The MRMW APAC conference in Singapore at the end of June took “digital disruption” as its theme. It was a great opportunity to measure the pace of research change in the part of the world with more experience of ultra-fast change than any other. System1 was in attendance, with Maria Spinelli, Glaucia Marques and Alice Arnould reporting back.
MRMW (Market Research in the Mobile World) is a conference with a particular focus on technology and digital transformation. Its APAC event, held in a grand venue in Singapore, showcased 20 presentations with speakers including Abbott, Lego, Uber, Google and Twitter.
It was an opportunity to see how research agencies and buyers are like are adjusting to the changed realities of our business. Let’s start with DATA – which is the bedrock of this change. There’s been a fundamental shift from data scarcity to data abundance.
Businesses spoke of the overwhelming data that’s available. It feels like everyone has access to an endless supply of data … from everywhere … at any time … and it’s free! Commoditized data offers opportunities to marketers – it empowers them to do more DIY research and to experiment more. But it also creates challenges – there’s an urgent need to get and manage this data efficiently. And the real priority for clients comes in making sense of all the data and ensuring it makes an impact to their business.
One of the best presenters, Kenny Ong from Universal Music Group, spoke about how his marketing team was able to use data to build a virtual Demi Lovato fan base in Cambodia on Facebook, from next to nothing to over 60,000 fans, for a concert that they ended up needing an entire island to accommodate.
In order for data to make this kind of impact, it must be turned into INSIGHTS – ones which have value when making both short- and long-term decisions. This is something more and more organisations are trying to do on their own to save money and time, which creates the challenge of making sure that everyone in the organisation is ‘on board’ with this and follows a common approach towards distilling the wealth of information available.
Which means there’s a second big shift happening – from project-by-project insights generation to building this kind of insights culture within a business. Stephanie Myers from Prudential spoke about how insights have helped to change the culture in that organisation. They’re putting more emphasis on the customer, and embracing a very new direction – not just in what they communicate, but even in smaller touchpoints like their office space look and feel.
To manage data and insights you need TECHNOLOGY – which brings us back to the reason MRMW exists. Many presentations shared how digital, virtual reality, insight platforms, apps or artificial intelligence can help to easily capture and manage more accurate data on how consumers actually behave … and therein how to turn them into more insightful analysis and trends for the brands. One presentation in particularly stood out: Carlos Hernandez Jr of Abbott spoke about the challenges of consolidating the wealth of information across different teams in the business. Having a sharing platform like they have with Market Logic has really helped the teams to ensure that research isn’t repeated unnecessarily and that information is shared across business units.
It’s an example of the changing role of technology and automation in research, and the third big shift captured at the conference – from flashy front-end (tech as a parade of sexy new methodologies) to baseline back-end (tech as the motor which drives insight culture within an organisation).
So that’s three big shifts which add up to a whole new industry:
Data: From data scarcity to data abundance.
Insights: From insights generation to insights culture.
Technology: From flashy front-end to baseline back-end.
We came away inspired, and feeling that our own innovations in System1 – investing in automation, speed, new platforms and next-generation tools – are definitely aligned with the exciting journey our industry is on.