MRS Annual Conference – Some Take Home Points

2nd April 2014 14:45

This year we were lucky enough to be able to attend the MRS Annual Conference once again and, after such an inspiring and well-delivered event, it only seemed fitting that we should share some of the learnings gleaned from our day in London! In the blog post below, Danny Sims and Alexandre Tatry-Gautier, our Managing Director and International Business Development Manager respectively, guide you from Tower Bridge to the Oxygen Bar via social media and mainstream TV – enjoy!


Those of you who follow DJS Research on Facebook will doubtless have seen the pictures of our somewhat-dishevelled selves arriving at Tower Bridge on Tuesday morning. Fortunately, the rest of the day was a far more attractive proposition – including some absolute gems among the presentations as well as the opportunity to re-connect with friends and colleagues old and new.

Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP started the day off in fine form, and his speech about data and digital being key performance areas for market research – as well as the fact that you’re only as good as your last idea – made us feel pretty good about Localise; maybe we’re on the right track with our new developments!


As Managing Director of DJS Research Ltd, a more thought provoking presentation in many ways for me was Tim Harford’sdiscussion of the different paths to success, and the arguments for pursuing marginal gains or taking a gamble on longshots. I think at DJS we have always been a company looking to make those marginal improvements that lead to better client satisfaction – perhaps at the expense of taking a gamble at some points in the past. This is something we have certainly looked to rectify in recent months – with Localise and VoicED both coming off the back of internal suggestions and our own in-house innovation hub. Still, there’s more we can do, and Tim’s talk has certainly inspired me to further encourage an environment where innovation at whatever level and in whatever arena is something we value and encourage. It could be a new methodology, an improved way of communicating insights to clients, better HR practises or more effective account management – all these things are arenas in which we, and others across the market research industry and beyond, can innovate and set ourselves apart from the competition.


From a business development and marketing point of view, I think one of the presentations I found most interesting was from Mondelez UK, a company who had developed a method for measuring the impact of Facebook. Unfortunately, the technique is no longer valid – due to changes in the way Facebook disseminates company updates among others. Hearing how Mondelez had tackled it previously was certainly interesting, but calculating ROI on social media certainly seems to remain a #WorkInProgress.


Whilst the above presentations were thought provoking and certainly worthwhile, we both agreed that The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, presented by Simon Singh, was the highlight of the first day of the event. Simon essentially talked us through how the writers of The Simpsons integrated mathematics in to the comedy programme in a whole myriad of ways, referencing everything from incredibly basic problems and famous equations, to some of the most challenging enigmas – including perfect numbers, narcissistic primes, Euler's identity, Fermat’s Last Theorem and the P v NP problem among others.

Apart from the fact that the presentation was incredibly interesting and entertaining, it was brilliant to see the obscure in the everyday – something that working in market research, we perhaps take for granted sometimes. Many of us know the deep-seated emotional process at play when a consumer purchases a new pair of shoes, and explaining these to friends, for instance, sometimes (ok…very occasionally!) elicits genuine interest from someone who had never thought so much time and effort goes in to something so seemingly mundane. It was nice to have that experience for ourselves – recommended reading!

After such an intense and thought-provoking day, the MRS party was more than welcome and, in keeping with a certain H. J. Simpson, we went for a beer – ‘the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.’

See you next year!

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