While I was not able to attend the ARF Audience Measurement Conference, thanks to the power of social media we’ve been receiving a steady stream of updates, information, and articles from many sources. It sounds as if it was a great conference, with some important issues being tackled by participants.
For a great general summary, the always engaging Annie Pettit, PhD provides a day-by-day overview at her LoveStats blog. Check it out to catch a bit of the flavor of the event from her perspective.
WARC published two articles on the biggest takeaways from the conference: Marketers must adapt to new trends in US and Consumers take control of market research. Both articles tell the story that the game has changed, and that we have to find new models of engaging with and understanding consumers. Here are two very telling excerpts; first one detailing the demographic shift we’re experiencing in the U.S.
At the ARF’s Audience Measurement Conference – covered in more detail here – Dr Robert Groves, director of the US Census Bureau, argued several seismic shifts are now underway in the country.
“Between 2010 and 2050, the US population is projected to grow from 310 million to 439 million – an increase of 42%,” he said. “And one in five US residents will be aged 65 or older in 2030.”
Moreover, Groves suggested that by 2042, groups that are generally categorised as “minorities” – like Hispanics, Asians and African Americans – will make up the largest number of people living in the US.
And now one related to consumer engagement:
“Consumers have come to think that they’re in complete control … and if we want to use digital media to replicate real-life experience, the last thing we want to do is offer a disruptive experience.”
With an internet population of 230 million people, Forrest further asserted that the obstacles facing the industry in the US have undergone a fundamental shift.
“The old assumption was that the hardest part of research was finding people, the belief that you needed to interview them at the point of experience or you’d lose them forever. The reality is that finding people is easy.”
So the message for MR is that we have to become experts at engaging consumers in a multi-cultural context, while also developing whole new methods of research that are non-disruptive and fit into their overall lives on their terms, not ours. The good news is that many companies are already pioneering the new frontier, and the demands of clients will push even more to do so. They are leading a revolution that we are just beginning to see the shape of; it’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out!