Isaac Rogers, our Director of New Product Development, is attending the two-day IIR Technology Conference in Chicago. So far, he’s checked in with four observations:
1. No real talk about communities. This either means one of three things: 1) Everyone who wants one has one; 2) Everyone is bored of talking about them; or 3) They aren’t the hot-button item they once were. After my discussions with the other attendees, I’m leaning towards #3. Funny, a couple of years ago that’s all anyone wanted to talk about. Now, there seem to be three new buzzwords: mobile, social media and engagement (for real!).
2. Mobile qualitative research is everywhere in this conference, but there is still some debate about where it fits in the research toolkit. Is it a niche tool? Is it a primary go-to? Is it a compelling add-on? It seems there is a lot of value getting derived from the mobile experience/customer sat work going on, but people are talking about it as just another data collection method.
3. Social Media is a big topic at this event. However, there still seems to be this kind of “So what?” question hanging in the air. I think the presenters did an excellent job talking about how they use social media for additional insight into trends, and how the concept of “looking for your specific brand” is really not a great approach, but most of the questions from the audience seemed to leave me wondering if we’ve really got this social media monitoring figured out yet.
4. Engagement. This has been the subtle undercurrent of this conference, from my vantage point. Lots of these techniques and tools discussed allow us to create a more engaging participant experience, and how that can benefit the overall research. There is almost this “respect” for participants that is refreshing and signals continued growth for qualitative research.