BOCA RATON, FL: Market researchers must be "zealots" in championing the voice of the customer in the face of a rising tide of different data streams, a leading executive from Ipsos Connect has suggested.

Sherrill Mane, SVP/Head of MAdTech Strategy at Ipsos Connect – a unit of the research firm which explores the intersection of marketing, advertising and technology (MAdTech) – discussed this topic at The Market Research Event.

More specifically, she asserted that marketing research is frequently at risk of getting lost as attention turns towards data, statistics and automated technology.

"Purveyors of those skillsets are incredibly prejudiced," Mane said. (For more details, see Warc’s free-to-access report: Seven ways marketing research can stay ahead of technology.)

As many practitioners of disciplines such as data science are "absolutists" about how best to understand target audiences, she added, they can "often dismiss insights functions."

In response to this trend, she encouraged market researchers to take audible pride in their work, and stand up for the voice of the customer.

"Be a zealot," Mane told the TMRE delegates. "Focus obsessively on keeping up with the customer. Be their voice and speak loudly and persistently in your company."

As specialists in interrogating the veracity of information sources, Mane also advised insights professionals to, "Be sceptical – dismissive, even – of data sources that don't truly reflect the consumer.

"I've heard it said that data scientists will be the new 'insights experts'. That's rubbish. The new insights experts – the people who grow the biggest brands – will be the ones who understand people best."

This notion fed into another piece of advice that Mane provided to researchers: namely, to be an "insight generator. And then you have to tell the story in a compelling way" to senior executives.

"Do not overwhelm your audience with methodological tomes or a thousand proof points for every story element," she continued.

"Tell the human story. And always remember to tell [your colleagues] what it means for their business."

Data sourced from Warc