Highlights of the 2014 MRIA Conference

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MRIA ARIM 2014 Conference

This year’s MRIA (Marketing Research and Intelligence Association) national conference was just recently held in Saskatchewan, Canada’s Land of the Living Skies. As usual, it was a great opportunity to learn, network and have fun with fellow marketing researchers. This included the opportunity to meet and speak with both the MRIA’s new CEO Kara Mitchelmore, and President Shane Skillen.

Rider Nation got things underway at the conference with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders mascot, Gainer, having the CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, Darrell Bricker, literally kicking off the conference by kicking an indoor field goal prior to delivering his opening keynote presentation The Big Shift. We then learned about how much Canada has changed over the past 30 years and that people don’t know the country as well as they think they do, which was confirmed by quizzing the room on certain perceptions and which province/region it was believed to apply to. To name just a few of the changes across Canada, these include demographics splits, population growth and even the shift in population from Eastern Canada to the West.

Later in the day, the trend continued with Rider Nation and a keynote presentation by the CEO of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, Jim Hopson. He gave the following suggestions to help run a successful business – hire good people, share the company vision, support your staff and (sometimes) get out of their way. These weren’t surprising but it’s definitely reinforcing when heard from a businessman wearing a couple championship rings!

The suggestions from the keynote presenters continued with Jeffrey Hayzlett of The Hayzlett Group (who is also a bestselling author and global business celebrity). Some of his words of wisdom: we need problem solvers, not problem seekers; speak up when you see the elephant in the room; change is inevitable so be ready; and don’t be scared when you’re in good company.

Beyond the keynotes, here are some other highlights and takeaways from the 2014 conference:

  • There has been change in the way we do research and with no doubt, there’s more to come. Embrace it!
  • Do your homework when using online panels. Understand the resources of the respondents coming into your surveys.
  • Though gamification can be used to increase respondent engagement in online surveys, be sure to match the task with the game mechanism first. If done correctly, data results won’t vary.
  • The ongoing debate continues on which methodology / approach is the most accurate to use for election polls.
  • To help unlock the potential of next-generation market researchers, we as an industry need to get the under 35 year olds more aware and involved. They are the future of the industry.
  • You’re never short of great company in this industry, including friends both old and new, from the West to the East.

These were just a few of the many highlights and overall, it was a ‘roaring’ experience. See you next year at the 2015 conference in Toronto and have a great 2nd half in 2014!