Kicking off the year with ESOMAR

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Last night, Team Mustard attended the first 2016 ESOMAR UK event at Lightspeed GMI in London, titled “The Future of MR.” 100 ESOMAR members and their guests attended and were rewarded with great views of the river and the Houses of Parliament. The event kicked off with an introduction by the two UK representatives Crispin Beale of Chime Insight & Engagement Group and Mustard’s own Lucy Davison, MD and founder of Keen as Mustard Marketing.

As marketers for market research, we’re already aware that the market research industry is one of the best industries to be in, but it’s still nice to be recapped with cold, hard market research facts gleaned from The ESOMAR GMR. Globally, the market research industry is worth US $43 billion. The UK market is the second largest market with a turnover of $5,239 billion, following the US with $18,565 billion. The fastest growing market is that of Cyprus, growing by a substantial 76 percent since 2010.

The introduction preceded three exceptionally thought-provoking presentations. The first session was presented by Ernest Collings. Ernie proclaimed his predictions for the future of market research in his 20 predictions for 2020, delivered pecha-kucha style in just 12 minutes. Most of the predictions proved shocking to the audience, but they were all backed by evidence. For instance, Ernie predicted that Facebook will be dead in 2020 and by some point next year alone, 80 percent of users will disappear. However, Ernie also predicted a strong surge in social media overall, including the availability of more online experiences, leading to another prediction that social media will be the new brand tracking. Interesting, Ernie also predicts that one in every two market researchers will drive a Ferrari in 2020. Personally, we believe market researchers are more “Ford Focus” people, but we’ll happily take the Ferrari instead

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The second session was led by Samantha Bond of Northstar London on the new rules of attraction. Sam introduced us to the idea of #makechangehappen and the ‘start up manifesto’, sharing her research into Millennial entrepreneurs.  Businesses (including of course research companies) need to adapt to recruit and engage Millennials by creating a community within the work environment, initiating trust and empowerment among employees, and offering a way of life instead of just work-life balance.

Finally, Jon Puleston of Lightspeed GMI led the last session on predicting the future. As researchers, “we are all in the business of prediction,” he said, but as an industry and as individuals we are not very good at accurate prediction. He shared some of his experiments trying to understand how to generate better predictors, and better predictions. When we were asked whether it would rain next Wednesday, majority of the audience said yes. However, “60% of English people will always say yes to rain next week if asked to predict the weather,” said Jon. However, statistically there is only a 46 percent chance of rain on any given day in February in London. Problems in prediction markets are crowd ignorance, order bias (naming one element before the other) and personal experience and opinion. Jon says the solutions to these problems are to isolate the good predictors. It’s less about the sample size and more about intelligence and diversity. Jon also says people can be trained to be better predictors. If this is true, we would like to be a part of that training. After the three interesting talks we chatted with other ESOMAR members over wine, beer and delicious bites. Overall, it was a very great night for Mustard and a good start to ESOMAR UK events for 2016.