2020 Market Research Conference Speaker Gender Tracker #MRX #NewMR

This list shows the gender ratio of speakers at marketing research and related conferences during 2020.

These data are not 100% accurate. I am not always able to identify whether a speaker is male or female based on their name and/or photo, and online and printed programs don’t reflect last minute changes to the schedule. However, given that conference organizers want to project the most positive reflection of their conference program, I am assuming the available programs are within a reasonable margin of error. If you are able to provide more accurate numbers, I would be pleased and grateful to make corrections.

And yes, there is far more to diversity than gender. Diversity of age, ethnicity, ability/disability, sexuality, and more also matter. But gender is a start.

Please contribute: If you have a PDF or image of a conference program, even if it’s from 2015, email it to me so I can include the results in the list.

Let’s create the change we want to see.

2020 gender ratio chart

  • MRS Sports, UK, February, 7%
  • Insights CEO Summit, USA, January, 23%
  • MRMW, Amsterdam, June, 23%
  • CX Talks, Dallas, March, 25%

  • MRS Data analytics, London, February, 35%
  • ESOMAR, Lima, April, 39%
  • ARF Audience x Science, New York, April, 41%
  • IIeX, Amsterdam, March, 43%
  • MRS National Impact, London, March, 45%

  • NGCX, USA, March, 46%
  • ESOMAR DRIVE, Delhi, March, 48%
  • NGCX, California, March, 48%
  • ARF+SXSW, Texas, March, 50%
  • Insights Double Down, Las Vegas, February , 50%
  • Sysomos/Meltwater, London, March, 50%
  • Qualtrics experience summit, Salt Lake City, March, 53%
  • NewMR Festival, Virtual, March, 50%

  • QRCA, Texas , January, 62%
  • MRS Kids, UK, January, 68%
  • Advancing Research 2020, New York, March, 69%


How To Find Speakers

  • Women in Research logoBe part of the Women in Research 50/50 initiative and take advantage of their speaker database.
  • Review the speaker lists of other conferences.
  • Maybe you don’t need an experienced speaker. Maybe you need to give opportunity to a brand new speaker.
    • Use LinkedIn to connect with experts in the city where your conference will take place.
    • Use Twitter to connect with experts. I have bookmarked many lists of women who are experts in areas such as artificial intelligence, branding, data science, analytics, cyrpto, neuroscience and much more.
  • In addition, you can use the GenderAvenger toolkit to nominate conferences that are succeeding, take the GA Pledge, or call out conferences that need improvement.

Gender Ratios of Years Past:


I’m an individual market researcher in Canada: Which association should I join?

What’s up Canadian researchers! In recent weeks…

  • CRIC set out a statement of purpose and polices to help market research companies in Canada.
  • ESOMAR announced a partnership with CRIC to help individual researchers whose company’s are members of CRIC.

But what about students, academics, government employees, freelancers like me, and all the individual researchers from Canadian companies that aren’t members of CRIC? Where do these people turn?

Fortunately, I’ve helped provide a Canadian perspective to a lot of really great organizations over the years including:

  • ISO: I’ve been the Canadian Chair of the International Standards Association, TC 225: Market, Opinion, and Social Research committee since 2014
  • Insights Association: I was part of the MRA Research Advisory Board (2016), and worked on the MRA/IMRO Guide to the Top 16 Social Media Research Questions (2010)
  • ESOMAR: I helped with the ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline on Social Media Research (2017), ESOMAR 24 Questions for Social Media Research (2010), ESOMAR Guide to Market Research (2016)
  • AAPOR: I helped AAPOR with the planning group for council on diversity (2016), national conference planning (2018), board nominations (2015), conference code of conduct (2017)

In other words, I’ve seen first hand that these associations have decades of experience in promoting high quality standards and ethics in our industry and have been longtime supporters of the Canadian industry as well.

You will be extremely well served as an individual member of one of these four associations.

  1. AAPOR: If you’re an academic, polling geek, or into social and political research, this is a great association for you. Even better, their annual conference will be in Toronto this May. I’m helping them organize the chapter event!
  2. ESOMAR: If you conduct research around the world or want to stay in touch with what’s new and amazing in countries beyond our borders, look no further. Esomar is a great choice for you even if your company is not a member of CRIC.
  3. Insights Association: If much of your work is conducted in North America, why not say a howdy hello to our neighbours to the south sharing the same time zone as us!
  4. QRCA: Oh quallies, you’ve built something amazing here. If you’re a quallie and not already a member, correct that mistake post haste!

There are, of course, other options. But before jumping into one, do your homework. Make sure the association and association leaders you choose have a solid foundation and proven track record of promoting high standards and ethical behaviours, and are viewed as gold-standard providers by our industry leaders.

If you aren’t sure which association is right for you, talk to several of your clients or research providers. Find out which associations they know and trust. And if you’re still stuck, I’d be happy to help you out. Send me a quick message.

[Side note: MRIA-TT progress is slow. We don’t yet have an option to add to the above list.]

Insights Association Paradigm Shift: Chris Whitaker, Explorer Research; Steve Olsen, Nestle; Maja Neale, BMO

My notes. Any errors are my own.


Better Behaviour Predictions Through Better Behaviour Testing by Chris Whitaker, Explorer Research

Traditional research plus non-conscious research = richer insights

People don’t automatically remember the details of every shopping trip or why they made their decisions.

Recall is not a reliable measure of real shopping.

When we get a new job, we plan the entire route as soon as we can. But a year later, we just don’t think about it. We can arrive without even realizing how we got there. Planning takes up a lot of energy and time so we remove that over time. Decisions must become easier over time and this comes from using the unconscious mind.

People inflate recall, purchase.

Only 60% of brand purchases are recalled correctly. Eye-tracking knows precisely what you bought.

Only 48% of people recall the flavour or variety purchased. Only 27% recall the size correctly. Dollars spent are recalled 50% higher. Time spent is remembered as twice as long as actual. Brand noticed first is only correctly answered by 4% of people. Eye-tracking tells you exactly what they looked at first. And what was second and how long for each one.

Context influences behaviour.

What happens when you buy a whole case of wine because it’s the best wine ever but then you discover it’s not as great as what you thought when you first tried it with your friends at a beautiful winery.

TV ads are recalled a bit more than online ads. Purchase intent is about the same. However, biometrics are quite different. Online is 30% more engaging. Engagement plus distractions is three times better for online ads.

People say they seek price first but we rarely go through a list of needs, we just buy what we always buy.

Consumers idealize their behaviours.

We need to use behavioural measurements. VR, shopper labs, AI, eye-tracking, facial coding, mobile measurement.

