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What are Market Researchers Doing in Vegas?

I just spent the week in Las Vegas. I know'?¦you're probably expecting to hear a crazy story, but remember, 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,'? so I'm just going to share a few things I learned at The Market Research Event. (Maybe you can convince me to tell you about cocktail hour or the speaker who fell off the stage another time.)

Over the course of three days, I listened to many inspirational speakers. Mega brands like Coca Cola, Toyota, and Procter & Gamble had interesting case studies to share, but my key takeaways came from a combination of sessions I attended. Here's some advice I collected for you marketing people:

Inspire brands: We as market researchers often like to play it safe, but it's okay to take risks and go where no man has gone before! Consumer insights should never state the obvious ' brands want new perspectives. We should all work together to inspire change and not just follow it.

Innovate by thinking through consumers' needs: Ideas and insights are usually very simple. For example, a few years ago, Coppertone was looking to come out with the next big thing in sun care. Consumers continuously complained that 'sunscreen is messy.'? So what happened? The brand took a look at insect repellants, hair care, and other skin care products and BAM! Consumers can now spray on their sunscreen without ever rubbing it in.

Less is more. Brand logos don't always need to be present: Martin Lindstrom, author of 'Buyology'? blew my mind with his presentation about Neuromarketing. Brands are finding ways to stimulate consumer's minds without ever revealing who they are. Consumers can identify brands through scents, sounds, and other visual cues. Studies have proved that if you show images of rugged cowboys or even camels to cigarette smokers, the 'craving'? part of the brain gets stimulated and consumers don't even know it.

Know your consumer AND your shopper: Dr Pepper Snapple Group pointed out that clients are often way too focused on the target consumer. Sure, the consumer is important, but he or she is not always the one shopping for our client's products. For example, take Mott's apple juice. Moms are the ones buying it, but their kids are the ones consuming it. When conducting research, it's important to know how Mott's can appeal to kids, but it's just as important to understand how to get mom's attention on store shelves.

Test concepts and messages - overexposure to a brand does not necessarily drive purchase: If an offer is not compelling, multiple exposures to that message won't influence a call to action. It is extremely important to test messages with consumers before spending thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign. A good ad motivates consumers to do something the first time around.

The next time you're drafting a survey, writing a creative brief, brainstorming, or figuring out how to market a product, keep these things in mind. To be the best, sometimes, we just need to stick to the basics.

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