Insights Association > Education > Conference & Webinar Recordings > Town Hall Archive > Transcript - 9/23/22

U.S. Market Update - September 23, 2022

This session was sponsored by InnovateMR
Transcript Courtesy of Focus Forward & FF Transcription

Moderated By: Melanie Courtright, CEO, Insights Association

Featured presenters:
- Michael Brereton, Executive in Residence, Department of Marketing, Michigan State University
- Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner, Cambiar
- Joanna Moser, Senior Director, Data & Analytics and Strategy, Medallia
- Lisa Wilding-Brown, CEO, InnovateMR
- Maria Vallis, CEO, Hypothesis

Melanie Courtright: Hello, and welcome to today's Insights Association Town Hall, where we will focus on the US Insights Market Update. We have a great panel of commentators as well as presenters today, and I think you're going to get a lot out of this session. It's two minutes after, and we have a very full schedule, so I want to go ahead and get started. A little bit of housekeeping, these sessions are being recorded. We will make the recording available to you on our Town Hall library online on our Insights Association website. And, by the way, if you haven't been to the Insights Association website in a while, you should visit it. We've gone through a lot of upgrades, and we've got some big new rollouts coming in the next couple of months, making the website a lot easier for you to use, sign in, and find what you need. But we will make these recordings available to you. We will also make transcriptions available. Thank you very much to our transcription partner, Focus Forward. Also, again, use the Q&A for the questions that you may have in the chat, use the chat. We're going to be talking about financials and the shape of the market and investments a bit. This information is not intended to be financial advice for your business. It's not intended to be any sort of legal advice for your business. If you need support on financial or legal advice and you don't have those advisors readily available to you, the Insights Association would be happy to help you find someone. Just shoot me an email, Melanie at insightsassociation dot org or Melanie dot courtright at insightsassociation dot org. We'll help you with that, but this session is meant to be informative, to inspire you, to challenge you, to push ourselves, to celebrate victories, and to think about opportunities, and so we hope that you take a lot away from it. One more quick note, our CRC conference is coming up in October in New York. It's at the Hilton in Midtown, very close to Central Park. This is going to be a very special corporate researchers event. The hotel rooms and the event itself are getting close to sold out, and so you really should make it a point to go to that. We're very excited about this event. There's also going to be some opportunities to network, go on an excursion, take a walk through Central Park, be inspired physically, be inspired mentally, be inspired professionally, and a bunch of brands in attendance. Every session will have a brand speaker. You should make it a point to be there for that. So now let me just introduce you to our presenters. We're going to start today's session with Michael Brereton. Michael Brereton is one of the authors of the US Report, and a very good friend to the association. Executive in Residence, Department of Marketing at Michigan State University, and a partner in crime on this work. So thank you, Michael, for everything you've done with this report, and for presenting here in just a few minutes. Michael will be followed by Simon Chadwick, a managing partner at Cambiar. If you've read the report at all, and we'll be putting links in the chat for you to get to that article, if you haven't already, to that full report. But if you have read the report you see that there's a good section in there from Simon about investment. Simon will be presenting additional thoughts and insights following Michael. Thank you very much, Simon, for everything that you've done for the associations and for this report, and for your work that you're going to present in just a moment. And then we're going to have some fabulous conversation about the report, about the trends, and about what we just learned from Joanna Moser, Senior Director, Data & Analytics and Strategy at Medallia, really representing that enterprise feedback management portion and segment of the industry, as well as, Lisa Wilding-Brown, CEO of Innovate MR, and representing both the Insights Association - Innovate MR is a sponsor of Insights Association and specifically of our Town Halls - but then also representing the Technology, ResTech and Sample sector. And then Maria Vallis, CEO OF Hypothesis, established marketing research - leading the established Marketing Research sector in some of the work that they do. Very interesting comments, so she's going to make about fueling growth in the established marketing research sector, so pay attention there as well. Just a very formal thank you then again to Innovate MR. Thank you for supporting our Town Halls. Thank you for supporting the Insights Association overall and thank you for participating in this particular session. So with that out of the way, let me get to the heart of our Town Hall and pass this off to Michael Brereton.

