Late last Wednesday night the Ramius team returned from Florida tired but excited about their trip. The TMRE conference exceeded all of our expectations. Before leaving, we drafted a schedule that was packed with sessions and keynotes to attend, booth duty and of course some time to network. However, when our team arrived they quickly realized this plan had to be thrown out the window.
The guys were so busy at the booth that they didn't have a chance to leave it for the entire three days.On their return, Alfred Jay, CEO, Philippe Dame, COO and Simon Chen, Senior Consultant debriefed the rest of us and here are a few snippets from that conversation that I thought you might be interested in: What are your overall impressions of TMRE?Simon:TMRE 2011 was a great event for Ramius to exhibit at! Timing-wise, it coincided with our launch of Recollective, Ramius' new cloud-based MROC software. TMRE was well-attended and our booth team enjoyed meeting many of the 1,200-odd delegates and introducing them to Ramius, the company, and to Recollective, the product. Hat tip to the IIR event team that planned the event.Philippe: It was definitely worth exhibiting at TMRE as it's a well-focused conference that clearly attracts the decision makers in the market research industry. We spent most of our time at our exhibit booth but I would have loved to attend the sessions. That said, I learned a lot in the conversations we had and look forward to attending again next year.What did you enjoy about the event?Alfred:The conference was certainly valuable in terms of speaking to a broad spectrum of people in the MR industry. The conversations we had were very valuable in setting our future direction.Philippe: Meeting people from a wide range of disciplines that make up the MR industry. We got lots of valuable and positive feedback about Recollective.What was the hardest part of the three day conference?Philippe: We had planned to attend some sessions and thus alternate standing at our booth. It was busy enough that we never left the booth and so we stood for a very long time without a chair in sight. Standing all day just killed my back and is a reminder to hit the gym!Simon: Not being able to participate in the main conference program which had a terrific line up. What was your most memorable moment at TMRE?Simon: Two come to mind. One was during my tour of the exhibit hall during the Monday evening reception. I walked by the Affinova booth and bumped into their CMO, Jeffrey Henning. Although I keep up-to-date with Jeff via Twitter and his blog, we probably haven't had much of a chance to connect in person for a couple of years. When I went to say hello with a handshake, Jeff caught me off guard with a 'bro hug' instead to the laughter of his colleagues.
The other moment was watching the Peabody ducks march in on a red carpet to their daily digs in the hotel fountain. A nice tradition at a nice venue!Finally, what could we do to improve for the next conference we attend?Alfred: We should make more active efforts to visit all the booths and network the other exhibitors.Philippe: Next year, we'll be better setup to give a demonstration of our software right in the booth. We'll have more tangible case studies to share and I think that will excite our booth visitors even more.Due to the size of the conference centre, the exhibit hall and meeting rooms were a bit spread out. Not everyone mingled or came by the exhibit hall. As exhibitors, we'd obviously like as much foot traffic as possible. Anything that can be done to get attendees to spend time in exhibit hall is appreciated. Simon: Although Ramius has been developing online community software for some 13 years, Recollective is our first product specifically designed for the MR industry, and TMRE 2011 was the first trade conference at which we exhibited. So, it was valuable for the Ramius team to gain direct feedback from visitors to our booth. Next time, we will have some of the team participating in the sessions themselves so we can offer and bring back more insights. By all accounts, The Market Research Event was a success! Networking with and learning from the other delegates, gaining insights on industry trends and themes, and probably the most important of all, introducing the market research world to Recollective were well worth the trip to the conference. I think it's safe to say we'll be back next year, and will be on the lookout for other conferences to attend in the mean time.