Futuring Friday – Americas 2021

There are no companion slides for this panel discussion


Transcript of recording with Ray Poynter, Laura Bright, Kristin Luck, Gregg Archibald, Melanie Courtright, and Chuck Chakrapani – generated automatically by HappyScribe which means it will be about 80% accurate – if you spot confusing errors, please email ray@new-mr.com. The timestamps are included to help you jump directly to a point of interest.


[00:00:09.460] – Ray Poynter

So welcome, everyone. My name is Ray Poynter, for those of you who don’t know, and it’s I’m the moderator here today, so you won’t hear so much from me before we kick off. I like a big shout out to all of our sponsors. So we love bringing you these events. We can do it without charging because these wonderful companies here or chip in some money that pays for the licenses and they the background cost. We’ve got to have five people here on the panel and we’re going to take questions from the floor as we go through.


[00:00:43.990] – Ray Poynter

Now let’s move to the panel discussion quick. Welcome to Laura, Melanie, Craig, Christian and Chuck. And we’re going to take a topic from each of them in turn, will discuss that for 10 or 15 minutes and then move on to the next topic. So we’re probably with you for 60 Minutes, eight minutes, that sort of amount of time. And we’re going to start with Laura, who’s going to be talking a little bit about how we can do less beget get more impact.


[00:01:18.610] – Ray Poynter

So, Laura, you want to introduce your topic.


[00:01:23.400] – Laura Bright

Hi, everybody, welcome. What I wanted to talk about is my vision and hope for the future, not necessarily a prediction, but I think that as technology has really advanced and we’ve embraced platforms and automation and all kinds of things, we’ve become an industry that is a little bit on a hamster wheel about production and and less about impact. We spent years younger people might not know this, but we spent years talking about getting a seat at the table and we got our seat at the table.


[00:01:57.390] – Laura Bright

But now we’re talking project management. We’re not talking about the impact and the usefulness and the direction of how we can change company. So we fought for a very long time to get a seat at the table. And it feels to me and I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but it feels to me like we’re not taking good advantage of that seat. There’s so much if we did less if we focused on doing what the business needed instead of standard checklists, if we really listened to internal customers and that in the stakeholders and how they’re planning on using things and what their concerns and doubts are and we addressed all of that, I think we would have far bigger success, I think.


[00:02:42.150] – Laura Bright

I think the technology is wonderful. I think we should embrace it, but I also think we should let some of this run on its own when when it was first coming about, they didn’t want anything going through Survey Monkey. It was still very much a control thing. And what I realized quickly was that, first of all, everybody that did one project and survey monkey recognized how much harder it is to run a research project than they thought. So they were happy to hand it back to me.


[00:03:06.360] – Laura Bright

But more importantly, there are a lot of things that people just kind of want to get a sense for, and they can do that through whatever platform allows them to implement it on their own. And my time and energy have spent a lot of time on the client side. My time and energy and focus and internal dialogue with people should be much more on what are the things that are moving the needle. When I was in a client position, we took a look one year at everything that we’ve done over the past five years, and then we said, how much better is the business for what we’ve done?


[00:03:38.610] – Laura Bright

And we realized that really almost nothing was moving the needle. And we put a pause on all of our ad hoc work and we concentrated our funds and our energy in one big thing. And we regret radically change what our impact was on the company. And so I really think that single minded focus, that really careful listening to what your internal client needs and not feeling that hamster wheel. I mean, sadly, when I started in Latin America, we were always with small resources.


[00:04:09.690] – Laura Bright

So we picked and chose very carefully what projects we worked on. We couldn’t do everything and we recognized it. And everything we did had a big impact. And it seems like now those big impact studies are happening less and less. And I don’t think we’re doing ourselves any favor by showing how much we can accomplish.


[00:04:28.240] – Ray Poynter

I’m just going to throw in one example of exactly that, said James Mitchell, he’s got this new book out, Transforming Insights. I’m quite a fan of. The book is a nice section in there where he’s talking about if you’re an inside manager, you should often decline to do jobs because they’re not going to impact the business outcome enough. If if a job is too small, you should tell them to do it themselves. Or you should say, well, there’s a report from two years ago for the value we’re going to get.


[00:04:57.120] – Ray Poynter

You should perhaps look at that. So perhaps it starts with not doing some things. Yeah, I know who will fan that, who wants to chip in or contribute?


[00:05:10.600] – Kristin Luck

I do. I always want to chip in and contribute. I have an opinion on everything. Well, I mean, two things that, you know, to your point, I think that, you know, and I think this is a I’ll just give a shout out to Christi’s Lokey. And I mean, I think not one of the things that she was trying to to accomplish with with her business is that there’s so much data that is, you know, unused or misused internally and big corporations.


[00:05:41.590] – Kristin Luck

And so what happens is you end up with a bunch of research waste or a bunch of research that’s being conducted over and over and over again when you actually have those insights within your organization. But I would also say, secondly, to Laura’s point, there was a great webinar that Alex Gelman, who’s the former CEO of TAB, gave up a few years ago, and he came out of Mackenzie and his webinar was all about why big consulting is eating market research for lunch.


[00:06:12.200] – Kristin Luck

And I think that that continues to Laura’s point. We need to not be focused so much on tactics and projects and more on the bigger strategic insights, which is where we get unseated by big consulting firms a lot of the time.


[00:06:27.340] – Gregg Archibald

And I think that it’s actually kind of both in coming at this a little differently. And Laura, you brought up Survey Monkey and I was there when Survey Monkey was getting their feet on the ground. And, you know, I was one of those researchers that fought against it tooth and nail. But there’s a reason that Survey Monkey is a billion dollar organization. And it’s not because of market researchers. It’s because of people needing information, going out and gathering that information and whether research is involved or not.


[00:07:00.430] – Gregg Archibald

So there’s a lot of tactical things that have to happen to fill in these information gaps and it can be done through. Kristen, your point about, you know, capturing all the historical information so you don’t have to go and redo it or doing a quick study on, you know, on survey monkey or are doing your SCIEX through Qualtrics or whatever that kind of thing is. And there’s a lot of information that does need to happen. And we need to be in that mix.


[00:07:31.780] – Gregg Archibald

That needs to be a component of the insights industry. But, Kristen, you made the exact right point. All that has to have an impact at the end of the day. So where is that going to come from? And hopefully it’s going to come from the research organization. We’ll talk a little bit more about this when I jump in on my. Soapbox in a few minutes, but, you know, there is a process piece that is honorable and should be owned to the extent that it makes sense if it doesn’t need to get it out into the organization.


[00:08:10.090] – Gregg Archibald

But, you know, at the same time, we’ve got to come in and say this is what it means and this is why we’re doing it. So the impact has to happen. And I was talking with someone from Unilever yesterday and said, if you’re not sitting at the table, then you’re on the menu.


[00:08:30.720] – Melanie Courtright

So, I mean, my topic is actually going to be a business impact here in just a second. But so focusing on Moris topic, I think there’s a slight counterpoint I’d like to offer, and that’s do more with more. And the reason I say that is because the brands that I’m hearing from, they feel that the world around them is changing really, really fast. And they need to be in what they call a culture of continuous iterative learning.


[00:08:56.740] – Melanie Courtright

So they have really big, constant learning needs. They don’t necessarily want to do less, but they do want everything they do. To your point, Laura, to have a real education component that drives and drives change in the business outcomes. And so I I agree with your point about it all, needing to have business impact. And that’s my chat here in a second. But I don’t think it necessarily means do less. I think it means do more with more because they want this constant culture of data coming in that tells them what’s going on in the world around them, the outcomes, the punishment for failure in our world today for getting a message wrong.


