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Key learnings from IIeX Europe 2020

Last week we were at IIEX in Amsterdam to catch up on the latest trends and developments within the market research and insights industry.

In contrast with previous years’ editions, the 2020 edition The major disruptions and innovations that we have seen emerging in the past couple of years, now start to land within organisations as they are building business cases around these new methods and ways of thinking.

In what follows, we’ll summarize our main takeaways.

1. From product-centric late stage validation to human-centric iterative processes 

While efficiency gains are often focused on the implementation of digital tools generating insights, researchers should also focus on the process. In this respect, a design-thinking approach proves to be extremely valuable. Design thinking is a human-centric approach to problem solving, of developing products and services in an iterative process of learning, building and measuring. By integrating consumer feedback early on, we are able to maximize the value of outcomes while minimizing risk.


2. “In-house” and DIY instead of outsourcing

The increasing pressure on timings and budgets, has led companies like and Sky to building their own in-house market research and consumer insights “agency” that runs most of their research projects. Most client side companies do not go that far and take a more eclectic approach, building in-house capabilities where they can and outsourcing work that requires specific knowledge and expertise. This trend puts a lot of pressure on traditional full service agencies who need to find  new ways in order to stay relevant. 

3. From isolated projects to comprehensive knowledge management platforms   

In the past, researchers went from one research project to the other and certainly if employee retention was low, it was hard to know whether data or insights around a specific topic already existed, let alone where to find it. Nowadays, a lot of knowledge management platforms are emerging that centralise all unstructured and structured consumer and market data, so insights can be mined more easily. Artificial Intelligence embedded in these platforms help to generate insights and recommend actions based on the data coming from different sources.


4. Voice tech and chatbots are making the conversation

More and more, we see the evolution towards building conversations at scale, made possible by shifts in the domain of natural language processing. From voice enabled surveys enabling more in-depth answers and ensuring more respondent engagement, to chatbots that use AI to conduct text-based interviews, it is certain that further advancements will revolutionize the way we conduct research. 


5. From asking questions to observing real behaviour

Traditional surveys have been under pressure for years. They ask questions that people are unable to answer, in a language that is often only understood by the researcher who designed the survey. Certainly, voice tech and chat bots will help to overcome the boundaries of traditional surveys. But we can also stop asking questions and observe what people actually do. At IIEX we brought our own case to the stage together with Telenet and Nurama and showed how digitally tracking shoppers’ behaviour in store helps to improve the in-store experience. And there are many other ways to do research without asking questions that will only become more relevant in the coming years.