Conference Speaker Bios

Frank Beirne

Dig Insights

Next Generation Idea Screening

Session Overview:

The innovation process needs some innovation. Upsiide is purchase interest for the next generation of shoppers. It incorporates the principles of Behavioural Economics and reflects the fact that innovations need to break through in the blink of an eye and sell themselves without extensive support. Upsiide's iOS, Android, and web app allows companies to test their ideas to determine winners more quickly than ever before. Consumers can view innovations, read descriptions, and swipe right or left to indicate their preferences. Winning ideas are pitted head-to-head, providing data for the advanced analytics backend to determine which ideas are likely to succeed in-market.

Market research asks complex questions, often in complex ways, and the industry is failing to adapt to the new primary web medium—mobile. Consumers, especially younger consumers, are no longer willing to participate in research that demands an uninterrupted block of their time. Upsiide was built to address these concerns. It's built for and uses the language of mobile. It simplifies the consumer task, reflecting how people actually think. This allows for passive, behavioural data collection—additional learning without additional questions. It allows clients to be more agile, testing ideas as they are generated without needing to commission individual studies. Now we're adapting to how consumers and our clients think, not asking them to adapt to us.

Speaker Bio:

Director of Data Science and Technology, Dig Insights

Marketer turned data scientist, Frank leads the data science team at Dig Insights, focusing on bringing machine learning, AI, and automation to the insights process.

Frank's approach is to marge traditional marketing research with modern technologies to build new web-based applications that improve market research analytics.

Joseph Chen

ZappiStore

Keynote - Debunk the Myth About Digital Copy Testing: Should I Be Worried About Not Testing Digital Ads?

Session Overview:

Digital media spending has increased significantly over the past 5 years, especially on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. However, many marketers still don’t feel the need to test digital creative before going live. The arguments we often hear are 1) research takes too much time so I wouldn’t be able to impact the changes 2) Testing is already done on TV, so why test it in digital?, and 3) “Digital” provides an abundance of metrics and I can just learn more in market results, so why test it?

And yet, the demand for research-based creative lessons learned in digital continues to increase. To help address this, Facebook Canada, Kantar Millward Brown, and ZappiStore collaborated on a study to conduct a creative pre-test of over 30 Facebook ads with in-market brand lift results. The objective is to provide research-based creative best practices to help marketers better optimize their digital ads and uncover the relationship between creative diagnostics and in-market campaign impact. We will provide learnings on the correlations between pre-testing and in-market results of Facebook ads, and general insights on how marketers can have higher in-market digital ROI. The purpose was also to fill a knowledge gap in our industry that focus on creative testing in the Canadian Facebook environment.

Speaker Bio:

Vice President/Country Manager - Canada, ZappiStore

Joseph is currently the Country Manager of ZappiStore in Canada. Joseph was the Consumer Insights Lead at McDonald's Canada. Joseph led a team of talented consumer insight professionals at McDonald's. Prior to McDonald's, Joseph was leading consumer insights in Canada for all business units with "sweet brands" like Hershey's Kisses, Reese, Brookside, Pot of Gold, Chipits, Skor, Oh Henry, etc. Joseph was also the global digital insight lead. He previously led all consumer insight initiatives at Unilever Canada. Joseph supported insights and strategy for all categories at Unilever Canada with brands such as Becel, Hellmann's, Knorr, Breyers, Ben & Jerry's, Magnum, Dove, Axe, Vaseline, TREsemme, Nexxus, St. Ives, etc. Prior to Unilever, Joseph worked at Kraft Foods, and he also spent time at Ipsos Reid and Millward Brown. Joseph is a regular contributor to academic as well as industry publications and conferences. He was the Chair of the Client-Side Researcher Council at MRIA for 5 years.

Christie Christelis

Technology Strategies International Inc.

How Crowd-Sourcing Data Provides Critical Market Insights NOW

Session Overview:

In the market research industry, "disruption" is a word that it often used, but for the most part it references the future. Disruption is already well underway. This session will demonstrate how crowdsourced geolocation and mobility data can be used, in real time, to provide organizations with important business intelligence at both a tactical and strategic level. The demonstration will use real-time data from a selection of cities in Canada to demonstrate unique insights into consumer behaviour that are not available through traditional market research. This session will provide a live demonstration of how the market research industry is already being disrupted by non-traditional competitors.

