Reflections on ESOMAR from a conference newbie

Over the years, ESOMAR has become a strong supporter of young professionals and their ideas. To encourage industry involvement and sharing, the Young ESOMAR Society (or YES!) was launched and with it, the YES Award. At this year’s Congress in Berlin we were thrilled to have 5 brilliant finalists from around the globe, all as first-time speakers and most as first-time delegates – thanks again to Research Now SSI for sponsoring their attendance! They pitched their best and brightest. They did an amazing job. And one decided to write about their experience. As YES Coordinator, and organizer of the pitch competition, we are happy to introduce Emily Ozer, from System1 Research, on her adventure at ESOMAR Congress…

This year, I was given the wonderful opportunity to attend my first industry conference – the ESOMAR Congress 2018.  Now that those three jam packed, inspiring days have come to an end, it’s time to reflect and share what I consider the best things about attending ESOMAR Congress.


One of the things I loved most about this conference was how it opened my eyes to so many different perspectives.  ESOMAR attendees are not only from all different corners of the research world – quantitative, qualitative, vendor side, client side – but from all different corners of the globe. Every day, you’re being taught about new innovative methods of gaining insights from consumers, while also learning about the unique contexts and climates in which other researchers work, and the different challenges each market faces. You’re hearing directly from clients about how their companies search for insights and use them to improve their business. As someone who has only ever been on the vendor side, it was fascinating to hear the ways our work is woven into the decision making of companies that affect the lives of consumers every day.


Another thing to love about ESOMAR!  There’s something so exhilarating about attending a talk that captures your attention and makes you think, and actually having the opportunity to seek that person out later on in the day, tell them how much you enjoyed it, and engage them in discussion.  It’s just not something you get from TED talks and webinars online. I admit that, as a first time attendee and someone relatively new to the industry, I was too nervous to approach many of the speakers I wanted to chat with, but I certainly won’t be letting nerves get in the way next time!  It’s too big of an opportunity to pass up when you have so many brilliant people all in one room at your disposal.


No reflection on ESOMAR is complete without a mention of the party!  Who would have thought market researchers could be such a wild bunch! 🙂 But in all seriousness, the party is a great place to let your guard down and get to know the people behind the research in a more casual setting. No sales pitches, no exchanging of business cards, just genuine connection over a beer.


I left ESOMAR Congress with an overwhelming feeling of togetherness and closeness with the insights community.  This feeling that, even though so many of us in attendance were competitors, we’re all working together towards this larger goal of understanding humanity a little bit better.  That may be the best thing about ESOMAR. It’s about learning from others’ brilliance and letting your eyes be opened to new ways of thinking. It’s not about one-upping each other, about competing for clients’ attention, or even about winning new business. It’s simply about education and knowledge sharing.

This list only begins to scratch the surface of all the ways attending a conference like ESOMAR Congress 2018 can bring value and meaning to your career. I’m thankful for having had this opportunity to attend, and can only hope I’ll be back this time next year sharing my experiences from Congress 2019! See you in Edinburgh!

Thanks to the ESOMAR team for putting together a wonderful program and pulling off a spectacular Congress!  Special thanks to Danika and the YES team for believing in my pitch and giving me a platform to share, and to System1 Research for all the support.

Sound like fun? Feel like being a part of the community? Or know someone who would? Be sure to check out the YES website and get yourself and/or colleagues 35 and under involved! Speaking, competing, programme committees, becoming published…it’s all possible with YES!