By: BV Pradeep, Global VICE President Consumer & Market Insights, UNILEVER, Member of ESOMAR Governing Council, Chairperson, Program Committee, ESOMAR MENAP 2016.

The MENAP region is the fastest growing region in the area of market research, according to the ESOMAR Global Market Research Report 2015. This is an indication of the growing need for an in-depth understanding of consumers and markets, in order to drive business growth in this region. MENAP is a very diverse region, with significant emerging consumers with buying power. It is also in the midst of a VUCA world with uncertainties and opportunities all coming together. This environment makes it all the more important for research to play a crucial role in guiding businesses to harness the opportunities whilst meeting consumer needs and exceeding their expectations.

MENAP, due to a variety of reasons, has faced some challenges when undertaking research. However, with the explosion in digital and the consumer connectedness, a plethora of opportunity to harness insights, even without talking to consumers, have opened up! The growth of digital connectedness of our consumers in MENAP provides an abundance of conversations, postings and pictures on social media – all opening up a unique opportunity to harness rich insights and trends through just passive data analysis. So there is “less asking and more observing” for insights.

The mobile connectedness also helps to connect and converse with consumers in the moment of truth and in ways that were not possible in the past. The leverage of technology will be a key driver of growth in the insights industry like we have never seen before. The understanding of behavioural economics brings in new opportunities through insights on consumer actions – whereby the consumer decisions are not part of their conscious thinking, but led by habitual behaviours – especially in the areas of shopper behaviour in store etc.

While insights through traditional or digital research are very crucial for business, it is most important to learn about how insights are landed into action across different business decision-making scenarios. There is also a need to hear from clients who have successfully done this and what their learnings are.

The ESOMAR MENAP Forum 2016, held in Dubai, 8-9 March, presents a golden opportunity for all this and more, with the central theme, “From Transformation…to Activation”.  There are compelling papers on how insights have been leveraged for real growth, as well as, how the power of digital technology can be harnessed for sharper and more actionable insights. The forum presents senior and reputed speakers, from both the research industry and the client side.

Overall MENAP 2016 provides a unique opportunity, which is not to be missed for both marketing and consumer insight professionals. It could serve as a key input to influence your thinking and actions as you plan your research and marketing plans in this rapidly changing world of marketing.

Read more about the ESOMAR MENAP Forum here

By BV Pradeep