Speaker Bio:

President, Technology Strategies International Inc.

Christie Christelis is the founder and President of Technology Strategies International Inc., a company that assists clients in navigating the stormy seas of disruption. His market research career spans more than 30 years. He is a part-time lecturer in Project Management and Business Analysis at Sheridan College. He has an undergraduate degree in Electronics, a graduate diploma in Engineering, another in Program Management, and an MBA.

He served on the Board of the Canadian Survey Research Council (CSRC) prior to the formation of the MRIA, and chaired the CSRC Working Group establishing industry standards and best practices for online research.

Chasson Gracie

Sklar Wilton & Associates

Perceptions of Artificial Intelligence Among Canadians: Either You're With It or It's Against You

Session Overview:

You may not realize it, but artificial intelligence is all around you. It protects our bank accounts when it sees we've bought three helicopters, and we rely on Siri, Alexa, and Echo to run our personal lives. Now, many of us are eager to pull up the MRIA newsletter on our tablets and read intently while we or, more accurately, our vehicles drive us to work.

As market researchers, many of us are more informed than the average person about the state and impact of artificial intelligence in our lives. In this presentation, we will share brand-new learnings from our 1st annual Artificial Intelligence Tracker of 1000 nationally-representative Canadians who shared their opinions and perceptions of artificial intelligence today and in the future.

We'll begin by gaining a general understanding of how aware and involved Canadians are with artificial intelligence. We'll learn whether they realize the extent to which AI is already a part of their lives in devices such as Nest, Siri, and Alexa. We'll gain a better understanding of what people think AI can actually do in terms of recognizing speech and imagery, and handling professional duties such as trading stocks, handling insurance claims, diagnosing illnesses, and handling court cases.

We'll then discuss people's emotions in terms of whether AI scares, intimidates, or delights them, and what positive and negative effects they feel it will have on their lives from job loss and job creation to its effects on medicine, government, marketing, retail/shopping, and customer service.

Speaker Bio:

Director of Management Consulting, Sklar Wilton & Associates

Chasson Gracie is a Director at SW&A and a winner of two David Ogilvy Awards for Research Excellence. Chasson worked at various advertising agencies for nearly a decade before launching his consulting practice to help C-suite and marketing executives develop smart, actionable decisions. When not busy helping clients address business, strategic, and research-planning challenges, Chasson can be found directing documentaries that investigate contemporary North American culture and its impact on society.

Andrew Grenville

Maru/Matchbox

The Future of Feedback: New Ways of Responding to Surveys

Session Overview:

The way we interact with one another keeps evolving. Most survey research connects with respondents through email and the telephone—two relatively old methods of communicating. But what about texting, apps, and voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home? How will they disrupt the industry?

In this talk, we'll review the results of a series of studies conducted in Canada and the U.S. on alternative methods of recruitment and survey taking—including text, apps, voice-to-text, chatbots, video open-ends, and voice assistants. We will also dig into the potential for AI-driven qualitative interviewing and what the drivers and barriers to usage might be. 

We share which methods people prefer and profile who wants to use these alternatives. We also look at the flip side and see who these methods turn off. We discuss the impact the use of these methods could have on the representativeness of the data and the implications for decision making.

Get ready for change.

Speaker Bio:

Chief Research Officer, Maru/Matchbox

A thirty-year research veteran, Andrew leads Maru/Matchbox in the development of innovative and informative approaches to research and analytics. Andrew is the author of numerous research products and measurement scales, with a focus more recently on sample quality and scale use. 

Andrew has conducted an extensive amount of research on research, with a focus on the development of survey tools, adapting to mobile devices, and data and sample quality. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in the areas of sociology, research methods, and medicine, and has been quoted in many publications including The Economist.

Cheryl Hung

Dig Insights

Keynote - Elevating the Insights Team: Marrying Choice Models With Business Data

Session Overview:

While our industry is classified as “Marketing Research,” the insights uncovered by our teams influence and drive the decisions made by many other functions within our organizations. Additionally, there is a tendency in the industry to be focused on explaining past events rather than helping our business partners understand what to expect in the future.