[00:09:35.470] – Melanie Courtright

The the punishment for failure is pretty high. And so they want constant feedback from from the world around them so that they much reduce their risk of making a wrong move. It’s a great place for us as an industry to be. But we actually have to make sure every piece of data that flows in has a real business outcome and is plugged into the right place where the decisions are made. But so I would advocate for do more with more.


[00:10:01.090] – Laura Bright

Well, maybe it’s just semantics, Melanie, but I guess the way I think of it is us, our time, the research and insights, people, we should try to be doing less so that we can focus on the impact and not that the company should try to manage with less with platforms and automation and so many other new tools.


[00:10:22.270] – Laura Bright

Now, there are still ways to bring all that into the business that don’t require our time so we can really be focused on what what’s going to impact change. That’s what I meant.


[00:10:33.610] – Melanie Courtright

The brands that I’m talking that I’m hearing from do talk about that ecosystem of technology enabled data coming into the organization and not always having to say, OK, I need information, I’m going to go run a project that can go find the data they need within their ecosystem of insights, data, passive data, knowledge systems.


[00:10:55.120] – Laura Bright

That’s that’s a good point. And then and using all of that to have the researchers bring it together to tell a compelling story.


[00:11:02.440] – Laura Bright

I mean, I just find that as we get involved, we get very precious about methodologies and perfection and we want things. And we always believe that it won’t be done right if we’re not involved. Sorry for that generalization, but I think if we can learn to let go of some of that and not worry about all that being so right, and we can worry more about our internal customers and what they are needing the stakeholders and having those dialogues instead of managing the process, I think everybody wins.


[00:11:29.440] – Ray Poynter

There are some great comments in the chat. So whenever we get a chance to have a look at those not questions, just comments, when the calls of the. It’s going to what, Laura, you’ve just been thinking up one of the issues about a project, if we get the stages we’ve got, collect the data, analyze the data, find the story, rehearse the storytelling, and then if you look at how much time is spent, that is the storytelling should take a couple of days.


[00:12:01.510] – Ray Poynter

That finding the story should take a few days and all of that gets compressed into the last afternoon because we spent so much time getting the data and running through the data, we really need to do a lot more with the stuff we get. So that’s kind of in between what law? I think Melanie both saying. Maybe we get a bit less data, but then we do more with it and we sell the story more convincingly, Chuck. You’ve been very quiet so far.


[00:12:31.170] – Ray Poynter

Do you want to chip in on this one? Right, OK, so. Let’s move to our next topic and the next topic is connected, and the next one after that is connected, which is great and I’m going to take a bit of a diversion. So, Melanie.


[00:12:50.670] – Melanie Courtright

Yeah, yeah, so my topic is completely related, it’s about a groundswell of focus on creating business impact. It’s less about the technology aspects which Laura was talking about and more about the process of ensuring that the work that we’re doing is designed to deliver business impact and that that business impact is measured. So so it starts with this process of for every project that we’re doing. And I would encourage each of you as you as you kind of go back to your desks in the afternoon or or on Monday to stop and look at the projects that you have in front of you and ask yourself, do I really know the business impact that I am trying to help my client drive or that I am attempting to drive my internal client, my client?


[00:13:39.710] – Melanie Courtright

Do I really know the actual business impact that this data or research is designed to drive? Do I know the real business question that’s being asked? And if you don’t stop and make sure that you articulate that question and make sure that everything is is designed to deliver the answer to that question and then it’s delivering business impact. A series that we’re going to begin working on is about making sure you have a process internally to create the business question, to measure the business answer, to actually measure the business action, because if there’s no action taken, then it was a waste of activity.


[00:14:15.240] – Melanie Courtright

And then to begin to develop a culture of celebrating actions that drive research that drives action. So proving value and driving action and and developing a culture of success. This is what I’m hearing from a lot of the brands that we’re talking to. They’re starting to implement even nascent crawl, walk, run processes within their organizations that make sure that there is a system, an actual system created to ask a business question right out the business answer, see how that answer was driven into the organization to drive actual action and then measure the impact of that action so that you can create a culture of success.


[00:14:55.020] – Melanie Courtright

I’m really excited about this and I think it takes everyone in our ecosystem to make this happen. We’ve talked for years about driving ROIC and rather than get into complicated measurement programs, we can do simple things as an industry, track the business questions, track the answers, track the action taken, and then be able to say as an industry, we’re driving value that actually change the campaign, improve the product. In the most mature versions of this, they will get to more complex ROI calculations.


[00:15:25.050] – Melanie Courtright

But you don’t have to start there. You can start with a crawl process. And we’re seeing many of our brand members talk about implementing these in their organizations and we’re really excited about it. So we’re going to be partnering with them to help drive that across the industry. So that’s what I want to talk about today. I’d love to hear what you guys think.


[00:15:46.610] – Ray Poynter

I got a quick question for you first, so will this build on the stuff that Biden ended or is it a separate strand?


[00:15:56.690] – Melanie Courtright

It will build in as if you guys know Karben is a sort of a much more mature model that requires some in-person consulting and an entire change management process. So what we’re hoping to do is build the Kraul version and the walk version of those so that companies that can’t get all the way to a mature version of business are a lie from research or return on insights. Can get can start with some processes around. There are more of a crawl mechanism and reminding them of a simple process that can get them to stop talking about projects and start talking about insights when added and value.


[00:16:35.990] – Melanie Courtright

When they’re talking to their board members and their and their funders within their organizations. They don’t they’re not a cost center. They’re a value add center.


[00:16:46.320] – Ray Poynter

Great points. Who would like to chip in?


[00:16:49.680] – Gregg Archibald

I don’t think I’m going to chip anything in, but I do have a question, which is, you know, the time to incite is more and more critical now. Is there a kind of a structure in what you guys are bringing forth that looks at the time to value?


[00:17:10.540] – Melanie Courtright

There will be certainly and there is this this process, this communication that we’re going to talk about, people will say I don’t have time to to follow a process because it will slow me down. But the truth of the matter is, if you don’t follow some of these basic steps, it will slow you down anyway because you’ll end up answering the wrong question or answering a question that doesn’t drive impact or or if you can’t prove your value to an organization, you can end up getting your budgets cut.


[00:17:39.340] – Melanie Courtright

And so this process will do a lot to to ensure a process rather than not. A quick process, though, not slow you down.


[00:17:49.930] – Ray Poynter

So there’s a couple of things in the questions. The first one is job and customer. That’s the Global Research Business Network. So it’s the U.K., it’s Insight’s Association, it’s the Tiara’s in Australia and a whole bunch of other national organizations leveraging resources together.


[00:18:12.520] – Melanie Courtright

And so that’s an association of associations, essentially. So we all we all cooperate together and share information to make ourselves better at what we do for you.


[00:18:22.210] – Ray Poynter

And we’ve got a question in the Q&A. Is there a good source to read on the crawl, walk, run process?


[00:18:31.090] – Melanie Courtright

I mean, as far as I know, there’s not today. This will be unless some of you have a resource. But this will be something that the Inside Association, in cooperation with other partners, both on the brand side and on the association side, will roll out later in the year.


[00:18:47.320] – Laura Bright

I’ll just chip in here, having done this on the brand client side in a couple of organizations, we all were quite aggravated when asked to provide.


[00:19:01.000] – Laura Bright

We thought we’re not here to work for the auditors. We’re here to make an impact. We’re busy, make an impact, don’t divert our precious resources. And we really grumbled, to be frank, it was worse than having to do an audit. But what happened is we took a variety of cases. We looked at things that had already been implemented a couple of years ago so that we had sales data afterwards through different seasonality and everything else, and we were able to show that we’d actually had a huge impact.


