Three Market Research Themes from TMRE


Emily Prozeller

Vice President, Communities & Panels

This month I returned to in-person conferences with a trip to The Market Research Event (TMRE) in Nashville. The conference was well executed and, while not at full capacity, it was easy to see how that isn’t too far off in the future.

As always, I appreciated hearing from others in the market research/insights community, keeping an open mind to nuances, changes, and perspectives that build on what I know. Here are three themes I walked away with, and I hope they spark thinking for you as well:

  1. Agile is preparedness. Agile was a theme in many presentations, but it was not positioned as a component like in the past – just a tool or a method, for example. Senior members of PepsiCo, Fruit of the Loom, and Johnsonville united on a panel, during which evolving views of “agile” surfaced. Specifically, the pandemic indicated agile is the ability to adjust under evolving, quick influences and pressures. For them internally, this meant being “doers” who could wear many hats and oftentimes be a true collaborator to achieve initiatives. Externally, this meant a partner who was prepared in many facets and well-positioned to pivot methods and approaches without compromising the goals of the initiatives.
  2. There is no blanket DIY approach. Business leaders also discussed the impact on their workforce; they are seeing turnover resulting in pressure to take on more. Layer this over our “new normal” — workdays that aren’t as consistent as they once were, and many find that traditional DIY is not a good match to obtain their insights goals. In the past, there were a few expected “ways into” DIY, but new workforce pressure has opened the door to other DIY approaches, especially custom DIY, where insight leaders have an opportunity to use DIY, but in a way that best meets their needs. 
  3. Not all friction is bad. Many businesses are currently re-evaluating their target’s mindsets and experiences. Many changes seem stressful or like an obstacle compared to what it was years ago merely because it is different or a result of the pandemic. However, a theme was to pause and acknowledge that not all differences or points of friction in their behaviors are necessarily bad. There is good friction (which presents an opportunity to enhance) and bad friction (a change that is harder to overcome or reap benefit from). Being able to consider and leverage the differences now is a must as we move forward.

I’m curious to see how these themes change over time and looking forward to uncovering new ones as we make our way back to in-person conferences.

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