Come and learn how the Consumer Insights team at McDonald’s Canada partnered with Dig Insights to create a Menu Simulator by linking consumer behaviour from a Bayesian Hierarchical Model with real sales data.

This new tool has elevated the Insights team internally by allowing them to drive thought leadership and influence across multiple parts of the business. Examples of this thought leadership include:

  • Guidance on how to simplify operations in the restaurant without sacrificing revenue.
  • Recommendations on how to strategically price menu items in order to optimize total margins.
  • Setting innovation pipeline priorities by explaining which new items will be the most popular and least cannibalistic to the existing menu.

Speaker Bio:

Director, Dig Insights

Prior to joining Dig, Cheryl worked at TNS Canada, where she led several international studies for multinational companies. She has experiences with a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies that provide her with opportunities to help clients solve their business issues with innovative approaches.

Greg Jodouin

PACE Public Affairs & Community Engagement,
MRIA Government Relations Consultant

The Legal and Regulatory Environment for Research in Canada - What You Need to Know

Session Overview:

The market and survey research industry has a long and successful tradition of self-regulation. Yet the legal and regulatory environment is constantly shifting to address public concerns, emerging threats, and political whims. Find out about the laws and regulations that currently apply to market and survey research, what the future looks like for the research community, and what advocacy efforts MRIA is taking on your behalf to protect the industry.

Speaker Bio:

President and Owner, PACE Public Affairs & Community Engagement
MRIA Government Relations Consultant

Greg has a long-standing relationship with the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, having worked as its government relations consultant for several years. His chief objective is to ensure that federal government legislation, programs and policies help create a positive business environment for researchers rather than unduly prohibiting industry practices.

His legal background serves as a backdrop for his government relations practice, enabling him to assess how proposed policy changes affects his clients' interests, provide insight into how clients should react to changing regulatory landscapes, and develop strategies for how they can capitalize on emerging opportunities resulting from new government programs and policies.

Steve Mast

Delvinia

Application of Technology: Innovative Approaches to Data Collection

Session Overview:

With the growth of digital technologies and the ever-changing business landscape, organizations are looking for new and innovative ways to collect and enable data. And in today's digital economy, fueled by new business models, consumer data, disruptive innovation, and digital platforms, the reality is that the opportunities are endless. From Voice to AI, VR, marketing automation, connected devices, and the Internet of Things, organizations are moving away from traditional methods of data collection and harnessing emerging technologies to gather consumer insights in real-time. In this session, Delvinia President and Chief Innovation Officer Steve Mast will share how brands are applying technologies in innovative ways to tap into their customers and solve today's business challenges. He'll also share ways you can apply these technologies for market research purposes, including executing surveys through voice and in chat form.

Speaker Bio:

President and Chief Innovation Officer, Delvinia

As Delvinia's President and Chief Innovation Officer, Steve Mast spearheads an innovation team that uses new and emerging digital technologies to help marketers, researchers, and business leaders collect, visualize, and enable data. Steve has a keen eye for creativity and design, and his understanding of technology stems from a unique background. Educated as an architect, Steve began his career as a video game designer and producer in the '90s. He joined Delvinia in 2000 to build its interactive design and digital marketing practice and has been pivotal in developing the firm's vision and leading its evolution from operating as a traditional consultancy to an innovation company focused on transforming the way organizations collect and use data.

Meliza Matos

Groupe Dynamite Inc.

Connecting a Fast Fashion Company With its Customers - The Customer Insights Journey at Groupe Dynamite Inc.

Session Overview:

In this presentation, I will present a business case for how the market research function was implemented at a fashion company based in Montreal called Groupe Dynamite Inc. (GDI).

Two years ago, when I started working at GDI, there was essentially no market research function. Through doing a diagnosis of the practices and the research needs of the company, I recommended that GDI should implement online communities to initiate marketing research. It was a challenging endeavour, as we were met with a lot of disbelief from executives and internal employees, which was very normal for a product-centric company. Nevertheless, after a lot of buy-in and convincing, we finally got the budget to pilot the execution of one online-community for one brand for three months. The results were very positive. Two years later, we have online community for both the Garage and Dynamite brands, with more than 3,000 customers each. We gather the feedback with qualitative and quantitative methods though a vast array of online tools. The feedback we gather about our products, our marketing initiatives, and their retail experience with us and our competitors is valued by marketers, buyers, and designers.

