It was my privilege to attend the 2016 TMRE Conference (The Market Research Event) in Boca Raton the third week of October. I must say the conference exceeded my expectations (which, as you know, is not true of every conference you attend).
Not only was the event professionally run, the attendees were a diverse collection of super intellects looking for tools and truth.
Speaking of attendees, it included an “A list” of participants on the vendor, corporate B2C and B2B sides. We had among us giants such as Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, NBCUniversal, Shell Oil, Microsoft and Cisco. We attended sessions with and variously met and spoke with people from scores of admired brands such as Pizza Hut, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Forbes, Mutual of Omaha, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, Taco Bell, JP Morgan Chase, Hallmark Cards, Univision, Herbalife, Clif Bars, VF Jeansware, the Navy Federal Credit Union, and many more.
The conference did a good job of wrangling a diverse set of business challenges that covered the waterfront, including innovation and persuasion, engagement and leadership, online retail and storytelling, the internet of things, analytics, and dozens of other topics.
Although TMRE traditionally celebrates left brain pursuits to quantitatively understand market and customer behavior, there was a refreshing focus on the relatively volatile social and e-commerce engagement.
This does not surprise me. In fact, Nielsen reports that 92% of customers trust Word of Mouth recommendations more than any other form of advertising!
There also was a markedly greater interest this year in my company’s area of interest: proving ROI from online analytics.
For the first time potential clients found their way to our booth intent on asking to see a method that ties customer conversations to in market performance. (Word of mouth is now a “C” level topic and there will be focus brought!)
I was really heartened that companies are now starting to see that we in the world of Big Data are starting to crack the nut of proving ROI around social, e-commerce, and online chat. The best algorithms are now getting forward-leaning in filtering and analyzing digital conversations and the right people, at some of the biggest organizations, are paying attention. Bravo!
Get ready folks. Given the ever expanding investment is digital marketing, and the torrents of social and e-commerce conversational interactions, we must make sense of this well-established way of running our operations and assessing our businesses.
The tipping point has been reached. Time (and progress) waits for no company. The future finally is now. I cant wait to see the focus change and vendor response at the 2017 TMRE Conference in Orlando.