By Adriana Rocha**
Since its first edition in 2013, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with around 250 participants, to its latest edition last week in Austin, Texas, with more than 1,200 participants, IIEX has evolved tremendously, not just in terms of number of participants, but as a platform that connects the industry around innovation in Market Research and Data Analytics.
Being someone who helped Greenbook to organize IIEX in 2013 (BTW, you can still enjoy some pics here), I felt so proud last week in Austin to see how IIEX has helped the industry itself to evolve and embrace innovation, bringing together so many researchers and connecting them with new players, specially technology oriented ones and start-ups, a number never seen before in our industry. I also well remember 2013 as the year Greenbook launched IIEX Competition initiative, which has also helped the rise of amazing #MRX tech start-ups such us Zappi, MindProber, Riwi, Decooda and many others. Zappi, for example, is an inspiring one that evolved from the winner of 2013 IIEX competition in Sao Paulo, to a platinum sponsor this year in Austin, showing case sustainable growth and successful case studies with clients.
Beyond the tech stars, of course great content and inspiring presentations are other things in abundance not to miss at IIEX. The challenge tough is to select which presentations or workshops to attend, considering most of the time there will be 5 simultaneous tracks and selecting just one is almost a “Mission Impossible”. So don’t be surprised if at IIEX you bump with a bunch of people running from one room to the other, among the few minutes break between presentations, trying to catch-up with much content as possible. This year, one of my favorites ones was: “The Rise of Microbrands, from Richard Jalichandra, Founder & CEO, 101 Commerce”, highlighting how market places such as Amazon facilitates the emerge of small entrepreneurs and the big opportunities out there as such platforms grow fast in a global level (something that is totally related to what we have seeing with the rise of market places in our industry). I could name many other favorites but the other in my Top 2 box is “Empowering Every Person: Accessibility Considerations in Survey Design” from Microsoft… so inspiring seeing a huge Tech company bringing accessibility and inclusion into our industry.
Another aspect that caught my attention this year was the reduction of panel companies/ sample providers exhibiting at the conference, what is kind of expectable, considering the consolidation of big online panel companies (ex: Research Now + SSI into Dynata), the increasing adoption of DIY surveys (ex: Survey Monkey and AYTM), as well as the growth of sample exchange platforms (ex: Lucid, Pure Spectrum and CINT). I just wonder that data collection, as part of the core of market research, is not a topic to be left aside, so it will be interesting to see what the future will look like for the online sample segment with GDPR, growth of Automation and AI, and as the industry requires more quality and transparency from sample providers.
At last but not least, Austin is the “Live Music Capitol of the World”, and the fun component could not be missing at IIEX as well: we had plenty of networking opportunities and parties for all tastes, from karaoke’s, to live music bars and roof top cocktail parties. So, are you still wondering if IIEX is becoming the SXSW of Market Research? I have no doubt.
Look forward to seeing you again next year in Austin!
** Adriana Rocha is co-founder and CEO of eCGlobal Research Solutions, a leading provider of innovative social media and technology solutions for Consumer Insights. With more than 17 years of experience in marketing research, lecturer in several international conferences, Adriana holds a degree in Computer Science from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and an MBA in Marketing from Superior School of Advertising and Marketing (ESPM).