In situation testing is more predictive and it can be timely and cost effective.

Yesterday and Today – The Nestle Canada Story by Steve Olsen, Nestle

Appreciating nuances vs clinging to arbitrary benchmarks. A slightly lower score isn’t “didn’t hit the hurdle,” it’s a discussion point.

We need to value feelings as much as facts. Get in front of consumers and talk to them, bring the experience to life, experience reality.

What we can do differently

Be more collaborative and less transactional with research partners. Together, you can avoid rabbit holes. It’s okay to show things that aren’t fully finished. This ensures you get to the right solution more quickly and easily.

Try new tools and techniques

Think about discrete choice, implicit testing. Remember that the most a consumer has thought about your product is probably during the minute you mention the name to them.

Prioritize foundational research

U&As can be used multiple times over the years and when combined with new information can still reveal insights.

Expand expertise and influence beyond just research

Build a culture of learning throughout the organization. Become better influencers and presenters.

Continuous learning and inspiration

Go to conferences outside your specific area. Go to an academic conference, a marketing conference, design conferences. It can inspire you in your own work.

Suppliers need deeper business understanding. Be curious for context. Seek senior level face time. Be able to synthesize and integrate knowledge from other industries.

Develop interdisciplinary expertise, especially the social sciences. But recognize when you’re not the expert or when your tools aren’t as precise as you want them to be or when they can’t do what you want them to do.

Develop new technology capabilities. Consider user design and interfacing. Consider automation with customization. Figure out if you can scale what was previously unscalable, e.g., text analytics, picture classification.

Experiment with data and methods. Helpful for thought leadership speaking at conferences. Helpful for turning trials into subscriptions. Quantify the risk for potential clients.

Massive Marketing shift – How BMO Created a More Data Driven Business by Maja Neale, BMO

Brand challenges

Changing demographics, personal and privacy paradox, new media channels, interruption marketing. We need to maintain relevancy, measure investments, integrate across all channels, and rethink the way we market.

Banks have a responsibility to respect consumer data. But consumers expect what they receive to be tailored.

Trends in insights gathering.

Tech-based companies are growing. Self-serve DIY solutions are being rapidly adopted. Data integration across behavioural and company data is increasing. Demand to quantity financial value of insights is increasing.

Most companies sit between analysis and predictive rather than applying predictive knowledge to dictate behaviours necessary now.

Try to create micro-level results, e.g., tell each bank branch precisely how to improve their branch. There is sufficient transactional data to make this happen.

DO SOMETHING is the key important take away for any research. Once you have the data, act on it with the aim to improve.

Integration, automation, and real-time are key to using and applying insights.

Insights Association Paradigm Shift: James Lachno and Nicholas Boles, Edelman; Hilary Borndahl, Kantar, and Nick Necsulescu, World Vision Canada; Ian Ash, Dig Insights Inc.


My notes. Any errors are my own. Make sure to read Ian’s at the bottom, nicely insightful.

Why Digital Data is the Fuel you Need to Make Fire Content, By James Lachno and Nicholas Boles, Edelman

74% of people avoid advertising.

Relatability is twice as important as popularity.

Audiences are now in control [i use multiple ad blockers, VPNs, and privacy browsers]

We need to always be relevant and valuable. We need channel agnostic stories. We need to be creative at the core.

The Story Planning Cycle

Identify your three or four key audiences. “Beats” as you might call them in journalism. Create a brief for each audience. What do people search for when they’re part of one of these audiences. What are the search and news trends on a seasonal level for these audiences. Conduct a collaborative content plan to be focused on the needs that are relevant to each audience. Build content, and decide on who, what, when, where to publish. Measure when people actually search for the various types of content to identify earned, organic engagement.

Going Viral Using Real Time Data

Need to recognize when a real time event could become a viral sensation that is in line with the business. E.g., #DartGuy smoking cessation.


  • Bake data mining in your strategic processes.
  • Collaboration is King
  • Bring clients on the journey with you
  • Speed is better than perfection [oh, remember the last speaker said that too!]
  • Don’t self censor

Unlocking ROI Through Advancements in Analytics, By Hilary Borndahl, Kantar, and Nick Necsulescu, World Vision Canada

Started the presentation by having audience log into menti.com: 42 57 80, a live voting website used throughout the presentation. [where I voted for “cat” about 300 times. Really nice live charts and word clouds based on our inputs. But it does draw attention away from the presentation.]

Marketers want balanced measurement but skew towards short-term tactics. Many feel they are leaving opportunity on the table.

Channel strategy and media tactics need to be tailored to address business objectives.

Drivers of ROI on TV media: Creative is huge, followed by market buy.

Niche brands are taking over the jobs that used to be done by key players.

Case study

2.3 million conversations evaluated. Ordered the data by brands, products, lifestyle, benefits, product features, and more

Brand by location was of key importance. Correspondence analysis identified opportunity gaps in the context of trends. They built a creative content strategy around these moments in time – celebration and togetherness.

Machine learning and AI need to be integrated earlier into the process. Look at data second by second to predict branding, impact, facial coding emotion.

World Vision tested 14 creatives using AI/machine learning. AI traces KPI scores over a video duration to see impact of each creative. The model shows which ads have impact, generate spikes, where the spikes occur. Included a few ads that have been previously evaluated in a traditional form. Results correlated highly with models. Awareness was the only metric that did not correlate.

Love Can Do Anything was the winning ad.


Stuck in the Middle with You, by Ian Ash, Dig Insights Inc.

“Feel free to disagree with me or be offended.” 🙂

The world used to look like this: Automated/DIY, mainstream MR, high end custom, analytics/big data, strategy consultants.

Now the middle is squeezed: automated DIY and strategy consultants are squashing out the rest.

Strategy companies are on a buying spree. Automated companies are getting all the funding – Zappi, voxpop, qualtrics, surveymonkey

Private equity is throwing money at scalable companies.

SMall companies are competitive with companies that don’t have to generate profit – they just have to have a path to profit. So the small/medium companies suffer.

More consolidation is on the way.

Expect mainstream MR to buy automated/DIY companies.

Automated DIY will compete more directly with mainstream MR.

End clients are starting to buy analytics firms – McDonalds, Visa, Unilever have all bought analytics firms.

AI is the seasoning salt of software. Everyone says they have it, most actually do not.

AI is for prediction models, determining sample sizes, codon open end responses, statistical analyses, finding insights.

Merged data creates holistic approaches. Including sales and volition perditions, segment prediction models, price elasticity models, product optimization.

Blockchain allows buyers to interact directly with individuals. Protests privacy, incentives accuracy, creates fair compensation, provides data usage and payment transparency.

