Guest Post: Jacqueline Rosales’s Trade Show Tricks…And Treats!

Guest Post: Jacqueline Rosales’s Trade Show Tricks…And Treats!

We’re gearing up for our next conference (IIex 2017) with the next installment of our conference series. This time we’re fortunate enough to have a guest post by none other than Jacqueline Rosales, Chief of Operations for SoapBoxSample. Jacqueline is bringing a new perspective to the series with tips for making the most out of being a conference exhibitor.

This post originally appeared on Jacqueline’s blog Telltale Ten.

You’ve heard of “Take-Your-Kid-to-Work Day,” but what about “Take-Your-Marketing-Director-to-a-Trade-Show Day?” Although I’ve been involved in planning SoapBoxSample’s trade show presence for the past several years, it wasn’t until last month that I actually got to be there for an exhibition. Attending the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference in person let me see trade shows through a new lens. I learned a few simple (and free!) tricks that can help any company bring in a big fish.

Focus on what really counts. It’s not just the flashy booth graphics (although they help), the perfectly-worded handout (probably don’t help at all) or the even the free giveaways (although I am a sucker for a good stress ball). What stood out the most for me was the people. Here’s what I picked up.

  1. Being Bored Is Boring

You know how you start to yawn when someone around you is yawning? Yeah, it’s not a good look. So cut it out. Keep your energy up. Tell a joke. Do a few jumping jacks. Be silly. It’s better than putting people to sleep.

  1. Avoid Predatory Practices

Have you ever walked through the mall and gotten the sensation that you were being stalked? It’s probably the overzealous perfume counter girl looking for her next victim to spray. Don’t be like this girl. You can feel her stare from a mile away and it immediately makes you want to duck and run. An overly intense salesperson can cause the same effect. If you notice people quickening their pace and suddenly burying their faces in their phones as they go past your booth, someone may be putting off a desperate vibe.

  1. Seven Deadly Body Language Sins

60% to 90% of communication is nonverbal. Closed-off body language sends a clear signal to potential clients — Don’t stop, keep walking. Here are some examples of behavior that can drive people away from your space. If you see anyone on your staff doing any of these things, throw a stress ball at their heads.

  • Constantly checking their phone (or watch)
  • Scratching, picking, poking, or doing anything to their bodies that should be done in private (It’s just gross!)
  • Staring at the ground
  • Standing too close to people
  • Tapping fingers, feet, or worst of all, clicking a pen
  • Fake, frozen smile
  • Over-blinking (or staring without blinking) (Super creepy! Don’t be known as the company of serial killers.)
  1. Don’t Be a Broken Record!

Have you ever gotten a robo-call? If you’re lucky enough to have avoided them, they are pre-recorded telephone calls, usually from a telemarketing company or a political party. And they are THE. WORST. EVER. Don’t let your staff pitch like robots. Robots memorize a script and recite it on repeat. Encourage your team to LISTEN, and ASK QUESTIONS. People want to feel heard. They want their uniqueness to be acknowledged. Show your value by showing off your human side. In other words, be real.

  1. Steer Clear of Smack-Talkers

Market Research is a small, tight-knit industry. People know each other. If I started talking smack about my competition, it would get around. Fast. Even if you work for a huge industry, it’s not a good idea to trash talk your competition. This is especially true at a trade show, where competing companies are sharing the same space and the same food supply. There are ways to show off your capabilities without putting others down. It makes you look desperate, and unprofessional. And it might make people wonder if you’re equally uninhibited about discussing clients and their confidential information.

  1. When the Show’s Over, You’re Still on Display

Before attending this conference, I thought that Market Researchers were a meek and mild bunch (like accountants or insurance adjusters.) Wrong. Market researchers like to drink and party. A lot. And when they start drinking, they start coming out of their shells. (Some of them should have stayed in their shells.) Speaking of staying in, it’s a good idea to look out for … (how can I put this delicately?) overexposure. After the cocktail reception mingling, potential clients should come away with more knowledge of your products and services, not more knowledge of your salesperson’s soft tissues.

And yes, I actually witnessed all of these things first hand. Some even more than once. I was there for 2.5 days.

I have always known, that having a decent trade show presence can be expensive and time-consuming. But if it’s done well it can have a great ROI. In other words, you can be the best Marketer in the world, but work with your leadership team to make sure your hard work isn’t ruined by a salesperson with a creepy stare who picks his nose in your booth.

