IIeXLA Recap — A Tale of Market Research and Startup Life

Week 2 at Zappistore, I found myself in familiar and yet completely new territory. The sights and smells of a bustling Latin American mega city, but one I had not yet been acquianted with. It was not long before I found my feet and was welcomed with a speeding taxi, corn from a street vendor, and ice cold bottles of Indio and Corona. Ah yes, welcome to Mexico City!

I was in Mexico City for the IIeX Latin America conference, as part of my initiation and emersion into the market research industry. What a way to do it as well, as over the course of two days I felt myself studying the issues facing the industry in my second language. It forces you to pause, and concentrate hard on what is being said. Helped by the excitement of the speakers, who almost in turn would provide snap shots of where we are follow up with what was possible, or where we are going. Those two days I learned a lot, met a host of exciting new people, and together we plotted the future (and relentless takeover) of the market research industry.

Though we missed the opening remarks (thanks to the world introducing us to a random art director from Spain as we sat down to breakfast) the first hour introduced us to Shane Skillen of Hotspex (thanks again for the shout out in your presentation Shane!) talking about how important it is to make an emotional connection with your market. Then fast forward to Alex Slater of Real Eyes, and their emotional recognition tool. There is something amazing about using facial recognition to understand what your audience is really feeling about your brand. Understanding the emotional connection is powerful, but being able to track it to a subconscious level through facial recognition is absolutely priceless.

There were so many talks that I took a lot from, and some incredible speakers such as the incredibly wise and insightful Laura Bight from GDV Group, Patricio Pagani of Infotools, Daniel Cunill (who’s talk I actually missed, but was a great person to meet none the less), Marcello Garritano and Xiomara Martin Maros presenting together from MESH Experience and Unilever respectively.

Wednesday afternoon and up stepped Mr. Ryan Barry from Zappistore, to deliver the future of market research, when good enough is really good enough, and how we at Zappistore use automation to provide data faster. The aim is to help people make better decisions faster. Use the technology that is at hand, get results fast, and iterate on your research. Thanks to Zappistore, market researchers gain agility in a fast paced world that was very quickly leaving their antiquated methods behind. It was no surprise that we were swarmed by researchers from every large company in the room.

Of course, a world class conference in Mexico being attended by a shit stirring little startup could not be complete without its tales of #startuplife. It all starts with using accomodation budget to send a new recruit to the conference and making up for it with an Air BnB. Great idea! We expected two beds, what we got was a bed and a folding couch, 5 feet long, to accomodate all 6 foot two of me. Our first night was a bit of a bonding session over some street food and a six pack of beer. Our second night involved the loss of just about everything, followed by a trip to the US Embassy the following day in hopes of getting a temporary passport. The last night of the conference involved dinner and drinks with potential partners and clients, a dive bar and way too many tequilas. True to startup life, you work hard, you play harder, and then you present to your partner hungover. You still get them excited, and you set yourself up for millions of dollars of opportunity through two people on both sides who are ready to take the industry by storm.

Through all the drama, the bonding both with my boss Ryan and across the industry, as well as the immense amount of information I consumed, inside two days, it really was a great conference. IIeX LA was fantastic, Mexico City is amazing, and the Latin American market researchers are ready to be at the forefront of new methods and new technologies that will help them drive their companies, and understand their consumers inside so many growing economies. We at Zappistore hear that loud and clear, and we are going to Latin America to leverage technology and make research relevant again.

Thanks to everyone who made the conference so amazing, from the ladies at Green Book for organizing and being so awesome when we needed help the most, to the new friends. So, to Carlos, Alex, Marcello, Dani, Rafael, Shane, Eric, Lauren, Emily, and of course Ryan. Salud!

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