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The Future of Business-to-Business Research in association with BIG Conference

The Future of Business-to-Business Research in association with BIG Conference

29 June 2017

In a nutshell


This event has taken place.

Can B2B market research adapt to emerging challenges in the business market? The MRS annual B2B conference – Future of Business-to-Business Research – digs into the chunky issues facing B2B research today including effective digital marketing, Brexit, B2B marketing, sales growth and making research work for SMEs.

The BIG Conference will bring delegates face-to-face with industry leaders, research experts and business leaders. Attend to have your place at the table to discuss the critical issues facing B2B research.

Find out what’s on the programme this year…

• Hear from O2 (Telefonica UK), npower Business and Zurich Insurance as they outline their changing research requirements and share what clients really need from their research partners

• Join Jane Frost, Chief Executive, MRS and Virginia Monk, Chair, BIG to discuss how the market research community must work together to tackle the big issues facing B2B researchers including SME outreach and the inclusion of data analytics under the market research umbrella

• Hear Facebook reveal how its technology platform has facilitated the largest global SME study ever in association with OECD and the World Bank and examine the key SME insights being uncovered

• Explore different visions of the future on how Automation, AI and Machine Learning is going to affect your clients’ requirements, researchers’ roles and your businesses’ proposition

• Gain new skills in Data visualisation to maximise the impact of research and ensure the value of research is spread to the fingertips of organisations

• Examine CEOs attitudes towards Brexit, post referendum market uncertainty and future challenges and join panellists to discuss what Brexit means for the B2B research industry

• Explore how HSBC and Legal & General have enjoyed success employing consumer research techniques in a B2B environment as a new approach to uncovering critical business insights


Sponsored by:




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May Fair Hotel London

Stratton Street




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08.45 Registration & coffee

09.20 Opening comments from the Chair

Richard Young, Consultant & Journalist

09.30 PANEL: Brexit: One year on

° Examining CEO’s views on the global economic outlook post referendum and the challenges they face in building a business ready for the future

° Measuring business sentiment and SME attitudes towards international trade since the referendum

° Outlining the key research needs of British businesses during the Brexit transition

° What new markets are businesses interested in exploring and researching?

° To what extent have market focus and research budgets been affected by the Brexit vote?

° How will Brexit impact on research skills and expertise available in the UK marketplace


Dr Nick Coates, VP, Creative Consultancy Director, CSpace


Gillian Kane, Senior Manager, PwC

Andy Krasny — Manager SMB Analytics, EMEA, Facebook

Conor Wilcock, Research Director, B2B International

10.10 Leveraging technology platforms for global data collection Of SME insights

The Future of Business Survey is the largest global SME survey produced in partnership between Facebook, OECD, and The World Bank. More than 90,000 SMEs on Facebook, across 22 countries have completed the survey. It demonstrates the potential of future public-private partnerships for generating business / industry data and the reach of technology platforms for data collection.

The latest results provide an overview of the current and future economic environment and delivers global insights into business sentiment. Gain an in-depth understanding of Facebook’s approach to SME research and hear the most recent outputs from this extensive study.

Andy Krasny — Manager SMB Analytics, EMEA, Facebook

10.30 PANEL: Overhauling B2B market research to meet new client requirements

Understand how clients’ environments have changed and what clients are looking for from insight partners

° Specialist vs broad capabilities

° To lead or to be led

° Innovate or traditional

° Insight or advisory

Challenging traditional agency-buyer relationships and value propositions: is it time for a brand new ecosystem?

