Highlights and takeaways from IIEX Europe 2023 through a Mustard lens.
For us here at Keen as Mustard, staying ahead of the curve on the latest technology and breakthrough innovations in insights is crucial. That’s why we were pleased to attend Greenbook’s IIEX in Amsterdam, a conference that took the industry by storm. With some of the brightest minds in the field coming together, IIEX Europe offers the ideal platform to network, learn, and explore the latest innovations driving market research forward.
After being blown away by last year’s IIEX event (my first ever), I had high expectations for this year’s conference. So, I boarded the Eurostar, made my way through the charming canals of Amsterdam, and arrived at the historic Beurs Van Berlage with excitement and anticipation. The conference did not disappoint, and I left feeling invigorated and inspired by the wealth of knowledge and innovative thinking that was on display.
Here’s what stood out to me:
On the first day of IIEX Europe, as we entered the building the energy was palpable. With nearly 800 attendees (and upwards of 50% registrants client-side), the conference was buzzing with excitement, and there was no shortage of informative sessions to attend. Like the members of the Scooby Doo gang, Team Mustard split up to cover as much ground as possible and take in all the valuable insights that were being presented.
AI and ChatGPT were all the buzz, and Stefan Boom, Managing Director for Benelux and Nordics at Dynata, delivered an interesting take on the topic during his session titled ‘Reinventing & Redefining Data Quality in Changing Times.’ Amidst concerns from figures like Elon Musk about the potential dangers of AI, Boom highlighted the importance of embracing AI and machine learning as tools to enhance our ability to uncover human insights, rather than as replacements for human intelligence.
Next I attended part of the ‘Insights and Innovation for a Greener World’ track, featuring Christian Niederauer, Global Head of Insights at Colgate-Palmolive, and Anders Bengtsson, Founder of Protobrand. They delved into the challenges that marketers face in convincing consumers to pay premium prices for sustainable products. While sustainability is a popular topic in the world of insights, it’s important to approach it with fresh perspectives.
The session provided a new take on the issue in terms of how consumers are becoming (quite frankly) bored with sustainability and how it’s much more than just data and promises. It certainly also helps that the proficiency and expertise from both Christian and Anders was very clear and authentic.
While I already knew that market research and data are compelling, the conference exceeded my expectations and highlighted the exceptional nature of the industry. Two of my favourite sessions that exemplified this were Kendall Rynders’ “Looking Up!” and Sophia Parvizi-Wayne’s talk on “Gaming for Good?.”
Kendall’s session started strong by getting everyone standing on their feet in a power pose, then went on to discuss how data proves that body language and other non-verbal cues can significantly impact research outcomes, and that brands should take heed of how physiology and movement can impact consumers’ desires and purchasing decisions.
Sophia’s session was equally fascinating, presenting how gaming has evolved to provide insights and help people understand children’s mental health through device interactions. Her talk proved that the research and data showcased at IIEX has tangible effects and is making a real impact on people’s lives. Overall, day one of the IIEX conference was a testament to the power of research and its ability to shape the world we live in.
On day two, Keen as Mustard was excited to chair a track on “Growing Your Insights Business,” providing valuable expertise to attendees. Greenbook’s Karen Lynch started the day off strongly by presenting the 2023 GRIT data and what to expect. However, the standout moment of the day was undoubtedly the client panel on “Finding and Engaging with New Insight Partners,” which featured prominent figures such as Marion Hoek-Koudenburg, Director Consumer Insights Capabilities at Under Armour, Efrain Rosario, Global Head of Futures & Shopper Planning at Diageo, Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist, and Diana Mitkov, Senior Insight Manager at De Beers.
The panel’s insights on client engagement were met with an enthusiastic response from the audience, as agencies were provided with invaluable best practices. The speakers emphasized the importance of authenticity and avoiding spammy emails when reaching out to clients. They highlighted the need to conduct thorough research to understand each client’s specific needs and provided compelling reasons for getting in touch.
This approach ensures that each interaction is tailored to the client and demonstrates a genuine interest in their business. In an industry where personalized and targeted communication is becoming increasingly important, taking these steps is crucial to building long-lasting client relationships.
We were also super-excited to see Friends of Mustard, such as Adam Warner, Head of Marketing at Irrational Agency and Tom Ewing, Writer at WordBeast, stand out on day two. Adam delved into how smaller agencies can build effective marketing and communication with limited resources, and Tom discussed how storytelling is the foundation of making sure you’re communicating effectively.
Wiepke Van Der Wal, Founder of WiepkeWorks also conveyed her knowledge on the strengths and limits of marketing automation. And let’s not forget the insightful session by Mustard’s own Iosetta Santini, who discussed the significance of thought leadership and the steps to becoming one in the insights industry.
IIEX Europe has come and gone for another year – but time flies when you’re having fun, and Greenbook outdid themselves this time around. And if one thing is for certain, it’s that conferences like IIEX show just how ever evolving the MRX and insights industry is. There’s always a new ‘talk of the town’ theme that rears its head (this year’s being ChatGPT and AI) and always new ways to tackle or approach popular topics (whether it be sustainability or human behavior). But what’s certain is that attending IIEX always leaves us eagerly anticipating the next event.