As a newcomer to the marketing research industry, I was both excited and nervous to attend The Quirk’s Event for the first time. On the first day, I felt an initial surge of shock, as I realized just how massive the conference was. However, my shock was soon overshadowed by curiosity when I began to study the endless rows of company booth displays. How does one company stand out from the rest? What message was each company trying to convey? The answers varied drastically. Some used technology to lure wanderers—setting up interactive touch screens or video walls. Others focused on swag and gamification—ranging from a simple spin wheel to a full-on basketball arcade game, eager to spark conversation with competitive hopefuls following their play-to-win experience. In comparison, our booth was definitely more traditional. Some would dare say “old school.” Technology tucked away and printed collateral on display—we didn’t dangle the same “bright” and “shiny” allure as our neighbors. We chose to simply focus on our work and the people behind it. This is who we are. This is what we do. In a room full of companies striving to be “innovators” and “disrupters,” our claim to fame was and always has been the genesis of what started it all—research.
Of course, as a curator, our brand voice and positioning strategies are not foreign to me. Our work and people have been the quintessence of W5’s brand for over sixteen years. However, The Quirk’s Event provided an opportunity to see our strategy in action. No longer studying our clients behind a computer screen, through CTR’s or social engagement stats, I saw first-hand how we won in the minds of consumers. Of course, there were attendees, on the hunt for bright and shiny things, who simply walked past our display. But often times, we were greeted with a curious look paired with a smile followed by “Who is W5?”
In addition to fostering several marketing “aha” moments, The Quirk’s Event had many educational sessions I’ve incorporated into the armoire of my professional development. As a company who values thought leadership, we jumped at the opportunity to present. Partnering with our client, Rise Against Hunger, we shared insight regarding how our segmentation study is leveraged to help Rise Against Hunger end world hunger by 2030 #2030isPossible.
With close to 100 sessions, guests had their fair share of options. One of my favorite sessions, besides ours, came from 20|20 Research, entitled Decoding Disruption: Understanding Consumer Expectations for a Brand. They spoke to the importance of keeping tabs on small disruptions. They didn’t teach guests how to become big disrupters. Instead, we were told to focus on meeting consumers’ new and evolving expectations that resulted from big disruptions. A “how to keep up with the Jones” playbook.
Prior to attending The Quirk’s Event, I remember being concerned that as marketer for a marketing research firm, I wouldn’t fit in amongst a sea of researchers and anthropologists. However, now I view things from a more polished and experienced perspective. I was able to watch and study how clients engaged with our booth display and within our session, and bring back my own set of thoughts and recommendations for next year. I walked away with great insight on insights professionals. Looks like marketing and market research go hand in hand. Who knew?!