Peter Harris

Research is undoubtedly in a dramatic stage of unrest. Market forces like ‘generation flux’ and the advent of the ’sharing economy’ are challenging traditional customer research to evolve. While uncomfortable and complicated for researchers to do, it is also an incredible opportunity to improve the industry’s overall reputation and importance.

From talking to customers across the Asia Pacific region every day, I believe that the marketplace requires our solutions more than ever, and we need to be ready. Businesses are demanding a robust understanding of why their customers are doing the things they do over time so that they can make more informed, and better business decisions.

As technology across the globe, continues to enable customer understanding, while also changing the dynamics of researchers, it’s clear that in order to be more effective and impactful to business, researchers have to become technologists too. By getting on board, we can lead the business conversation, be more valued and valuable.

Many of the themes discussed throughout the Asia Pacific region this year (i.e. enhanced customer engagement, the empowered customer, the importance of closing the loop and embracing the potential of conversation within community, fostering long term customer relationships and more) were echoed at a recent global customer event I was lucky enough to attend in New York last month. The key takeaways from this event can be found here:The Top-10 takeaways from our 2014 Global Summit.

As our profession strives towards greater customer understanding and business impact, I am excited that the team at Greenbook and AMSRS are hosting the first ever Asia Pacific Insight Innovation eXchange event in Sydney on December 4-5, 2014.  As many of you know, the IIeX series of events includes two days of jam-packed new thinking, new solutions and innovative technology that are advancing the business value of customer insight. For companies and professionals who recognise customers for who they truly are – the single most important element of a company and see the customer relationship as a real competitive advantage–will benefit from attending this exciting event.

The line up is impressive with over 70 speakers from across the region including Pravin Shekar (Krea), Dave McCaughan (McCann WorldGroup) and Annie Pettit (Peanut Labs).  There will be a strong brand presence with speakers such as Suz Allen (Campbell Arnotts), John Batistich (Scentre Group) and Dr. Con Menictas (Qantas).

In my opinion, the implications of these themes for the marketing and research professions are enormous just as they are for any business trying to establish a closer customer connection and understanding. The marketing and research function of any business can no longer operate in a bubble.  Understanding technology both from a customer perspective and how it can help us be more effective business professionals is vital. No longer is the technology silo’d or to be leveraged upon request. Today, we are all technologists. We need to understand and put technology into the heart of what we do.

Elevating the customer within your organisation is proving to be a real business advantage in Asia Pacific and technology is the key ingredient.

Peter Harris is Managing Director of Vision Critical APAC