The future looks bright

By Bjorn Verbrugghe @ Alpro.

Last Thursday, 16th of December 2016, there was the very last BAQMaR conference. After 10 years of sharing bright ideas, there was a last round of inspiration sharing on #mrx. These were my 3 main takeouts of all the presentations shared during that evening

  1. Context is king: It is a mantra which is already for some time living in the marketing community but it seems that it is now also key in the marketing research community. Ludovic Depoortere from Haystack illustrated this by the use of Virtual Reality in some marketing research projects. As such VR is a tool but when you use it in the right context, it could lead to better predictions. His main example was a research for a fruity beer which is drunk more during summer. If you do this in a neutral research environment, you get totally different results than when you do this with VR glasses on which give you the feeling you are on terrace during a sunny day. Also Andrew Konya, who is an expert in Artificial Intelligence, illustrated that context is king. He illustrated that AI can help to recognize patterns (and even patterns of patterns of patterns :-)) and thus give context to data. He illustrated this by analazing data of the US presidential elections and this indicated that Donald Trump seemed to score very well on authenticity and that authenticity itself is a good indicator for winning the presidential elections.
  2. “Real”, thrustworthy and protected data will be a critical asset in the future: For a while already we here statements like “data is the new oil” but it becomes more and more clear that data itself is not enough. We need data that we can consider as “true” and once we have this, we also need to be sure we need be sure, in one or the other way, we can make it “immutable”. Sam Wouters from duval union, talked in this perspective about blockchaining which is a way to transfer something (money, data,…) without being reliant on one 3rd party. The most important example of this is Bitcoin which is about transferring money without a 3rd party (a financial organization in this case). And although Bitcoins itselfs will not replace our money, it remains very important (there are 150 million dollar of transaction per day with Bitcoin). The technology itself which is decentralized, depending on the wisdom of the crowd and a lot of computing power (paid with bitcoins) , will not dissapear. Vincent Hendricks, a philosophy professor from the university of Copenhagen, illustrated that opinions are numerous on social media and that those opinions seem to have a “social currency” depending on the number of likes they get. In the end it is about fighting for attention. This attention is not only caught by “real” and “reliable” data but can also be caught with “untrue” and sensational data. The economical impact of this so called hoaxes is big.
  3. The inspiration is out there: Inspiration on market research doesn’t need to come only from market research itself. If you open up your mind, the inspiration can come from a lot of other domains. Daphne Fecheyr Lippens, a biochemist from the university of Ghent illustrated that we can just use the long history of the development in nature as a toolbox for R&D within companies. She illustrated this by a banana which is able to develop and adapt its own “packaging”. Maarten Verschuere from Clever urged us not to look to narrow to market research. The richness of combining different types of research (qualitative, quantitative and data mining) reinforces each of the individual domains. He illustrated this a research for a company in the travelling industry. If you know from qualitative and quantitative research what the drivers and barriers are from going to a destination, you can just apply this to a huge database and reach thousands of people with a targeted message.

Afters 10 year of BAQMaR, I can feel that the market research industry has truly changed. It is an open and innovative industry where bright ideas are shared and embraced. So I can only conclude that the future looks bright!