[00:19:30.310] – Laura Bright

And then everyone left us alone. We do the exercise and we were done. And so for everybody that has bemoaning this, I think there is actually an opportunity if you do it right, it doesn’t have to be an ongoing thing. It also helped us get a lot more budget going forward. And so then we decided it was a worthy exercise to repeat with whatever frequency, not on every single project we do, but to demonstrate. When we started having naysayers, remember, we’re actually making a huge contribution.


[00:19:59.140] – Laura Bright

Think of it as an insurance policy for minimizing risk and maximizing opportunity. So I’m all for it, Melanie.


[00:20:05.650] – Melanie Courtright

And it’s also just a very good way to make sure that we really understand the business outcome we’re trying to drive and then make sure that the research is designed to answer that outcome and then to track it. And the last part, I think, is so important is for insights departments all over the world to begin to celebrate their impact. So if you can measure your impact, you can celebrate your impact, you can celebrate it to the folks at budget time, but you can also celebrate it as a team and as an industry.


[00:20:36.820] – Laura Bright

And I think as an industry, we need to do a much better job of celebrating the work that we do and the impact that we have on society, much less projects, products and services. So, yeah, it it certainly will solve the financial aspects and it will make us better researchers and it will help us learn to celebrate what we do more.


[00:20:57.000] – Ray Poynter

I see that Kistin has just unmuted herself, so I’m sure you have something to add.


[00:21:01.900] – Kristin Luck

I think the irony around that, Melanie and I absolutely agree with you. I mean, I think that we need to do a better job of measuring our impact overall on organizations and on organizational KPIs. I think the ironic thing about market researchers is that we are literally the worst at both marketing and research in our selves. I mean, horrible, like, you know, don’t believe in spending money on marketing, don’t want to research your own brands, you know, I, I think it’s a you know, I think we’re so used to doing it for other folks that we don’t want to be bothered with that for for ourselves.


[00:21:40.630] – Kristin Luck

But I think it’s a it’s a huge component of of of the celebration aspect in recognizing the value that we provide within organizations.


[00:21:50.910] – Melanie Courtright

And then turning that into a good marketing process to to market our industry and to improve our industry’s brand. I love that. Yes.


[00:21:59.980] – Ray Poynter

So we’re going to stick with the topic, but at that point, I’m going to bring Greg in, who’s going to put another dimension to that?


[00:22:07.490] – Gregg Archibald

OK, I love this conversation. Thank you for inviting me into this. Right. This has been I’m really enjoying myself and learning a lot in this process. But I want to talk a little bit about bifurcation in the industry. And I learned the word bifurcation about 10 years ago. And I’ve used it every possible time since I saw them and what was happening. We were sitting back taking a look at successful suppliers excuse me. And what I mean by successful is they were growing at 20 percent year over year or more and just kind of saying, who are these suppliers and what did they look like?


[00:22:56.950] – Gregg Archibald

And what we found then is that there were mainly two kinds of organizations that that fit this 20 percent that were common in this 20 percent plus growth rate. And one of those was a data centric model. And what I mean by that is they had new types of data or easier ways of gathering data or different ways of analyzing or visualizing data, something very data centric. Right. And then on the flip side of that was a consulting model. And what I mean by that is that they were looking at issues from more than a single project perspective, tended to be data agnostic, kind of often looked at both the market and the consumer point of view or had some specific expertise in a business issue like branding or pricing or an industry vertical or some kind of framework like agile or behavioral economics.


[00:23:54.760] – Gregg Archibald

There was some specialization in that that was allowing them to bring a depth to the answers that a single project doesn’t normally allow. So. Those were those were kind of the two categories of companies that seemed to be doing well on the supplier side, the the suppliers that weren’t doing well tended to not have any particular focus in terms of business issue or vertical, and they tended to be project oriented. And those were generally in the you know, we’re losing a little bit of ground or gaining a little bit of ground, but not much.


[00:24:40.400] – Gregg Archibald

The and we can talk about some of the reasons behind this and just a second. But when we looked at brands for a different project not long after that and using some great data, we started to see the same thing. So using in the research industry trends data, we categorize brands or they’re they’re self categorized into a few different functions under insights. You could be strategic insights, in-house research or voice of the customer. There’s a couple of other categories or some hybrid.


[00:25:21.050] – Gregg Archibald

And what we found is if you wanted to grow in budget or headcount, you needed to be an in-house researcher or see yourself as strategic insights. And those. Kind of aligned to this data centric versus consulting centric model, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, you’re a hybrid of it, you’re a jack of all trades. You’re trying to to be strategic insights and voice of the customer and do the research. And you weren’t necessarily being successful at any of this.


[00:25:55.310] – Gregg Archibald

So I think this is an indication of what we have available to us in through technology. Laura, as you were brought up at the very beginning of this, we can fill some of the process gaps that used to take us several weeks and we, you know, marketing research on the process. And we were very, you know, hold it very close. Some of that still exists. That doesn’t seem to be an effective model for success if we define success as some kind of growth, either in revenue or budget or headcount.


[00:26:37.150] – Gregg Archibald

And what I think that this means is. Well, kind of like a college sophomore, it’s time to pick a major and stick with it. And and I think either of those majors work, I think one is way more interesting than the other, but it can be designed and either a brand or a supplier can be designed around either of those approaches and be interesting, compelling and important work. But they. You kind of have to pick one side or the other if you’re trying to do it all, it’s very, very difficult.


[00:27:22.380] – Gregg Archibald

And if the brown data is any indication, it’s not where successe is.


[00:27:30.340] – Ray Poynter

Great to summarize. Is it kind of a choice between a Wal-Mart and an artisan?


[00:27:41.090] – Gregg Archibald

I don’t I don’t think so. I think it’s the difference between being able to buy the pieces or being able to buy the whole. And so some of the organizations that are providing the pieces and I don’t really want to name names, particularly on the brand side, but but they are they are getting information into the hands of the end user quickly, effectively, with without a lot of value add. And that value add is coming from the person that needs to make the decision that Value-Add has to happen somewhere.


[00:28:25.190] – Gregg Archibald

It can happen anywhere along that chain. It can happen in the research function. It can happen in the marketing function or the product development function or whatever it is it has to happen. But where that happens is, I guess, the difference.


[00:28:40.540] – Ray Poynter

Greater Melanie, you just admitted. That’s a clue.


[00:28:45.320] – Melanie Courtright

Well, I was I think that I think that the industry needs both, right, Greg? Like, I think we need we need both types of buying models and delivery models or whatever. I think we need both types of partners, because I think some brands want to add the value themselves with their own internal teams and really just want the information. And I still those types of relationships still need a lot of expertise and consulting to make sure it’s design, like I said, to give you the right data, to add the value.


[00:29:13.030] – Melanie Courtright

But then there are other relationships where you really want an expert to come in and guide you through the process of creating the value and the outcome strategy, because maybe it’s outside your area of expertise, like not every insights department can have. A really sophisticated pricing model are on their team to really. So I think that you need both. Right. And you’re just suggesting that you either need to be comfortable in the skin of being more of a data partner provider or be comfortable and competent in your skin of being an actual value adding impact generator, is that right?


[00:29:46.870] – Gregg Archibald

That’s exactly right. And the other piece of this that I’m suggesting is if you are the generalist, Jack, of all trades, that’s that’s a bad place to be instead of a place it’s bad for anticipated growth in the industry.


[00:30:07.390] – Ray Poynter

So if we’re talking about specialists, check this is right in your mainstream. That’s kind of what departments function is, I would guess, is you. I’m not sure. OK, I’m not quite sure.


