The Insight Innovation Exchange (IIeX) was held last week in Austin, TX. Over the past few years, IIeX has grown into one of the must-attend conferences surrounding innovation in market research, data, and insights.
This year’s IIeX was the biggest one ever held; with 5 tracks going on simultaneously, along with breakout sessions, a vendor hall, andmore than 1,300 attendees. Because of the setup, each attendee could have a different experience at the conference.
We had a team in attendance this year, and each had a
different experience. Here are their takeaways:
Adam Jolley, President
Data was the buzzword of the conference to me. Everyone was talking about new ways to collect it, new ways to verify it, new ways to enrich it, and more. Data really seems to take on the definition of the evolved sample.
The 3 exhibit halls, independently, were fantastic and flowed well with coffees and awesome solution vendors. But the key is independent, as it was rather difficult to hit the two separate rooms through the traffic of the main stage and middle exhibitors.
Another highlight for me was the first-day workshops and the sprinkling of office hours. I learned different levels of applications at these sessions away from the technology-driven breakthroughs the rest of the conference so brilliantly displayed. I was able to immediately come back to the office and put in place some simple tricks to take our business to the next level.
Brian Lamar, Vice President of Insights
A couple of years ago, I thought when we, in market research, said we were innovative, we were just saying it, but not actually being innovative. This year, with all the new companies and presentations that were given at IIeX, I believe we can now say we are an innovative industry.
Video and artificial intelligence were rampant. There were great presentations on how researchers are leveraging video capabilities and AI to better assist companies and get better, richer, insights. From real-time facial coding and text analytics, it should improve the speed of insights.
I found you really had to plan out your conference schedule each day. With simultaneous sessions and only 5 minutes in between, strategy and planning were necessary. When thinking about other networking opportunities and all of the other things this conference offers, you really have to pace yourself as 3 days of content is a lot to absorb.
The move to Austin was outstanding! The move allowed for more discussions, networking, meetings, phone calls, etc. than in previous years. Kudos to the conference for planning for this growth!
Jason Inderhees, Senior Vice President of Business Development
IIeX this year was definitely larger. You could feel the increase of participants on Wednesday and Thursday.
The audience was pretty unique at this conference as there were a lot more end clients than some of the other conferences. In addition to end clients, there are also a ton of tech/innovation companies that work in combination with existing companies to build efficiencies in different ways (qualitative storytelling, analysis, and reporting, etc.)
The shorter 20-minute sessions allowed for a ton of content to be covered, but there were some presentations that felt shallow and cut short by the shorter time frame. Any sort of technology setbacks or long-winded introductions left the speaker very little time to deliver a meaningful presentation. An added frustration was that there was regularly little to no time for Q&A sessions at the end of the track. While this likely spurred further/deeper individual conversations for some, most were sprinting to the next track to make sure they arrived on time.
The breakout sessions seemed like a good idea but were scarcely attended and had little emphasis/promotion behind them. On the flip side, they did have longer networking sessions allowing attendees and vendors to connect rather easily. Coupling longer networking sessions with the “after hours” events provided an ample amount of time to connect on a personal level.
Tony Brown, Vice President of Client Services
Everyone was aware of how quickly tech is evolving. Corporate Researchers were very much interested in embracing innovation, from programming surveys, to sampling, to analysis – and even tools outside primary research. But many researchers weren’t sure which new things are actually better. With many technologies (and vendors) new and unproven, and brands bringing more of their research efforts in-house, there is still a need for research providers/partners to be experts on these innovations and help them navigate. They also need a process for evaluating alternatives while managing risk.
There were a lot of discussions on “democratizing data” from a variety of different sources, like customer lists, sample, large data sets that are built or purchased, etc.
The breakouts were organized into two types: 20-minute sessions and 40 to 60-minute workshops, which allowed for more Q&A and engagement from the audience. Apparently, speakers could choose their format. Based on the topic, this was a good variety.