How to compete.

We all need to have automated methods. Develop data science capabilities. Increase customer service. Partner with digital ad agencies. Used merged data approaches with API integrations.

Insights Association Paradigm Shift: Ashik Bhat, Labatt Breweries of Canada; Andrew Go, Home Depot


My notes. Any errors are my own.

Sales Force of the Future

By Ashik Bhat, Labatt Breweries of Canada

  • The goal is for 80% of the plan to be perfect and then move at 100% speed
  • In the beer industry, any brand can replace another brand. You need your brand to be irreplaceable.
  • You need to understand the role your brand plays in consumers’ lives.
  • How do you become indispensable? Understand retailer challenges and partner with them to meet those needs. Understand consumer challenges with the beer category. Understand the sales team’s challenges.
  • Retailers: Retailers want to drive traffic or put more people in the seats.Alternatively, have people buy a more expensive product.
  • Consumers: Beer category is cluttered and disorganized. We must help consumers navigate this category. We need to make the choice easy. We need to educate people about beer, pairings, history without adding time to their day.
  • Sales team: They need to be more efficient. They need insights created in a customized way for their hyper-location, their market.
    • Using AI to drive account level assortment insights. Used stats can data, transactional data, sales output data, correlated with hyper-local geography. This data is updated weekly with new sales data. This helped retailers optimize their SKU and brand assortment which drives volume and incrementality. They can trade brands in or out appropriate. It also drives traffic. Ensures the right brands are listed in the right places – premium beers in the right places, light beers in the right places. And, this saved time. Data is fast, efficient, and relevant.
    • Sales grew 0.5% in a flat business and net promoter score is 9.3.
  • Consumer challenges
    • In other example, the retailers struggled to convert traffic into basket building. Conducted shop-alongs and learned navigation was a problem. Pricing wasn’t clear. Products were ordered by SKU or type, not brand. As a result, they implemented brand blocking. Also, people wanted cold beer but they didn’t want to enter a cold room. This problem was fixed with refrigeration. Finally, they ensured prices were clear fro every product. They added a blackboard that was colour coded with information about the beer so people were more knowledgeable.
    • Drove punches 8% and premium segment grew 1.7%. Shopping experience improved 50%.
  • Conclusions
    • Be business leaders, not just consumer experts.
    • Think about the customer AND the consumer: the retailer/store and the consumer. Both have challenges to face and solve.
    • Democratize data and insights so they are easily digestible. 15 graphs are not digestible. Be a story teller, not a data described.
    • Push past delivering research and focus on driving action through insights and data.

    One Home Depot: One Team, One Dream by Andrew Go, Home Depot

    • Aspiration is to be number one and most trusted home renovation store in the world.
    • People regularly shop on the website first before going to the store. The website is not for e-commerce, but rather the first part of the customer journey, to inform customers about what they might need to buy.
    • Analytics begin with raw unprocessed data, then structuring data into reporting, then contextualizing information to support insights, then tools to apply those insights.
    • Used three years of data to conducting basket analysis. Created a self-serve dashboard and insights were applied to assortment planning, planogramming, and marketing. Then recommendation algorithms. This allows you to stitch together all different aspects of the shopping journey into the holistic unified journey. Being PIPEDA compliant all the way.
    • This allows product classifications, supports anomaly detection, and supports competitive pricing. Need to make real time decisions to detect pricing errors, underpriced items, and overpriced items.
    • The data helps with onsite search. The website needs to learn the names used by consumers not names used by industry experts. It also helps with product rankings – filters need to be appropriate for category, for customer preferences. Need to take price and speed off the consideration set in the fulfillment process.
    • Marketing messaging also benefits. If they know you’ve bought a BBQ, they can offer BBQ covers or tools rather than promoting another BBQ.
    • Set up cues based on geography and weather – e.g., snow blowers need to be advertised in fall not in the middle of winter.
    • There are new data sources everyday that need to be unlocked.
    • Start with the “Why.” Focus on insights, solving problems for customers. Be sure to collaborate and avoid silos.

    Four companies that leveraged their employees’ unique skills to build successful, purpose-led brands

    Read the original post on the Sklar Wilton & Associates website

    Depending on your perspective, someone who is blind, autistic, or has Down Syndrome has disadvantages and challenges in life. Participating in normal life experiences designed for non-disabled and neurotypical people can be annoying or difficult. In a previous post, we talked about how some retailers are designing their services to better suit customers who are disabled. In this post, we flip the tables and instead share examples of purpose-led companies that designed their services and processes to better suit employees who are disabled.

    O.Noir is a Toronto restaurant that offers fine dining. But, most customers don’t visit it solely for the food. They go for the experience of wdining in the dark (guests are asked to turn off phones and watches that might emit light), and the accompanying heightened sense of taste it offers. More importantly, the restaurant employs people who are uniquely skilled to manoeuvre around guests balancing trays of food and drinks in pitch-black rooms. The servers at O.Noir are blind or visually impaired. In employing these uniquely skilled people, the restaurant helps them develop customer service and business skills that ultimately help prepare them for the mainstream job market. And, the company donates a percentage of profits to organizations that serve the visually impaired. O.Noir has a clear purpose and they act on it in multiple dimensions. 

    The Rising Tide Car Wash company aims to “provide the highest quality car wash experience in America by employing the best people.” How do they do that? They “put potential to work” by employing professionals who have autism, people who have unique skills that enhance the business and make it successful. In contrast with neurotypical people, autistic people are more likely to enjoy following very specific and repetitive processes over a long time, something that is necessary for cleaning and detailing vehicles day after day, month after month. As a result of their hiring plan, the company can offer a higher quality of service and they in turn benefit from lower turnover. So far, Rising Tide has hired 92 associates with autism. They’ve even devoted significant energy into encouraging other businesses to do the same via their road maps for entrepreneurs who want to empower and employ people who have autism.

    John’s Crazy Socks is an online business with a purpose led mission to spread happiness by offering socks people love, making the experience personal, providing inspiration and hope, and giving back. Led by John Cronin, who has Down syndrome, the company is staffed by people who have different abilities. In addition to their main business of selling socks, the company works to spread the word about what people can do through videos, school tours, and work groups, and by speaking at conferences, graduations, business meetings, and other events. In addition to John, the company leaders also advocate for changes in law and policy to support the rights of people with differing abilities to work and earn a living. John’s business has been so successful that, in June 2019, he won the prestigious Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 New York award, the first person with Down Syndrome to ever win. Having and acting on a clear purpose has directly led to their success. 

