Commentary

ARF Re:Think Helps Researchers Consider Future Media Landscape

The Advertising Research Foundation’s annual Re:Think conference, scheduled for March 23-26, is a research extravaganza, if you will pardon the hyperbole. Each year, the ARF offers valuable insight into what is in the bleeding edge of media research, culling studies and insights from the best research papers in the industry.

This will be the first ARF conference under Gayle Fuguitt’s leadership, focusing on three main areas: 1. Big Data.  2. How today’s corporate management views research. 3. Career development and mentoring.

This year’s Re:Think is notable for the number of agencies attending (+30% than last year). The format of the conference has changed to accommodate as much new information as possible, with “shorter, 10-20 minute presentations focused on business results and immediate practical applications,” says Fuguitt.

I spoke to her about this year’s conference in a series of videos viewable here. Here’s an excerpt:

CW: Gayle, what makes this year’s Re:Think different from past Re:Thinks?

GF: What I want to do is to take the biggest, most dynamic issues facing the industry and get them out into the public discourse as a conversation, not just a formal conference. I see an incredibly dynamic media landscape change, with the consumer in control, and new touch points creating all this new data: the Big Data that everyone is talking about.

The theme for day one is “rethink consumer engagement” in the new dynamic media landscape:  beyond Big Data to breakthroughs in cross-platform measurement, and mobile, social engagement. 

The second big dynamic is what I call “impatient bosses” of the C-suite, who are asking us in the insights and research part of the industry to sort all of this out and help understand how all the consumers are consuming media and how to create great advertising, how to allocate resources and how to make decisions in real time.

The third big dynamic is looking at what we call the “researcher’s identity crisis...” With all these new jobs and job titles, [from] marketing and analytics jobs [to] social media strategists, there’s… [an] evolution of current roles in the research sector. Budget allocations are being shifted from what have been historically research roles to roles that fit more within the context of this new-media landscape.

So my goal… is to help our members and the attendees at the conference to rethink consumer engagement, rethink creative, not just counting, and rethink careers.

CW: What shouldn’t be missed at this year’s conference?

GF: The discussions of new applications of some existing techniques and the ability of leaders in research to apply new mobile connections with consumers…

There are also some surprising segmentation techniques that have been developed around television. While we are focusing on the dynamic media landscape as a broad landscape, television is still critically important in our industry. In a result that is both surprising and comforting, there is as much innovation going on in some of the traditional forms of advertising media for consumers as in the very new bleeding edge.

From what I see, Re:Think not only will help current researchers stay relevant and knowledgeable, it may also encourage the next generation of media mavens to consider research as a viable and fascinating career path.

Tags: research, tv
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