Whew, just back from four content-packed days at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference. It was great to meet up with many of you there and connect through Twitter. If you missed my Twitter stream, click herefor a summary or check out the re:Think feed here.

So, what are the key takeaways for Market Insights Professionals from the conference? Simply, we need to:

  • Improve! On Day 1, we heard several passionate presentations on the need for market insights to evolve and deliver higher-value and more actionable insights. On the next day, Kantar’s CEO said the profession needed improved talent to meet the business’ needs and the ARF discussed the need for improved research and respondent quality.
  • Innovate! A number of presentations focused on the need for market insights to develop better predictive tools, identify white spaces more effectively, and package insights in more innovative ways. There were many calls for market insights to bring much more creativity to the table.
  • Integrate! Although not identified as a theme, I would say integration was the “glue” that connected most of the presentations. Whether the presentations were about connecting social to surveys, insights to ROI, or even biometric to behavioral data, it was clear that “integration” is the path to help market insights improve and innovate.

This latter theme is one that Forrester is going to continue discussing in much more detail at Forrester’s Customer Intelligence & Market Leadership Forumin Los Angeles from April 18-19. Why? Simply put, Forrester believes that it is the next big step in insights evolution. We’ll go even further and say that it is the key to unlocking customer value!

You’ll have to attend the conference for more specifics (just do it!), but here are the highlights of what we’ll be discussing:

  • The what and where of integration.What kinds of data should you look to integrate and with whom should you integrate to ensure a 360-degree view of the market? Where do you have crucial gaps in your present intelligence?
  • The how of integration.What are the approaches to optimized integration that will help you overcome challenges and avoid battles? What’s needed across the people, process, and technology layers?
  • The who and how much of integration.Who among your stakeholders will gain from this integration and by how much? How do you create ”integrated deliverables” to optimize your value-add?

For those who attended the ARF conference, what did you think? What were the highlights for you?

For those who are coming to Los Angeles, I look forward to continuing the Integrate! conversation with you at the Forum!