    Larger companies like Procter and Gamble have also embraced a mission of inclusion. P&G created a People with Disabilities (PwD) group to support employees who have disabilities. They also work with university recruiting teams to hire people who have disabilities. In fact, one of their manufacturing plants has a department where more than 40% of the employees have a disability, and they intend to expand the model to other sites. In 2014, P&G was recognized by DiversityInc as the #2 company for People with Disabilities.

    These are just four examples of companies that have put purpose and people on par with, or ahead of, profit. The winning outcome comes from recognizing and acting on the needs of customers, employees, and employers.

    For customers, the company offers a unique experience that shrinks the world just a little bit. At the same time as offering a needed product or service, the process of obtaining that service helps customers gain insight into the world of someone who has a very different life experience. Customers know they’re supporting a purpose-led company that is improving people’s lives.

    For employees, the company offers inclusion. Workers gain valuable business management and customer service skills. They build their resumes. And, they too can feel good about providing needed services and being part of a purpose-led company.

    For employers, they benefit from the unique, relevant skills their employees offer which make the business successful. They can also feel good that being purpose-led provides employment to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

    Purpose and culture create successful businesses. It’s a win, win, win situation.

    How being quiet can be your company’s loudest marketing strategy

    Read the original post on the Sklar Wilton & Associates website

    If you went into a Sobeys store at the right time on the right day, you’d notice something very odd.

    You’d notice how quiet it is.

    No public announcements. No scanner sounds. No carts being noisily collected. The lights are dim. It’s eerily peaceful and relaxing.

    For some people, the quiet is a nice change from the regular loud and bright experience of shopping. But for other people, this is the only time they ever get to experience shopping. For some people on the autism spectrum, the regular noise and lights are far too overwhelming for them to ever step foot in a store. You can get a tiny feel for what that experience is like in the video, Carly’s Café – Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes. The quiet environment that Sobeys is offering is their one opportunity to take part in a basic activity that most people do without thinking.

    In partnership with autism Nova Scotia, Sobeys originally launched their Sensory Friendly Shopping program in several east coast Canada locations. After a lot of very positive feedback from their targeted audience, as well as many other people, they announced that the program will soon expand across Canada.

    Safeway has also begun to implement sensory friendly shopping times, as has No Frills which has gone so far as to ask their employees not to wear scents during that time. Both Safeway and No Frills have also received very positive feedback from their customers and intend to expand their programs.

    But the quiet doesn’t stop there. Where else is it quiet?

    In movie theatres. Yes, the same places known for decibel readings regularly over 90 and sometimes over 100 (below 85 is deemed reasonably safe).

    Theatres like AMC and Cineplex are also screening movies with lower volumes and dimmed lighting which may be more amenable to people on the Autism spectrum.

    However, the movie theatres have expanded their target audience further. In some cases, they are also offering change tables, bottle warmers, and stroller parking making it easier for caregivers of babies and toddlers to enjoy movies in the theatre. Now moms, grandpas, aunts, and nephews can bring baby to the theatre without worrying about harming their hearing or annoying the rest of the theatre crowd with the unpredictability of a young one. At these theatres, everyone has informally agreed to the social contract that someone, maybe even their own child, might start screaming or running around at any moment – and that’s okay.

    Creating a quiet sensory experience for people on the spectrum or people with babies is an acknowledgment that everyone is different, and that it is possible and appropriate to create retail and service environments where everyone can enjoy an experience. It’s also a reminder of the philosophy that what benefits group of people might actually benefit other larger groups of people.

    Sensory friendly supermarkets and movie theatres benefit groups of people who need calm surroundings. For example, around 2% of Canadians fall on the Autism Spectrum, around 2% of Canadians have Alzheimer’s or dementia, about 5% of Canadians deal with anxiety, and around 7% of Canadians experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Having a quiet place for them to shop is an overt display of and respect for inclusion.

    Knowing who your consumer is means knowing all of your consumers, not just the majority of people who are able to enjoy your products and services in the same way that you do. And, accommodating for those unique needs means you’ve created opportunities to surprise and delight new, unknown target audiences.


    Ready to learn more? Learn how we helped Saint Elizabeth gain a stronger understanding of their target audience and launch a meaningful new brand for healthcare caregivers. Or, download our Triple C™ framework for a template that will help you develop strategies and tactics that are beneficial for the consumer, the customer, and the company.

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    Marketing Mary Jane: Innovating in a White Space Consumer Category

    Read the original post on the Sklar Wilton & Association website

    In 2001, medical marijuana became legal in Canada. People dealing with cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, hepatitis, arthritis, anxiety, stress, depression, pain, and many more serious, long-term ailments had the choice of one more treatment option.

    Now more than 18 years later, medical, social, and government personnel have gained a wealth of experience creating regulations and generating in-market data about the health benefits and drawbacks of cannabis.

    With that information in his back pocket, Justin Trudeau ran his 2015 campaign for Prime Minister of Canada on a platform that included legal personal use of cannabis. The Trudeau government prepared the Cannabis Act in early 2017 which was well received by 63% of Canadians. And, on October 17, 2018, cannabis was legalized for personal use in Canada to huge acclaim as you can see in the Google Trends chart. Cannabis instantly became the definition of marketing white space in Canada.

    A blank canvas rarely happens in marketing. Typically, marketing white space refers to gaps in the marketplace where:

    • the needs of one segment of consumers are not being met. Though many products may exist, compete for share of wallet, and serve the needs of various target groups, they might not serve the needs of THAT target group. Perhaps there isn’t a sandwich for vegans or the new homes aren’t accessible for people who have mobility issues.
    • there are gaps in a product line. For example, even if there are many flavours of tea, an orange flavored option might be missing.
    • there is little to no competition. Perhaps one brand of grass seed perfected the production and logistical requirements, weeding out all the competitive brands.

    However, in the case of cannabis, the white space was the result of legislation that required that corner of the marketplace to be left completely bare. Suddenly, the white space was available for the taking to whomever could innovate and market most effectively.

    In most cases of white space innovation, there is some precedent for the marketing team to work with. In the first three scenarios, marketers could learn which marketing tactics and strategies had failed or succeeded from other brands, SKUs, companies, and similar categories and selectively choose the ones that would be more likely to succeed for them.

    However, cannabis had no competitive brands, SKUs, other companies, or even similar categories to learn from in Canada. When it comes to white space, we must be blunt. Cannabis took the cake. Or the brownie.

    So how can brands effectively market white space products when there are few to no precedents for comparison? Let’s hash it out.

