Time for market research to come to its senses – part 1

By 2nd December 2015 Uncategorised No Comments

It felt like the real beginning of something. And technically, it was. The first Sensory Forum for mrx staged by Esomar on 18th November 2015, in Paris. And yet why? Why really was it the first forum, why should this all be presented as new territory? The senses are after all key to human behaviour, and isn’t that what we do anyway, it’s just that we’re not currently packaging it up as such? Isn’t a lot of it just common sense?

Well, yes to the above!

And yet, after hearing, seeing, even touching, tasting and smelling all the presentations at the Forum, it was also right and relevant to feel like we were in relatively untapped territory.

What attending the Forum did do for us was :

> confirm that we’re on the right track with the work we currently do

> offer us ways to improve on this

> introduce ideas we hadn’t thought about

> nudge us to break out into new areas.

There are implications for recruitment criteria, and there are implications for research programmes.

But most of all, it confirmed that it really is high time to meld the scientific with the commercial. And it really is high time to delve deeper into the brains, and unzip the tummies of consumers, and let out all the sensory!

Currently, research tends to be conducted in a vacuum – with at least 4 different ways of talking, of thinking, of knowing.

Lots of research happening, but in a vacuum

Lots of research happening, but in a vacuum

None of these is perfect.

Take R&D / trained panels :


Take consumers :


Take the experts :


Take marketing / commercial departments :



And yet what we really need is lots more fluid research happening in the same zone, with more shared language, shared knowledge, richer learning, as well as potentially some economies of scale.


To achieve that we need to have 4 even 5 different vocabularies…




foreign language

– and culture – because we make sense of cultural, but, how much is this linked into because of sensory, and how much in spite of sensory?


Part 2 of this write-up will look at what we gleaned from the different speakers at this interesting Forum.

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