6 Things you Missed at the 2017 Market Research Summit


Didn’t have time to attend the Market Research Summit this May? No worries… we are listing below the hottest topics of discussion as well as the key learnings.

While it is difficult to synthesize a full day of a conference in a few paragraphs, we have some information and insights worth sharing.

Attendees ranged from academics to marketing executives, which contributed to a rich and diverse discussion about a wide range of marketing topics.

Among many topics of discussion, the impact of new technologies such as AI in the future of market research was a particularly discussed subject.

Here are 6 important points from the 2017 Market Research Summit

1. “OMG… AI is killing our jobs, actually not...”

Market Researches seem to think new technologies such as AI  are going to replace their services. In several panels, the idea that AI would replace humans in understanding humans was discussed in depth.

However, there was no evidence of a single brief lost as a result of an AI enabled capability. Even more surprisingly, no AI use case was clearly identified during the entire conference.

INSIGHT: AI is still a valid technology that does not harm human jobs. If you are a market researcher, you will keep your job for the next twenty years with our without AI.


 2. A.I.  is paving the road to data accessibility

When it comes to data, AI is cutting through the noise, test, and measure. It represents a novel opportunity to develop a cultural understanding of the consumer, in which data selection and data integration are the right approaches to deal with an excess of data that is already generated.

INSIGHT:  While AI is not replacing humans in interpreting the data, it is certainly speeding up data collection and filtering. In this sense, AI is an enabler for market researchers to do their jobs faster and better.


 3. A chant from agency land “ I will survive…”

Can big brands do market research on their own? Will agencies see their budgets slashed as a result of DIY market research? The answer is controversial, but there is consensus on the need of a third pair of eyes especially when dealing with insights driving big decisions. It is not only about getting the work done but also about gaining an alternate perspective through an external, trusted and professional lens.

INSIGHT:  While AI is not replacing humans in interpreting the data, it is certainly speeding up.


4. The risk of DIY solutions

DIY solutions provide valid and reliable data once you know to use them. However, if you have no experience using this technology you risk going astray and wasting a large amount of time. I spoke to many skilled market researchers during the Summit, and in doing so I found that their unanimous sentiment is that DIY tools are still difficult to use. They can be especially problematic if no support is provided by the company selling the DIY software.

INSIGHT:  Use DIY Market research with care, buy based on post-sale support and customer care.


 5.“Do more for less” AKA the curse of freelancers

Consumers are consuming faster, brands are striving to capture fast evolving needs and key drivers. In parallel, budgets are shrinking. As a result, Market Researchers are squeezed in the middle: do more for less and find means to get there faster. Unfortunately, there is as of yet no one clear way how to go about doing this.

INSIGHT:  Market research automation may be the solution for faster insights, but the jury is still out and other routes are being explored.


 6. Great insights still resonate with  a great team

Great teams are the main engine of successful insights. The challenge is to find or put together a team with two kinds of talent: data analysis and advertisement. But how do you go about that? Based on the answers I gathered from a number of market researchers, the best way to build an ideal team is to recruit people based primarily on their attitude, not their technical skills. Then have these people work together as an insight team focused purely on analytics. It can take time and effort to get a group of people working efficiently together, but the results are worth it.

INSIGHT: Great insights rely on teams of people that have technical, entrepreneurial and management skills. Recruiting the right people and getting them to work efficiently together is still a challenge.



The Market Research Summit was a great conference with plenty of new information, case studies, and networking opportunities. The common pattern we saw across multiple disciplines is that the size of a conference still makes a huge difference in your ROI.

For instance, the Market Research Summit ( attendees < 300) it is still very intimate and accessible and you can talk with anyone and approach everyone from the intern to the CEO. It is a great conference where information, new ideas, and networking are high points. If we compare the size of the MR Summit with other marketing conferences, we can see on the graphic below an idea on how this conference is beneficial to the market.

One of the main learnings from this year's edition is that the impact of AI on market research is still unclear - and yes, we would be delighted to get your perspective on this.