Michael Brereton: Thanks, Melanie, welcome everybody. And I, as Melanie mentioned, am going to do a quick overview in terms of the findings of the report itself. I've got about a dozen slides or so here that's really meant to just give a quick overview, and hopefully is thought-starters for all of you, and also thought-starters for our panel, as Melanie mentioned, there's going to be a panel discussion right after that, so I'm going through and picking out certain things that'll hopefully start some discussion for that group. I'm referencing this report. The full report is available to you, and as Melanie said, we are adding the link to you in the chat here, so you can hit that as we go along as well. So here we go. In terms of the first slide then, at just the highest level look at that. As you probably know, 2021 was a very strong year for our industry as it's indicated there at the left. The insights and analytics market grew to about $62.5 billion here in the US, and that represented a 16.6% increase over the 2020 calendar year. And that compares to, as you see there, a 5.7% increase in 2020 that we were discussing this time last year. As a matter of fact, right about now there was this call last year, and we were talking about the market chaos related to pandemic, and business cancellations and postponements and so forth and that's what we saw there. So in comparison to the conversation we were having then, it appears, obviously, to be very much a rebound year that was enjoyed by most. And, anecdotally, we've had conversations over the last few months. Tend to hear a lot of people talking about that, driven not only by the recovery of that business that was lost in 2020 because of cancellation and components - postponement or whatever, but people pointed out it was also, on top of that, a very healthy organic growth year as experienced by most. So now to the next slide, that $62 billion number I'm talking about refers to what we would say is a broad insights and analytics space. So as we see was, we're going along here, different subsegments within that broad space experienced different levels of growth. And so as background to that, I just want to give you the reminder of a story now that we've been telling for quite a few years now about the market sizing and how we're viewing the market, because this whole market-sizing exercise really goes back all the way to the Jack Honomichl days, remember the top 50 with AMA, way back when. And that, if you recall, for those who followed it back then, it was a very traditional full-service view of the Marketing Research space, and that's the way it was for years and years. But increasingly, the conversation has been about that that wasn't really reflective of the market that we believe we all truly compete in today. That being much larger because, of course, the story we've been telling for about a decade now is all the disruption and transformation of technology-enabled innovation and the ubiquity of customer data, has attracted into our space. Far more companies and far more different types of companies and different offerings out there, and so the Insights Association, together with Esomar and Michigan State University, created over the last three or four years what I would call a broadened market definition of what we all compete in, and we refer to that as Insights and Analytics, as compared to what we used to refer to as - or the space, the name we give to that traditional space from the past is the Established Marketing Research, and so we see that as one subsegment of this broadened Insights and Analytics space. So now you'll hear me still bring up this Established Marketing Research segment quite a bit, because I know a lot of people still relate to that a lot. But when we look at this global insights, so the Insights and Analytics space, on a global basis, it's over $100 billion. You may have read - Esomar, of course, will later be talking about this more than $100 billion. Well, that's what we're talking about in this space, whereas the global Established Marketing Research subsegment within, it's about $35 billion. And then to the next slide, of course, we're talking about the US market here. So specifically we're talking about if you saw a slide there. This is - my first slide - it being about $62-63 billion in 2021 in terms of the full Insights and Analytics space. That Established Marketing Research segment within, about $19 billion during 2021. So let's start digging a little deeper on the next slide here. So again this, a little more on this. Specifically, the Established Marketing Research that I know a lot of IA members more closely identify with. We refer to that as one piece of this overall puzzle putting together the broader Insights and Analytics space. And that segment includes, well, we've listed here on the left here. Those are the largest revenue companies in the established market and research subsegment within the US market. And as you'll see, that segment itself, at the moment, grew about 6.5%, not as much as 15 or 16% of the whole space, but still good growth during the year. And that chart on the right there is not meant to be an eyechart[ph] as much as it's just to refer to another table to look at in the report, because what we've done there is some companies offer to publish their 2021 - some Insights Association members offered to publish their 2021 revenues, and so we have done that, and it's interesting. When you look at that group as sort of a representative of the IA membership perhaps, that group saw almost a 15% year-over-year growth. So it's interesting. We can look at the data from a lot of different angles and see various growth rates based upon where each company's fit into this whole larger ecosystem. But, again, overall, in '21, wherever you looked, a very encouraging story. So now if we go back to, again, the Established segment in particular and say this is one piece of the puzzle, our definition has actually seven other pieces of this puzzle. So our taxonomy says there are eight subsegments within this broad Insights and Analytics space, and it's illustrated here. I'm not going to go into each one of those eight segments. Again, there's far more detail in the report, but what I had done here is just included a few company logos for each, to give you a sort of an idea of the makeup of each one of those. But as we'll see, not all segments are created equally, certainly in terms of size, amount of growth. Here all we've done is attempt to visualize relative sizes among those eight segments with the Established Marketing Research segment clearly being the largest segment again this year. So on the next slide, just to quantify that some more, this pie chart is taken straight out of the report, which shows you the relative share by segment within the overall market for 2021. But then if we dig a little deeper in the next slide, the actual revenue numbers by segment, and again, this table is straight out of the report. You just see that $62.6 billion at the bottom, on the