MRX is late to the digital party: ESOMAR 3D Digital Dimensions Conference

It’s been a week since the end of the ESOMAR 3D Digital Dimensions conference when Yahoo! UK  director, Laura Chaibi, told everyone in the room that if they’re still “considering” mobile research, they’ve already missed the bus to the digital age of research. At which point we all peered round at each other looking like deer in headlights.

Alice Louw and Jan Hofmeyr from TNS made a plea for researchers to get back to the basics: ask fewer, more concise questions. Spend less time thinking up large quantities of questions, and more time working & re-working question wording so that what’s being measured is actually being measured. Wait. I think there’s a research vocabulary word for that . . . oh yeah, validity. I have to admit, having a research background, I was a little shocked at the different canonical standards market research has versus other fields of research that are regarded as rigorous sciences, such as psychology or sociology. And we’re starting to see a negotiation between and within all three. It is time for market research to start thinking of itself as a science.

Best paper winner Mike Rodenburgh, from Ipsos Vancouver, defined and outlined new MRX buzz-word, socializing research, saying it’s the end of market research as we know it — but we feel fine about it!

Jos Vink from Blauw Research showed us the noise-making potential, and also limitations, of super-promoters. But the existence of social media super-promoters raises a lot of questions around manipulating these so.med. actors for branding and advertising. One of the more interesting parts of Vink’s project, though, was that the whole thing worked off the assumption that social media are platforms for narratives, even though the very essence of social media is news-y, with its status “updates,” and 140 character tweets. Clear understanding of social media is very obviously something with which MRX is still struggling.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Digital Dimensions conference without loads of chat about mobile research and our tumultuous feelings around its future. As Laura Chaibi reminded us on day one: we’re already late to the party, it’s time to stop talking about the arrival and future of mobile in market research, and it’s time to start doing.

Check out what the ESOMAR attendees were saying during the presentations, as many of us (including Mustard!) were live-tweeting during the event, by searching #esomar on twitter. Or you can just click here for Mustard’s #esomar stream.

Following the first day of presentations we all loaded up the buses and headed out to one of the central canals of Amsterdam to cruise on the water, chat with MRX visionaries, and enjoy the views of a clear night in Nederlands! Check out some of the photos I took here on our facebook page.