By Peter Zollo
A conference about insights and innovation. As one who’s just returning to the industry after a three
-year hiatus, I was beyond impressed with the imagination and ingenuity on display at Greenbook’s IIeX in Atlanta. But, what most excited me was the energy; I admit this was a bit unexpected — 800-plus insights professionals from
all over the globe and from all sides of the business collaborating on how to advance the profession. Collaboration, of course, is what our startup is about.
For us, the conference was an opportunity to learn and share. We were thrilled to be a down-to-the-wire finalist in the Insights Innovation Competition, pitching Collaborata alongside other innovative startups, including the winner, Remesh, a really interesting company that uses machine learning to understand and engage groups of people with real-time conversation.
The day after my co-founder Jimmy Zollo lit it up on center stage, I presented together with Debra Senra of Euromonitor on the topic of “Collaborative Research.” Debra was nothing short of brilliant. I’m glad I spoke first, as no one would want to follow Debra, who challenged those in attendance to think and act differently. She’s a leader who truly understands that although collaborating with competitors may sound scary, it can also lead to great innovation. Debra even encourages Euromonitor’s salespeople to refer projects offered by other research agencies on Collaborata to their clients. The reason: As consultants, they believe doing the right thing for their clients is simply good business. In fact, Euromonitor passes the 20%Collaborata referral commission directly to their salespeople. Talk about walking the walk.
After Jimmy’s performance, my five most memorable IIeX moments were:
- Debra announcing that Euromonitor is immediately posting a study on Collaborata that will size the global legal market for marijuana. I admit I got quite a kick out of watching a few faces in the audience drop as Debra said the words, “legal marijuana market.” By the way, sizing pioneering industries is something that Euromonitor is particularly expert at. And this one, despite its controversial nature, is critically important to understand — not only for the commercial side of what lies ahead, but for those on the health and youth-prevention side. Check out the study post here: The Global Legal Marijuana Market: Increased acceptance means opportunities for legitimate business
- A special Atlanta-based client explaining to me that, when it comes to Collaborata, they’re not concerned about sharing the data, just sharing the questions, as they don’t want to tip off competitors as to what they’re investigating. That’s a huge insight for us. After all, Collaborata is built for sharing research results. But, as already seen on the platform, clients who prefer not to reveal their identities can simply partner with a trusted research supplier to post their project under their partner’s name.
- Overhearing a group of co-workers from a large CPG company walking past the Collaborata booth, saying, “Well, that’s not for us. We’re definitely not collaborative!”
- Seeing old friends from Australia to Atlanta and London to Los Angeles.
- Meeting new friends and collaborators (or so I hope).
Peter Zollo is cofounder of Collaborata. He’s also the founder and former CEO of Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU), the firm that contemporized the field of youth insights.
After a successful acquisition by Kantar, Peter exited the business in 2012. He has written three books on youth insights and has worked closely with many of the world’s top marketers.