left-hand side there, so we referenced that a few times and the 31%, as an example, you see there in the third column at the top there, that's 31% you saw in the pie chart, and then in terms of the Established Marketing Research share within the overall market. Now, I've also dropped in a couple of more columns to the right there, you see, just to show you prior years the same way. So we dig a little deeper than in terms of what I've highlighted here. We want to start saying what's the story that's being told perhaps in this, in this table? What we've highlighted here, the year-over-year growth, '21 over '21, '21 over '20, you see at the bottom there that's where the 16.6% for the overall market is. But if I cluster together, maybe, let's say the more traditional segments, the top two versus maybe what I would call more emerging segments, those four toward the bottom. We use the term ResTech I know, a lot in the industry, different definitions, or maybe I would say those four toward the bottom are more ResTech-y-type segments overall in this taxonomy. I think you would see that there's some patterns starting to show here in terms of the growth year-over-year. And just as an aside, there's another story along the consulting firms line there, but I'm not going to go into that right now, because Simon's going to hit that specifically here in a moment. So if we go into the next slide, all I've done here is dropped in another column for the same calculations last year, so '20 over '19. And, obviously, '20, overall, was a year with far less growth for the overall industry, only 5.7%, but I think what we're seeing here is a pattern in terms of the same relative growth if we look at the traditional-like segments versus the ResTech-y-type segments there. So I just throw that out as one data point for the panel to consider here in a minute. So on the next slide here, back to that original table, let's look at growth year-over-year by segment from a slightly different angle, look at it from a relative share. Here I'm highlighting the largest segments in terms of those more traditional at the top versus the ResTech-y or the emerging toward the bottom there. And in the next slide, what I'm attempting to do is just again read from right to left, and look at the pattern forming for those relative shares as we look across there, and it can be interpreted as indeed there is a pattern, in that the more traditional ones, because of the growth you saw in the previous, over time representing a smaller share within this overall market. If, as a matter of fact, I would say it is if that continued pattern occurs. You could say the Digital Data Analytics segment in particular would be knocking on the door, in terms of becoming the largest segment in terms of share, within the overall space. So the next slide, the last data slide, and that really is just about who is included in those four larger emerging or ResTech-y-type segments. What - all I've done here is listed out - what we did is we took, we listed out the largest 50, the top 50 companies in the space regardless of what segment they're in, top to bottom, and then just placed them in their various segments. What I'm doing here is showing you those four. And at the bottom right is that Digital Data Analytics segment in particular. That's the one that I said was perhaps knocking on the door to become the largest in the next year or two. Perhaps a little bit more explanation on that one, because perhaps those are names that you might not normally associate with the marketing research or the insight space. If you look at those companies, they are typically what I would call enterprise data platform or companies. So look at Salesforce and Oracle, they tend to be companies that will come into an organization and build out the, let's call it the data spine, in an organization, then hang off of that spine various modules. For the finance department, procurement department, the HR department, and increasingly, the marketing department. And so, what we are seeing is an emergence of these companies selling into the space. Obviously, Oracle has a lot more, as a company, or Salesforce is what, a $50 or a $100 billion company, a lot more than what's showing there, but what this analysis does, is it focus on the revenue for Salesforce that's specifically focused on offerings in the Insights and Analytics space. The interesting thing I see here is when I was still running Maritz, Salesforce and Oracle were suppliers to me. As I retired around 2015 or so, they were starting to become on the competitive edge, but now clearly today they would be, because the positioning is yes, we are in this, pick a client. Ford Motor Company. Oracle is partnered with Ford in terms of their data enterprise, data management spine is the word I use, and they're hanging off that different modules. And oh, by the way, they're hanging off that a voice of the customer module. They're hanging out there a brand health management module. And these numbers, these trends, would indicate that many clients are finding it increasingly appealing to acquire and to manage their voice of the market data in this way. It increases the ability to have an integrated look at data right across their organization. Very interesting pattern. I throw that out as yet another data point for our panel to consider. That's it for the data. Just to segue now, to Simon and to the panel I was in - at Esomar earlier this week, and having conversations with folks about the market sizing and so forth. And inevitably the conversations would go to a conversation about, OK, what are the implication? Is this representing a result of the trends that we have seen in our space, and we've been talking about at conferences for the last ten years, or is this perhaps driving the trends that we're experiencing, and we talk about at conferences and so forth? So I throw this out as, again, as a thought starter in this segue to the subsequent discussion here, because when I talk about the trends and the trends that people are mentioning is things like things we've been talking about for a while, so the whole trend toward roughly right. The whole trend away from static reporting versus toward data mining, visualization, and storytelling, is what we're seeing here in terms of movement and the sizing from the segments within this industry perspective, supporting the old whole trend of, is it because of the trend of data collection centricity to, instead to more curating of multiple sources? Is this trend perhaps driving what people are always talking about in terms of moving away or trending away from a more of a labor-intense project management approach to leveraging AI and machine learning? Is it a cause for or is it a result of the whole discussion and movement around agile? Or would you say that what we're seeing in these market sizing trends is really representative of something totally in addition or outside of these trends here now? With that, as some thought starters in segue, I now go to Simon. He'll pick up on that.