    1. Ignore your existing business model. Most companies have templated processes for every aspect of their business including product development, marketing, manufacturing, logistics, customer relations, and more. When working towards white space innovation, cast aside your preconceived notions of things ought to work and how they’ve always worked. These pre-existing templates often hinder innovative ideas and prevent the creation of positive solutions.
    2. Know what you’re selling: Marketing cannabis isn’t as simple as proclaiming to people in Canada that you finally have a long-awaited product for sale. Just as Four Seasons and Lexus sell status and luxury, cannabis companies must identify whether they are selling marijuana, socializing with friends, life enhancers, relaxation, experimentation, or something else. Once their brand mission has been identified, they will be able to unlock the difference the brand will make in consumers’ lives, align their culture among cross-functional teams, and have clarity and alignment to a view of the future.
    3. Know your audience: The fact that recreational cannabis is now legal for every adult in Canada does not mean that the target audience is every adult in Canada. Some adults are against the product for personal moral reasons. Others don’t want to risk potential side effects. Some are curious to try it just for fun, and still others are desperate to use it in their attempts to ease the pain of debilitating ailments. Good marketers will recognize there could be many, very different segments within the population, and that they need to identify and understand the unique attributes of the segments they intend to target.
    4. Know what you do well: As with any product or service, being successful comes back to knowing what you do well and focusing your energy there. Four Seasons focuses on and excels with luxury hospitality, not budget overnight stays. Golf Town focuses on and excels with products for golfers, not athletes. And Adidas focuses on and excels with athletic shoes, clothing and accessories, not hockey skates. Identify what you do well and focus there.

    Converting white space to successful innovation is a dope process. When you’re ready to find our white space, we’d love to help.


    Ready to learn more? Download the Sklar Wilton Plan on a Page for a template that will help you bring together all elements of the marketing plan on one page – from who to win with all the way through to measuring success. Or, learn how we helped Molson Coors better understand consumer segments and develop a winning portfolio strategy with sustainable growth.

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    My essential list of 120 inspiring, educational, and human-operated #MRX Twitter accounts

    I’m pretty good about curating my Twitter account to be relevant to me and current. When accounts go dormant, the author switches their career, or there’s too much promotion, I unfollow (or mute) those accounts. Given that, the people I follow are at least somewhat active tweeters within the marketing research, polling, data, statistics, visualization, VR, and AI industries.

    Within that set, however, there is a core group of people who inspire, teach, or make me rethink what I thought I knew. If you’re looking for the same, may I suggest following every single person on the list below. For quicker following, go right to my Twitter list: https://twitter.com/LoveStats/lists/my-essential-mrx-peeps/members. This list is always changing as I occasionally find new gems.

    I also follow a bunch of unrelated, fun accounts so if you want to know what tickles my fancy outside of research (mudlarking, archeology, birds, horrid jokes), have a peek here: https://twitter.com/LoveStats/lists/off-topic-fun