[00:30:22.030] – Chuck Chakrapani

Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, I got I just I don’t know if something happened. Could you please repeat the question?


[00:30:27.250] – Ray Poynter

Yeah, I’m just saying that this the need for specialists really speaks very strongly to what you bring to the picture, both in terms of teaching, but also the unit.


[00:30:40.440] – Chuck Chakrapani

I’m holding back on that because I have a completely different view of what is likely to happen. So I’ve been I’ve been listening to Melanie or Greg, and I totally agree on the one. On the one hand. On the other. I’m just thinking this all may be relevant in five or 10 years. OK, you have us on tenterhooks. And the reason why I’m holding back, because I have not you know, as it stands, they all make sense.


[00:31:10.840] – Chuck Chakrapani

They make eminent sense. But are we going to be in this place in five or ten years, not 10 years ago, that you predicted that 10 years from now the search for just the way that it existed 10 years ago. And it is true. What I am going to predict today is 10 years from now, it was so totally different that it won them. But I wonder that they would be marketing research. So I’m holding back, OK?


[00:31:39.100] – Ray Poynter

You keep your powder dry and we look forward to that, Kristin.


[00:31:43.810] – Kristin Luck

Yeah. I mean, you know, to talk to Greg’s point and, you know, I think this is the this is a challenge. I see a lot because I obviously do a significant amount of consulting work in this industry, particularly around sales and market marketing strategy and positioning for four firms. And, you know, I think that that that the mid-sized market research firms that are really struggling are the ones that are generalists. They don’t you know, they don’t have a key point of differentiation.


[00:32:12.310] – Kristin Luck

They’re trying to be all things to all people. And I think that there’s this misnomer that if you do all kinds of research and you service all kinds of clients, that you’re going to get more business. I find quite the opposite to be true, which is that people don’t really know what to call you for. You know, they don’t know what type of business you specialize in. And and so I I do think that there’s a there’s a greater segmentation happening in the industry in terms of not just skill set, but vertical skill set, that that is really important, I think, to the future viability of a lot of the smaller and mid-sized firms in this in this industry.


[00:32:48.980] – Ray Poynter

I’m going to bring another question in that’s been there for a while, but I think it’s a great time. And Melanie, you might want to have the first crack. Is it thinking about impact over process, all the new buyers inside of client organizations who we should be thinking about talking to and working with?


[00:33:09.800] – Melanie Courtright

Yeah, definitely, I mean, so in this thought process that in in the past or even in the present, we’re working with the insights department and the insights department is sort of bringing in and pushing out information from the rest of the stakeholders. There there are the the product officers and the tech officers and the and the even the service officers that are looking. The world is changing so fast right now because of a variety of reasons and that they’re that some of those people are reaching out directly to get information and data.


[00:33:45.440] – Melanie Courtright

That said, some of the brands are saying that as a result of so much information and data coming in and out of an organization, that they are becoming more like a post office, like a controller. They sort of get the information and they filter it and they push it back out to the right people. If you go to a chief marketing officer for for for example, he’s inundated with covid data and and ethnicity and diversity data. And he doesn’t know what to do with all of the information that he’s getting.


[00:34:16.700] – Melanie Courtright

And he doesn’t know how to filter it and say that this data is good for this business decision. This data is good for this business decision. So I actually really encourage us not to forget about the insights departments as a key avenue of getting the right information for the right business question out to the organization. And yet, yes, there are new buyers, you know, the the service leaders and the and the product leaders and the tech leaders and even the diversity leaders.


[00:34:42.650] – Melanie Courtright

Diversity data is really important right now. So, you know. Yes, but don’t forget about the insights leaders, because they are a trusted resource to make sure that the data is because there’s so much data that the data is a fit for the business decision being made


[00:34:58.100] – Ray Poynter

Anybody else on that point. We also have a query in the chat stream from Carl. Everybody wants to pick up on the best resources to locate agencies that specialize in different types of research.


[00:35:11.930] – Ray Poynter

So I guess the green directory. But in addition of.


[00:35:19.300] – Kristin Luck

I can I just jump in because I think the directories are really hard, like, of course, I guess ESOMAR has a directory. That’s excellent. I know Insight’s association has one. Like there’s so many directories. The issue that you run into and directories is that people will say they do every single kind of research in order to come up in the directory listings as as much as possible.


[00:35:39.820] – Kristin Luck

And so what I would say is, yes, of course, directors are a great place to start. But also this is why I encourage firms to have a really good organic strategy and that they are really focusing on terms and and methodologies that they specialize in, that they want to be able to sell to clients and to also ask for referrals. I mean, I probably get eight or nine emails a week from people asking me like, oh, who should I use for this?


[00:36:08.620] – Kristin Luck

Or like I have a multicultural research project, should I use for that? And certainly I wouldn’t say, you know, in the end all be all of resources for research for hours. But I do think like referrals and talking to people who have worked in those sectors before are really good way of understanding. Who are the firms that are doing the best work in those verticals?


[00:36:27.960] – Gregg Archibald

And I’ve just kind of jump in on that. And if you want to send me an email, I’ll try and do some referrals for you. Happy happy to help if I can, Melanie.


[00:36:39.990] – Melanie Courtright

Well, I would say that the organizations really need to to create a process around listening to the market and to the suppliers, the new people, a really strong vendor process. It seems burdensome to go through all of the emails that you get every day and and whittle through them and find the right partner. If you’re not connected to what’s going on in the industry, you’re going to miss the new technology, the new type of research, the new partner that just reinvented how to do conjoin on a mobile device, whatever.


[00:37:14.370] – Melanie Courtright

So, you know, these organizations, they need a vendor selection, a vendor listening, not not selection, but a vendor partner listening program, someone dedicated in the organization to attend all the conferences and hear from the newbies to go to the events, to read through every email that comes in, to look at the websites and find those nuggets of new providers that are out there and bring them into the organization and tag them internally for what their specialties are.


[00:37:40.620] – Melanie Courtright

I just I’m such a firm believer that not enough process is in place, that at the brands to really listen to the market about what’s coming that’s new and to create new partnerships every day that keep you current as an insights department.


[00:37:55.230] – Ray Poynter

Let would just add to that really great advice when you go back to face to face events, go into the exhibition. Sometimes Bankoff from a presentation because the exhibition can give you more time and spend some time talking to the people on the stand and coming back to Christopher, go to the stands that have got one big idea that they’re promoting this new big, strong idea. So if we come back to my XYZ Berlins hedgehogs and foxes, actually you’re looking for hedgehogs and you’re looking for new techniques.


[00:38:29.350] – Ray Poynter

Somebody who’s got a technique that really betting on. OK, so we’re going to come to the first of the two changes in direction, Kristin.


[00:38:43.130] – Kristin Luck

Yes. So I’m going to be talking about the impact of the victims money flowing into this space on data ethics and and industry ethics, and I just want to do some context setting in terms of what what’s going on in the industry in terms of private equity and venture capital right now. Because certainly when I started out in research, which was in the mid 90s, I really did not know of any private equity firms or any firms that have been funded by venture venture capital.


[00:39:15.550] – Kristin Luck

I mean, it wasn’t until I started my own firm that I even knew that taking on money from outside investors was an option. And so, you know, today it’s it’s it’s sort of standard, you know, if you’ve got an early stage where chances are a lot of those firms are taking on money. But to but to do some sort of level setting as to where we are right now as an industry, you know, even after a rough 20 twenty for many people in the business, private equity and venture capital firms continue and continue to and continue to invest at levels that we have not seen since what we call the kind of big data surge of 2014.


