Joaquim Bretcha

“Yes, Galileo, yes, it’s moving”

WeDIMM_Galileo tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short term and to undervalue it in the long term… and digitization impact market research. Some applications may just seem to be a trend, lots of talk but then nothing. Indeed, some of them are but in the midterm, they will be dominant.

Fictional or not, the famous Latin phrase “Eppur si muove” (and yet it moves) from Galileo Galilei when hearing the inquisitorial sentence on him gives me pause to reflect on the insights industry’s transformation fuelled by technology. Similarly, as the change of paradigm experienced by the Renaissance’s Cosmology provoked by the “heliocentric” theory, the extremely fast digitization of our society has introduced us to the dawn of a new Era.

Certainly, under the “disruption” umbrella, any novelty seems to immediately and completely change the marketing and market research industries. It is extremely easy to be blown away by the latest technology; innovation attracts and buries what already exists and it is still useful. Concepts such as “Virtual Reality”, “Wearables”, “Internet of Things”, “Big Data”, “Gamification”, “Eye Tracking”, “Facial Coding”, “Text Analytics”, “Social Media Analytics”, “Sentiment Analysis”, “Automation”, “Data Viz”, “Artificial Intelligence”, “Uberization” and many others seem to be threaten to kill what it’s in place.

I personally believe that this revolution is unstoppable and universal. However, from my perspective, the speed of this revolution and level of shift is paced. Everything is moving, probably slower than initially expected, but getting the engines are ready for a prompt acceleration. When asked about the reason why I see a slower movement than expected, I give two main reasons:

On one hand, the market research industry tends to be risk averse. Only when facing extremely demanding situations, such as an economic crisis, do we rethink our process and methodology and fully embrace change. This slow adoption of new insights approaches has a dual responsibility. Both end clients and agencies are to blame. The first tries not to break historical data or methodologies. The latter either for from a lack of technological understanding or the potentially jeopardising their revenue stream. Both forces combined meads a ‘conservative’ approach to the new and a slow adoption.

On the other hand, global business and the technological environment sets the pace for change. The fast digitization of marketing has enhanced our perception of accessing the consumer. Access in communication (through programmatic advertising) and Social Media being a universal outlet for opinions means that there is a new marketing culture which gives us a different new perspective on what is doable. Today, a marketing professional with no specific background in market research believes that almost everything is possible, easy and cheap.

From the clients’ side, the traditional function of market research is being diluted. Different departments have access to alternative datasets which enrich classical ones. Add to that the technological skills that “millennials” bring to the table and new opportunities for analysis appear in the company and traditional market research departments are bypassed. Research departments are being asked to rethink their function and composition to keep, or even increase, their relevance in the definition of company’s strategy.

On the supply side, we find numerous players that come from traditional market research and are successful in innovating through embracing new technologies. Others, originally from traditional market research as well, offer effective solutions, limited in scope and at a lower price, leveraging the efficiencies provided by smart process automation. Appropriate solutions for a context in which “good enough is good”. To this point, I would like to give light to a very important emerging subject: those tech-driven providers that land up in to the market research arena by accident and find a new and unexpected revenue stream. Companies, mainly start-ups, with no prior knowledge of market research discover that their solutions allow the industry to either obtain new consumer’s insights or a more efficient way of processing information.

And these are the players that I’d like to draw your attention to. These current “outsiders” are here to stay. These newcomers will enlarge the global insights pie, probably on behalf of dwarfing the traditional one. For this reason, I recommend all current players not to undervalue any of the previous mentioned “buzzwords”. With due respect to the omnipresent “Big Data”, I would suggest not to undervalue the concepts of “Automation” and “Artificial Intelligence” applied to the insights industry.

Technology brings unprecedented opportunities to market research. Opportunities to get insights that were not possible before the digitization of our societies or to get the classical insights faster, richer, more efficiently and with a shorter gap between the consumption moment and its analysis. The final objective is constant: to understand the consumer/citizen so that the most apt decisions can be taken. The palette of opportunities is immense. Let’s start by getting rid of the “conservative” tag and let’s grasp the possibilities technology brings us. By doing so, I hope we all will be able to say: “Yes, Galileo, it’s moving. But we are moving faster and we reach further”.