Thanks Jacqueline for this hilarious account of what it takes to have a successful booth in the conference exhibitors hall. You can read more of Jacqueline’s musings on her blog: Telltale Ten

Readers, what stands out to you when visiting a booth in the exhibitors hall? Is it the swag, the jumping-jacks, or something else? Please share in the comments below.

And, if you’re looking for more on #mrx conferences check out:

5 Conference Factors
2017 Market Research Conferences
Insights Show London 2017 Recap

Insights Show London 2017 Recap

In March Research For Good attended London Insights 2017 in Kensington Olympia with the aim to get fully immersed in the industry, speak to peers and learn all that we could. London Insights show did not disappoint. Between listening to talks and going stand to stand, we met some of the industry’s most influential people, saw some of the new and exciting methods in data capturing and heard some very exciting debates. Here is a recap on our experience. 

CEO Debate Insights 17

CEO Debate on Main Stage – Panel includes Kirsty Fuller, Vanella Jackson and Bart Michels. Moderated by Danny Russell

The current state of the industry was just one of the talking points in the CEO opening debate. With questions like “What can we, Market Researchers, do to ensure we get the edge?” asked to the panel it started some great conversations, but it was Vanella Jackson, Global CEO of Hall and Partners, who had the perfect answer: be disruptive. Brands need to adapt to match what the user wants and Ms. Jackson used Facebook as an example of adapting to a more mobile friendly experience. We totally agree. In a world that moves so fast it is essential that brands maximise what they can to create stand out. A good example of this is the below Spotify campaign where they generated campaign messaging based on the noteworthy listening trends of their users.

spotify-ooh-ep-2016 - insights

Spotify Campaign

The CEO’s opening debate continued and suggested that we should think of ourselves as journalists and reposition ourselves to deliver data in the best way. However, the next day in the Research Leaders of the Future debate, this approach was indirectly challenged. With Emma Kirk, Business Development Manager, Join the Dots, saying that we are not journalists and that people should not be interested in a creative story to WOW over real data. But is there a way to do both? Perhaps adopting an opinion based response means we are not just delivering data, we are giving them meaning. Which echos Ms. Kirk’s statement: “Data is meaningless without the why!”

As the Leaders of the Future debate continued it moved onto a topic that we at Research For Good hold very dear. Respecting the respondent and communicating with them on their own terms. As we reach out to Millennials and Gen-Z, why do we use traditional methods of data capture which isolate our audience before they even start? We need to be fresh and emotive when communicating with these generations. Emma Kirk went on to say that one idea that she and her clients are adopting is the use of emojis or “Digital Body Language”. These tiny icons add emotion to text and are used by 92% of smartphone users. We need to be utilizing all the modern day tech/software to ensure our respondents are providing insights in a way that is best for them. “At present,” as Ben Hogg, MD of EMEA Lucid states “the respondent isn’t at the heart of our industry.”


The Great Sample Debate – Panel includes George Davidson, Ben Hogg, Heval Ceylan-Gilchrist, Rahul Krishna & James de Vick. Moderated by Sima Vasa

Mr. Hogg was one of the panelists on The Great Sample Debate, in which the future of Sample was discussed. This discussion reiterated many of the points our Co-Founder, Baillie Buchanan covered in her Samplecon report but with one big difference, we had an end client as one of the panelists: George Davidson of InterContinental Hotels Group. Mr. Davidson was quick to put his hand up and say that clients need to take responsibility when it comes to questionnaire requests and in a move to look to the future of good survey design, we perhaps should look to the past. By this he meant bring back Pre-Survey Insights; a stage before a survey goes live in which a smaller sample are brought in to go through the survey and highlight any problematic questions. Whilst this idea is a good one, does the industry allow for this time?

As the debate came to a close the focus moved to data quality and survey design. Mr. Hogg asked why are there trick questions? It sends the wrong message and maybe we should give more trust to our participants. To this Mr. Davidson replied “absolutely not, he often meets people on the street but still locks his doors at night.”. A response that got a chuckle from the audience. But he is right, it doesn’t matter how good the questionnaire is, if the sample is bad then the data is bad and that is why there needs to be more emphasis on Sample Quality.