Discussing how research agencies can create the right business structure and acquire the right skills to appeal to and support the new needs of clients


Richard Young, Consultant & Journalist

Client Panellists

Jessica Salmon, Head of Insight, O2 (Telefónica UK)

Helen James, Head of Marketing, npower Business

Felicity Joyce, Consumer Insight Manager, Zurich Insurance

Agency Panellists

Dr. Emily Dickinson, Director, Marketing and Development, Kantar Millward Brown

Nigel Hufton, Research Director, Marketing Sciences

11.10 Morning refreshments

11.40 Data visualisation: Driving research impact through organisations

The role of the researcher is changing from being an insight gatherer towards being a storyteller and strategic advisor. The art of great data visualisation is to deliver a compelling narrative and to tell the story that the data implies - the better the delivery the bigger the impact. This session will explore how to creatively use the key tools of the trade - presentation, storytelling and infographics to create impact.

° How best to make big data talk for different audiences

° Examining how to use data visualisation for structured and unstructured data sources

° Presenting data in a usable format to create buy-in to the stories

Paul McGhie, Partner, Leading Thought

12.00 PANEL: Automation is here to stay: What happens next?

° Automation, AI, Machine Learning: opportunities or threats?

° What will the research landscape look like in an automated world?

° How will automation change the way clients work with MR agencies?

° Understanding the role of the researcher in an environment where the machines do the leg work

° How can agencies evolve to prosper and realise new opportunities?


Ben Hogg, EMEA Managing Director, Lucid


Steve Phillips, CEO, ZappiStore

Ray Poynter, Founder, The Future Place

Phyllis MacFarlane, Global Training Programme Manager, GfK

12.40 Innovation in engaging SME respondents

‘Business Minds’ is a magazine based approach for gaining ongoing feedback from the hard to engage SME group. This themed magazine based approach which encourages respondent flexibility and voluntary participation has been well received with high satisfaction scores for participation and a 65% repeat participation rate across three issues without monetary incentivisation. Hear more about this innovative approach which recently won the 2016 MRS B2B award.

Amy Cashman, Managing Director, Financial Services & Technology, Kantar TNS

Alex Wheatley, Research Innovator, Lightspeed

13.00 Lunch & voluntary discussion tables

Lunchtime roundtable discussions

Delegates are invited to join one of our round tables for a 20 min informal discussion examining some of the pertinent questions surrounding the use of different research methodologies for B2B research.

° Behavioural economics led by Phyllis MacFarlane, Global Training Programme Manager, GfK

° Mobile ethnography led by Conor Wilcock, Research Director at B2B International

° Big data led by Alistair Shutt, Senior Director, SKIM

° Automation led by Steve Phillips, CEO, ZappiStore

° Online Panels led by Nigel Hufton, Research Director, Marketing Sciences

° Social Media led by Ray Poynter, Founder, The Future Place

14.00 How a consumer approach within B2B brought new meaning to ‘customer closeness’ at HSBC

Developing digital capabilities, grounded in a deep insight of customer needs, wants, behaviours and environments is key to any businesses success. This research sought to identify a set of digital typologies; developed through understanding how and why customers engage with digital technology in and out of work. This was done by using self-ethnography supported by in-depth interviews to unearth the emotional and cultural drivers behind their behaviour.

Hear how by engaging with a B2B audience using consumer techniques, HSBC was able to get past professional, measured responses and get under the skin of customers true feelings and expectations

Pamela Ferguson – Customer Insight Manager, HSBC

Richard Gush – Partner, Hall & Partners OpenMind

14.20 Demonstrating the impact of research on driving B2B sales

Business protection products are sold, not bought. Death or critical illness are not top of directors’ minds and not an easy topic to talk about! Legal & General needed research to support a programme of PR, support and training materials for their advisers, to inspire them and ultimately increase sales.

Based on four waves of research consisting of 800 online interviews among a range of businesses and in-depth interviews among advisers, L&G launched its State of the Nation Report on Business Protection, designed to educate the market on the gaps, highlight any differences by key segments and point out the potential risks. In addition, a range of support materials were developed for advisers to use with their clients.

Hear how using research to target a key priority has dramatically increased conversations with IFAs about business protection and led to clearer communication within the market.