This article was first published in Spanish in the Argentinian magazine DIMM (April 2017)

About the Author

Joaquim Bretcha is an Economist at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and holds a degree in Business from the IESE. A current ESOMAR Council member for the last 7 years he has also created and expanded the International Business Unit at Netquest. Both responsibilities give him the ability to stay permanently in touch with the international community of market research and stay tuned to the latest market developments.


The new ESOMAR Council has been elected. Thanks for your support

The new Council for the term 2017-2018 has been elected.
I am happy to be part of this new team and work to make ESOMAR more relevant. I want to thank all voters for contributing to the good government of the association and very especially to those that have given me their support.
The elected members of Council for the upcoming term are:
Niels Schillewaert (InSites USA – President)
BV Pradeep (Unilever UK – Vice-President)
Pieter Paul Verheggen (Motivaction. Netherlands)
Anne-Sophie Damelincourt (Blue Lemon, France)
Kristin Luck (Decipher, USA)
Joaquim Bretcha (Netquest, Spain)
Pervin Olgun (Barem, Turkey)
Umesh Kumar (Hansa Research – India)
Marcello Sasso (Aimpoint – Italy)

Luisa Ravelo Contreras (Corporacion Request – Venezuela)


ESOMAR Elections 2017-18


ESOMAR LATAM Conference 2016, Bogotá (Colombia)

Dear colleague,

It is my pleasure to run again for the Esomar Council after my first two-year term. While preparing my candidacy, I must admit I have experienced a little joy. The joy of looking at two years back and get aware of Esomar’s and my own evolution.

During this period I have had the great experience of working with outstanding colleagues at the Council and the Esomar staff. This strong team has been capable of drawing a new strategy that has impacted on many layers; being the principal one the redefinition of the Code. A new Code that undoubtedly adapts Esomar to the current time.

In the Council, I have personally focused my attention and efforts on two main aspects: Communication and strengthening the link with National Representatives. Both have given me a much broader view of Esomar, its needs, challenges and diversity of members.

As a result of combining these “on the ground” experiences along with the Council and Esomar staff’s interaction, I have been able to draw the proposal that you can find below.

Hoping to renew your trust on this new election, I thank you in advance for your interest in my candidacy and I wish to count with your support. All the best,



 It should be agreed that we are not living an era of change but a change of era; a new era driven by digitization. Still at its initial phase, digitization has already transformed our societies and, therefore, our industry.

The need of understanding people’s opinions, desires and behaviours in their different roles is higher than ever. At the same time, it’s becoming more and more complex.  The consumer/citizen comprehension requires a more holistic approach and the good command of new sets of data.  Likewise, the means to collect this data evolve at a very fast pace propelled by technology evolution.

This context sets many challenges to our industry, consequently to ESOMAR as one of its key players. The core one, from my perspective, is to show the value and self-worth of Market Research.  And more concretely, we need to:

-  Help our current members to successfully adapt to this new context by delivering the most appropriate information and education programs, providing the most useful tools and creating excellent networking opportunities.

Get bigger, get more members from the broad MR landscape, becoming relevant to everyone involved with data-driven marketing strategies. The new ICC/ESOMAR International Code opens our scope and allows us to embrace all related activities.

- Keep being the advocate of the Industry in front of the international and national legislators helping the other worldwide associations in all the industry’s auto-regulation initiatives.

- Support the Youth; promote the attractiveness of our sector.

- We are global and diverse. It is important to seize the different stages of the industry’s according to the different countries’ evolution. I believe that one of the main roles of ESOMAR is to facilitate the convenient spread of best practices and help the least developed countries upgrade their status.

- We are local. The real activity takes place at a local level. A relevant presence in each and every country is key as it is the role of our National Representatives.

These are, in brief, my main beliefs of the role of ESOMAR and the direction we should keep taking. In fact, these are the essential guidelines the current Council has undertaken in the last 2 years. I totally embrace them and would love to continue promoting them in the next term. On this occasion, I bring my international experience reinforced with a much better knowledge of the association and its members.

PS. I want to thank the public support of:

- Julia Helena Carrillo. Country Manager Ipsos Ecuador.

- Jérôme Sopocko. Founder Askia. United Kingdom.

- Jean Michel Lelievre. CEO and Founder Interlink. France.