[00:39:55.240] – Kristin Luck

And there’s been a particular focus, obviously, as you can imagine, on technology transformation and mergers. And I’ll I’ll share just a few examples with you just from this last year, which was the height of the pandemic, early stage analytics firm Quantum raised twenty eight million. And in July, I mean, that was right in the middle of the pandemic when a lot of people were seeing major downturns. As everyone knows, longtime industry player confirm it was acquired by Swedish PE firm Verdine and then they went on to acquire.


[00:40:28.570] – Kristin Luck

Aposhian has most recently merged with with focus vision. Like full disclosure. I sit on the board of that company and then, you know, everyone’s seen what’s happened recently in the IPO market, Qualtrics IPO at a staggering twenty seven point three billion dollar valuation since recently IPO on the Swedish Nasdaq at a one point two one billion dollar valuation. And so a lot of the influence and the management behind those firms is now being run not by researchers, but by but by money people.


[00:41:07.930] – Kristin Luck

So private equity and venture capital. And I want to just talk very briefly about how that impacts data, ethics and data quality within the industry, because I think it’s something to be really cognizant of. I think there’s three components that will ultimately drive ethical data use in in our industry. The first and it’s something that I’ve written and blogged about and already spoke about once this morning at a conference in Germany. But that’s to make sure that the systems and technologies that we develop are unbiased and that they’re ethically designed.


[00:41:40.960] – Kristin Luck

And, you know, as I said, I’ve written and posted about the dangers of unethical A.I. that can literally be weaponized against the population. And and that also applies to research from from facial recognition to location tracking or by hardening people into categories that that don’t fit well, such as gender or sexual orientation. I mean, I think these are all things that associations are kind of looking at from a data privacy and ethics standards. And secondly, we really have to be working together.


[00:42:15.100] – Kristin Luck

And this is to Melanie’s point about your BNR Estima, how whatever global association you’re involved in is that, you know, research quality standards really have to be upheld globally. And that’s why close collaboration and sharing of best practices between associations, both local and global, are really important to make sure that we’re acknowledging cultural differences and nuances which also impact data affects and data privacy. And lastly, and this is where this ties into private equity equity and we see money coming in, we need to make sure that our business models aren’t driving unethical behaviors.


[00:42:54.340] – Kristin Luck

And and that’s where it becomes really problematic when when traditional business models don’t don’t adapt and research pricing becomes a race to the bottom, which it has been for years now. Then we see firms adopting unethical recruiting and other research practices which further deteriorate resource quality. And it really endangers our reputation as an industry. You know, I look at a lot of the business models from particularly from Full-Service research firms, and they’ve not really been updated since I started out in research and them in the mid 90s.


[00:43:29.260] – Kristin Luck

If we look at sample pricing, for instance, we we had folks like Bob Letterer who made a big push maybe 10 years ago around sample quality, and there were lots of discussions around it. And then those discussions eventually disappeared entirely. There’s. There’s not much talk about it, and I do think there’s incredible pricing pressure that’s coming again, not from from researchers, per say, but the investors and and the folks running running these big research agencies.


[00:43:58.300] – Melanie Courtright

So. Oh, yeah, I love that, thank you, I think this is so important, you know, we’ve always said that as an industry, we’ve been fortunate not to have a lot of government interference in our world. And we’ve gotten a lot of exceptions because we were doing research for the world’s good. The the moment that that can turn is the moment when we can no longer be trusted to not have a duty of care around how we use the data and around the people that are participating in the research.


[00:44:31.380] – Melanie Courtright

And so that’s what all of this association code of ethics and quality standards are really for, is a duty of care, duty of care to the buyers for making sure that they’re getting quality data, the a duty of care to the participants and between the two to make sure that we don’t have these some big breach that comes in. And as a result of some harm done or perceived harm done, the government says, whoa, maybe we should get involved and start to whittle away at the exemptions that we’ve been given as an industry.


[00:45:01.770] – Melanie Courtright

So this is so important. And I think one of the one of the that there need to be some answers even in the world of more VXI and P.E. and and finance money in the world coming into our sector, they’re just still needs to be sort of this voice of ethics that sits somewhere and every organization used sometimes does the chief research officer, although sometimes having held that role, you can be the nerd. Right. So this person needs to have the respect in the way to say, here’s where the line stops.


[00:45:33.180] – Melanie Courtright

They need to wear the white hat and, you know, and be respected to to have a reasonable voice of, you know, here’s a solutions based approach to getting you what you need. But here’s the ethics based line in the sand that we have to draw. And every company needs that person in their organization that draws the line for them, but then helps them figure out a different solution to get at what they’re trying to get at. And so I just I think that’s a really important conversation.


[00:45:58.530] – Kristin Luck

Yeah, I think similarly, I think one of the challenges that we have, too, is and, you know, we’re looking at ESOMAR as we look at expanding our membership base, like how are we more inclusive of data scientists and data as a service companies? You know, when you look at a lot of the new new firms that are coming into Gracepoint, you know, I kind of do what he does at conferences. You know, I give some presentations.


[00:46:22.290] – Kristin Luck

I walk around the exhibit hall and I like to meet any firms that I’ve never heard of before or that are new into the space. The challenging thing is that a lot of these firms are venture backed. So they have money. They’re going to scale quite quickly. But they also are not being run by researchers and they don’t understand the fundamentals behind how do you conduct research in an ethical and responsible ways and and how are we being respectful of respondents and and the use of their data?


[00:46:51.030] – Kristin Luck

And so I think that there’s you know, it’s a multilayered issue for sure.


[00:46:56.550] – Gregg Archibald

The idea of being, you know, kind of fair and ethical with people’s data and even compensating them and data quality, these are all intermixed. And I think we’re going to see some business models start to shift off of that. I’ve talked to a few companies over the course of the past few years that are making progress in this idea of quality, in general fairness for compensation. I don’t know if it has an impact on the ethical business model that still pushes for higher and higher margins under almost any circumstance.


[00:47:35.310] – Gregg Archibald

But some of the residual impact of that approach is we’re seeing progress on a resolution to that. And to your point, Christine, you said sometime in the 90s Bob Lederer was working on sample quality. I’ve been in this industry now for. A long time, and I’ve probably been engaged in four different initiatives across my career that, you know, this is the first time was I was with AT&T and we had AT&T and Procter and Gamble and, you know, all these different companies come.


[00:48:15.710] – Gregg Archibald

We demand better quality. And and then five years later, I was with someone else. We demand better quality and it happens every five years. It will happen in another five years. And hopefully one of these times that will stick and something will happen.


[00:48:31.530] – Ray Poynter

So we’re going to go to law school, we’re going to Laura, and then we’re going to take very quickly the three questions to the Q&A stream wanting to chat stream. And then we’re going to move to the dry powder.


[00:48:46.160] – Laura Bright

So I just wanted to throw in here that I don’t think most end clients, the buyers really care about this very much, and that might be part of why we stagnate. I think they assume that ethical use of data their vendors are taking care of or the supplier partnership that they have, whatever level it is they believe that’s happening behind the curtain. And I’m worried about my business results. So don’t talk to me about your internal processes. There are a few that care and want to know, but I think as a general rule, they don’t.


[00:49:18.590] – Laura Bright

I also think that they think my business needs supersedes any of this. I don’t think they think of the wider impact of what that means. That technology that you’re pushing for because your business is demanding more of you and the role of see ammos has changed so dramatically. What they are being asked to deliver is getting higher and higher pressure. So I think when they’re under pressure, they ask us to do things they know in their heart. They believe that what they’re doing is good.


