We came, we talked, and ate great BBQ! While our time in Austin was short, our days (and nights!) were filled with great conversation, powerful brainstorms, and maybe a piano bar! Here are a couple of our key takeaways from one of market research’s most innovative event:
1. Nothing beats some good ol’ fashioned face-to-face time
While we enjoy a good Zoom meeting as much as the next researcher, our team was thrilled to catch up with clients and cohorts for some much-needed face time (IRL). We had great conversations with clients about MarketCast’s growth and expansion into ad measurement, and our recently launched Brand Effect cross-platform product, as well as the thought-provoking work our Youth and Identity research team continues to pursue across digital platforms (more on that later).
2. Session-broadcasting headsets had us living in the future
In a clever move of ingenuity, the sessions at IIEX North America were again broadcast across channel-surfing headsets instead of the traditional (and often noisy) breakout rooms commonly seen at conventional conferences. Not only did this format allow attendees to tune into a session without interruption, but it also allowed on-the-go listening from their own booths or even at the coffee stand.
Speaking of creative storytelling tools (and just in time for Pride month), one of the sessions we found particularly engaging was Warner Bros. Discovery’s presentation on how brands can use storytelling and teamwork to drive more inclusive practices and build company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion. Led by Warner Bros. Discovery’s Kira Greenberg and Giselle Bowie, the session used clips from classic Warner Bros. movies, like Forrest Gump, to emphasize the importance of great storytelling in the field of DE&I to help engage and create allies among internal and external audiences.
3. AI tools & technology will change the future of market research and consumer insights
One of the most notable trends we observed across the show was the focus on AI tools and technology, such as ChatGPT. On Wednesday, Publix Super Markets Consumer Insights Strategist Lorin Drake explored how generative AI tools can help researchers speed up, automate, or improve routine tasks. He also detailed the ethical, moral, and legal considerations researchers should keep in mind when using generative AI.
In another related session, aytm CEO & Co-founder Lev Mazin and Procter & Gamble Vice President Michael Lancor examined the relationship AI can play in the consumer insights and market research industry and the balancing act between AI-driven technology and human intuition that connects us to consumers.
4. Brands are eager to learn about the impact of digital worlds on young people
Of course, the MarketCast team was excited to join the conversation, with MarketCast Youth and Identity research experts Jessica Ritzo and Aaron Thomas sharing our latest study on how young people use digital worlds to explore, express, and find community around their identities.
Interestingly, despite digital spaces being such a part of youth culture, the study reports only 46 percent of young people between ages 9-25 “often” or “sometimes” share posts online, with only 53 percent of those posts being described as meaningful. The study will be available soon.
5. If you don’t see some live music, you’re doing Austin wrong
A trip to the live music capital of the world can only be complete with, well, some seriously good live music! So as the sun went down and the lights came on, we ventured onto Sixth Street in search of some après-show entertainment and a good time; when we stepped into Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar, we were not disappointed. Between the rocking sounds of the two baby grand pianos and the buzzing crowd singing along to the hits, we couldn’t have imagined a better setting for some much-needed unwinding and team bonding.
We can’t wait for the next IIEX event and continue the discussion on the evolution of advertising measurement and data science within the market research and consumer insights industry.