Sweaters for Chameleons: How I’ll get the most from The Market Research Technology Event.

Today’s guest post is from Kelley Styring. Styring is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune, Quirk’s Marketing Research and The Market Research Daily Report from RFL Online.  She will be live blogging from TMRTE in next week in Las Vegas, April 30-May 2, 2012.
For more information on TMRTE, visit the webpage.  If you’d like to join us, as a reader of this blog when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!
Sweaters for Chameleons:  How I’ll get the most from The Market Research Technology Event.

That ancient art of weaving is based on a simple principle of physics. The warp and weft of the weave create a tensile strength in whole cloth that exceeds that of fragile threads. I’ve been thinking about this as I ponder how to better integrate innovative technologies into my market research consulting practice.

I’m as intrigued as anyone else about new things – exciting shiny widgets offered by technology to build deeper, broader understanding. Scraping, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, etc. In fact technology is moving so fast and impacting our industry so much that I often feel I’m knitting a sweater from floating bits of dryer lint and not thoughtful threads, snatching one then another out of the air and pushing them into the system. While it may be an interesting looking sweater it’s certainly not strong enough to be useful. And that’s the problem.

There’s a real temptation to attend an exciting conference like The Market Research Technology Event and collect a satchel full of shiny new widgets – single function solutions that are cool and eye-catching but stand alone without integration to existing ways of doing business. I find this to be the key barrier to bringing innovation solutions to my clients – that adoption often means a step change rather than a slide into solutions that expand existing capabilities.

So I’ve decided to attend this conference as a chameleon. No – not blending into the background. I can do that my wearing black to an agency meeting in New York. I’m thinking more about how a chameleon sees. Its two eyes operate independently, each looking a different direction. So, while I know my eye will be drawn to clever, new, standalone technology solutions that will also pique my client interest – I will be consciously looking for ways to augment or enhance the existing approaches that my clients are comfortable with – so that I have a better chance of near-term client acceptance and increase my engagement rates. I’ve built a worksheet to help me with this. It’s a simple grid with space for new technologies I’ll see at the conference along one axis and existing market research applications along the other. For every new technology I add, I will then force myself to think of ways to also integrate it into existing techniques or approaches to market research. That way, I can see beyond the shiny new technique and have a better shot with my clients.

SEE LIKE A CHAMELEON YOURSELF: I’ll be blogging “live” from the event, so look for me in the back of the room. Come by, say hello, and I’ll give you a copy (Or you can download it here) of the worksheet so you can try it yourself. Looking forward to the conference!