MRS Impact 2020 Conference

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

Research is all about collaboration so it’s really important the research team remain close to the industry.

Robert and Hannah attended the Market Research Society annual conference – Impact: the new agenda last week in order to keep up with the latest goings-on in the field. Research Manager Robert provides perspective on some of the talks he found useful and engaging and Insights Graduate Hannah provides her perspective on attending her first work-related conference. 

Hannah Williamson, Insights Graduate

As a newcomer to the market research sector, I was very excited when I was invited to day two of the annual MRS ‘Impact 2020’ conference. As I have only worked in market research for 6 months and this was the first conference I have attended, I didn’t know what to expect from the day. Would it be a big corporate event? Would there be opportunities to network? What would I walk away having learnt?

Interestingly, the day was not only dedicated to making you think about the future of market research, it was very sociological and covered a variety of societal issues that have the potential to impact how we collect and understand consumer needs. With the backdrop of global and national uncertainty (from climate change to Brexit), speakers discussed how the industry must adapt in order to not only survive but to thrive and make an impactful difference.

The conference also shed light on the industry from both agency and client perspectives. Specifically, the talks from the client viewpoint emphasised the importance of working collaboratively with agencies, to gain valuable insights that all from both sides can learn from.

As well as listening to thought-provoking speakers, the event provided an opportunity to network with a wide variety of businesses from within the industry, some of whom I have previously worked with. The chance to casually socialise with like-minded others was an amazing way to build relationships and gain exposure to the sector.

The entire day brought a sense of community, which I was very proud to be a part of by the end of the day.


Robert Jones, Research Manager

This was no ordinary conference in these are extraordinary times. The world is starting to shut down due to Coronavirus Covid-19, Brexit has happened and the UK is in a transition period hurtling towards “full Brexit” which is at the end of the year. Organisations worldwide have also declared a climate emergency. One of the key things I took away from this event was that there’s never been a more interesting time to work in Insights.

Insights are needed more than ever in such turbulent times.

Furthermore, it was stressed how data is important, but it isn’t everything, more than ever we need a human element and we need researchers to provide the human element and to interpret vital insights. Paddy Loughman, strategy director of Extinction Rebellion was a great start to day 2. The study on Populists and identity politics provided fascinating insights. It was great to hear from Anand Menon from UK in a changing Europe too.

Speakers from Carlsberg and BT provided thought-provoking insights into how they work, how human research is as important as data – they need the full package. They also discussed client-agency relationships and how agencies are part of the team, often leaned on as the insight experts and how client-side insight professionals want to be seen as consultants rather than insight archivists. There were insights on how client-side insight professionals need access to insights faster than ever and how insights need to integrate into knowledge information platforms.

There is also a great sense of community in the industry and it was great to speak to new and existing participant recruitment and survey sampling partners over a glass of prosecco. No matter what happens in the industry or the world over the coming weeks, months and years, insight professionals provide vital human insights and a great sense of belonging.

It may sound cheesy, but research, insights and knowledge can be a light in a dark tunnel.


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