Simon Chadwick: Well, thank you, Michael. Indeed, you are always the bringer of good news, of good tidings. And if we can forward the slides, Melanie, that would be great. I'm going to actually refer to this as the insights for renaissance, because it does seem at least looking from Michael's analysis, that this is a time certainly of growth, and given the evolution of the whole sector and its redefinition of renewal and maybe even rebirth. As I said earlier, Michael, as you'll see on the next slide, is the bringer of good tidings, and so let's celebrate that for the moment. It seems that everything is really coming up roses. The question, as Michael was posing, well, a number of questions is why? Why is everything looking so strong in this sector right now? I think the answer as it ever is, is you have to go back to the clients, you have to go back to the world in which they live and what is happening with them. And there's no doubt that over the last two years, preexisting trends that were in the industry have been accelerated massively. That really was due to what was happening in 2020, when suddenly the world changed dramatically, and business models were redundant in many cases. Understanding of markets was turned on its head. Consumer behavior was changing. And at that time, senior managements were saying, what is happening? They turned to their consumer insights and analytics functions and asked that question and said, "Tell me now, tell me right now what is happening." And so demand for real-time research exploded. In order to be able to do that, they had to bring in agile platforms and ever more DIY-type platforms to be able to do it, but then the question once they were able to get that under control, turned to what will happen. What are we going to project is happening here? What are the scenarios that we foresee? And that changed the conversation between senior management and consumer insights into one that was much, much more strategic. From there, it went to, well, in these new scenarios, how are we going to compete? Let's say this scenario, it becomes the dominant one. How will we compete in that new world? That need for strategic planning and strategic information led to a lot of the rearview mirror, and what I call sanitary research, being sidelined, or being put onto new platforms. Budgets were still under pressure, but the demand for insights was up massively. So if you take this dynamic that was going on right then, then on the next slide, you'll see what was happening to budgets, because the need to do stuff faster and cheaper and just get it out, roughly right as Michael was referencing, led to significant investment in DIY platforms and in automation, significantly more insourcing, and putting the traditional methods onto those platforms. When I talk about insourcing here, this is a really interesting thing because the ARF showed in the study earlier this year, that from 2020 to 2021, the proportion of actual projects that were insourced, consumer insights projects that were insourced, by clients rose from 37 to 49%. That's a massive shift. So the way in which clients are actually doing research has shifted. But the results of that shift to DIY and to automation was that there was budgets saved, which could then be utilized for doing the strategic work that was necessary for indulging in integration and synthesis of data analytics for taking future views, foresight instead of insight, and in experimenting with new methods. The need to experiment to be able to get to stuff fast was heightened. We saw a divergence of budgets within clients, that you now see reflected in the market numbers that you just saw from Michael. So if we then move forward from here, Melanie, if you could? Thank you. We have to ask ourselves, there was all this change, but how did we actually perform? And the answer is we performed really, really well. That same ARF study that I referenced earlier, amongst their corporate members, strategy and insights, and senior management members, compared their satisfaction and their attitudes towards insights and consumer insights within their organizations with the year before. And this was in 2020. You can see the top management support - these are all top box scores - top management support for research, satisfaction with research and insights in decentralized functions, not centralized. There's another conversation there. The degree to which insights were relied upon to make decisions, and amazingly the degree to which senior management is agreeing that insights actually provides a high ROI, gives competitive advantage, and contributes to financial performance. All these measures went up significantly, significantly in 2020, i.e., we performed, and CI functions within those organizations really performed. One of the interesting things that came out of that was that they really performed if the champion of insights within the organization was the CEO. So this has led us to actually gaining that thing that we've all been talking about for decades and decades and decades - a seat at the table. Now, the question that is being asked within client organizations is, how do we stay there? How do we actually make sure that we don't slip back? If we move on just a little bit from here, I want to just show you something that is kind of interesting that Michael very kindly left to me to look at. With this intense focus by senior management on insights and the need for insights, in 2020, we saw a major increase in the share of the Insights and Analytics market held by the major consulting firms. If you look now at 2021, you'll see that while Established Market Research actually grew by 6.5%, consulting firms stalled. What do we think is going on there? My own belief, and it's backed up by conversations I've had with heads of insights, is that now that things have calmed down a little bit more, the decision-making, the focus of decision-making on who to bring in for strategic work, has moved from the C-suite back to the heads of insights and analytics. Those heads of insights and analytics are actually going back to their trusted strategic, full-service research suppliers, rather than to the consulting companies who tend to add a zero to the cost of whatever they do. So the interesting thing there is that a lot of the Established Marketing Research success lies in companies that have gone beyond just supplying market research. They have great foundations of research, but they are now also adding to that the ability to consult strategically, the ability to design, to offer design services, and ancillary services like these, which actually increase their value to their clients. And that's what we believe is happening here. So moving on from that, what is happening in the ResTech arena? Well, the amazing thing is that we basically track this every year. In 2021, an amazing $9 billion of investment came into this industry, which was a record. On this chart, it shows just over $7 billion, but we reckon we miss about 20% of investment from not being announced. About $9 billion, which is a tenth, or was a tenth in 2021, of the entire revenue of the entire industry worldwide. So you might ask what on earth is going on here? Why is venture capital so interested in investing in this space? Well, obviously one answer to that question is because it's growing so fast, and therefore they're looking at the possibility that this is a really good place to invest in. One of my colleagues describes my description of this as a herd of wildebeests thundering after, in search of unicorns. They're all looking for unicorns. They've seen the Qualtrics unicorn, they've seen the Survey Monkey unicorn. They're looking for the next one. And what we found this year, which was really surprising, was that half of that investment was going into platforms. The platforms that we're looking at here are market research ones, CX and UX, and analytics platforms. It's a huge increase, about $3.5 billion that we registered, probably about $4 billion in total. And it's clear that venture capital has seen what's been happening in the industry, has seen the growth, and has decided to invest majorly. We have done an in-depth analysis of the platform arena, and there are over 230 companies now in insights and analytics platforms that are currently duking it out in the open market, 230. So if we move on from that, it's clear that we are in a very, very different industry, not only in terms of the Research Technology side and the growth in different types of competitors, but also in the Established arena as well, which is, if you like, evolving what it is and how it interacts with clients and what value it brings. So the question is, quo vadis, where do we go from here? and for that, we turn to our panel.

