TMRE 2018 In Its Own Words

TMRE is overwhelming. Seven tracks, over a hundred speakers, all crammed into two and a half days. It’s as if, to understand the always on, multi-channel, fragmented consumer landscape, you have to imitate it.

With this year’s conference winding down, our TMRE team got together to share the best quotes, advertising insights, audience insights and ideas from the event.


“Lots of companies can deliver faster and cheaper, but better is lacking from what I see.  Not a lot of validation that decisions are positively impacting topline growth and profits.” – Brent Snider, System1

“We were often too fast-paced for market research, which was setting ourselves up for failure. Every other department was committed to a decision and we hadn’t actually tested it.” – AJ Mathew, CNN

“I’d rather be 50% confident than go in blind. Surely you can sacrifice a few hours to gain some confidence?” – Phil Ahad, Toluna

“If we don’t move fast to give marketers the facts they’ll conclude that whatever they’re doing is working!” – Laurie Manos, Converse

“Cut out the middleman, give data back to the consumer.” – Michael Lancor, P&G


“If ‘failure is not an option’ then neither is success.” – Beth Comstock, Keynote Speaker

“Failing fast isn’t really about failure. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, getting to the leading edge.” – AJ Mathew, CNN

“If last year’s buzzword was agile, this year’s was iterate – the always-on insight mentality. Or growth mindset, something else a lot of people mentioned – the idea you can always learn more and do better.” – Tom Ewing, System1

“The best presentation I saw was Diageo on being Leadership Navigators. Being a leader is like being a navigator in the age of exploration – your leadership has to adjust to fit each new situation you find yourself in.” – Jocelyn Simon, System1.

“If you’re not expecting failure you’re not learning. We can’t always expect a positive outcome.” – Michael Lancor, P&G


“My research has no value. Unless it convinces someone to do something differently.” – Yoni Karpfen, Airbnb

“If business doesn’t get out into the real world it won’t survive” – Beth Comstock, keynote speaker.

“Integration of Insights and Analytics teams.  Finding a way to more easily couple the two together to help make stronger business decisions that will meaningfully move the business.  They used to be separate and more often than not they are now joined at the hip.” – Brent Snider, System1

“Research and stories do the same thing – bring order to chaos” – Yoni Karpfen, Airbnb


“The new talk is about AI and Machine Learning but I never really saw it being applied in a manner that was impactful. It felt a lot like neuro back when everyone was talking about it and didn’t know what to do with it.” – Jeff McDonald, System1

“In the last 100 years we’ve developed layer upon layer of research tools. Where are we today? Not too far from where we started – surveys, focus groups, 1-to-1 interviews.” – Zoe Dowling, Focus Vision.

“We ask emotional survey questions, with 100-point interactive scales” – overheard on stage…


“Who’s driving the bus? If you’re just responding to data requests, you’re not driving the bus. The insights team can drive the bus by creating frameworks and dimensions which challenge the business.” – Yoni Karpfen, Airbnb

“Power is shifting away from big brands. As niche brands grow, retailers give them priority. Physical availability dwindles. A single product strategy doesn’t work any more.” – Denise Saldana, Colgate-Palmolive.

“We have to find the balance of long- and short-term.” – Nisha Yadav, MetLife

“Low-performers and high performers only have one thing in common – they think they’re doing just fine.” – Yoni Karpfen, Airbnb


“Everyone is talking about Gen Z. They’re more demanding, but more willing to act for themselves.” – Jocelyn Simon, System1

“It turns out being an adult now is mostly googling how to do stuff” – Gene Cho, BuzzFeed

“97% of Gen Z say they’ll own a house. 27% say they’ll have a mortgage.” – Sheila Dreyer Van Buskirk, Synchrony Financial

“Adulthood isn’t a peak you reach any more. It’s a constant process. Young people feel incredibly confident about themselves but also very confused about how to do basic things.” – Gene Cho, BuzzFeed

“The difference between Millennials and Gen Z is the difference between Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen.” – Laurie Manos, Converse.

“I’ve asked three exhibitors about the upper age bound of Gen Z and got three entirely different answers” – Tom Ewing, System1

“Honestly I don’t really follow any influencers.” – Ventura Molina, ASU student and Gen Z.


“Bigger brands get more casual conversation. But Fenty had massive conversation among fans, because it addressed an underserved market [African-American beauty]. It hit $100m sales in 40 days.” – Jen Handley, Fizziology

“Include women in marketing, don’t ‘market to’ them” – Molly Hayes, AB InBev

“Use emotional stories but avoid abstract metaphors. People don’t have time to decode your ad.” – Nisha Yadav, MetLife

“It’s a myth that women don’t drink beer because they don’t understand it. It turns out men and woman are equally uninterested in being ‘educated about beer’” – Molly Hayes, AB InBev

“Emotional connection as a driver is critical. That is our fundamental belief.” – Denise Saldana, Colgate-Palmolive


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand tracking tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

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