Latin America, a window into the many ways the industry is reinventing itself

25 April 2023

Nothing shows the industry’s evolution better than how it flares up locally. This was the case at ESOMAR Latin America 2023 in Mexico.

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ESOMAR Latin America 2023

Nothing shows the industry’s evolution better than how it flares up locally. This was the case at ESOMAR Latin America 2023 in Mexico. We had the privilege of witnessing the capabilities and the undeniable disruptors of an industry in a state of accelerating change. 

Of course, change will come from technology. Laura Ruvalcaba, from Brand Investigation, and Martha Rivera-Pesquera, from Ipade Business School, are convinced of the power of a multiverse that is already here,  growing tremendously, and, they assure us, is here to stay - finding a precise definition of the multiverse remains elusive; - today, it is mostly defined for what it is not. However, users don’t need a precise definition or knowledge of the workings of the multiverse to use it. After all, many of us drive cars and are not mechanics. 

The future can also come from within. The reinvention of the industry may involve better follow-up on the impact of research or its results. This is precisely the work of Daniela  Martínez from A+E Networks in alliance with Ben Boix from Netquest. The project ends, and observations are delivered. But how can we measure effectiveness? How can we measure the specific impact of a campaign? Or the multiple channels the target audience uses to learn about the product and be influenced by it? In the past, this was an almost unsurmountable challenge. Today, though, we may be looking at what will turn into a requirement for ROI assessment by clients and an evaluation tool for insights providers. 

Or, perhaps the rise of AI, blockchain, and the internalisation of insights are turning the industry into an unrecognisable creature. Patricio Pagani from Black Puma not only believes in the power of technology to generate insights and will delve into this aspect in his work with the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi but also warns about the breakneck speed at which generative AI and other technologies are evolving. These considerations turn into philosophical questions that confront us as a society and, he argues, as a species. 

César Valderrama from Datexco has identified an entirely new way of extracting insights that may deconstruct what we understand as market research and may prove truly effective. The ability “client” corporations have to reach out to consumers directly and conduct research may put into question the need for agencies altogether. He posits the question, what do agencies need to do in such a landscape? Interestingly, his conclusions are very similar to my own, even though we arrive at them through different paths. It will be interesting to compare both presentations, only one hour apart on closing day, to appreciate the transformation required by some players in the industry. 

The insights activity will always be crucial, especially when we recognise the power it has in moments of deep crises like the one we are living in today. The climate crisis feels like a great looming cloud that overshadows and trivialises every other problem humanity faces. Effectively communicating the urgency of dealing with climate change and changing our habits has been at the core of Fabian Echegaray’s work. Understanding the effectiveness of the different languages used to inform the population about climate change helps focus efforts and develop better campaigns to raise awareness. 

I am sure that Damián Gandolfi from Cooperativa Mental would agree on the importance of communicating insights effectively. As data grows and the corporate decision process becomes more multidepartmental, it is essential to engage the receivers of insights and make insights digestible, whether by developing videos, a mini-series or… well, imagination is the limit! Understanding that the audience doesn’t always understand the numbers, calculations, or stats means that we must use methods to deliver the findings and guide the companies’ strategies if we really want to make an impact. 

All this is nothing but a glimpse of the level of deep disruption found across the continent and opens a window of stimulating discussion, invaluable lessons and unique questions. Furthermore, all this will be fleshed out through ESOMAR’s Talking Insights series, as I had the privilege to speak to each of these and other remarkable professionals today. 

Latam is the region that keeps on giving, and the last day tomorrow will surely prove to be the most insightful of experiences. An event full of humanity, laughter, and smiles, paired with deep braininess, startling disruption, thorough reflection, and undeniable aplomb. 

Xabier Palacio
Senior Manager at ESOMAR's Intelligence Unit at ESOMAR

Article series

ESOMAR Latin America 2023