Melanie Courtright: Thank you very much. Really quick question for you Simon, before we move to the panel, from a participant. On this particular slide, what is centralized versus decentralized?

Simon Chadwick: OK, that is an interesting thing. Decentralized CI departments are those that, mainly geographically, you'll see each major geography have their own insights function. Centralized is where it's all in one area. Maybe there are a few researchers in each country, but it's driven from head office. What we think happened here is that those who were on the ground, if you had insights functions in each of your major markets, being on the ground, they were actually able to respond much more quickly to their local managements and central managements, in terms of what was happening, and then what they thought was going to happen. In centralized functions, they were probably that much slower because it was that much more cumbersome to be able to reach out and find out what was going on in all the markets around the world. That's the hypothesis that we're working with on there.

Melanie Courtright: And is there also an element of where data lives in organizations now? Not just geographic sort of centralization, but also data lives in insights functions, but it also lives in CX functions and marketing functions. And, it sort of lives all over the organization, and boards and chairs are getting better at knowing where to go to find a piece of information within their org?

Simon Chadwick: Yeah. I think boards and chairs are getting better now. I'm not sure they were in 2020.

Melanie Courtright: I'm going to stop sharing for a second then and we're going to move on to the panel portion. Thank you very much, Lisa and Joanna and Maria, for sitting quietly while Michael and Simon chatted. I wanted to start with that 6.5% growth rate for the Established Marketing Research sector, from a 2% contraction to a six-and-a-half percent growth. What fueled that growth, both a rebound, and then, but there's also organic growth there? Maria, maybe you could start with that for us.

