Blog Lauren Strain – Research Expert UK


The annual Insight Show was held on the 6th and 7th of March at London’s Kensington Olympia. DVJ Insights was in attendance, along with many other insight and market research professionals, brought together for two days of exhibitions and presentations.

Our main reason for attending was to gauge how the latest approaches are being used by the industry. Innovation is important at DVJ, and we wanted to better understand what the industry is doing on that front. Here are our key take-outs from the event.


Use New Technology to Enhance Respondent Experience

Integrating the latest technologies into the research process was once again a theme of the show. While many tech innovations have had a lasting, positive impact on the research industry, the constant buzz around the latest gadget or algorithm can sometimes cause tech fatigue to set in.

Tech innovations work best when they are tied to a purpose. As a result – and given our expertise in online surveys – we were drawn in by Wizu’s survey chatbots. Designed to replace the usual survey ‘open-ends’, chatbots engage respondents in two-way conversation, enabling researchers to probe and include follow-up questions within the online survey environment.

A key benefit of chatbots is that they make surveys more engaging for participants. DVJ Insights believes that enhancing respondent experience is critical, as it helps to attract a broader sample, increases participation rates, and improves the quality of insight gathered. As a result, we were pleased to see the industry utilising new technologies not just as a knee-jerk response to our modern obsession with all things tech, but as an innovative way of optimising the online survey.


Make Reporting and Presentations Dynamic

As enthusiastic researchers, we’re all at risk at times of diving into our data, pulling out correlations and regressions and NPS scores, and momentarily forgetting that our reporting must be understandable – and meaningful – for our clients. Believe it or not, not everybody lights up at the sight of a data-packed spreadsheet.

As a result, it was encouraging to see several Insights Show presentations focus on effective insight presentation, through the integration of visual stimulus such as video and animation. While different agencies showed how video can be used in qualitative research and reporting – bringing not only the consumer’s words, but their voice, tone and body language all the way to senior stakeholders – Vox Pops demonstrated how animation can be used as an effective and appealing means of communicating quantitative data. At DVJ, we often work with storybooks and e-storybooks to communicate qualitative insights. These presentations were illuminating, as a visual addition can be very valuable at certain times.


The Marketing Landscape is Changing

We attended several presentations centring on the changing marketing landscape. The importance of social media was touched on through SEEN Connect’s presentation on the rise – and future – of influencer marketing, and BrandTotal took Nike and Gillette’s ‘Woke’ ads as a starting point to discuss audience targeted-marketing – specifically, dark marketing, in which online adverts are only made visible to their intended audience.


While both dark marketing and influencer marketing offer new ways for brands to connect with their audience, both speakers raised the importance of consumer protection. Both highlighted the issues associated with these approaches, such as personal data usage and fraudulent influencer marketing. SEEN Connect suggested that it will be vital for influencers to build consumer trust going forward.

While building trust is important, the notion of brands demonstrating their commitment to consumers through ‘brand purpose’ has attracted its cynics. Marketing Week’s Russell Parsons and Mark Ritson have both criticised brands that mask dubious practises – such as ‘hidden’ marketing techniques – with support for fashionable causes. Consumers are also increasingly attuned to the authenticity of brand-purpose statements. When adopting these new marketing practices, marketers may need to be mindful of author Thomas Barta’s belief that ‘the first rule of brand purpose is to do no harm’.

On this note, at DVJ we believe it is important to use all marketing science insights. Too often in our industry we notice that only one opinion is adopted, and then applied to everything. We believe that marketing science is most effective when companies integrate multiple insights, and apply them where they best fit.


Centre of the industry

In short, while there were many new tools and techniques on display at this year’s Insight Show, it was gratifying to see that the overall focus was on research innovation for the benefit of the real centre of the industry – our respondents and clients. This strengthened our commitment to keep listening to both the marketing industry and the academic world, and use these insights to fuel innovation. Perhaps that’s how we might be awarded best agency yet again.