[00:49:48.800] – Laura Bright

They don’t think about the major impact. And we go down the slippery curve of they’re not talking about what I need you to do for me. And more than 10 years ago, I was in a meeting somewhere in Amsterdam and back on call center sort of thing. Someone revealed to us that all those call centers in India that we were maybe not comfortable knowing that they were the ones that were getting outsourced for our field work. We knew what was happening.


[00:50:19.760] – Laura Bright

What we didn’t know is that from India, they were outsourcing to Bangladesh and Bangladesh had people making the calls from their homes on their cell phone with all the personal data that we’re all so protective of. Now, a lot of things have changed for data protection, but honestly, it was surprising that we didn’t know and nobody cared. At the end of the day


[00:50:42.620] – Melanie Courtright

Well, and I I personally don’t think they don’t care. I think it’s that it’s so complicated and requires so much time and energy to really understand sampling, understand data, understand ethics and understand the processes that they simply don’t.


[00:50:55.520] – Melanie Courtright

I mean, I’ve spent my career in this and and I’ve become an expert as a result. But the average corporate researcher cannot spend their career understanding data, origins and ethics and sampling and quality and representativeness. And so I don’t think it’s that they don’t care. I think it’s that they’re really relying on their partners to carry this for them. And they’re they’re having the best hopes and intentions if they’re doing it right. And so I think that that that that’s the problem to solve is how I think if they could truly make quality buying decisions, they would do so in a blink.


[00:51:28.610] – Melanie Courtright

But there are no really strong quality buying signals, and that’s probably what we have to sell for as an industry.


[00:51:34.730] – Ray Poynter

We just quickly going to take the three questions we already had because we do need to move on. So with so many data streams coming from outside research, getting mixed, blended, routed to us, how is it possible to ensure data quality?


[00:51:53.340] – Kristin Luck

Well, I mean, I’ll give my perspective, which I think I think it’s that I think it’s it’s tough to to guarantee any sort of equality in those situations. I mean, I think I think this is something Melanie was just saying, which is, you know, it’s interesting to me that it is almost impossible for someone on the brand side to keep track of data. And that’s really a supplier’s job is to ensure the quality of the data. You know, that said, what’s concerning to me is that the quality messaging from our industry perspective seems to have completely disappeared.


[00:52:35.100] – Kristin Luck

And it’s almost being you know, there’s so much emphasis on on agile and doing things quickly like even that. And I don’t want to pick on side, but I’m just going to use one of their I saw a tag line message from them that was like, I don’t know. But one of their taglines was the tag line message was like unlimited answers for limited budgets. And I saw that. I was just like, oh, please, not unlimited answers for limited budgets.


[00:53:00.900] – Kristin Luck

Like, there has to be a you know, there has to be a line drawn in the sand somewhere there


[00:53:07.350] – Ray Poynter

Will pick up a one from the other side, jet stream, JLG Expert Networks. Do we think there’s any reason to believe that expert networks doing B2B research will be better or worse, the market research? Or do you think we’d have a similar distribution?


[00:53:26.780] – Kristin Luck

I mean, full disclosure, like I do, you know, I do work with JLG, so, you know, I think that they they built up this kind of high level network of to be interviewers that I, I think fits within our ecosystem. Like, I don’t think that they do any better or worse work than any other research company does. I think they have a they have a much different model when it comes to how they’ve developed their panel and also about how they compensate the respondents.


[00:53:55.070] – Kristin Luck

I mean, when they’re emailing me to take part in a, you know, 10 or 20 minute survey, they’re offering me over one hundred dollars to do it. You know, they’re not offering me one chance to win. Twenty five dollars and a different business model.


[00:54:11.000] – Gregg Archibald

Yeah. And we talked to a lot of different brand researchers that JLG or Alpha sites or whichever company is a part of their toolkit, you know, for for the work that they’re doing. So it’s seen as a research company in many ways. Yeah.


[00:54:33.770] – Melanie Courtright

And I think it’s about fit for purpose for the audience. I think there’s room for all of us, all of them, everyone. And then you just have to make a decision based on your research objectives and what you’re trying to accomplish in the audience you need to speak to. Is it an expert network? Is it a more traditional quant panel company? Is it phone? Is it you know, do you want to go do in-person intercepts somewhere? I think that it’s just about your research objectives and fit for purpose.


[00:54:56.330] – Laura Bright

And it’s not a conversation with Melanie unless she says fit for purpose. So there you go.


[00:55:01.130] – Ray Poynter

So we have you know, sorry Kristin, are you going to challenge you are really running a bit long. I’m just going to throw this question in and it’s probably going to you.


[00:55:10.940] – Kristin Luck

OK, well, then I can finish what I was going to say.


[00:55:13.460] – Ray Poynter

Do you think the focus on multiplies and valuations has impacted the focus of the industry?


[00:55:20.740] – Kristin Luck

Oh, one hundred percent. One hundred percent, you know, I probably get a half a dozen calls a month from full service firms that think if they develop a technology solution, that there are multipliers going to go along with, their valuation is going to be higher. I mean, a lot you know, a lot of the work that I do right now now also working in investment banking, you know, we start working with firms 12 to 24 months before they’re going to sell.


[00:55:44.500] – Kristin Luck

And in order to maximize their valuation, I think a lot of firms don’t realize, like, you don’t need a technology platform in order to get a good valuation. What you do need to have is low customer concentration, which means a relatively high customer base. You need to have some kind of recurring revenue stream. And I think there’s a belief that full service firms can’t can’t have recurring revenue, which I don’t think is the case at all. You know, and you’ve got you’ve got to have differentiation.


[00:56:13.180] – Kristin Luck

So, yes, absolutely. I think that people are obsessed. And I you know, particularly since the Qualtrics sale and I’m sure great can probably chime in here as well because he works in a similar space. I mean, I think that’s Qualtrics got their valuation. I mean, people got a little bananas about what they think the value of their own companies are. And those have been some really tough conversations that I’ve had to have with some other firms and.


[00:56:41.980] – Gregg Archibald

Yeah, Qualtrics no.


[00:56:44.500] – Ray Poynter

Yes, yeah, we all want to be tech companies with recurring revenues. So now we’re going to find out


[00:56:52.780] – Kristin Luck

We can all have recurring revenues. And that is my point. I think people think that you can’t have it unless you’re a tech company. Yeah, that is absolutely not the case.


[00:57:02.200] – Melanie Courtright

And you you have to think about this without outliers in every line, every dataset has outliers.


[00:57:10.540] – Ray Poynter

And that we’re going to take the big pivot. And Chuck, the floor is yours.


[00:57:16.990] – Chuck Chakrapani

OK, I have a different perspective. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s my perspective. What I’m saying is or the past or, you know, a lifetime, the biggest disruptive technologies or fast computing and the Internet, they get probably the most disruptive technology is. To ever exist. But what? Look, what I’m seeing is this, these two technologies. Or have given birth to 14 different technologies, different industries. And these industries are driving different technologies, for example, automate automotive driving, block chain technology, economics, remote diagnosis and cure and things like that requires a lot of.


[00:58:11.850] – Chuck Chakrapani

Artificial intelligence, deep learning, whether computers learn to write code without human intervention and cloud computing. And they are. Growing at a very, very, very, very fast rate. And the costs are coming down an equally fast, for example, a cost went down 37 percent last year. That means in in five years, what, a hundred dollars per day will cost nine dollars. In ten years, it’ll cost nine cents. So so what are the implications of this to marketing research?


