio

It sounds like a bit of a cliché to say that the ESOMAR Congress is a highlight of the Market Research calendar. And after a couple of decades in the industry, you’d think I’d have lost interest in it by now. But the truth is; it IS still a highlight of the calendar. And although sometimes I might think it’s a bit of a trek to whichever destination has been selected to host the event, I always have a fantastic time from the moment I arrive. Confirmit is 20 this year, and this event has been a stable of our activity for a long time.

So, last week I and many of the Confirmit team hit New Orleans for ESOMAR Congress 2016. I’m always slightly agog at how big the event has become, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and friends and meet some new ones (ideally over a drink or two!) This year was no exception and Confirmit started our Congress experience on the Sunday night by meeting up with four new Market Research start-up businesses as part of ESOMAR’s “Research Rally” – a program to help start-ups plug information gaps. It’s always great to be able to work with new companies with exciting ideas about the future of MR, and our EVP Product Management, Terry Lawlor acted a mentor and was able to provide some really practical guidance about how these fledgling organizations can use technology to give them in the edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

On Monday, the main event kicked off. There was a packed agenda and the overall theme of the event was transformation and impact. What struck me as I listened to the presentations was that there was a strong focus on automation and how we as an industry can automate more of the day-to-day practices of MR in order to enable us to focus on ensuring we deliver insights that can help our clients succeed. There’s always an element of unease over automation. Can we do it well? What if we do it too well? Will we all be replaced by MR robots? It’s right to think hard about it, but some of the technology today presents us with opportunities we couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago, and I believe we need to swallow our fear and crack on.

Speaking of robots, one of the highlights at the Confirmit booth was the launch of our Insight 2036 survey which was a huge hit. Around 100 people came and completed our survey about how insight will look in the year 2036. Will surveys really be conducted by robots? Will survey driven data collection as we know it still exist or will it all be about predictive analytics? Will we be teleporting to work? It’s a light-hearted survey that provided some hilarious moments at the stand (as did the photo booth!) In the survey we asked people to provide us with a tweet as if sent from 25th October 2036 – here are the three best from ESOMAR’s attendees:

  • “So excited president Matthew McConaughey enforced 2 day work weeks #life #moonvacation”
  • “Shot down my drone... now I feel free!”
  • “Just teleporting myself to the Mars space colony for the day to run some groups - yes, asking people about stuff is still important!”


I - Attendees complete the Insight 2036 survey

And all the amusement, as well as the chance to see demos of some of our latest and greatest tech clearly went down well – we won the Best Exhibitor award! At such a massive event, this is a real honor, particularly as it’s voted for by the attendees.


II - Winners of the Best Exhibitor Award!

We rounded things off by taking some of our customers out for a spectacular dinner at Emerils, one of New Orleans’ most famous restaurants. It’s great to unwind with people that we work so closely with throughout the year but often don’t get the chance to see in “real life”. ESOMAR Congress is a real window in the MR world and while we were all exhausted by the end of it, we’re already looking forward to next year! And from the picture below, you’ll see why!

III - The Confirmit team at ESOMAR Congress. Enough Said.