    (((Adam Korengold))) @akorengold  Insight generator, PRC.
    Adriana Rocha @adricrocha  CEO at eCGlobal, the creator of http://eCGlobal.com , a social network that helps brands & consumers to collaborate and make better data-driven decisions.
    Andrew Kohut @AndrewKohut1  Founding Director, Pew Research Center
    Andrew Reid @reidandrew  CEO of Rival Technologies | Founder of Vision Critical | Entrepreneur • Innovator • Investor • Husband • Dad • Adventurer
    Andrew Vincent @Waves05  Childlike curiosity, insight practitioner, consultant and trainer. Waves on twitter: no blog just 140 characters of opinion (and NOT 280, LESS not MORE).
    andrewjeavons @andrewjeavons  text analytics, software development, psychology, cat wrangler and silversmith.
    Angus Reid @AngusReid  Chair, Angus Reid Institute, Angus Reid Forum. Passionate about public views on the issues of our times. Prepared to put my own spin on the unfolding dynamic.
    Angus Reid @Reid_Angus  Exec Chair @Visioncritical; lifetime pollster @angusreidglobal
    Ariel Edwards-Levy @aedwardslevy  Reporter and polling editor @HuffPostPol, covering politics/public opinion. LA native, USC alum, perpetually in search of a pithier Twitter bio. I like puns.
    Ashley Kirzinger @AshleyKirzinger  Associate Director for Public Opinion and Survey Research at @kaiserfamfound. Also: @AAPOR’s Transparency Init, #womenalsopoll Elder Millennial. She/Her. Ph.D.
    Barb Justason @barbjustason  Pollster follows only active accounts: #Vancouver #VanPoli #BCpoli #Civic #Urban. Justason Market Intelligence & Vancouver Focus®.
    Barry Watson @bwatson_erg  President and CEO at Environics Research
    Ben Page, Ipsos MORI @benatipsosmori  Chief Exec at Ipsos MORI, Visiting Professor at Kings College London https://www.ipsos-mori.com . Trustee at @centreforlondon and @Ageing_Better
    Betty Adamou @BettyAdamou  CEO & Founder @RTG_Ltd Author: Games & Gamification in Market Research http://amzn.to/2LI2H5m  SeriousGame designer. Inventor of ResearchGames™. Keynote speaker
    Brian F. Singh @BFSingh  Catalyst/Strategist/Data scientist. Angel investor, food/wine aficionado & (tries to be) decent guy. They/Them.
    Bruno Moynié @BrunoMoynie  Ethnographer-filmmaker, inclined to storytelling. Blues & Stinky cheeses lover.
    Carol Fitzgerald @carolfitzgerald  President & CEO of @BuzzBack #MRX
    Caroline Criado Perez @CCriadoPerez  Lobbyist for Big Vagina. Author of INVISIBLE WOMEN. UK publicist: @lucietwiggs US publicist: publicity[at]http://abramsbooks.com . Agent: tbohan[at]http://wylieagency.co.uk .
    Cathy Harrison @VirtualMRX  Insights & Market Intelligence Professional: Creative, skilled, & methodologically agnostic. Holistic approach to exploring complex business concerns #MRX #PMP
    Claire Durand @clairedurand  Professeur, dept. de sociologie, U de Montréal; Sondages/ Survey research; Méthodes quantitatives/ Quantitative methods; CECD-CSDC; Past President, WAPOR.
    Dan Ariely @danariely  Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics
    Dan Foreman @winifredatwell  https://www.linkedin.com/in/dforeman
    Dan Womack @DanWomack  Insights, strategy and innovation guy. Fan of meaningful change, informed decisions & vinyl records. #MRX
    Danielle Todd @DanielleDDTodd  Account Director @wearerelish. London @WomenInResearch lead. Love great brands that do good, feminism, boxing and wine.
    Data Science Renee @BecomingDataSci  Creator/Host of Becoming a Data Scientist Podcast // @DataSciGuide @DataSciLearning @NewDataSciJobs // Personal acct: @paix120 // Data Scientist at @HelioCampus
    David Dutwin @DDutwin  Its all about the method – EVP/Chief Methodologist at @ssrs_research
    David F. Harris @David_F_Harris  David does training and consulting on questionnaire design and research planning. Author of the book, The Complete Guide to Writing Questionnaires.
    David Stark @davidstarkca  Widowed dad, road safety advocate, privacy officer in financial services industry. Co-founded Friends and Families for Safe Streets. #ffsafestreets
    Diana Lucaci @dianalucaci  Founder, CEO at True Impact. We humanize the customer and drive growth with consumer neuroscience research.
    Diane Hessan @DianeHessan  Entrepreneur, author & angel investor. Founder/Chair of C Space, Boston Globe Columnist, lover of all things baseball & politics. Mom to 2 fabulous daughters.
    Director of Global Attitudes Research @pewresearch Jenny C @Jenny_Census
    Dr Liz Allen @DrDemography  Demographer | Demography, populations, surveys, data, methods, census. Educator, researcher.
    Dydra Virgil @dhvirgil  25 years marketing research experience (qual & quant). Skilled moderator. MBA, Wake Forest University BA Economics, UNC at Chapel Hill
    Edward Tufte @EdwardTufte  Statistician,visualizer,artist, professor. Founded Graphics Press, Hogpen Hill Farms, ET Modern Gallery
    Edward @Edward04  Consumer Insights Manager based in Berlin
    Elina Halonen @SquarePegMind  Consumer behaviour specialist | Neurodivergent | Cross-cultural psychologist
    Elizabeth Moore @ms_lizzie  Analyst wrangler, insights professional at Telstra. Choral singer. Lover of classical music, opera, skiing and my family. Opinions my own.
    eric salama @ericsalama  ceo of @kantar, leader in global #marketresearch insights and consulting and part of @wpp. governor of @birkbeckUoL dad, arsenal supporter
    Finn01 @Finn01  Director General, ESOMAR
    Fiona Blades @FionaMESH  Founder & Chief Experience Officer of MESH – The Experience Agency.
    Frank Graves @VoiceOfFranky  Frank Graves is the president and founder of EKOS Research Associates. Views here are personal and not those of EKOS Research .
    Gian Fulgoni @gfulgoni  Former Chairman & CEO and Co-Founder, comScore. Digital Media, Digital Commerce, Market Research, IRI, Sports, Porsche, Pittsburgh Steelers
    griffinsc @griffinsc  Passionate supporter of young creatives and artists, especially in theater.
    Hilary Mason @hmason  GM for Machine Learning at @Cloudera. Founder at @FastForwardLabs. Data Scientist in Residence at @accel. I
    Howard Fienberg @hfienberg  VP Advocacy for @InsightsMRX and co-director of @CensusProject … tweeting on Hockey, lobbying, sci-fi, horror and #mrx
    Ilka Kuhagen @ilkakuhagen  Award Winning Qualitative Research Consultant: Insight | Innovation | Consulting
    Its all about the method – EVP/Chief Methodologist at @ssrs_research Andrew Kohut @AndrewKohut1
    Jacqueline Rousseau-Anderson @jaranderson  Passionate exec turned strategist who loves helping people get sh*t done.
    Jane Frost @JaneFrostMRS  Chief Executive Officer at MRS – the world’s largest research association. Experienced marketer, and champion of all things research. All views are my own.
    Jean-Marc Leger @JeanMarcLeger1  Président de la firme de sondages Léger, la plus importante firme de sondages et recherche marketing à propriété canadienne.
    Jeffrey Henning @JHenning  Executive director of the MRII, providing continuing education to market researchers worldwide. ~I mark quotes edited to fit Twitter with tildes.~
    Jen Romano-Bergstrom @romanocog  Experimental Psychologist; UX Research Director @Bridgewater; Coach; @UXPA_Int Board Mem; Author of ‘Eye Tracking in UX Design’ & ‘Usability Testing of Surveys’
    Jenny C @Jenny_Census  I’m a Research Psychologist for the US Census Bureau. Views expressed here are my own!
    Joaquim Bretcha @jbretcha  ESOMAR President | Netquest International | Mindprober advisor | HealhtusNepal co-founder #mrx #dataanalytics #connector #communicator
    John Crockett @JohnCMRP  modern market researcher who spends too much time talking sports with his dog
    John D. Willis @TOjohnw  Inclusive design in services. organizations, and markets. Current work in social service modernization. All tweets are my own opinions.
    John Kearon @ChiefJuicer  Founder & CEO of System1 Group PLC [formerly BrainJuicer]
    John Wright @JohnWrightLive  30 yrs polling. 40 yrs Public Affairs Communications. Demography. Commentator. Pundit. Political Observer. Absolutely Non Partisan. 3 Bestseller Canadian Books.
    johngriffiths7 @johngriffiths7  explorer planner and researcher Planning Above and Beyond Research Liberation Front and Waggledancers are all social objects I am linked to
    Jon Cohen @jcpolls  chief research officer @surveymonkey. x-@washingtonpost, @pewresearch @ABCNews, @PPICNotes, @Accenture. Suffering @CalAthletics fan; x-suffering @warriors fan