We are one of the very few fashion companies in Canada that have a market research function and that utilizes extensively insight communities to incorporate customer feedback in the buying process.

My insight communities have helped GDI change how they think about data, and we have used it to make more impactful decisions. Moving away from intuition to know if a design or marketing initiative would be liked, now we ask customers to validate and test ideas throughout the entire buying process of six months. Not only now do we reduce the risk in the business decisions, but we also are generating brand advocacy and loyalty in our customer base.

The implications that this presentation has for both clients and suppliers is on how to do change management and implement marketing research to solve problems that really matter to our internal clients and make it a success. Clients can reapply some of the learnings for themselves, and suppliers refresh some of the challenges on the client side.

Speaker Bio:

Senior Market Research Specialist, Groupe Dynamite Inc.

Meliza Matos is a McGill University MBA graduate with 8 years of experience in Business Development and Sales Marketing in CPG, Retail, Insurance and Aerospace Industries, and has also been a Marketing guest lecturer at two private universities in Peru. Currently, Meliza is Senior Market Research Specialist at Groupe Dynamite Inc., one of the growing Fashion Retail companies in Canada. With the mandate to build the Market Research function from scratch, Meliza leveraged her business development experience to inspire organizational change and executive buy-in to connect a Fashion company to its customers. She considers herself not a Market Researcher but a Marketer of Research.

Paul Neto

Kantar Millward Brown

Keynote - Debunk the Myth About Digital Copy Testing: Should I Be Worried About Not Testing Digital Ads?

Session Overview:

Digital media spending has increased significantly over the past 5 years, especially on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. However, many marketers still don’t feel the need to test digital creative before going live. The arguments we often hear are 1) research takes too much time so I wouldn’t be able to impact the changes 2) Testing is already done on TV, so why test it in digital?, and 3) “Digital” provides an abundance of metrics and I can just learn more in market results, so why test it?

And yet, the demand for research-based creative lessons learned in digital continues to increase. To help address this, Facebook Canada, Kantar Millward Brown, and ZappiStore collaborated on a study to conduct a creative pre-test of over 30 Facebook ads with in-market brand lift results. The objective is to provide research-based creative best practices to help marketers better optimize their digital ads and uncover the relationship between creative diagnostics and in-market campaign impact. We will provide learnings on the correlations between pre-testing and in-market results of Facebook ads, and general insights on how marketers can have higher in-market digital ROI. The purpose was also to fill a knowledge gap in our industry that focus on creative testing in the Canadian Facebook environment.

Speaker Bio:

Vice President, Digital and Media - Toronto, Kantar Millward Brown

In his current role as Vice President of Digital and Media, Paul's agenda is to reinforce Kantar's position as market leader in digital and media through thought leadership, innovation, and guiding clients through their digital challenges and initiatives.

After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Paul has led a number of digital innovation, product, and research roles, which have included international exposure. Notably, his tenure has included leading a group of technologists at comScore, and Research Director at YuMe where he pioneered research in virtual reality, neuroscience, and connected television.

Paul also co-founded a venture-funded research-based AI/ML company, Crowd Science, that was later acquired by YuMe. Using research and machine learning, he worked with some of the largest online publishers such as Forbes, Reuters, Everyday Health, Federated Media, and Meredith, enabling audience analytics to power ad targeting and insights.

As a regular speaker at research and media conferences and panels including ARF, IAB, and Variety, Paul was a recipient of the IAB Service Excellence Award in 2015.

Steve Olsen

McDonald's Canada

Keynote - Elevating the Insights Team: Marrying Choice Models With Business Data

Session Overview:

While our industry is classified as “Marketing Research,” the insights uncovered by our teams influence and drive the decisions made by many other functions within our organizations. Additionally, there is a tendency in the industry to be focused on explaining past events rather than helping our business partners understand what to expect in the future.

Come and learn how the Consumer Insights team at McDonald’s Canada partnered with Dig Insights to create a Menu Simulator by linking consumer behaviour from a Bayesian Hierarchical Model with real sales data.

