MRMW 2021 – Notes on Day 3

Day 3 of MRWM  NA, insights made me think about the future in terms of MR’s place within organisations, a theme already prominent during the previous days of the conference, but also in terms of the technology development and the increasingly sophisticated solutions available.

Ari Zelmanow, Director Analytics, Research & Insights, Panasonic kicked off the day reminding researchers that they can create their own success by breaking down silos within their organisations. You have to network within your organisation to get your message across, which was one of his key recommendations. Researchers have to position themselves as the “go-to guy” who can not only collect data and insights but also tell others what to do with it.

“Future of insights depends on our ability to advise businesses” Ari Zelmanow, Director Analytics, Research & Insights, Panasonic

Besides better understanding your organisation’s needs, it is of course vital to first understand your customers and target market. Open Mind President Allison O’Keefe Wright presented an impressive analysis of Gen Z, showing how social media can help to understand this very complex generation while giving some clear guidelines for brands on how to best engage with them.

Twitter of course is one of the leading channels for (brand) conversations. Nathaniel Greywoode, Head of Advanced Analytics at Twitter shared how public conversation can deliver business value for brands – if they get the conversation right. He reminded us how today’s conversations on social media are potentially reaching millions of people – so the traditional exchange with neighbours across the garden fence takes on a very different dynamic.

MRMW NA, Facebook, MRMW

Another social media giant, Facebook introduced its latest topics and trends report at MRMW NA. Identifying four key trends, continuous and Action, Lifestyle, Technology and freedom, Gabriel Gontijo shared recommendations on how marketers can better connect with people based on these insights.

Bringing real-life (research) skills together with digital, Curion worked with Reynolds Household Products to pivot a multi-day study to an online- home-study testing their latest innovations. With Covid-19 shutting down in-person research, the companies worked together to shift the entire project online.

Changing the focus towards new and innovative solutions, Qualsight’s Nehal Advani introduced the company’s online platform that allows to mix and match qualitative techniques. With such advanced platforms supporting research even complex multi-method studies can be carried out online. Nehal emphasised that supplementing the in-home researcher with mobile devices can lead to better results since respondents are less reserved and more comfortable in sharing their personal environment.

Looking beyond video and online, artificial intelligence is often hailed as one of the big change agents for market research. Our Start-up session introduced three promising start-ups to the industry. Tawny measures and analyses human emotions through AI, while Netra uses an expert system to analyse video. Cognino takes a different approach, attempting to “make AI explainable” and unite artificial with prepared intelligence. Surely we will hear more from these exciting start-ups in the very near future.

In this uncertain future, MR connections play the main role in keeping their members informed but also in supporting them through periods of change. The closing panel highlighted the efforts our partner associations are continuously undergoing.

It was great to see how associations like the AAPOR, represented by their president Daniel Merkle, as well as PSRF, represented by their president Svetlana Gershman are stepping up to this challenge by providing up to date information, keeping their members connected and responding to the changed business environment with new offers.

This enclose up three exciting days of online talks, discussions, panels and networking at MRMW NA 2021. Visit the conference portal at for recordings of all sessions or check out our upcoming events at

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Jens Cornelissen

Jens Cornelissen has been writing for over two decades – initially for general newspapers in his home country Germany. After receiving an MA degree in Communications, he joined a new media start-up in Amsterdam as consultant on new media technologies and country editor for two daily newsletters. In his current day job, Jens runs the global conference division for Merlien’s dedicated marketing research events. Jens is a trained journalist with a BA in Journalism from Westminster University in London and has authored several media industry reports and articles on mobile and media technology.

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