- Macarena Estévez. CEO and Founder Conento. Spain.

- Susana Marquis. Directora Susana Marquis. La investigación que inspira.

- Joachim Ritter. Head of Market Analytics Roche. Germany.

- Shinichi Hosokawa. CEO GMO Research. Japan.

- Martin Oxley. Managing Director Buzzback Europe. United Kingdom.

Interview before ESOMAR Congress 2015 in Dublin (in Spanish)

This interview was recorded before our Congress 2015 in Dublin. Some reflections about ESOMAR, the role of the Council, my experiences in Regional Congresses (LATAM, APAC), the evolution of our industry, the importance of ESOMAR Congress, the benefits of participating … (still valid)


Yes, I have been elected member of the Esomar Council 2015-2016 

I want to thank all Esomar members for having taken part at this Council elections and, more particularly, to those that have given me their trust. I am very honoured and excited to start this period, giving my best to the association for the next 2 years. I am looking forward to join the elected team and work with the Esomar excellent staff.

I also want to thank Netquest for its support. A nice bunch of colleagues have helped me achieve this result. Not only with their particular collaboration but also with their enthusiasm and positive spirit. I have always felt backed up by them. All I can say is that it has been a very nice team experience.

Thank you

Celebrating the Council nomination at the Research & Results Show (Munich) with Dani, Borja and Juan, 3 key members of my Netquest team


What are the reasons for my Candidacy?


English            Español          Português            Français

Català              日本語 (Japanese)

First of all, I want to thank you for visiting this blog and showing your interest in my candidacy. It is a pleasure for me being able to share with you the reasons why I have decided to become a member of the Esomar’s Council.

The Consumer understanding has been the engine of my 19 years of working experience. The consumer has been the focus in all the different roles I have developed all along the Value Chain in the MR Industry: End Client, Agency and Service Provider.

I strongly believe that ESOMAR has to properly represent all the Market Research Value Chain. Indeed, in the current period in which the technology brings new players on the stage. We all have to be aware of the importance of building a strong community, formed by a huge diversity of actors, with solid principles and consistent methodologies that ensure the optimal adoption of the technological (r)evolution.

On top of that, we do need to make sure that the end client, the one that pays the whole value chain, is well included, understands and appraises our approaches and deliveries. We must bet for a clear display and defense of the value that the Market Research contribution has to the set of the market and to society.

I am an Economist by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Postgraduate by the IESE Business School. In Spain, my positions as “End Client” have been: Marketing Director at Auchan Supermarkets, Merchandising Director in Carrefour Supermarkets. In the MR Agency side, I have served for six years as the Retail Director in TNS Worldpanel and Synovate. As a Service Provider of online Data Collection, I am currently leading the international business of Netquest in Europe and Asia.

For the last 4 years I have been very active at Esomar, participating in many Seminars and Conferences in Europe, America and Asia. This continuous exposure allows me to capture the differences among countries, understand the global and local challenges and threats within our Industry and be aware of the latest trends and technologies.

I would like to summarize my motivations to present my candidacy in the following points:

  1. The sector lives moments of the most interesting convulsion. The technology is allowing us to give a spectacular jump in the data collection, which opens new dimensions in the knowledge of the consumer, the base of our profession. I believe that it is important that technological data collection companies can contribute with their vision to the government of Esomar.
  2. I comprehend the different problems and interests of the different gears of the Value Chain and I am willing to promote and support those measures that bring better efficiency to the whole Industry.
  3. Bridge across Continents. I have the perspective of several countries and markets (Spain, Portugal, Latin America and a bit of Asia), that are in the second tier of the evolution of the sector. Understanding their condition, I want to be their interpreter at the Council.
  4. And finally, at a personal level. To take part in the government of the global association of my sector would be a great opportunity to give an exciting step forward, which would definitely improve my professional career, extending the area of vision and interaction. It would be a very rewarding experience from which I would try to revert to the Industry.

I would be delighted to discuss in-depth the ins and outs of our sector, considering factors, I believe key, for the improvement of our industry. If you are interested in establishing an open dialogue, feel free to use this blog.

These are my main motivations and beliefs with which I take part in these elections. I hope they are of your interest and serve to gain your trust and, hopefully, your vote.

Thank you very much.