Earlier this week, I attended the Esomar Congress in Amsterdam. It was a home game for me, but even I was impressed by the location and its very Dutch look and feel; I felt proud of my country (of course it helps that I’m a big fan of stroopwafels, poffertjes, mature cheese, and bitterballen).
Not only were the surroundings impressive, but so were the presentations. Only a couple of the 20 or so that I saw were average. Most presentations gave a good overview of a new methodology, the client side of the story, and the challenges faced. My personal highlights included the Heineken/TNS presentation, in which they used neuroscience (or more precisely electroencephalography [EEG], biometrics, and eye-tracking) to measure how relevant viewers felt the ad was to them, how excited they were by it, and what areas of the screen they looked at while it played. You can find the summary by Robert Bain of Research Magazine here.
Maybe you’re working for a software company that suddenly faces a free cloud-based solution (funded by advertising). Or perhaps you’re in a clothing retail chain whose market share is under attack from an offshore company using webcams to offer virtual fitting rooms and cut-to-order clothing. If you are employed by a brick-and-mortar retailer of DVD rentals, music, or books, you’ve already been disrupted and have either found a safe niche to hide in or are in the process of liquidating your stock.
Disruption cannot be avoided. Today, rapid changes in technology, customer preferences, competitive capabilities, market dynamics, even government regulations, make continual adaptation a requirement to avoid disruption, which can result in market share and even business loss. Can you help your company prepare for disruption? Even more valuable: Can you help your company be the one that has the insights to disrupt its competitors?!
For market insights professionals, the constant threat of disruption creates a new mandate: Provide the insights that help stakeholders understand where, what, how, how much, and why changes need to be made. So:
How well can you hear the voice of the customer?
How well do you understand competitive capabilities?
Have you worked through potential change scenarios with stakeholders?
Do you have the ability to spot early signs of change?
Do you have a plan for what you’ll do when change happens?