Last week, Yuliya Fontanetti (Senior Director, Operations and Compliance) and Kiran Pawar (Senior Research Executive) had the pleasure of attending the BHBIA ’Mind the (Generation) Gap’ Summer Event in London.

The day was filled with captivating sessions on how different generations use and perceive technology; the importance of content and how technology supports communicating content effectively; as well as discussions around compliance and people’s rising awareness of how it impacts on our everyday life.

This was the first industry event Kiran attended, so the pressure was on to showcase the value events like this bring to members. And, as expected, it did not disappoint!

Kiran: I wasn’t too sure what to expect or how the different sessions would be ran. However, I knew I was in safe hands with Yuliya by my side, showing me the ropes!

Having reviewed the agenda for the day, I knew this would be a great first event to attend, with the focus being on how different communication preferences across the generational segments (i.e. baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z) can have an impact in the world of market research, especially in the ‘technology age’ we live in now. So, naturally, I was very excited and intrigued about the different speakers for the day.

My key takeaway from the event was the idea around ‘One size does not fit all’ i.e. how the research output and insights can be impacted by the way respondents engage with the different tasks before and during interviews.

We need to keep the respondents in mind and whether the types of tasks we’re asking them to complete are appropriate. It’s of little value to ask traditionalists or baby boomers to complete a video-diary pre-task using a smartphone and uploading it onto a platform, if they’re unsure on how to do this. This is more likely to result in ‘feelings of failure’, poor delivery and potentially low attrition rates. Rather it’s about making them feel at ease and comfortable by enhancing the user experience to get better engagement and thus better research results.

Although this concept seems obvious, it may not always be considered, especially when research needs to be delivered within tight timelines, or when the focus is on designing a more innovative approach.

However, although this is an important consideration in research, content also plays a vital role, as Yuliya goes on to explain…

Yuliya: Having attended several similar events in the past, I always leave feeling energised by the enthusiasm and expertise of the presenters. My main takeaway, however, was not necessarily the fact that generationally we all have a preference of how things are communicated to us, or that our use of technology dictates how we engage with the information, but that the content remains the most important value of any communication. It is this simple and straightforward conclusion that Neil Osmond and Paul Dixey brilliantly demonstrated. Regardless whether you are a baby boomer or generation Z, it is the ’what’ we are communicating to our customers that is more valuable than the ’how’. Whilst this is so relatable in its simplicity, it is also very easily overlooked. Yes, there is undoubtfully the need for us to be aware of generational differences, but if the content is spot on, it will speak for itself.

My other observation was that customer centricity is still the key to organisational success. Take Amazon, for example, with a global revenue of $232 billion last year, it is one of the most successful mega-brands of our time. The secret of their success? According to CEO Jeff Bezos, it is “The obsessive-compulsive focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor”. Too simple? Possibly, but once again, often underappreciated.

Combining these two makes so much sense – focus on the customer and the content, and you have a winning combination!

Summarising my takeaways from the event, I could not help but feel an enormous sense of pride to be part of an industry where continuous improvement and focus on engaging content is at the core of everything we do, inspiring generations of market research and business intelligence professionals for years to come. That to me is the true value of our generational diversity.


By Yuliya Fontanetti and Kiran Pawar


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