April Adventures: Atlanta to Austin and All Around

Insight Communication, Market Research, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Technology

April Adventures: Atlanta to Austin and All Around

Several members of team L&E attended the Insights Association’s Annual Conference and IIEX North America this past April. We wanted to share our takeaways from these two wildly different events.

IA’s Conference was a collaborative and hands-on event, including brainstorming workshops to ideate on a participant bill of rights, an AI policy, or actions to support accessibility. IIEX, on the other hand, was a traditional event with multiple concurrent sessions to choose from and dozens of exhibitors; the event was packed with fantastic information, if a bit overwhelming.

Looking Into the Future at IA’s Annual Conference
In the fast-paced world of business, the ability to anticipate trends and adapt to change is crucial. But what exactly does it mean to have insight versus foresight? And how can these concepts be leveraged to drive profitability and success?

Insight vs. Foresight
Insight is about understanding the present moment, gaining a deep understanding of current trends, and using that knowledge to make informed decisions. Foresight, on the other hand, is about looking ahead, exploring possibilities, and envisioning different futures. For businesses, insight is about understanding the current market landscape, identifying opportunities, and addressing challenges. Foresight, on the other hand, is about anticipating future trends, preparing for potential disruptions, and staying ahead of the curve..

The Power of Collaboration
To truly harness the power of insight and foresight, collaboration is key. Collaborators must be willing to share information openly, be transparent about their goals and objectives, and be willing to take risks. Collaboration is not just about working together; it’s about having something to lose and something to gain. It’s about bringing together diverse perspectives and ideas to create something new and innovative.

Asking Better Questions
One of the keys to successful collaboration is asking better questions. Instead of simply asking what your partners can do for you, ask what they need and what would make their lives easier. This shift in perspective can lead to more meaningful and productive collaborations.
Personalization and Lifestyle
In today’s marketing landscape, personalization is key. Customers are bombarded with marketing messages every day, and they’re becoming increasingly selective about what they pay attention to. To stand out, marketers need to personalize their outreach and make it relevant to their target audience. Lifestyle content is also becoming increasingly important. Customers want to know not just what a product does, but how it fits into their lives. Providing content that helps customers envision how they can use a product in their day-to-day lives can be incredibly powerful.
The Role of AI in the Future of Work
As AI continues to evolve, the question of how and when to integrate it into the workforce becomes increasingly important. While AI has the potential to automate many tasks, there are also concerns about its impact on jobs and the economy. Finding the right balance between human and machine labor will be crucial in the years to come.
Improving Data Quality and Accessibility
Improving data quality is essential for businesses looking to make informed decisions. This includes treating people like people, by creating a better experience for research participants. Accessibility is also a key consideration. Businesses should strive to create tools and processes that are accessible to all, regardless of their background or abilities. This includes designing user-friendly interfaces, recruiting a diverse range of participants, socializing data and insights, and implementing inclusive practices.
Focus on AI, Authenticity and Diversity at IIEX North America
As researchers well know, the technology and tools used to understand consumer behavior and preferences change constantly, but the fundamentals remain timeless including the need for authenticity and inclusivity in marketing strategies.
Historically, certain industries have focused their marketing efforts on specific demographics, inadvertently excluding others. Take, for example, the history of hip hop, initially marketed predominantly to African Americans, while neglecting their Hispanic audience. This oversight highlights the importance of marketing to “not your audience,” recognizing the diverse interests and preferences within different communities.
Breaking out of common biases and trends and truly gaining the perspective of the population, whether it’s diversity of race, sex, orientation or geography, income bracket or age, is essential. However, some audiences feel that when you lean in too hard, the effort becomes exploitative and disingenuous. Brands are moving away from the obvious efforts like only featuring Black content during Black history month or debuting a line of rainbow clothing for pride month. Instead, there is a shift to include diverse voices in the ideation and creative process. This can be achieved by creating combined advisory boards of employees and consumers, as well as finding more authentic and diverse methods for product development, such as sourcing diversity in your vendors to effect a more authentic approach.
Authenticity is a cornerstone of successful marketing, emphasizing the need for brands to align their actions with their values. The concept of “feeding two birds with one scone” underscores the importance of efficiency and effectiveness in marketing strategies. Gen Z, in particular, values diversity and representation in marketing, preferring inclusive messaging over targeted approaches.
AI presents a unique opportunity for market researchers, offering insights and ideas at scale. However, human judgment remains essential in making sense of AI-generated data. Synthetic samples, while not a replacement for human input, can be valuable for training purposes, enhancing the capabilities of moderators and improving conversation quality.

In marketing communications, understanding client needs and building trust are paramount. Flexibility and simplicity are key, along with a focus on delivering tangible benefits and differentiators. Emotion should not be overlooked, as it plays a crucial role in resonating with audiences and building lasting connections.

The key themes at IIEX were authenticity, inclusivity, and innovation. By embracing these principles and leveraging the capabilities of AI, researchers can navigate the future of insights with confidence and creativity.

Two Different Events With Common Threads
The biggest values of the IA event were the brainstorming and workshops, which allowed us to be part of the process. While at IIEX, the amount of information and networking opportunities was almost overwhelming (in a good way). Despite being so different, both events focused on the importance of collaboration, inclusivity and embracing AI for the benefit of consumers and researchers alike.