Like the internet, consumers (read crowds) are playing an increasingly important role in marketing research worldwide, driving the ‘social revolution’ and moving the traditional focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’.
These were some of the growing trends highlighted by both international keynote speakers and local presenters of research papers at the 31st Southern African Marketing Research Association (SAMRA) conference last week.
Hosted at Mount Grace Country House and Spa near Magaliesburg, 10 research papers, two expert question-and-answer sessions and six keynote speaker presentations informed and entertained the 159 delegates from corporates and parastatals as well as large and smaller research companies countrywide, who attended the two-day conference.
“Once again the annual SAMRA conference provided the ideal platform for the unpacking and showcasing of new ideas and thinking about marketing research. The impressive list of excellent key-note presentations and research papers left delegates invigorated and with a renewed focus on building the profession and the body of knowledge and expertise that underpins our work,” says SAMRA chairperson Salomé Barnard.
The SAMRA awards for the best overall paper (gold, silver and bronze), as well as the best first time speaker, as judged by a panel of research stalwarts under the leadership of Neil Higgs and Leonie Vorster, were handed over at the glittering gala event on Friday night. A new award, ‘Voice of the Audience’, was introduced to acknowledge the most entertaining paper, as voted for by the audience.
Youngsters ruled the evening, with Kyle Findlay and Alice Louw of The Customer Equity Company SA (Pty) Ltd (seen here with Salome Barnard, Chair of SAMRA), scooping both the gold and silver SAMRA awards for the best overall papers. The gold was awarded for their paper titled Negative publicity: How do customers process it and how should brands manage it and the silver for Branding in the nth dimension’: Measuring brand equity in a digital world.
Along with colleagues Kirsty Alberts and Joanne Campbell, Louw stepped onto the stage for the third time, this time to receive the bronze SAMRA award for the paper titled Crowdsourcing – The end of marketing research?
The Best First Time Speaker Award went to Elisha Basson of TNS Research Surveys for her paper titled To Punt or be Blunt, while Sarah McDonald garnered the newly introduced Voice of the Audience Award for her paper titled Influentials or Accidentals? Investigating Interpersonal Influence in the Telecommunications Market.
The six keynote-speakers included Esomar president Gunilla Broadbent who gave an overview of the state of the research industry worldwide, and, among other things, highlighted challenges ahead, South Africa’s contribution to the global research industry and the negative impact of the economic downturn on the industry.
Mark Earls of HERD Consulting’s presentation centred on the power of the ‘crowd’ and the ‘social revolution’ and Ari Popper, North American President of BrainJuicer, detailed the shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’ research.
Martin Kingdon, Sheridan Global CEO in the UK, evaluated in-store display and the MARI research methodology to determine the effectiveness of in-store displays and advertisements. James Fergusson, global director: emerging markets, TNS, gave a sneak preview of the ‘perfect storm’ heading, digitally speaking, for South African shores as more bandwith, lower prices, low cost smartphones and advanced mobile usage become the norm.
South African keynote speaker, Prof Adré Schreuder of Consulta Research MD and Marketing Professor at the University of Pretoria, revisited customer experience measurement from his 2002 keynote address to 2010 and beyond.
Conference delegates agreed that the jam-packed 31st annual SAMRA conference provided ample food for thought and fertile soil for development and growth.
The Fergusson and Schreuder Keynote Presentations are not accessible on the SAMRA 2010 Conference CD. Here they are: