From the desk of Kathy Doyle
Quirk’s had a great idea – offer a low cost alternative to the super pricey conferences packing our calendars –and so many people agreed with them that the event was sold out and the venue was packed. Here is my review of the inaugural Quirks Event, after a week’s incubation (or procrastination!).
The emphasis was clearly on the exhibitors. It was one of the larger exhibit halls I’ve been in, and chock full of mobile solutions, panel providers, online platform providers, and software providers for all things data management. To me, most notable was the fact that more and more exhibits are tech focused; less and less are focused on facilities and other “human” services firms. It is clear that tech-driven market research is here to stay. For me, it was a great opportunity to evaluate resources that our team can vet and test to help us execute our custom qualitative study designs. Exhibitors, how was it for you?
Though I don’t believe the presentations were intended to be the primary focus of the conference, most rooms were packed, which tells me that attendees still do view presentations as a main draw of the conferences they attend. A couple of my key take-aways were that:
- new technology is driving the conversations in MR
- the lines between quant and qual are blurring, with both industries leveraging methods and tools from each other to craft dynamic research designs
- there is an increasing emphasis on understanding the consumer’s journey, using mobile and wearables, to come as close as possible to actually “walking in their shoes”.
With all of the upsides of technology, it does have its downsides. The conference’s Presdo Match app was controversial. Word on the street is that clients hated it. They felt pestered by potential research partners trying to set up meetings. I liked it (of course, I’m a research partner). I was able to see who among my clients was attending, and it gave me the chance to seek them out for a face-to-face conversation. This dichotomy is not unique to The Quirk’s Event. More and more, clients are keeping a low profile; not registering on conference apps, not wearing their name tags, not attending networking events. Their goal in attending conferences is to learn, while suppliers have begun to view conferences as significant marketing opportunities. Somehow a balance has to be achieved, so everyone’s needs are met.
All in all, I think Quirks did a great job of executing their vision for the first ever Quirks Event. And I have no doubt that any problems experienced (did I mention the scavenger hunt to find food?!) were duly noted and will be addressed.