Recap: The Quirk’s Event Irvine

Several MMR Research Associates attended last week’s The Quirks Event in Irvine, Calif., one of the research industry’s key annual events. During the two days of presentations and discussions of cutting-edge marketing research, MMR senior staff (VPs Susan Sabanos, Terry Ferg, Patricia Houston, and Managing Partners Bill Denk and Bruce Olson) networked with attendees who visited their booth in the Expo Hall, and sat in on a variety of sessions on a broad range of industry topics.

This event also served as MMR’s first opportunity to join with the west coast team who have been expanding MMR’s national presence.

Managing Partner Bruce Olson presented his perspective on the need for a paradigm shift in our industry, focusing on Impact and why he believes that discussions of precise measurement of ROI for research miss the point. He will reprise his provocative POV emphasizing impact on client business at the upcoming Quirks Event in Brooklyn.

Patricia Houston, MMR VP-Client Relationships, joined Rudy Nadilo, president of Dapresy, in presenting a session on a more flexible approach to market research reporting and visualization. They, too, will offer this session in New York.


Here are some of the highlights and trends that our team experienced…

BDS Analytics shared a case study on how the new cannabis category is generating opportunities for brands. In their session, “Legal Cannabis is a Brand Innovation Game Changer,” the focus was on cannabis as a serious business with expected sales growth of $9 billion to $24 billion in 3 years and the product innovation opportunities for brands that spring from cannabis as a new ingredient. With mainstream consumers who are no longer the stoner persona of classic movies, many leading brands are already staking their cannabis position (Jack in the Box, Scott’s Miracle Grow, Pepsi), looking at brand extension opportunities through product “pairings” or new usage occasions.

For a business such as investment banking, the right C-suite customer insight can be worth millions or even billions. JP Morgan Chase presented “C-Suite Research: Driving Informed Decision-Making Through Actionable Client Insights” in which they discussed the high stakes business of researching C-level executives and some insights into success. In particular, when setting up a meeting, the ultra-white glove approach extends to every logistical detail to set the right tone (have “your person” call “my person” – no email). Once in the meeting, business is conducted in person and conversationally (no guide!).

Two different presentations demonstrated the power of integrating online behavior data collected through passive tracking with custom survey research. First, “The New Digital Grocery Path-to-Purchase: Learnings from Quantitative Ethnography and Passive Behavior Tracking,” presented by industry experts SmartRevenue and Luth Research, combined results from passively tracking online grocery shopping behavior with a targeted customer survey to get at the “why” behind the “what.” Then, Microsoft shared insights from studies that combine data about the PC and other devices collected passively with conventional custom survey data. In “What They Say and What They Do: Marrying Telemetry and Attitudes for Business Understanding,” shared results provided an interesting view on how consumers move between PC and phone use by time of day.

Director – Global Research and Consumer Insights from Blizzard Entertainment, Mike Swiontkowski, talked about the need to understand the political environment and context of business in order to ensure that you’re making an impact with a small team. During the session, “Becoming Influential in a Large Organization with a Small Research Team,” Bruce was wishing he could arrange to meet and discuss how their presentations interlock with a focus on Business Context and Impact.



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