MRSM Conference

Themed “Insights O2O”, the MRSM (Marketing Research Society Malaysia) Annual Conference at the end of last year was held at The Eastin, Petaling Jaya. With close to 120 attendees, the conference was attended by a good mix of professionals, online and offline providers, as well as clients.

According to MRSM, O2O, a buzzword within the e-commerce community for “online-to-offline”, is, from the marketing research perspective, about understanding the consumers’ behaviour and purchase decisions across these two platforms. The methodology will certainly include using digital research tools.

During the conference, attendees sought to understand what companies are using and doing in the O2O space. In addition, the line-up of highly experienced speakers also provided their perspectives on how traditional approaches still matter in today’s technologically driven environment.

President of MRSM Datin Kalavalli Sethu’s welcome address covered the changes driven by technology and digitalisation. “The time is up to make the marriage between the offline (physical) and online (virtual) worlds to enable brands to sustain and grow.” Datin Kalavalli spoke about how MRSM will continue to become the change enabler, and this aptly resonates with the vision of MRSM which is to provide a stimulus to encourage, support, and foster change and growth in the marketing research industry and amongst its practitioners, achieving the highest possible standards of professionalism and practice in Malaysia.

Other distinguished speakers included Katharine Davis, Managing Director at Ipsos Malaysia. She made an interesting presentation aimed at shedding some understanding on the path to purchase, and not forgetting that customer experience remains key. She also focussed on what gaps businesses face in closing the consumer O2O loop, and the next steps needed.

Grant Bertoli, CEO at Buzzebees, talked about how mobile is changing the path to purchase from search, to purchase, to mobile payments. He provided insights into how the overall mobile landscape is changing and its impact on consumers and retailers.

John Smurthwaite, Asia Pacific Ambassador, ESOMAR, conducted a talk based on a study initiated by ESOMAR and carried out by Vermeer Consultancy and client partners across the globe. He shared that the winning brand characteristics for 2020 are all about driving growth through customer centricity based on three key points: big insights, purposeful positioning, and total customer experience.

Barry Ooi,  Managing Director at Potentiate M’sia, provided his perspective on the current market research industry and the state of the various technological tools and their current adoption. He concluded that influence is coming back to market researchers.

“This is a record breaking event in history of MRSM with the highest number of participants and most number of sponsors. The success of the event has motivated us to the point that we are all geared to bring another great conference in 2017, which marks the 10th anniversary of MRSM. We hope to make it a memorable one for the industry,” commented Datin Kalavalli.