Inside the Annual TMRE NGMR Disruptive Innovator and EXPLOR Awards

TMRE 2014 is a proud host
of two of the market research industry’s most prestigious awards: The EXPLOR Award and NGMR Disruptive Innovator
, which recognize outstanding and innovative work in the market
research industry today.  I recently sat
down with Tom Anderson, Managing Partner, Anderson Analytics ‘ OdinText and
Chuck Miller, President, Digital Marketing & Measurement, LLC (DM2), to discuss the awards and why TMRE keeps them coming back.
So, where did these prestigious awards begin?
Back in early 2007 The Next Generation Market Research
networking group was founded – the first market research group of its kind
created to address the stagnant slow moving situation at the time. The group
mission stated, ‘The market has changed, the customers have changed, why should
consumer insight be the same’? 
‘Initially, it was a group for those of us who wanted to use
more advanced analytics and work across different and larger data,’ Anderson
explained. ‘As time went on, and everyone started talking about ‘Innovation.’
the group actually played quite a different role as well. Many of the members
are very senior and experienced research folks, and while welcoming new
techniques and methods from the data and text mining fields for instance, we
also wanted to vet these new techniques being suggested to make sure they were
methodologically sound and actually useful.’
The NGMR Disruptive
Innovator Award
Today, with more than 20,000 members, NGMR remains a
resource for these types of discussions, and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award
celebrates not just Innovation for the sake of Innovation, but Innovation that
truly is disruptive.  The award recognizes
companies and individuals that have demonstrated outstanding leadership as
change agents and made significant contributions to harnessing disruptive
innovation to drive research industry progress. This year’s winners will
receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning
case study during this session.
‘This is an award by researchers for researchers, and it’s
not just about innovation for the sake of innovation, it’s about sound
innovation that makes sense for our field,’ said Anderson.
For the past 15 years, EXPLOR has been a showcase for
research innovation, highlighting some of the best research in our industry. Other times it highlighted groundbreaking work that was
meaningful to the client but that hasn’t become mainstream ‘ such as assessing
consumer behaviors using GPS enabled shopping carts.  ‘In all cases,
EXPLOR gives us exposure to great research creativity, and generally a glimpse
of things to come,’ he explained.
Today, The EXPLOR award recognizes breakthrough innovation
in technology as applied to market research.  This award is a case study competition, so it
highlights a real-world research problem and solution.  According to
Miller, case studies must be formed around a client-driven business problem,
then demonstrate how the client and supplier team applied new techniques to
deliver insight.  So, EXPLOR is less about using a cool new tool, and more
about how innovation solved an important problem for a client organization. This
year’s winner will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to
present the winning case study during this session. This year, the EXPLOR Award
is brought to you by DM2. 
Anderson and Miller value sound innovation and want to reward
it, but they also realize that the word ‘Disruptive Innovation’ can mean a lot
of different things, and they can’t really tell how disruptive something will
be until it’s been around for a while. They favor individuals and companies
that have demonstrated that they can be useful and widely adopted, but also like
to see brand new software and methods and try to give them the benefit of the
doubt while scrutinizing them under the methodological lens.
So, what does winning one of these prestigious awards mean
for a company or an individual? There are many nominations each year, so even
being selected as a finalist is something to be proud of, according to
Anderson. ‘In a competitive industry such as this, it’s obviously beneficial to
point to an award like NGMR as a sign of distinction. Last year a prominent
market research blogger even referred to the NGMR award as ‘The Nobel Prize of
the Marketing Research Industry.’
People are always thankful EXPLOR provided them an opportunity
to share their passion about a tool or technique, or their company as a whole,
according to Miller. ‘The award can call attention to very deserving employees
to help them advance their careers, but at the end of the day I know these
people are more driven by their passion around innovation ‘ and the desire to
do things that have never been done.’
For this year, nominations are open and Anderson and Miller
have already received a couple of interesting submissions. Unfortunately, most
submissions come in during the final week, which does not give them any time to
request additional information from an applicant if needed. If you are considering
applying, you are encouraged to apply early. 
Additionally, the committee members each evaluate and rate several
submissions, so they also encourage visuals or videos etc. if available. 
‘The hardest thing is selecting one single winner in one of
our three categories, when there are two or three individuals or firms that are
close,’ explained Anderson. ‘That’s why we do encourage people to resubmit the
next year. We have had winners who won the third time/year around!’
Two things excite Miller about the EXPLOR award on an annual
basis. ‘First, I really enjoy discussing with the judges all of the
creative applications people are using in our business today.  It’s always
a broad array of techniques used to address a variety of business problems, which
is fascinating,’ he said. ‘Second, and more importantly, it’s really exciting
to see the winning team receive recognition for the great job they’ve
done.  Generally there is some risk-taking involved as they’ve applied
creativity to solve a problem, so it’s great to see their work validated and
their efforts rewarded.’
Each year Anderson participates in TMRE because to him, TMRE
is the largest marketing research event with the biggest key notes and venue,
which has continued to be the logical home for The Nobel Prize of Marketing
Research.  In addition, the post award
break out session with the winners, which this year will be moderated by a
known industry disruptor and entrepreneur, Kristin Luck, President & CMO at
Decipher and founder of WIRe (Women in Research).  
Kristin Luck,
President & CMO at Decipher and founder of WIRe
According to Miller, TMRE is a great forum for the EXPLOR
Awards because it brings together the highest caliber client and provider-side
researchers. He added, ‘These folks are the change agents in their
organizations who can benefit from exposure to leading-edge research
innovation.  It’s great that TMRE and the EXPLOR/NGMR awards push our
industry forward in this way.’
All EXPLOR Award and
NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award entries must be received by September 22, 2014. For
award submission details, click here:
To register for TMRE
2014 this October in Boca Raton, FL click here:

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the 
Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print
journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and
technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld
and World Congress for Business Analysts
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.