After 48 hours we left the conference with some invaluable knowledge and some exciting new contacts along with enough free pens and notebooks to start a stationery shop. It truly was an amazing experience and I Tip-My-Hat to the organisers – see you next year London Insights Show. Need help when planning conferences? Check out our 5 Factors to Consider when Choosing a MRX Conference blog for some helpful tips.

SampleCon Recap

SampleCon Recap

Following along in our series of blog posts on #mrx conferences (2017 Conference List / Conference Consideration Factors) I had the pleasure of attending our first conference of 2017 – SampleCon.

SampleCon is in it’s 5th year and was once again hosted by the incomparable New Orleans. The city lends an interesting background for a bunch of market research professionals – a significant portion of which are representing sample companies.

A little gambling, a little too much fun and a whole lot of noise.

While the conference is mainly considered to be a gathering for sample companies, by sample companies – the rallying cry this year seemed to be “bring in the end-clients” as evidenced by a resounding “yes!” when Jacqueline Rosales of Soapbox Sample posed the question to the audience during the final Great Sample Debate.

We at Research For Good are rallying behind the theme of #respecttherespondent as a driving force in our decisions to pursue continuous UX enhancements, closely monitoring survey drop rates, encouraging respondent feedback and continuing to evaluate client opportunities not just with the idea of how much revenue can this make me (and how many donations) but also, what is the impact on our respondent’s experience and sentiment about our brand.

To hear so many in the industry wanting to focus on the same was encouraging, though frustration remains high that we the providers of respondents for surveys do not have a significant (or really any) say in the research design – or at minimum the UX of the survey as it is programmed online.

How is it that brands which are obsessed with UX and brand experience at every step of the customer lifecycle do not place that same emphasis on the respondent’s experience with their brand in a research environment?

That said, no one wants to be told that what they are doing is crap. My strong suggestion to the SampleCon board is to proceed with caution and care when making the push to get end-clients to attend this conference. Unless we’re in a position to be sharing immediately actionable suggestions and backing it up with research on research giving clear indication that changing methodologies/recruitment practices/mobile first design/shorter questionnaires/etc. are going to not only produce reliable and replicable results but also IMPROVE their insights, our cries to “think of the people!” will fall once more on deaf ears.

For all that we complain about stogy survey design and antiquated requirements, do we really understand WHY the clients are so unadaptable to change? What their fears, pressures and counter-points are?

When Melanie Courtright of Research Now *jokingly* claimed, “sure – we turn down projects which aren’t a good experience for our respondents – we just let the rest of you fill them” the gathered crowd shared a collective gasp. But her comment rang true, and the fact is, if the client is willing to pay but unwilling to change, someone will always be there to say yes. Unless we find a way to apply appropriate pressure on a united front to those who control survey design and experience, change will never come.



Scavenger Hunt – hosted by EMI

    • I’ll be the first to admit I’m always sceptical of forced ice-breaker activities, but this one proved me wrong.
    • The event was well organized (via a mobile app), the tasks were well thought out, challenging but not so much as to be discouraging.
    • Challenges were strategic in getting us to move throughout the French Quarter and uncover some hidden NOLA gems
    • As a solo-representative from my company, it was nice to start the conference by immediately getting to know 4 people whom I had never met before (waves to Jon, Jacey, Chris and Christine)
Jacqueline Rosales SampleCon

Seeing competitive companies come together with some common goals

  • Treat respondents as human beings
  • Move our industry forward & deliver more value to customers (via behavioural data, stitching together varied sources of info to tell a story, answering the who, what, why, how AND they why)
SampleCon 2017

Jacqueline Rosales’s talk on mindset and motivation in “The Disruptor’s Guide to Life”

  • Her talk was personal, powerful and thought provoking.
  • For the details on her points pictured – check out her blog post “When Life Kicks You In the Ass

Re-connecting and newly connecting with colleagues in our industry

  • We really do work in an awesome industry with so many smart, engaging and sincere people.
  • It’s so refreshing to get out from behind a screen and connect with people in-person.
SampleCon 2017

Thank you SampleCon for another great year. We’ll see you next time, wherever you may be.

SampleCon 2018
5 Factors to Consider when Choosing a MRX Conference

5 Factors to Consider when Choosing a MRX Conference

Whether your goal at a conference is to sell, buy or obtain knowledge, they are a great place to meet new people. However, there seems to be one every week which we could easily justify attending. Check out our list of 2017 conferences to help you plan which conferences are going on. The real challenge is narrowing down the MUST ATTENDS from the NICE TO ATTENDS. 