This new tool has elevated the Insights team internally by allowing them to drive thought leadership and influence across multiple parts of the business. Examples of this thought leadership include:

  • Guidance on how to simplify operations in the restaurant without sacrificing revenue.
  • Recommendations on how to strategically price menu items in order to optimize total margins.
  • Setting innovation pipeline priorities by explaining which new items will be the most popular and least cannibalistic to the existing menu.

Speaker Bio:

Consumer Insights Consultant, McDonald's Canada

Steve Olsen is passionate about marketing research because it provides him with the opportunity to learn about the world around him every day. Steve currently works in the Consumer Insights department at McDonald's Canada, but has held marketing research positions with P&G, Unilever, and KraftHeinz. Steve's particular areas of interest are product innovation and consumer decision-making theory.

Anne Stephenson

Explorer Research

Virtual Reality With Eye Tracking: Step Into the Future

Session Overview:

Virtual Reality with Eye Tracking is the latest technology that allows iterative testing of different environments. This new technology allows for rapid prototyping and will dramatically change how companies innovate. With eye tracking, you can measure what is being noticed and how changes in an environment alter behavior and purchases.

Virtual Reality with Eye Tracking allows testing of nudge-type techniques where behavioral changes can be effectively measured. Virtual reality allows for immersive, interactive environments where dynamic content can be tested. 

Explorer will discuss how they have used Virtual Reality with Eye Tracking to create a retail section reinvention. They will show the different outputs from Virtual Reality research and how these are used to influence planograms, merchandising, assortment, and signage.

Explorer will also discuss how virtual reality can be used to test within many different environments including retail, banking, airports, and museums to facilitate better design and engagement.

Explorer will make this session interactive and will demonstrate their unique Virtual Reality and eye tracking platform. Attendees will:

  • Learn how embracing cutting-edge technology can help develop more engaging shopper experiences
  • Discover how to use eye tracking to help inform better design
  • Understand different applications of Virtual Reality

Speaker Bio:

Founding Partner, Explorer Research

Anne Stephenson is a founding partner at Explorer Research. Anne has 25 years of experience with expertise in CPG, retail, food service, and pharmaceuticals, and works with leading CPG and retail clients. Explorer is a behavioral research firm that specializes in blending traditional research techniques with Neuro/biometric research and new technologies to gain deeper insights. Explorer has state-of-the-art facilities in Toronto and Chicago. Prior to starting Explorer, Anne ran the Post cereal division at Kraft Foods. Anne speaks at many different conferences in North America and was awarded the Path to Purchase Institute Faculty status for speaking excellence.

Luke Stringer

Facebook Canada

Keynote - Debunk the Myth About Digital Copy Testing: Should I Be Worried About Not Testing Digital Ads?

Session Overview:

Digital media spending has increased significantly over the past 5 years, especially on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. However, many marketers still don’t feel the need to test digital creative before going live. The arguments we often hear are 1) research takes too much time so I wouldn’t be able to impact the changes 2) Testing is already done on TV, so why test it in digital?, and 3) “Digital” provides an abundance of metrics and I can just learn more in market results, so why test it?

And yet, the demand for research-based creative lessons learned in digital continues to increase. To help address this, Facebook Canada, Kantar Millward Brown, and ZappiStore collaborated on a study to conduct a creative pre-test of over 30 Facebook ads with in-market brand lift results. The objective is to provide research-based creative best practices to help marketers better optimize their digital ads and uncover the relationship between creative diagnostics and in-market campaign impact. We will provide learnings on the correlations between pre-testing and in-market results of Facebook ads, and general insights on how marketers can have higher in-market digital ROI. The purpose was also to fill a knowledge gap in our industry that focus on creative testing in the Canadian Facebook environment.

Speaker Bio:

Brand Measurement and Research Lead, Facebook Canada

Luke currently leads brand measurement and research at Facebook Canada. At Facebook, Luke works with some of Canada's biggest brand advertisers to help uncover the value that they are generating across Facebook's family of apps and services. A research veteran, Luke previously led research at Twitter Canada and held senior research roles at Ipsos ASI, where he helped clients with early stage strategy development, brand equity and positioning measurement, as well as creative testing. Luke is a graduate of Schulich business school at York University.

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