Maria Vallis: Sure. Thank you, Melanie, and thank you, Simon. We had at Hypothesis very strong growth that really bucked that trend from last year and even 2020. We grew last year at double that rate, about 28%, and we're on track this year in the very high teens. And Simon's almost basically already answered the question for Hypothesis and what we see driving that growth. I think we see really strong demand for the type of work we do that's really forward-looking, this what is going to happen next? How will we compete? Who is our next customer? How do we reach them? The clients that ask those questions tend to be fast-growing innovators, so work that we do in identifying audiences, developing communication and content, product and service innovation, purpose, and culture in organizations, is in really high demand. That combination of not just insights, but strategic consulting, and design to communicate really impactfully in an organization, it is fueling that, and clients - we find clients looking for partners for an extension of their team, really, because there's bandwidth and budget issues and, who can they turn to, who can work directly with their stakeholders and communicate with their executive leadership team? That's really what's driven our growth. I think Simon put it really well.

Melanie Courtright: Thank you.

Lisa Wilding-Brown: Yeah. I could jump in here too, Mel, and just build on what Maria said. I completely agree. Innovate MR is a sample provider and a ResTech business. What we've been seeing from our clients is just this real focus on being more consultative. And I've also seen a lot of them really looking to automation and finding ways to automate some of the more labor-intensive research pieces, so programmatic APIs, integrating into systems directly to help accelerate the data collection process, because I've definitely noticed that that data collection time has continued to shrink, so less time afforded to collecting the data which I think really speaks to this need for speed. I think that that focus on being consultative is really a feedback to and a reinforcement to what Simon pointed out around consultancies really losing steam last year and traditional companies sort of picking up where they left off. I would say as well that on the end client side, I've seen a lot of brands coming directly to companies like ours. I think there's an openness to try new partners, new suppliers in a way that maybe we didn't experience call it five or ten years ago. When I started in the industry 20 years ago, the idea of a big brand working with a smaller sample provider or platform business just didn't really seem to happen. They worked typically more with the generalist MR agencies to own more of the research process. So I think there's been a wave of disintermediation and democratization on research that is really benefiting more and more companies in our space. Then I think internally on our side as a sample provider, we're just trying to find ways to continue to innovate, that's in our brand promise, it's in our name, it's sort of innovate or die. I think that's very much the dynamic that's at play, not only for our business but other businesses as well. We've seen a ratio shift, changing, where there's more business coming into our agile platform and this desire to leverage or insource more pieces. Again, it has to be fit for purpose. I do want to point that out, in that there's a time when it makes sense to work directly with an MR agency that has all those resources. But I do think we are seeing an increasing appetite coming from brands, wanting to be more autonomous and independent and leverage agile insights tools when it makes sense for their business. That's been well documented in the ARF report that Simon referenced as well as in the Esomar buyer study from last year as well. We saw that uptick happen with insourcing versus outsourcing. So there's just so much exciting things happening in this space. Many of us were at Esomar Congress earlier this week and the keynote speaker sort of talks about this element of chaos and how that can be quite intimidating. But for - his main message was that chaos can really bring not just disruption, but really transformation. He pointed out to lots of examples, historic examples, so the proof is in the pudding. So I'm really super excited about what's to come. It's going to be an exciting time for our industry.

Melanie Courtright: I'm reminded of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka. "I want my answer and I want it now." What I'm hearing is brands saying, I need an answer. I need it right now. I'm getting better at learning where I can go to get that answer. But I don't just want the answer, I want somebody who's going to give it to me in a way that I can implement it very quickly into action in my organization and create an impact. And companies like Hypothesis doing more in that space. I love that. That's very cool. What are some of the risks associated though, with some of the growth of the other sectors? And Joanna, maybe you can jump in here, specifically the growth of the enterprise feedback management, those areas that are growing. What are some of the opportunities there, but then what are some of the risks to the Established Marketing Research sector around where things are growing and how buyers are buying?

Joanna Moser: I'm going to hop in to talk about the growth in these kind of ResTech sectors. We definitely are seeing those trends of an increase in existing clients asking to bring in market research streams, ad hoc hypothesis testing, and analytics workflows. And I agree with what - that comes from the conclusions that Michael and Simon drew in terms of, in this time of needing more insights faster with tighter budgets, following the path of least resistance to where data already is. And so, when we think about all of the data that we collect, we're bringing in all of these live feedback programs, digital transaction information, contact center data, and so what we're really seeing a trend in is this increase of just plugging in from a market research perspective to these existing workflows. So being very agile and adding questions to existing survey programs, existing in-app feedback collection, and really just looking to encourage collaboration across these different lines of businesses. We definitely have seen that growth in the enterprise feedback space.

Melanie Courtright: What about other risks, Lisa, Maria?