To help you with this, here are five key factors you should consider when planning your conference agenda for the year.


Our global industry offers global opportunities which, in turn, inspires global conferences. However, the further the conference is away the more time it takes from your usual commitments, like your business or kids. Be sure to take in travel time in your conference plan. Also, the location of the conference may influence what sort of audience attends. A conference in Germany may bring in more German businesses and speakers and unless you want to expand into Germany or have a high german client-base, it might not be the best fit for you. That said, you also have global conferences, like ESOMAR, who are in Amsterdam this year (2017) but attract a global audience. If you get your hands on the attendee list, that’s a great place to start. Also follow the conference on social media or sign up for their emails so you can get an understanding of who they are targeting and encouraging to sign-up. That will give you insight into the types of contacts who may be there.

Conference factor location
Conference factor cost


Travel and hotel costs are only some of the more obvious expenses for a conference, but there are other influences you need to consider when budgeting. Most conferences have a registration fee and then you have to think about networking costs and expenses. On top of that you may need to factor in any loss of business costs from your time out of office, or the potential to send more than one representative so you have more exposure. All the factors can influence your choice of conference so be sure to budget accordingly.


Sometimes conferences have a general theme which makes it easy to highlight it as a ‘must attend’, but you really need to hone out the finer detail. Are there certain areas in which you want to grow your business or personal skills that you want to develop? Read what each of the talks are about, who is leading it, what they have to offer that you don’t already know. If you are going to spend money at a conference it’s best to make sure that they offer more than what you already have.

Conference factor theme
Conference factor Network


From speakers to exhibitors and clients, conferences can be a great way to meet people you want to learn from and/or do business with. Be sure to get the full list of companies who are exhibiting at the conference so you can weigh up if the list is one worth hitting. Some conferences also share the full attendee list in advance, so worth checking that also. Alternatively, you may have clients going to a conference, and this is a great way to reinforce a relationship. Make sure you arrange some face to face time with anyone you know is attending, this could be whilst at the conference or one of the social events.


Every conference should offer you a return in some way and this will depend on whether you are there to sell, buy or obtain knowledge. Be sure to identify some way of measuring the success of your time so you can see the return of going. But also set personal goals to meet new people outside your agenda. Maybe it’s something simple like collect 20 business cards a day, but you never know who you may meet at a conference so it is always good to network.

Conference factor ROI

Are there any more factors you think about when attending a conference? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know. Also, keep an eye on our twitter, linked in and facebook to see what conferences we are attending and be sure to SayHi.

Which MRX conferences will you be attending in 2017?

Which MRX conferences will you be attending in 2017?



With January well underway and the Jingle Bells of the holiday period a distant memory, the market research industry’s conference season is upon us. We curated a list of the upcoming MRX conferences in 2017. Seeing them all in one place helps us get a handle on the big picture and assess where we’re going to spend our time and money. We’re sharing the list with you in hopes it helps you do the same.  While we’re at it, let’s first look at a few reasons why they are important to attend.

So why attend a conference in the market research industry?

  1. Networking. We follow these people and companies on social media. We ‘thumbs up’ their updates, ‘heart’ their tweets and double tap their IGs. But nothing can beat a face to face meet encounter. When attending a conference be sure to line up some meetings in advance and mingle with people your new connections. We’ve found that some of our best client partnerships have been built on the foundation of an in-person meeting, or even a chance encounter during a networking session at a conference.
  2. Latest Trends. Whether it’s the latest VR technology that helps with your research or CRM software that makes things faster and safer, you will be guaranteed an in-depth demonstration from those in the know and also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
  3. Sharpen Your Saw. Whether it is a mix of being away from the desk and meeting industry peers, we always leave a conference being motivated and refreshed ready to take an inspired new approach to our job and the industry. This leads to happy employees and happy employers.

So which conference should you attend? Here is a helpful list of upcoming MRX conferences with clickable links if you want to find out more.

TMRE 2017 Conference
IIEX EU Conference
RR17 Conference
Casro 2017 Conference IILC
MRMW 2017 Conference

We will be attending different conferences throughout the year so be sure to keep an eye on our social media to see if we can arrange a face to face meeting. But you don’t have to wait until we meet at a conference to get the ball rolling, simply SayHi.