Congress Report: BAQMaR Conference 2011

Thursday’s BAQMaR Conference took place at the beautiful Marriott Hotel in Ghent. Some of the brightest minds of the industry were given the opportunity to share their ideas about ‘creative ways’ to overcome issues that market research faces today. Several topics such as gamification, infotainment, social CRM, neuroscience, mobile research, social media and many more were presented on stage. Interesting speakers, but a limited time: Therefore a choice had to be made. I chose the room where marketing research was the main topic.
Afternoon program

Marketing Research Track

What do you notice about this commercial? Quite emotional, right?! Heineken highlighted emotions and the commercial became a big hit… Emotion is also the word that summarizes the content of the two presentations before the break. Cristina De Balanzo, Global Head of Neuroscience at TNS Global explained how emotion drives human behavior. No dull scientific word-dropping but concrete examples of how neuroscience can be applied into market research.
Orlando Wood, not actor (that’s Bloom) but Managing Director of BrainJuicer Labs, also talked about emotions. There are two brain systems that influence the way we make decisions. System 1 is most used when making decisions. It’s quick, effortless and can be compared with a reptilebrain. System 2 is slower and effortful, but has to be used solving for example this task. Fact is that system 1 is much more frequently used in making decisions than system 2. But where’s the relevance for market research in all this? Let’s talk about pretesting…When you ask participants to choose between brands A and B, they rely on system 2 when making that decision whereas in reality they often choose the other one relying on system 1… Emotions seem to be a better predictor for efficiency. So instead of asking people what they think about your brand, ask them how they feel about your brand.

Turning it mobile

After the break Kristin Luck, President at Deciper talked about the future of mobile market research. Did you know 43% of the Facebook users access the site through their mobile device? I didn’t. No doubt about it, mobile is booming business. Does that mean every company should create an application? Definitely not! The mobile future is about much more than apps. Turning it mobile can also be about creating a mobile friendly survey. Did you ever fill in a survey on your mobile device? Was it user-friendly? Most of them aren’t… In addition research shows that participants who fill in surveys through a mobile device are slower and give shorter answers to open ends. Conclusion: keep the surveys short (15 questions top), minimize all non-essential content (progress bars aren’t necessary) and keep the look of the survey simple!
Evening program
No picking between rooms during the evening program. When ‘de bellenman van Gent’ rang his bell, everybody was assumed to take place at the main conference room.

Game on!

I was very inspired by the presentation of Jon Puleston, Vice President Innovation at GMI about gamification. Games have three core elements: rules, skill/effort and rewards. Compare it with gardening. Rules explain how to sow a seed, you have to put effort in the process and as a reward your garden looks great. Surveys can be compared with dull games. Nobody likes dull games so a change has to be made! To turn surveys into more game-like experiences you need to think about how to make them more fun. 6 great ideas to make questions more fun and a clear message to bin grids. I definitely agree on that last one by the way. Nevertheless Jon warns us that gamification is really powerful and you have to be careful with it! On top of this the audience was treated with a giant poster containing the presentation. Get more info, go out and play!


Paul Harrigan, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Southampton proved with the quote ‘don’t correct me here, correct me during the drinks, because I am an academic and for the next 30 minutes, I am right and you are wrong” that academics can be cool and funny. Convinced about the importance of Customer Relationship Management, he stated tools like Hyves, Myspace, Netlog and even Facebook may change, the philosophy will not.

Engage, inspire, act!

What would life be without inspiration…? Stan Knoops, Head of Consumer Insights Europe + Global Capability leader at Unilever brings the customer into the boardroom, recognizing the impact of customers. Interesting? Definitely!

In my humble opinion, BAQMaR was a great success! I really enjoyed it and am very thankful I had the opportunity to be there!

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