Kathy Ellison, Director, Charterhouse Research

Jo Caley, Customer Research Consultant, Legal and General

14.40 Why Mobile Optimisation?

Smartphones are in nearly every pocket, they are one of the main ways we access the internet, and in 2016 almost two thirds of people in the UK access the internet at least as often via a smartphone as a computer (source: Consumer Barometer with Google). With this in mind, the industry has been challenged in previous years to adopt mobile optimisation of surveys to allow research participants to take surveys on what is increasingly their device of choice for all things internet: their smartphone.

Panel companies are telling us that their panellist’s behaviour is changing. Survey Designers are lamenting the shrinking available screen size. Survey Programmers are tearing their hair out trying to accommodate all devices (or relying of software to do so). Survey Testers have seen their workload increase. Tracker specialists are split on the impact of mobile. Purists have lost sleepless nights worrying about data consistency. Some of us have just shrugged.

Join the panel, convened by Research Now, to discuss mobile optimisation in practice: What does it mean for panellists, research agencies and clients? Questions/ comments from the floor will be welcomed!

Chair: Luke Sehmer, Senior Research Director, Research Now


David Alterman, Director, The Nursery

Mark Bagnall, Head of Innovation, Basis

Natalie Geddes, Director - New thinking, ABA Research

15.10 Up close and personal: How SMEs cope with market research for the first time

Last year at the MRS B2B conference, it was highlighted that one of the key barriers to SMEs conducting research is they don’t know how to interpret and action research findings. We wanted to understand the problems and issues that inexperienced SMEs face when conducting research for the first time. If they actually conduct a project are their perceptions overturned? Or does it just confirm all the bad stuff they’d heard?

This session will help reveal:

° How many of the barriers to MR are perception vs reality

° What problems SMEs experience using MR

° Where they need most help in getting most value from MR

Alex Johnston, Jigsaw Research

Phil Morrison, Managing Director, Whycatcher

15.30 Afternoon refreshments

15.50 ROUNDTABLE: How can the MRS….?

Hear the MRS outline its future focus for supporting the UKs business research needs and join colleagues to discuss how the market research industry can help achieve these aims.

° SME Outreach

° Inclusion of data analytics

Jane Frost, Chief Executive, MRS

Virginia Monk, Managing Director, Network Research & Chair, BIG

16.30 What works where in B2B digital marketing?

For years, marketers and corporate communicators have been predominantly responsible for the messages business puts out to influence their key audiences. Now, the people in the company are more likely to be carrying messages to the outside world, and to be more believed than the CEO.

Digital has changed the way organisations communicate and do business. Digital has moved beyond marketing and into the hands of every department in the organisation. Now the question is how marketers and other departments can learn to respond to this new landscape. What Works Where in B2B Digital Marketing?

Fran Brosan, Chairman and Co-Founder of Omobono

16.50 Exploring the world of the B2B marketer

° The health of the B2B Marketing industry

° An overview of the key trends and hot topics on the minds of B2B Marketers

° Deep-dives into some of the biggest trends and their impact on the world of B2B Research (Marketing Automation, Customer Experience and Managing Change)

Andrew Dalglish, Founding Director, Circle Research

17.10 Closing comments from the Chair followed by networking drinks reception

Delegates are invited to network with industry colleagues and continue to discuss the main topics of the day over a glass of wine.

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Please click on the photographs to view each speaker's biography.


Delegate fee until 28 April 2017

MRS Member £335 (£402 inc VAT)

Non-Member £465 (£558 inc VAT)

Please note: Early Bird fees must be paid in full by 28.04.17

Delegate fee from 29 April 2017

MRS Member £435 (£522 inc VAT)

Non-Member £565 (£678 inc VAT)

Company Partner Discount rate - £300 (£360 inc VAT) or 1 Company Partner ticket

Party Only Tickets

MRS Member £55 (£66 inc VAT)

Non-Member £65 (£78 inc VAT)


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