[00:58:49.350] – Chuck Chakrapani

I suspect if I deep learning of cloud computing becomes universal and cheap. That means we can do away with marketing such as we know now, and this is not I’m not talking about science fiction. Think about Google or Amazon. They did not go with a ten point scale to find out what consumers are going to do next. They had access to artificial intelligence and that’s what they used to become, huge companies. Assume the same technology is available to everyone at a fraction of the cost.


[00:59:29.410] – Chuck Chakrapani

Then why do we need marketing research, for example, if instead of doing focus group, if I can analyze a million conversations that’s happening in the Internet and deep learning process and constantly updated on cloud computing can compute all that. And contently feed then we don’t need focus groups the same, if it can integrate all the data on consumer behavior, then predict what’s going to happen next. Why do we need quantitative research or even analytics? Because it’s all done by the computers and and it is not science fiction to autonomous driving.


[01:00:15.050] – Chuck Chakrapani

Because to make millions and millions of decisions, it cannot be it cannot afford to be wrong, even one in a million times. Every year, about sixteen thousand five hundred people die in car accidents in the US if autonomous driving cars are equal. No, it won’t be acceptable. It has to be close to zero. That means computers have to make decisions which are. Which are better far, far better than human beings can make, and the computers are already making such decisions in areas like autonomous driving, genomics and gene sequencing and.


[01:00:53.550] – Chuck Chakrapani

It could be child’s play to apply that technology to marketing research. So my question to you is that is a possibility that marketing research may exist, may not exist in 10 years or it will exist, but it won’t be in the way it is now. So all the things we are talking about, which are I find it fascinating on the tax proposal for. But I am looking at say. What all these things become irrelevant. Not because they are irrelevant today, but if technology overtakes, if singularity is Sonia.


[01:01:31.740] – Chuck Chakrapani

Can this happen and I suspect it will happen. In some form or the other.


[01:01:38.670] – Ray Poynter

An interesting project, if we were to look a hundred years from now, I would completely agree with you. And what is interesting is how long will different pieces take to come? Because some of it is already here. If you talk about Satyamev, really simple example. I take part in trail races until recently, we had we were not allowed to carry maps because it was considered not real. You had to have maps and compasses. Now we still have to have maps and compasses, but we’re obliged to carry maps because if we get into trouble, they’ll save our lives.


[01:02:15.340] – Ray Poynter

So even for the hardened experts, satnav now such a major feature. The whole mechanics of how Uber works is what I think Chuck is talking about already happening. So whilst Chuck and I may disagree with the timeline, it has started. It started a few years ago. Who’d like to in on those thoughts, Melanie?


[01:02:44.690] – Melanie Courtright

Yeah, I mean, I, I first I do think that there is a world coming that involves much more deep learning, a use of data. And so I love the vision that that painted. What I don’t know that I agree with is that it will completely replace market research. And there are three three P’s that I would say for feeling that way. And the first is for all of this type of data use, you’re still going to need like permission, right?


[01:03:09.740] – Melanie Courtright

Permission to scrape use. I mean, you can use some public data, which is still really going to need permission to to use some of that. And I think that’s that duty of care and researchers and data ethics. That’s where our expertise in gathering data permissions really comes into play. So we all need to be really good at that, by the way, in this new world. And if you’re not involving yourself in data, ethics and data permissions, you really, really should keep yourself relevant in that area.


[01:03:36.350] – Melanie Courtright

The second one, though, is that the data that’s out there, it’s not always very good at predicting what will happen. You sometimes have to use research to to what if I use this message and then you get feedback that says, oh, that message is completely wrong for my audience. I hate that message. Don’t use that message. You can go out and test it in the wild. But the mistakes, the consequences for a mistake can be high.


[01:03:58.760] – Melanie Courtright

And so I think that there’s still some prediction element of the future that will really require market research. And and so there’ll be a place for that. And the second is in the presentation of data and the presentation of stories and the presentation of outcomes and using so using professionals to actually present. And then I couldn’t I couldn’t think of a P for this one. But maybe it’s psychology that this a soft P, but it’s the Y. I think that there is a lot of A.I.M. deep learning is getting good at a lot of things, but they still aren’t really good at watching someone’s face, understanding the values and the why of the things that that we do.


[01:04:37.880] – Melanie Courtright

So I, I fully believe that the more of this is coming, but I believe it will come into our space very similar to how online did and how the passive data is now. And it will make us rounder and better and stronger, but not it will not completely erase market research as we know it today. In my opinion, I believe.


[01:04:58.280] – Ray Poynter

OK, I want to go to Laura, who put a hand up


[01:05:03.580] – Laura Bright

I’m just going to pile on what Melanie said. Totally agree. And I just add one more perspective for me who sat on the client side for so many years. I think there’s a lot of work that we as researchers do that maybe isn’t noticed so much, which is helping shape and define what that business question is and what are the questions that we need to ask? Where are the times where somebody comes to us and says, I need this, we go get it and we bring it as a career?


[01:05:29.510] – Laura Bright

I think a lot of our role is helping shape what do we need out of all this information so we become less the couriers of data and more shaping the business. And back to that impact that I so want to see happen, I think there’s a big role for us, but it will be different than how we spend a lot of our time now.


[01:05:50.940] – Ray Poynter



[01:05:53.470] – Gregg Archibald

So I’m going to just kind of keep adding on to this melody, I think that your your main point will go with the soft pea in psychology for why it is kind of fundamentally it. I was having a conversation with a research leader from a large CPG company who said, as long as I know what’s going to sell, I don’t care why. And that’s exactly right. With the possible exception of significant, I’m sure, got lost in my head, with the exception of new things, like if you’re working on tweaks to your old stuff, it works incredibly well.


[01:06:40.810] – Gregg Archibald

Predictive analytics. If you’ve got kind of the right kind of feeds going in there, it works incredibly well. When you start shifting into things that look more truly new, it doesn’t work well. And that’s where understanding why can lead you in good directions. Not understanding why lead you in just a scattershot direction.


[01:07:04.080] – Chuck Chakrapani

On the day, my answer to that question is why was it important, why it was important? That’s a difference between correlation and causation. You know, if we say if you just look at some correlation and say that’s causation, then you don’t know the what you know, that’s a difference. But now what’s happening is because of deep learning, your model is constantly changing. So if you are wrong, you are not wrong for a year like you need to research this year if you are wrong, wrong, wrong for a year and more, assuming that was done correct next time.


[01:07:43.080] – Chuck Chakrapani

But here, a constant datastream coming in using deep learning. The computer itself is writing the code to accommodate the new data. When you have that kind of dynamic processing of data, it doesn’t matter why. Because if you look at once again, Amazon has already become a bookseller to the world’s largest retailer, a Leweni and. The reason why it won’t be 100 years, we thought might but try to. Going into this field, I thought, would be like 20 years, but for the past few years, especially after the onset of covid, for whatever reason, all these cuts are coming down rapidly.


[01:08:27.960] – Chuck Chakrapani

It’s just mind boggling. So I put the time line between five and 10 and it wouldn’t matter. And with regard to promotion of the data and things like that, they are they are all important, by the way. I am. I sit on the board of the Standards Committee in Toronto and in Canada. So it’s not that I considered not important, but they are also concerned about privacy. Twenty years ago, you’d be horrified that you are tracked wherever you go.


[01:08:59.190] – Chuck Chakrapani

You know, your photograph, it’s it’s such an invasion of privacy now. It has changed. If we don’t give you a name, you don’t get to use 90 percent of the apps on your on your phone. So you just give up a lot of things. So different things will happen. What will happen? I don’t know. But we can’t apply to this paradigm as to a changed world. So I still think this is a tsunami that’s coming and that we can look at it and say, what are we going to do this?


