I promise that this will be my last blog post about the recent MRA annual conference but I feel like I wouldn’t be doing the gathering justice if I didn’t talk about what everyone else was talking about: Hyundai!
When I walked into the exhibit hall on Sunday night, the first thing I noticed was that there was a car on the floor. A real, full-size sedan – a Hyundai Equus, to be exact. There was a sign on the black curtain behind the booth that said “Hyundai” but no other indication of what exactly its purpose was.
Attendees were curious – after all, it isn’t often that research buyers exhibit at trade shows. The level of interest among the attendees ranged from mild to excited. One ambitious researcher snooped around, found one of the car’s doors unlocked and hopped in for a closer look. Others professed hope that the car was one of the grand prizes in the drawings. (In our wildest dreams, right?)
Then, just before the official opening of the exhibit hall on Monday afternoon, two representatives from QEK, a Warren, Mich., automotive OEM fleet solutions provider, showed up on behalf of Hyundai. They were immediately mobbed by car enthusiasts and researchers with questions about the Equus and about their presence at the show.
As it turns out, QEK was there conducting research on the showroom floor, attempting to recruit C-level executives from the pool of MRA attendees to participate in a program where they could drive the Equus around in their hometowns for a trial period and provide feedback about the vehicle.
I look forward to following up with QEK to see if their recruiting project was a success, as it is one of the more unconventional research approaches I’ve seen. I wonder how many C-level attendees they found and why, in this case, working in the research industry wouldn’t preclude someone from participating. What do you think, researchers? Have you ever seen anything like this? Would you ever do anything like this? Is it a costly experiment or a near-guarantee that at least a few executives will take interest?