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The 36 Most In-Demand Types Of Suppliers At IIeX

An analysis of the IIeX Corporate Partner Meetings in Atlanta, and what they might tell us about the future of insights.

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IIeX North America was held Atlanta June 16-18, and once again it can only be described as a huge success. With 650 attendees roughly divided between a third client-side, a third technology providers (many from outside MR) and a third  more traditional suppliers/consultancies it was exactly the mix of stakeholders the event was designed to interest. To paraphrase one of my favorite 80’s TV heroes “I love it when a plan comes together!”.

Much has already been written about the public facing event (see herehere, here, here, here, here and here for examples), but that is just part of the story.

We’ve been very clear that IIeX serves multiple purposes, but in essence I see the events as a funnel to accomplish 6 things:

  1. Connect  client-side research organizations with new potential supplier partners
  2. Connect established MR suppliers with potential new emerging technology partners
  3. Connect emerging and early stage technology companies with clients and partners
  4. Connect emerging and early stage companies with funding or acceleration opportunities
  5. Serve as a thought leadership platform and inspiration source for the entire industry
  6. Become a bridge for trade organizations and new players

Of course there is more to it than just these basics and lots of other great byproducts emerge from the process, but those 6 priorities lie at the heart of why we launched this initiative to begin with.

To make this happen it all starts with working with our Corporate Partners to understand what they are looking for and building the event around those needs as much as possible. Part of that is a public process such as the Insight Innovation Challenge, but even more happens in private consultation with the Corporate Partners. To a great extent they are our de facto advisory board.

For IIeX North America the partners were:

 

corporate_partners

 

The culmination of their work with us occurs at the conferences: right before the event we share with them a list of all attending companies with descriptions of their core offering and then set up private meetings during the conference for them to meet with the companies they find interesting. It’s a great win/win for all and we continue to expand the program to partners globally.

Oh, and we do all of that for free.That’s right: no cost. Zilch. Nada. 

Unlike other events that charge suppliers for the “speed dating” options (sometimes for $20k or more) we don’t charge clients or suppliers for participation.  The selection process has nothing to do with whether someone is a sponsor, speaker, partner, or even a paid registrant. In fact, in some cases the suppliers selected are start-ups that we have invited to exhibit for free.  Selection is based solely on the needs of each corporate partner: the suppliers picked, the length of meetings and even the number of meetings are determined by the client.

Obviously we cannot talk about specific meetings or vendors, or even which Corporate Partners are interested in what approaches, but in a general sense looking at the classification of vendors from an offering perspective is enlightening.

17 Corporate Partners selected 129 suppliers to meet privately with, for a total of 293 meetings (yes, some individual companies were very much in demand and met with many folks). That is a pretty decent B2B sample, so although certainly this can’t be considered quantitative it is strongly directional of the types of things these large client companies find most interesting right now.

Of course the implication is that they are interested because they believe they can address business issues within their organization, and that is incredibly useful to know as the rest of the industry continues to adapt to the changing marketplace.

Here is a total breakdown:

Unique Meeting Requesters: 17
Total Meetings Scheduled: 293
Unique Vendors Selected: 129
Vendor Categories: 36

 

And here is the breakdown by supplier category:

 

Category Meetings Per Category
Nonconscious Measurement 29
Insight Consultancy 26
Gamification 20
Virtual Qualitative 15
Communities 14
Facial Coding 13
Data Collection 13
Full Service MR 13
Big Data Analytics 12
Mobile Behavior Data 11
Text Analaytics 11
Image Analytics 10
Behavioral Economics 9
Retail Analytics 9
Digital Ethnography 8
Prediction Market 8
Social Media Analytics 8
Wearable Tech 8
Virtual Environments 5
Loyalty Analytics 5
Crowdsourcing 5
Foresight Consulting 5
Internet of Things Analytics 4
Data Visualization 4
Augmented Reality 4
Cross-platform Tracking 3
Technology Consulting 3
Micro Surveys 3
Data Curation 2
Virtual Reality 2
Video Management 2
Predictive Analytics 2
Web Analytics 1
Sensory Testing 1
Media Measurement 1
Design Consultancy 1
Branding 1

