A few years ago, I started this blog and started becoming active on Twitter (@zontziry), where I quickly found the hashtags #mrx and #newmr, and I connected with and was continually inspired by market research influencers like Annie Pettit, Jeffrey Henning, Ray Poynter, JD Deitch, Kristin Luck, Lenny Murphy, and many more. I was new on the Twitter scene, new on the market research bloggers scene, and I found an incredibly accepting community who were talking about some really cool things like how to keep up with the speed of change in technology, how to be better market researchers, and how emerging tech could impact our ability to learn about customers better (and less intrusively). In the process, I learned that market research conferences were indeed a thing, and I specifically learned about IIeX, designed specifically for market researchers to share innovative approaches to the research they conducted.
Since learning about IIeX, I’ve been wanting to attend (for about four years). I am excited about the future of the market research industry, excited about new approaches and possibilities, and this conference sounded incredible. Add to that the fact it seemed all of the market research influencers from Twitter attended, and I was hooked!
It sounds cheesy, but you know how movie buffs get super excited to spot movie stars in LA or wherever a movie is being filmed? Or how Disney enthusiasts get excited about going to Disneyland or Disneyworld and seeing their favorite characters in person?
That’s how I felt about attending IIeX.
Yes, I am fully aware of how much of a geek that makes me.
Leading up to the event, I’d posted on Twitter that I was going to be getting autographs from the people I’d yet to meet in real life. Some might have thought it a metaphor for my excitement at meeting other market researchers I’d been following for a few years, but I went to a pharmacy before attending the Sunday evening happy hour to get a spiral-bound book of 3×5 cards to serve as my autograph book and nervously walked into the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center to get my badge (and drink ticket) for the conference. Book in hand, nervous about market research celebrity-spotting, I was ready to meet people!
The conference did NOT disappoint.
Neither did all of the people I met.
In my opinion, if you want to have faith restored in humanity, go to IIeX, where you’ll find super friendly people who get excited about new ideas in the world of understanding how we make purchasing decisions.
I didn’t get all of the signatures I’d hoped for (Simon Chadwick, when we meet again, I’ll have a pen and notebook ready for you!), but, thanks to Annie’s suggestion, after Sunday evening, I not only asked people to sign the book, I also asked people to write something about what they were excited about this year at IIeX (day 1), what they had learned so far at IIeX (day 2/3), and what was their favorite thing about IIeX (day 3). Here are some of the takeaways.
Excited for – Day 1
– Diversity and inclusion in market research, and how we’d approach it better
– Tech-enabled self-ethnography
– The new buzzwords in the field, and which would actually still mean something over the next few months?
Learned so far – Day 2
– Seeing how people are creating ways to visualize new tools
– Customers are humans!
– Are survey participants the polar ice caps of market research?
– Don’t forget the participant experience!
IIeX Favorites – Day 3
– Per! Digital nomad lifestyle sounds intriguing! (for those who were there, this was a hot topic from the day 1 plenary session!)
– Arguing about the digital nomad!
– New contacts made and old friends re-acquainted
– Meeting so many awesome women speakers!
– Being asked for their autograph
– The number of first time attendees (of the 1150 who registered, over 500 were new!)
– Sausage gravy at breakfast!
Not everyone left a comment, and I forgot to ask some people to sign my book as I was going between sessions and listening to some incredible panels and speakers (and I was really nervous about asking people to sign it for the first 1.5 days), but it was an absolute treat to attend, to meet so many market researchers in person, learn from my peers in this space, and make new connections I’ll be taking forward!
Later, I’ll write about my take on the digital nomad lifestyle, because I think I had a very different takeaway than many at the conference. I’ll also write more about my learnings from the conference, as I try to summarize much of my Twitter feed from the three days there.
I’m already looking forward to attending next year! Major thanks to the Greenbook team and their partners for this phenomenal first-time IIeX and market research conference attendee!