by | Feb 10, 2017 | #mrx, Conferences |

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.

 

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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)

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.

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

SampleCon 2018