Lisa Wilding-Brown: Well, I think there's definitely risk when there's change. I think it's important to be effective at change management and make sure you're bringing your entire team for the journey, especially in this very disparate kind of work-from-home setting that so many companies are operating in. I think that's something that executive management, I know myself, I think about it all the time, given that our team is virtually based, and just maintaining that engagement and onboarding and continued learning, I think is going to be very, very effective if done the right way, but it's certainly challenging. I think too, when there is this need for speed and working with budgets in a really smart way, sometimes decision makers can kind of leapfrog over some really important elements of the data collection process, so I touched on that. Certainly trying to expedite the data collection process comes with some risk. Sample is kind of like coffee. You need to let it percolate, and you need to make sure that you give the sample adequate time to complete the survey so you're really representative. At the same time, as you're making decisions around who to partner with, quality is always top of mind for me. Mel, I've been on my quality soapbox on and off all through the years, and we've seen a big uptick in the industry. Earlier this year, when Russia invaded Ukraine, it really caused a lot of challenges for the industry. And really we saw that even in the start of 2020, when the pandemic hit, it seemed like the opportune time for fraudsters to take advantage of the economic duress, and I'd say decentralization of companies that was happening from this work-from-home dynamic. So anytime there's economic turmoil, whether it's war, whether it's a depression or uncertainty around a pandemic, it sort of invigorates fraudsters to try to find ways to subsidize lost income. I just would say to all those listening to make sure that you're never taking your eye off the focus on quality, and you're really working and partnering closely with your suppliers, with your partners to ensure that you have really, really good layers in place from before the survey, during the survey, and post-survey. I think that's something that - not to lose sight of, because it is absolutely a material risk for our industry and the trust that we need to maintain and sustain long-term.

Melanie Courtright: Simon, I see you unmuted yourself. Yeah. Jump in.

Simon Chadwick: I think looking at the risks for Established Marketing Research at this particular point in time, the risk is not knowing where you are best off competing. We just heard from Maria about their staggering growth, and knowing Hypothesis, that isn't unusual for them because they have decided they know where to compete. I think one of the big risks is if people in established research companies look at the growth of all the ResTech and say, ooh, I need a piece of that and I'm going to build a platform, they could very quickly run into a lot of problems, because all of these companies that are coming into the platform arena, for example, have got enormous amounts of money behind them. And let's face it, most research agencies do not have enormous amounts of money behind them, so you could very easily see yourself becoming sucked into an arena where you don't know how to compete. Think about what is the value that you bring and compete in that arena. Don't try and jump the horse in the midstream.

Maria Vallis: I think that's a really great point. We're very agnostic of where the data comes from as long as it's great quality. We see our role as partnering with the clients and perhaps the research tech or DIY tools that they are employing to help them connect those dots, synthesize that data. And I think it's as much of a challenge, if you like, as a risk that the technology enables really fast answers to questions. It makes it easier for our clients to disseminate information and that, hopefully, that frees up time, that frees up mind space to ask those strategic questions, and make sure we're not losing that human element of not just what is this data point, but why, and what next, and so what, and how do we turn that into innovation and impact? And I think that that's a really exciting opportunity that the research tech and these platforms offer.

Melanie Courtright: At our CEO summit, about two weeks ago now at this point, one of the things that they talked about was a risk in hyper-growth. So there's like the iron triangle of risk around a specific topic. It's the massive growth, the shift in buyer behavior, and the pandemic and work-from-home is causing a real risk around talent. Talent acquisition, talent training, how to train them, what to train them, how to find the right type of - Are you guys - I don't want to put you on the spot for how to solve it because I don't think anybody's figured out how to solve it, but you're nodding your heads. You're all seeing that as well, right?

Maria Vallis: Yeah. It's particularly hard remotely, onboarding, helping people onboard onto our culture, finding the right people, finding great people. The pandemic opened a pool of talent very, very much, but keeping up with that growth is definitely one of the good problems to have.

Lisa Wilding-Brown: We've changed the way we onboard. The good news is that we were mostly virtual prior to the pandemic, so we had a leg up on that front but I think really focus on staying engaged, managing attrition, staying flexible. I know there's been other businesses out there that have been, I'll call it a bit more draconian in the work-from-home policy and I would highly suggest not to do that, because I think there's just so many options for employees now. You really have to be flexible and accommodating and recognize that we're in a new paradigm here, and find ways to engage remote staff that you might not have otherwise done historically.

Melanie Courtright: I think there was a short period of time where some of the savings associated with travel and even real estate and offices and stuff were sort of just dropped to the bottom line, but now people are realizing they're going to have to pick those back up into OpEx and just invest them in different ways. Different tools, different activities, even different - maybe a bit more engagement management in the middle of the organization that they're going to have to just use that money in a different way. They can't just drop it and hope to save it.