 

To dive a little deeper, here is the  breakdown by the number of companies per category selected (click on it to open a larger version):

 

IIeX Company Meetings

A few notes on the segmentation we applied:

  • We have bundled many techniques for emotional measurement (EEG, voice analytics, biometrics, and implicit or cognitive based approaches) but separate  facial coding/scanning due to the massive consumer technology adoption of the core tech.
  • We separate Big Data analytics and Predictive Analytics, although arguably there is significant overlap between the two. The reasoning is based on the supplier’s approach. Predictive Analytics suppliers may work with smaller or more discrete data sets that fit witrhin the traditional MR paradigm, while BIg Data Analytics work with larger, more disparate data types that are usually novel to MR.
  • Data Collection constitutes any technology platform that is primarily survey based. Most in this category would also be considered DIY.
  • Full Service MR firms are traditional suppliers that generally have in house design, field, and analytical capabilities. They tend to focus on the research process under clearly defined project definitions.
  • Insight Consultancies look more like strategy firms or agencies and are “methodologically agnostic”; although they may have some proprietary approaches or focus areas, overall they tend to focus on the business issue & outcome vs. the process.

Obviously this is a bit of an “off the cuff” cut, but it reflects how we tend to group suppliers at a high level. Additional levels of gradation could easily be applied, and conversely some rollups might be warranted as well, but for our purposes I think it’s reflective of the highly fragmented and increasingly specialized  nature of the supplier marketplace, especially in light of the continued influx of potentially disruptive technology providers.

Despite the apparent low uptake registered in the most recent GRIT study for some of these categories like Gamification and Neuromarketing/Biometrics, clients are still keenly interested in the approaches and collectively they accounted for a large percentage of the meetings. That should be a big wake up call for the rest of the industry: clients want to get to the nonconscious drivers of behavior as well as new ways to engage consumers and are looking at many solutions to achieve it. My personal belief is that any firm that can address the speed, cost, and scale issues related to data collection in those categories will quickly grow at the same pace that we’ve seen with social, mobile, and communities.

The other big winners echo GRIT: social, mobile and analytics. All were well represented, with analytics being of especially high interest.

Interesting and promising new technologies such as Wearables, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, The Internet of Things, Image Analytics & Loyalty Analytics (think single-source data) all had respectable showings and I fully expect to see more of these companies being a part of IIeX in the future due to client demand.

Like everything we do at GreenBook, we share this analysis so that the MR industry can stay on it’s toes and continue to be a dynamic and creative global sector. Our belief is that since this particular initiative involves some of the largest global research buyers, it is indicative of where clients are looking for new insights-driven competitive advantage today and in the future. As an industry we’d do well to pay close attention to these signals.

As we move forward with more IIeX events we will continue to track this and share with the industry what we can. Since IIeX is focused on connecting supply and demand we’re uniquely positioned to understand what’s happening and share that to help everyone thrive.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw a plug in here to wrap things up:

If you’re a client organization and want to join us as a Corporate Partner, send me an email at lmurphy@greenbook.org. We’d love to help you as well.

If you’re a supplier, remember that in order to meet with our Corporate Partners you actually have to be in attendance. Book your spot at one of our future events right now so you can be in the consideration set.

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2 Responses to “The 36 Most In-Demand Types Of Suppliers At IIeX”

  1. Stephen Cribbett says:

    June 30th, 2014 at 8:40 am

    This is a great write-up Lenny, and helps a non-visitor to the event (I attended Amsterdam) understand the value and trends it drives. Keep up the good work!

  2. Leonard Murphy says:

    June 30th, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Thanks Stephen; that is exactly why we do it and glad to know you found it helpful!

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