Inside-out – A revolution in consumer consciousness: (ESOMAR Congress – Amsterdam, September 2017)

A recent article I read talked about the mobile phone addiction of young consumers (diplomatically NOT called Millennials) triggers a physiological response which mirrors that of substance use disorders – aka drug addiction.  Known as “dependence syndrome”, this mobile addiction has begun to create quite serious health and social consequences in society today, particularly in technology rich countries.  We have already observed the sharp rise in cyber-bullying and its potentially shocking consequences, however, many psychologists fear there is worse to come, with dependence syndrome linked to stress, insomnia, eating disorders and depression.

All very interesting, but you might be wondering what the ‘so what?’ is for the consumer insights and marketing industries.  This is something I’ve been pondering recently, as all I’m hearing and reading in our industry literature relates to conducting more and more mobile research.  As an advocate of mobile research for the right reasons (i.e. the right research objectives, audience and design), I’m now questioning the ethical responsibility we share in trying to tap into this social addiction.  Perhaps more importantly, this reflection raises questions about the effects of many others changes on the human brain, psychology and physiology we may be overlooking as we ‘chase’ consumers, trying to understand, communicate with and connect with them.

Driven by the need to know more, we’ve embarked on a mission to better understand human change and its impact on how we could (or should) do research as well as its potential impact on marketing of the future. 

This investigation covers areas such as mindfulness, children’s education, the unconscious ‘training’ of consumers as pseudo-marketers, why our industry is failing to predictive measurement and how new approaches to understanding consumer psychology can better help forecast the future. All will be revealed at ESOMAR Congress in Amsterdam (September 2017) when we present our Huxley-esque vision of consumer research and marketing in the future.  Watch for the paper called, “Inside Out” at this year’s ESOMAR Congress.

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