Rational Mind Vs Subconscious

Listen to Your Customers but Don’t Believe Them: Rational Mind Vs Subconscious

The MRMW EU 2020 Virtual event is happening next week on December 1-2 and as part of our pre-conference interviews, we recently spoke with Marcel Paquay, Head of Strategy, Insights & Revenu at Walibi Holland about the highlights of his session on “Listen to your customers but don’t believe them: Rational mind vs subconscious’’ and the current state of market research industry.

Question #1: Without giving too much away – what is the core message of your talk and what would you like delegates to remember?

Marcel: The core message of the talk is that there is a difference between how consumers evaluate communication materials consciously versus subconsciously. Insight professionals should know when to choose which type of research for the best insights.

Question #2: Why did you choose the topic of your talk?

Marcel: The more we read and learn about neuro, the more we learn that we need to include this in our insights program. Not exclusively, we have to choose the right research approach for the right challenge. There is also still a misunderstanding that neuro research is difficult to interpret, I’m hoping to counter this misunderstanding in the talk.

Question #3: What motivates you to join MRMW Europe and what are your expectations?

Marcel: I went to MRMW 2019 and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the talks and the atmosphere. I’m hoping to give some inspiration for research possibilities and of course to get some new ideas myself as well.

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Question #4:  There is a lot of talk about the current state of consumer insights and the impact of technology. How would you sum up the current state of the industry in 1-2 sentences?

Marcel: Evolving as always, forcing research experts to keep learning. Technology in the digital area has unlocked infinite amounts of data, but how do we derive relevant insights from this? Newer research methodologies are maturing and therefore more reliable, affordable and trustworthy – but how do we include them in our toolbox?

Question #5: Looking back on the past months please share your thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on the market research and the consumer behaviours in general. 

Marcel: In leisure, we see both positive and negative effects of COVID-19 on consumer behaviours. On the plus, consumers are more domestically focused, staycation and proximity tourism has a much higher consideration compared to foreign travel during COVID-19. This offers opportunities to leverage. On the downside, however, we simultaneously see that the consideration of theme parks is lower compared to pre-COVID-19 measures, as consumers are afraid that theme parks are too busy. This is merely a perception and theme parks as a whole should try to counter this barrier. Next to that we of course have to deal with government and local regulations, including forced closures and limited capacity.

Market research-wise, we have postponed some bigger strategical studies as consumers’ mindsets are of course COVID minded, so we believe that this won’t be representative for the past-COVID period. Other research is adjusted, we now for example measure COVID sentiment in our brand tracker and have COVID specific questions in communication research, regarding perceived safety and crowdedness.


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