    Jon Puleston @jonpuleston  Vice President Innovation Kantar Profiles division, specialising in the design & development of interactive surveys & online research innovation
    Julie K @julie1research  Market strategy & research for F500 tech, platform, fin tech, media, e-commerce brands. Amplifier, listener, socializer, spotter, friend #MRX, #NGMR #NewMR ENTJ
    Justine Bulgar-Medina @Bulgar_Medina  Survey Researcher. Sociologist. Researcher @ NORC. #Northeastern alumna. Amateur chef. Bibliophile. And, an overall geek.
    KARENE SMITH @ShineyInsights  Leading the creative & efficient insights geekery at Shine Insight – an alternative insights agency. #MRX #visualstorytelling #dataviz #marketresearch
    Kathryn Korostoff @ResearchRocks  I get to work with 9 instructors and 100+ consultants, and all of us are aiming for the same thing: advancing customer insights through research excellence.
    Kathy Doyle @DoyleResearch  Innovative qualitative research. We are experienced, curious, smart and strategic.
    Katie Clark @InsightsGal  Market researcher, digital storyteller, life hacker, productivity nerd, #twinmom, adoption advocate
    Kerry Hecht @Kerryhecht  Mom of a human and three dogs. Lifelong market researcher and CEO/Founder of Echo MR
    Kevin Gray @kevinsgray999  Andrew Vincent @Waves05
    KJ @kristajoyce1114  kicking and screaming
    Kristen Olson @olson_km  Survey Methodologist by profession. Sociologist by choice.
    Kristen Soltis Anderson @KSoltisAnderson  Polls at @echeloninsights, host on @siriusxm POTUS Ch + @thepollsters + writes for @washingtonexaminer
    Kristin Anderson @kanders32  Customer Insights professional in the Women’s Retail Apparel sphere. Curiosity driven. Sometimes athletic, always enthusiastic. All views my own.
    Kristin Luck @kristinluck  Serial #entrepreneur turned advisor & #growth strategist. Data monetization pro. Latest project @scale_house. Passion project: @womeninresearch
    Kristof De Wulf @kristofdewulf  Co-founder & CEO @InSites l Empowering people to shape the future of brands l @TEDx talker I Former @Vlerick professor I #mrx #insight #innovation #cx #custexp
    Laura Davies @lauramdavies  Researcher, marketer, pollster, online community builder & non-profit campaigner, living it up in Essex, but homes away from home in Canada & India. Views own!
    Laurent Flores @laurentflores  #Entrepreneur #Digital #Marketing #Analytics #Professor of Marketing #Author #Sailor
    Layla Shea @UpwordsInsights  Chief Insights Officer and founder of Upwords. Curious about everything.
    Leonard Murphy @lennyism  Thinker, Doer, Leader, Advisor, Investor. Insight innovation junkie. Dad to 5 and proud uber-geek.
    Lisa Horwich @PallasResearch  B2B Researcher | Strategist | Marketer | Moderator | Martial Arts Enthusiast
    Lisa Wilding-Brown @WildingBrown  Lisa Wilding-Brown
    LKHDavison @lkhdavison  Founder, MD @keenasmustard marketing agency for data, research and insight. Formerly @keenasmustard now me. Fan of Radio4 and tea, builder’s please
    Marcello Sasso @marcellosasso  VP, Aimpoint Research, Market Research Thought Leader
    Mario Canseco @mario_canseco  Mario Conseco
    Mark Blumenthal @MysteryPollster  Pollster. Husband. Father. Cyclist. Formerly: SurveyMonkey, Huffington Post, http://Pollster.com , political consultant (D).
    Michael Link @MLink01  Dad, drummer, foodie, registered drone pilot — Views are my own.
    Molly Brodie @Mollybrodie  Mollyann Brodie | Kaiser Family Foundation (@KaiserFamFound) Sr VP Exec Operations & Exec Director, Public Opinion & Survey Research | @AAPOR President
    Natalie Jackson @nataliemjb  Research Director @PRRIpoll (opinions my own) | polisci PhD |
    Nicole Radziwill @nicoleradziwill  VP Quality & SCM #rstats #wx #machinelearning #IIoT #EHSQ #datascience #asd UNI’92 & 50% Nichól Ní Radsibhfuil! http://qualityandinnovation.com
    Niels Schillewaert @niels_insites  Managing Partner, co-founder InSites Consulting | Author & Speaker | PhD | Research Geek | Change Executive Thinking via Consumer Consulting
    Nikki Lavoie @NikkiMindspark  Me, but professional me. Globe-trotting Managing Director of @mindsparklab. Conduit of human connection. American in Paris.
    Oana Rengle @OanaRengle  Qualitative Research Fairy
    Ol’ Man Crosstabs @OldSchoolMRX  Research the way it should be done.
    Paul Fairie @paulisci  Sometimes I teach politics, more often I tweet jokes.
    Peter Harrison @Peter_Harrison  Behaviour Change, branding & Insights person. Opinions / sense of humour my own and statistically speaking likely to be shared by you if you choose to follow
    pollcat @pollcat  AKA Scott Keeter. Senior survey advisor to Pew Research Center. Lapsed political scientist. Bad golfer. Hiker. Same colleges as Steph Curry & Michael Jordan.
    Rana el Kaliouby @kaliouby  Entrepreneur. Scientist. Co-founder and CEO @Affectiva. On a mission to humanize technology with #EmotionAI – YGL at WEF. #CV #ML #DeepLearning #womenintech
    RayPoynter @RayPoynter  At the intersection of work, fun & discovery. Founder #NewMR – my core activities are consulting, learning, training, writing, and having fun.
    Reg Baker @thesurveygeek  Market, opinion and social research maven, contrarian, avid birder, photo enthusiast and music lover
    Reineke Reitsma @rreitsma  Forrester Analyst. Interested in anything related to consumer behavior, technology change, and market research – preferably in combination
    Richard Wike @RichardWike  Director of Global Attitudes Research @pewresearch
    Rick Hobbs @rhobber  Research, Analytics, Sports. Views are my own.
    Robert M. Groves @RobertMGroves  Provost of Georgetown’s main campus, professor in mathematics and statistics, and sociology. His blog can be found at http://blog.provost.georgetown.edu
    S Saurage-Altenloh @SaurageFacts  Trendspotter. Research strategist. Networking junkie. Lover of music, wine, fast cars, motorcycles, art and my Constitutional rights. MBA, PhD…
    Scott Koenig @Scott_Koenig  Marketing storyteller, educator, researcher, and community volunteer helping businesses and individuals reach their potential.
    Shannon Danzy @sdanzy  Sharing my curiosity abt culture, brands + people | Online qualitative research specialist | Brand strategist | Co-Chair, QRCA Young Pro Committee + NY Chapter
    Siamack Salari @SiamackSalari  Outsider, Ethnographer, dad, cook, lover. Visiting Fellow Dept of Management Kings College London. EthOSapp creator.
    Sima Vasa @simavasa  Passionate, curious, successful leader focused on elevating the data, #mrx and analytics ecosystem. Entrepreneurship, Investment Banking, Advisor, Podcast Host
    Stan Sthanunathan @ssthanunathan  Strategy, Insights, advanced analytics, big data and Impact. Humour, Laughter and Optimistic view of life. Self proclaimed shopaholic!
    Stas Kolenikov @StatStas  Survey statistician. Views are not my employer’s (@AbtAssociates @AbtDataScience). Looking forward to opportunities to collect data for you. [stas kɐlʲ’enʲikɐv]
    Sue York @1sue3  Helping Create the Future of Research. Author of ‘The Handbook of Mobile Market Research’. Founder of #NewMR. Social and Market Researcher.
    Susan Abbott @SusanAbbott  Facilitator, quallie, author, artist. http://thinkglobalqualitative.com  | http://sgabbott.com  | http://ca.linkedin.com/in/susanabbott  political: @mspundit
    SusanSweet @SusanSweet  Qualitative research consultant who loves travel, food, coffee and her kids. Can be found here: susan@sweetinsightgroup.com
    Tom De Ruyck @tomderuyck  Managing Partner @InSites | Creating Consumer-Centric Thinking, Future Proof Organisations | Keynote Speaker | Author | Prof. @IESEG | Investor @SpeakersBaseHQ
    Tom Ewing @tomewing  Pop writer, market researcher, lazybones. He/him.
    Trent Buskirk @trentbuskirk  Data Science Renee @BecomingDataSci
    Trina Arnett @trinalytics  Perpetually curious and passionate researcher, data junkie, visualization wonk, analytics geek.
    Vanessa Oshima @VOshima70  Kiwi that loves Japan, her husband and kids … and life in general … motto is to never let it beat you … try hard enough it will join you!
    Zontziry Johnson @zontziry  #MRX influencer. Lifelong learner. Mother. Sewer. Sci-fi and boardgame geek. Call me Z! All tweets are my own opinion and craziness.
    CEO @abacusdataca Prof @Carleton_U. Speaker with @speakersdotca #cycling, #strategy, #cdnpoli, #marketing, #foodie, #wine, & #Millennials.

