MRS B2B Conference Roundup

The future of MRX

As members of the MRS, we were keen to attend the MRS B2B Conference. The day saw market research professionals discussing the hot topics for the present and future of the industry. We have put together our key highlights and takeaways from the day which could impact the language choices being made by our clients.

The future of B2B and market research

  • As the margin between rich and poor grows, thinking about who you will be sampling, in any one country, grows in importance. E.g the Gini coefficient in India. The variance between India ‘A’ – the very rich and India ‘B’ – the very poor, is vast. Sampling from either will throw up very different attitudes and values.
  • Traditional business models are changing which will continue to disrupt traditional insight. There’s an increasing freelancer economy which is replacing the declining corporate elite.
  • Social media and online forums provide a 24/7 opinion exchange which offers different and often valuable data to be analysed. People are offering true opinions without agencies spending time and money asking them the questions.
  • Original approach vs investigative journalism. The need for a minimum viable product will only increase, as will automation, which means market researchers need to get more creative about gathering relevant data in half the time.
  • The over-riding conclusion from the day was that B2B, B2C and B2E should all be treated as B2H – business to humans. We can learn from each segment but ultimately need to keep in mind that behind each decision maker is a human, who is also a consumer and an employee.

Key takeaways

  • The buzz word ‘storytelling’ is frequently heard and often associated with negative connotations but the key is to hone the art of creating a compelling narrative for your insight. It is as important as ever in order to engage the c-suite and gain buy-in for MRX.
  • Evidence is not the only thing which speaks. It’s important not to forget emotion, as it can help us influence behavioural change e.g. people’s attitudes towards organ donation.
  • Agencies of the future will have team members who know a little bit of everything but also those who specialise in specific areas too. Secondments to client organisations can help build further employee skills and long-term relationships.
  • Big data – still unsure what to do with it or how to tackle its vastness? Utilise all the big data you can but be sure to understand the consumer context behind it. Combine consumer data with ‘reference’ data for better insights.
  • Use your experience and don’t ignore your ‘gut-feel’ (market researchers have been proven to be great predictors). Data driven decisions (DDD) are not always best – just take a look at spurious correlations!
  • MRX has a big role to play in opening up the democracy of decision making within organisations. B2E (business to employees) has been proven to achieve important, business-changing, consumer-led insights.

Top tips for gaining c-suite buy-in

  • If your findings conflict with the ideas the c-suite have about their customer journey, call on evidence, from multiple studies, to back up your findings.
  • Articulate your value to a granular level. ‘Insight’ can cover all facets of your work, and may mean different things to different people (often, insight is viewed as expense with no hard proof of ROI). Therefore, explaining how you will deliver an understanding of an unmet customer need develops a greater appreciation and sense of value for MRX clients.

Translating as we do for the market research industry, many of these points strike a chord in our own work. The rise of social media and online communities as tools for collecting valuable customer data is visible across the industry as a whole. Whether you’re relying on gut-feel or big data, speaking to consumers in their own language and being able to convey the stories being told in the forums and chat-rooms is vital. We are already seeing changes in the types of translations we’re asked for. We are watching this virtual space with interest!


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