[01:09:32.550] – Chuck Chakrapani

And they know we have this ethics or whatever, and it’s going to take the same 10 years from today. And so we have to do the same thing that I’m not sure.


[01:09:43.260] – Melanie Courtright

You know, I agree with you. I definitely didn’t think we would stay the same. Sorry, that was my puppy. I definitely think we’ll stay the same. I think I think that there is a tsunami coming, but I think that tsunami will cause the whole water to rise for everyone. I don’t think it’s going to be 100 percent replacement was my only point. But I definitely think that it’ll be different 10 years from now and different again 10 years from then.


[01:10:07.440] – Chuck Chakrapani

I think that would be I’m not saying it could be eradicated. That’s one possibility. But it could be marketing. This could be gone. But I think the tsunami itself, I’m fairly convinced because it’s not happening because of marketing research. It’s happening because of things that are happening outside of marketing. Just consider autonomous driving. This a classic example. How correct. It has to be every single time it makes it. Every time it’s an object and so on, when you consider that all the market segments we do.


[01:10:40.790] – Chuck Chakrapani

And because we don’t, why don’t we do a child’s play, Transbay? So that’s why I think marketing it will have a profound effect on marketing this week and with all the what you call cloud computing, you don’t need to have a server and you have access to the world’s largest computer, which can store it any more than any amount of data. And this one is not science fiction. It’s happening now.


[01:11:05.960] – Melanie Courtright

Yeah, and our jobs, as says professionals, should be to help navigate this this evolution and to evolve ourselves and and then to be data and method agnostic and more about what’s the best way to get the insight that the business needs and evolve with it. We appreciate our extinction.


[01:11:25.500] – Ray Poynter

All right, with that, that’s been fantastic, though, let’s just go round the panel in the order that we took, we start with just any closing thoughts. I will give Greg a chance by chipping in myself. The most heated discussion was in Chat’s not on the panel, and it’s around this issue of panel quality, and I don’t think that we will see substantial improvement in the next five years. Let’s let’s have a look in five years. But I suspect that I used to say that clients wanted to improve panel quality the way I wanted to lose weight, which is I tried everything except eating less.


[01:12:14.150] – Ray Poynter

But I did try really hard. I tried all sorts of things. I just didn’t want it enough. The pandemic is now helped, but I think we’re going to see that data problem. We’re going to see initiatives. We’re going to see some people refuse to go down into the sewer sampling, but I think in five years will be exactly where we are now. So, Greg, your thoughts summing up all the various topics we had.


[01:12:43.930] – Gregg Archibald

Man, I wish I could come up with something brilliant that would be intimidating for the rest.


[01:12:52.030] – Gregg Archibald

So I think if I look out a few years, I think that the value of what this function brings is going to be better and better and better. How it’s structured in an organization, how the suppliers are structured could be incredibly different. In fact, I anticipate on the brand side there may not be a market research department. There’s going to be people doing research focused on insights, focused on bringing all these things together. But it may not be.


[01:13:30.080] – Gregg Archibald

Market research, but I will say that every year that I’m in this particularly the past few years looking towards the future, it just stays exciting to me. I love my job. So I fully anticipate more and more and more change. And that makes me happy. And I think sample quality will be solved within five years.


[01:13:55.810] – Ray Poynter



[01:13:58.900] – Ray Poynter

I’m not so sure this is a summary comment, but I’ll leave us as a parting thought. I, I studied something called futurology. And one of the things that we learned is that the closer in that we try to predict things, the more off we are. We’re far better at predicting the future 50 years or more in advance. But anything less than 50 years can be quite fuzzy. And I think about an interview I had with Wendy Murphy five or six years ago where we were going on and on about Google Glass.


[01:14:29.990] – Laura Bright

And that’s not a huge factor right now. Now, I think wearables still will be. We just don’t know when and how it’s going to change. To Chuck’s point, I think in 10 years, our jobs will be different. I hope they are. When I think of what I started doing when I started in, this is very different from what we do now. I think a lot of things we can passively collects that. We used to have to go and literally knock on doors together.


[01:14:53.510] – Laura Bright

But I still think our function of helping companies define what they don’t know, where their internal spiral thinking is, helping them get out of the box and helping us figure out what are the questions that need to be answered. I still think that’s a critical role.


[01:15:11.580] – Ray Poynter



[01:15:15.400] – Melanie Courtright

Yeah, so I think I’m going to stick with the last words I said, evolution or extinction, right. Like everything really is changing and looking back at the careers of everyone that I see here, every one of them have reinvented themselves several times over the course of their career, you know, from being a traditional researcher and moving into technology and moving into data and privacy and ethics. And my biggest encouragement to everyone is that the world is shifting and our industry is rightfully shifting as a result.


[01:15:41.350] – Melanie Courtright

And if you haven’t taken stock in, where’s the where’s the industry going and how am I set up to meet the needs of the new world? I hope you’ll do that because it really is shifting.


[01:15:52.000] – Ray Poynter

Absolutely, Kristin.


[01:15:55.510] – Kristin Luck

Yeah, I mean, I think to you know, to Melanie’s point, I posted this in the chat because I think probably good at JMJ has a really good something like synthesis of life, working with traditional research data and new forms. But I do think that our role as researchers is really that a data translators, regardless of what the source or method is like to be able to really translate and distill, distill data into into meaning for our businesses I think is important to us.


[01:16:23.950] – Kristin Luck

And then I would say, you know, my my last take would be, you know, like really look at that evolution of your business model. You know, like I said, I think that there’s a there’s a type pricing pressure, a lot of commoditization and a lot of the traditional business models, particularly for Full-Service, research firms are antiquated and are driving a lot of the bad behaviors and I think resulting in less than less than epical, not only in data, but respondent interaction.


[01:16:52.420] – Kristin Luck

And so it’s something that we really need to be cognizant of. Unlike Greg, I do not believe that sampling quality will be fixed in the last five years only because I probably sat on at least 15 panels with Melany in the last 20 years where we talked about data quality. And I would say it’s not improved at all.


[01:17:15.630] – Gregg Archibald

I was just trying to be an optimist.


[01:17:17.620] – Kristin Luck

I know. I know Greg.


[01:17:20.560] – Ray Poynter

So, Chuck, final thoughts.


[01:17:23.720] – Chuck Chakrapani

Well, I thought the car actually agreed with everyone on the panel, and I agree, I don’t disagree with anything that’s been said. My only thing is change is coming faster than most people realize. At least it’s my belief that this can because it is not as visible during the Internet time, it was visible how I feel and more and more now here Intel is new troops are coming into the market that nobody’s aware of. They don’t understand the implications of what autonomous driving, what, what, how much it needs to do that.


[01:18:05.410] – Chuck Chakrapani

And so it thinks faster and faster and faster. And that is not visible now. There’s not visible. It doesn’t know we don’t know what’s happening. And the more I look at it, the more I find when this this is child’s play, what marketing such as child’s play or something to the technology that can drive an autonomous car, you know. So anyway, so I’m thinking maybe it’s coming faster. I could be wrong. I’m usually wrong anyway.


[01:18:34.150] – Chuck Chakrapani

We all are and we all are. So but my my view is we are not twenty years away from from it. We are somewhere in five to ten years from it.


[01:18:48.040] – Ray Poynter

Great, well, thank you, everybody. Thank you, all of you there in the audience who’ve been joining in the conversation, asking questions, talking to each other and raising points of view, getting heated and then sorting it out. That was quite nice to see as well. So thank you, everybody in there. That was great to see people playing nicely. Big shout out again to our sponsors. Thank you, everybody. Be safe and look forward to seeing you at the next event.