    Dear Technology Vendors, Welcome to the Market Research Industry #MRX #NewMR #IIeX

    You are the delighted owner and inventor of an amazing new technology that will turn the market research industry around. Now all you have to do is simply show it to research buyers and reap the rewards. But with hundreds of new vendors popping up every year, it’s not that easy.

    Here a few pieces of advice that might help.

    • Your tool and your service is not new nor better. Every new vendor is positive that their tool is a brand new, amazing innovation that solves a problem no other vendor can. It’s not. There are at least five other technology companies out there doing pretty much the same thing albeit with a slightly different yet similarly hip name that verbifies some word. You just haven’t heard of each other yet. But some of your research buyers have. Along with many research suppliers who have been in the market research industry for ten or twenty years. They know better than you and whether they confess it, selling yourself as unique is not reality.
    • You’re a research company. If you sell products and services that help researchers and marketers understand companies, consumers, customers, and markets, you’re not a technology company. You’re a market research company. That’s not an insult. That’s knowing what your business is and who your clients are. Saying you’re a technology company sure sounds cool though, doesn’t it.
    • Speak the language. You are part of the market research industry. Be proud of that fact. Learn the language. Learn what box scores, test groups, control groups, confounds, sampling, targeting, order effects, experimenter effects, validity, reliability, and other basic research terms mean. These are your terms too. When you can use these words properly, you’ll be able to talk to your potential clients quickly and clearly. And get to the sales discussion more quickly.

    Hands cooperating

    • Complements over criticisms. One common technique for promoting a new tool is to outline the flaws of existing tools and show how using your tool instead eliminates those problems, thereby rendering the old and tired tools irrelevant. But chances are those old, traditional tools still exist because for decades they have served a genuine, much needed purpose that cannot be met by other tools. Including your tool. Focus on how your tool can complement existing tools rather than criticizing those tools. Collaboration, not cut-throat. Friends, not enemies. We’re still going to use those ‘out-dated’ tools so don’t make us feel stupid for doing so.
    • Make it easy to switch. So if you’re no better and no different than a bunch of other vendors, why would anyone bother with your tool over anyone else’s? Because you’ve made it EASY to add it to their toolbox. You’ve incorporated language into the tool that makes sense to researchers – test and control, randomization, box scores. The tool creates familiar charts that mirror charts from other projects they’ve done – bar charts, line charts. It easily imports and exports into other tools they are already comfortable with – Excel, SPSS, PPT, R, SQL. You’ve prepared case studies and white papers showing reliability and validity by categories they understand – consumer packaged goods, finance, pharma, food, beverage. And best of all, when a client puts their traditional output next to your output, their CEO would be able to transition between the two reports with complete ease and comfort.

    Ready to make a deal?

    AI News Marketers Can Use: I hope your key marketing strategy for 2019 includes voice!

    This post originally appeared on the Sklar Wilton blog.

    Take a minute to think about every car commercial you’ve ever seen. Close your eyes. Let the imagery percolate. Now watch this commercial.

    Is that the PRECISE commercial you just imagined? Probably.

    That’s because Lexus used AI to create a commercial based on a training dataset of award winning car commercials. The commercial is effective for several reasons. First, the AI system that produced the script correctly identified the criteria that would win with its target audience. Second, a human director, Kevin Macdonald, applied emotional creativity to weave together the required components. And third, incorporating AI into the creative development process is the perfect way for Lexus to demonstrate how the use of cutting edge technology to build vehicles. This AI commercial is completely on brand.

    AI exploded into nearly every industry and under many Christmas trees last year. After witnessing the massive sales of voice assistants last year, and now this holiday season, marketers are starting to realize they must figure out how products and services that are overwhelmingly visual can find a space in an environment that is completely audio. Some marketers are striving to decode the voice assistant algorithms to ensure their brands earn first mention. Other brands are creating fun games or useful tools that consumers will seek out by name.

    Survey Says: 11% of Canadians own a smart speaker. 18% plan to purchase a Google Home, and 14% plan to purchase an Amazon Echo. (The Marketers Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates, to-be-released-soon)

    Despite earlier concerns about transparency and privacy, Google has begun to roll out its Duplex feature, an AI voice system can make telephone calls that are indistinguishable from a human being. This system can interact with customers and customer service agents to, at a minimum, make reservations and answer basic questions. It’s an amazing opportunity for brands to more effectively meet the needs of customers who want 24/7, personalized service.

     Survey Says: 55% of Canadians would find it annoying if they get a chatbot instead of a person. (The Marketers Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates, to-be-released-soon)

    Along with this growth, stress tests in the real world have exposed many issues of bias, privacy, and compliance with emerging privacy regulations. Amazon’s Alexa experienced this first hand when a woman’s private in-home conversations were sent to a random person on her contact list. This is likely one of the contributing factors that led to Gartner selecting Social, Legal and Ethical IoT as its #2 trend.

    Survey Says: 43% of Canadians are worried about AI their phone. (The Marketers Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates, to-be-released-soon)

    Marketers who are reticent to find their path in a voice directed world will quickly see the impact on their brand’s success. We know that people are less likely to seek out additional information after getting recommendations from voice assistants. Marketers need to find ethical ways to ensure their brand remains competitive in a voice world and they need to do it in a way that safeguards personal data.

    Survey Says: 59% of Canadians say they would be comfortable with a voice assistant providing recommendations on what to buy. (The Marketers Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates, to-be-released-soon)

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