BAQMaR Conference 2010

On the 16th of December, Ghent was covered underneath a white blanket of snow. Not the perfect weather to rush through traffic or to go out and explore the world. Better to sit down and talk, to listen, to go to the annual BAQMaR conference!
This year’s agenda was all about resetting our industry. After all, the last couple of years we did not only see major shifts in research methodologies, we have been facing a chameleon consumer who’s challenging us to be creative in our research techniques as well.
The first logical question we should ask ourselves though is whether we really have to reset our industry? Actually, the answer is quite straightforward: No. Listening to the speakers at the conference, it’s not necessary to rewind and erase everything we’ve done so far. As a true market researcher, it’s better to grow knowledge based on the past. Techniques like social media nethnography and predictive modeling can help us to cope with the changing environment of market research.
The second question that pops up is more difficult to answer. So we can build the tools, but how are we going to use them? At this point, the importance of a conceptual framework comes in the picture. Market researchers should become consultants who have a clear understanding of the market and are driven by marketing principles.
Of course, we should carefully select the consumers we’re talking to. In a period in which research panels are shrinking Rijn Vogelaar, CEO of Blauw Research, suggests to focus on Superpromoters. “The Superpromoter personifies the power of enthusiasm”, he says. But more importantly, they share their enthusiasm with their peers and have influence on their environment. Finding these Superpromoters is crucial as they are willing to help companies to understand the market. They are thrilled to co-create and help companies in their innovation process, their product development and their brand architecture. The case of Heineken helps Rijn in explaining how market research can benefit from connecting with these consumers.
Once we’ve found those Superpromoters who show a great willingness to help companies, it’s a matter of approaching them in the correct way, using an integrated toolbox as Niels Schillewaert, Managing Partner at InSites Consulting, suggests. Making it fun for our research participants is key in that. By gamification of research techniques and tapping into their lives, we’ll be able to motivate respondents. Research should connect the dots between useful insights and a fun experience, just like the ‘speed camera lottery’. In practice this comes down to using Implicit Measurement, Event and Location based Research, Mobile devices, etc. A trend in our industry that Niels calls “Task based interactive and experiential research”. Why? Because what you do towards people is equally important as what you ask.
So what’s the bottom-line of this year’s BAQMar conference? Should we reset our industry and forget everything we’ve done so far? No! Only a computer is capable and stupid enough to completely erase and rewind everything. Instead of resetting the industry, market researchers should learn from the past. We should embrace the future with new tools and encounter our co-creators with new marketing principles.

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