Live from #TMRE13: Day 3 Recap ‘ Malcolm Gladwell, Insights into Action, and Becoming a Research Force to be Reckoned With

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and is a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.  

We made it folks! The third and final day of #TMRE13 was a
great one, and by this time most of you are on planes, trains or in cars heading
back home. Consider this your travel reading.

The day kicked off with a truly Nashville-style surprise ‘ a
musical introduction by Tim McNary, lead singer of the band McNary. Our first
keynote session was an esteemed panel comprised of Timothy de Waal Malefyt from
the Center for Positive Marketing at Fordham University,
Kathleen Vohs from the Carlson School of Management at the University of
and Catherine Havasi of the MIT Media Lab,
and moderated by Katy Mogal of Jawbone. The discussion focused on integrated thinking
and the intersection of behavior economics, data science and anthropology. The
discussion covered a lot of ground but a key takeaway was how important context
is in ethnography, and how context, creativity, confusion contradiction, and
conflict (5Cs) lead to ethnographic insights.
Next up was a man who really didn’t need much introduction,
judging by the market research fanbase on Twitter. Malcolm Gladwell, renowned
author of Blink, The Tipping Point, Outliers, and most recently David and
focused on ‘the inverted U curve’ and how all too often we’re focused
on one part of the curve but not the other, if we even know the curve exists. We need to take a step back and sometimes do some meta-analysis to see
the bigger picture. 

Gladwell also
focused on the ‘won’t’ vs. the ‘can’t’ ‘ there are often not enough incentives
for people to say ‘I have enough’ and he posited that perhaps capping spending
for healthcare or capping R&D budgets could actually solve problems. He also highlighted that there’s also not typically a dearth of information, often ‘we don’t need more information, we need more action.’  There’s an entire other post here on the blog regarding his talk, so I’ll move on, but I want to give you a sense of some of the other talks.  But to give you a sense of the popularity of
Gladwell’s talk, the #TMRE13 hashtag reached 144,392 impressions in 14 minutes
of his talk ‘ wow!

The day was just beginning! Soon after Gladwell’s talk I
attended ‘Upping Your Seat at the Table’ given by Aaron Fetters of Kellogg’s. Fetters feels that the ‘seat
at the table’ is waiting for us, and that businesses generally have a desire
for insights to play a bigger role. In order to snag that seat we need to
expand our sources of knowledge and view of where insights come from (social,
CRM systems, loyalty programs, etc.), build and foster the right skills on your
team, and create services and solutions that really fuel brand growth. He
advocates putting research and analytics in the same working group (something
we’ve done as well that has been very successful). 

The key soundbite from the session
was that we as researchers need to ‘learn to walk from the computer room to the
board room’ ‘ essentially speak both languages, from stats to storytelling in
order to communicate to both teams and drive from insights to action.

Next up, Dorothy White and Leigh O’Donnell of Mars Petcare shared some concrete examples of how to evangelize and amplify insights
throughout the organization. Their framework included to-do’s for every step of
the project, from performing executive interviews and aligning objectives,
methodology and logistics before project kickoff, to testing for surprises and
prepping for action during the project, to polishing the message and ‘workshop ’til
you drop’ after the results are in.
Finally, the last session I attended was one of the best of
the conference, given by Kate Pomeroy of Pernod Ricard USA focusing on ‘Converting
Insights into Action.’ It was a rollicking presentation that covered everything
from salt licks to bottle service, from body shots to Portlandia all wrapped up into an insightful presentation with some actionable takeaways
on how to craft compelling insights, look for the tension, challenge beliefs
and behaviors, visually bringing research to life, and becoming a cultural
force to be reckoned with (create a workshop culture and a strong research ‘brand’).
Pomeroy said: ‘The worst thing you can say to me is that I’m ‘the research
person’ and the best compliment would be ‘you create value.”

I hope you all enjoyed your time at #TMRE13 and came away
with some actionable insights, lots of business cards, and some new friends! It’s
been my honor to tweet and blog the conference for you, and I hope to see you
all back next year at #TMRE14 in Boca Raton.  I’d love to stay connected with you – you can
always find me on Twitter and at my blog.  Safe travels back home! 


More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the ‘Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.