Take-aways from our ESOMAR Research Shark Tank

Last September at ESOMAR (the global market research association) Congress 2018 in Berlin, we (myself and Annelies Verhaeghe, Head of Research Innovation at InSites Consulting) organized a research shark tank. You may be familiar with the concept as it aired on TV across the globe (sometimes under the name ‘Dragon’s Den’), where people pitch their idea to investors (the sharks).

We used the format to fuel the discussion on four topics (using our EDGE framework – Earn, Digest, Glue, Envision), whereby the audience was asked to pitch ideas to a panel of client-side researchers (the sharks) that could then decide which idea would be worth investing in, to safeguard the future of research.

We bundled the key take-aways from this research shark tank in an ESOMAR Congress publication. Check it out online to discover the many interesting ideas we gathered on how to take marketing research forward in this fast-paced environment. One thing is clear: as an industry our key focus should lie in getting people closer to consumers. Consumer centricity is key, as in the end consumers are the driving forces and beating heart of any business (including the research industry).
ESOMAR Research Shark Tank

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The insight community toolbox: ‘do’ activities

We all know that what people say, does not always correspond with what they actually do. This phenomenon is also referred to as the ‘say-do gap’ and is especially visible in topics where people are prone to maintain a positive image by giving socially desirable responses. This often explains deviating election-poll results, or why stats are off for sensitive topics such as racism, substance use, smoking, or bankruptcies. Wanting to understand human behavior, it is thus not enough to focus on what people ‘think’ and ‘feel’; what they ‘do’ is another vital part of the research mix.

The insight community toolbox: ‘feel’ activities

Neuroscientists have found that if the brain’s emotions network is damaged, people would lose their ability not only to laugh or cry, but also to make decisions. Likewise, when making a decision, one does not say ‘What do I think about this’, but rather ‘How do I feel about this’. Clearly, emotions are key drivers of decision making.
This strong impact of emotions on behavior also has implications for marketing research, where ‘feel’ activities should be an integral part of the research mix.

The insight community toolbox: ‘think’ activities

For a long time, the dominant belief among philosophers, scientists and economists was that humans – and their decision making – are driven predominantly by ratio, and this was no different in marketing research. While we now understand that human behavior is complex and requires a multi-dimensional approach, ‘think’ activities are still an important part of the research mix – they allow to grasp the perceptions, opinions and attitudes people can easily express.