Lisa Wilding-Brown: 100% Mel, and I think too, recognizing and having empathy towards employees. This has been a really trying time. The last two-and-a-half years have been very difficult on parents of young children. Finding ways to support them and recognize that we're not just employees, that there's emotion and we're human beings, and really it's important to connect on that level too, especially when we're all so separated.

Melanie Courtright: My motto, Lisa, I am a product. I am a brand, I am a human. Joanna, for you, Maria talked a lot about growth. What about in the Enterprise Feedback Management or even in ResTech for Lisa? Is there an area where it's growing more, a vertical, a space, a specialty? What's growing?

Joanna Moser: I would say one of the biggest spaces that we've seen growth in is in the contact center, especially with all of this - and also the digital space as well with the push of digitization that's happened in the last five years. Especially if you think about the whole contact center model got turned on its head. We have all of a sudden, everyone is now at home trying to adjust to all of the standard kind of monitoring and conversation techniques. So we've seen a huge increase in growth in terms of tracking the change of experience that both customers and agents and employees are having with that dramatic shift of this industry that's remained pretty standard over the last ten, 20 plus years. And so really leaning into not just how can we better understand the experience through feedback collection, but how can we streamline and automate the insights that are coming out of the influx and increase of calls, as well as the shift that's happening too, for a lot of contact centers, to shift to more chat, email-based conversations, and how we can leverage that information to more quickly answer questions, identify gaps, and streamline some of these operational processes.

Melanie Courtright: That's great. Thank you. Anyone else want to chime in before I ask you your last question on what's growing? No? Well, let me give you a moment to inspire the participants before you go. Really quickly we just have a couple minutes left, but if there were just one thing you would want people to take away with them, either to talk to their executive teams or to inspire their own learning journeys, what would you want people to take back to their desks with them on the other side of this town hall? Who feels ready?

Lisa Wilding-Brown: I can jump in, Mel. I feel ready. I don't want to lose sight of - I would definitely stay focused on quality. I'll never stop saying that. And harness the chaos for greatness. I think we're at a really exciting time in our industry with just immense opportunity, and continue to innovate and find new ways of working and streamlining your process. And I think this is an exciting time, so just stay really curious and don't forget, I know this is more than one thing, Mel, don't forget about the employee experience, because really at your core, no matter how great your tech is, how many clients you have in your portfolio, it's about maintaining really high employee satisfaction and engagement.

Melanie Courtright: I love that. Maria?

Maria Vallis: I love that, Lisa, bringing in employee experience. I think I would say as a takeaway, thinking to the chat that Simon showed that indicated how much spotlight there is from top management on insights. The challenge I would throw out to our client partners listening is are you ready for that? Are you ready to answer what's next? Where do we take our brand next? Who's our next customer? I think that's what I would be thinking about.

Melanie Courtright: That's wonderful. Joanna?

Joanna Moser: I love both of these challenges. I think they're really great, looking at all of the different types of employee experiences. The challenge that I would give is look at the indirect feedback that you're getting from your customer base. It's great to solicit specific feedback questions, but there are so many signals out there based on what they're doing on your website, what they're buying, what they're not buying, how they're changing their different behaviors, and really look at both direct and indirect feedback as we're looking to drive insights forward.

Melanie Courtright: Awesome. Really good. Simon and Michael? Simon?

Simon Chadwick: Well, just building on what Maria said, if it is indeed true that insights has risen up the line, and is now central to so many companies and has got a seat at the table, then what I would say to everybody who's on the provider side is think really hard about how you can support your clients in staying at the table and proving their impact. Because if we can prove the impact of insights and analytics, then our industry will continue to grow.

Michael Brereton: I think the big thing, first of all, I take away is, what we do, our reason for being, is growing in demand and that's wonderful news. Even last year so we were sitting having this conversation last year, it was still 6% growth. The demand for fact-based insights is still there. It's where you fit in the ecosystem that's going to determine at what level you're growing within that, and then the other thing I would say is my take on the numbers I'm looking at is saying the key driver is integration. Don't let your clients have to integrate the disparate sources of information. Find a way to do that through your services or through partnership.

Melanie Courtright: Wonderful. Bravo, everyone. We're out of time. Thank you all very, very much. Again for everyone on the call, this has been recorded and it will be transcribed. We will make it available to you in email and also on our website and we'll be promoting this session broadly to get even more people to benefit from the collective wisdom of this group. Thank you all very much and I hope you have a really great weekend. Thank you.