Annual Conference | MARCH 22–24, 2023 | Charlotte, NC
Celebrating 40 years of Qualitative Excellence
In 2023, QRCA will be celebrating 40 years of qualitative excellence. As cheesy as it sounds, the time has truly flown by, and what started as a small group of industry colleagues has grown into the largest international network of qualitative research professionals in the marketing research industry. Our theme this year, “Eyes, Ears, Senses, Oh My! Powering Up for the Future of Qual,” is about honing our skills for the next 40 years, which will undoubtedly be centered on a digital-first and tech-enabled world. Charlotte, North Carolina, is the perfect backdrop for this context, given it is one of the fastest-growing southern U.S. cities and caters to a wide variety of industries from banking, energy, and you guessed it—technology.
Technology tends to get a bad reputation sometimes. The younger generations of Gen Alpha and Gen Z are growing up in an already internet-connected world. With faces in screens all the time, we probably don’t need to spell out for you that their childhoods had, and adulthoods will have, a radically different set of societal expectations than the generations before. Even as we move past the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a community move back to in-person engagements, qualitative research is not “returning to normal” … we’re establishing a new future with a new set of rules and tools.
Qualitative research professionals are pretty resilient, if we do say so ourselves. In our ability to dive deep into the minds of consumers, users, and buyers, we have to mold ourselves into understanding perspectives from a wide range of backgrounds and contexts. Technology has fundamentally changed the ways we observe and how we listen, introduced new methods for sharing opinions, and even affected our simple influences.
Let’s think about two scenarios of simple concepts that this impacts: books and news. People are consuming both forms of content in new formats such as audiobooks and podcasts. How does hearing a book or news story change your engagement or association with the content compared to when you read it? We used to say the more you read, the better you write. Does that mean the more we listen, the better we speak? Topics like this are what we will explore together this March.
Powering Up Our Senses
In addition to breakout sessions and immersive workshops, we will also host small group discussions on hot topics among our qualitative peers. All content will encourage us to expand beyond our traditional perspectives and flex our senses to prepare for the future of qual.
Move over San Francisco—North Carolina was actually the location of the first U.S. gold rush, and we just so happen to know that the peer-to-peer networking at QRCA is a goldmine itself. We offer access to a wide range of qualitative research professionals throughout our three days together. Attendees are moderators, ethnographers, consumer experience specialists, online qualitative professionals, UX researchers, social media experts, branding and strategy authorities, and more.
- Networking opportunities start before the official conference kick-off with our Cultural Experience, First Timer Orientation, and Early Arrivals Dinner—all scheduled for Tuesday, March 21.
- Each morning we will host Healthy Connections and Coffee Chats for our early risers who want to get moving and get caffeinated.
- Our Marketplace and Exhibit Hall will be filled with 30-plus leading and quality suppliers to level up your qualitative research projects.
- Evening opportunities include our Opening Reception, Wednesday night Dine-Arounds, and the QRCA Thursday Night Event (an off-site evening of entertainment included with your conference ticket!).
Updated Programs and Experiences
QRCA is an inclusive conference event that offers content beyond traditional breakout sessions. Ranging from small group discussions to mentor groups, there are opportunities to learn and grow your qualitative skills at all points of our three-day agenda. Some highlighted changes we’re making this year include:
- First Timer & Ambassadors: For a unique marketing research conference experience, we’ll be pairing all first-time attendees in a small networking group led by a seasoned QRCA’er. This will help you prepare before arrival and give you an immediate networking circle.
- Emeritus Track: For members and attendees with 25 years or more of experience in the industry, we are offering a parallel series of sessions hosted by our Emeritus SIG (special interest group).
- Zen Den: Looking for a quiet zone and place to catch up on emails or take a break? We’ve got you covered with a meeting-free space to give you a breather when you need it.
Pack your party hats! We can’t let our big 4-0 go without celebrating! On Wednesday morning we will have a throwback session honoring our qualitative roots while inspiring the next 40. Your registration also includes tickets for:
- Garden Social Opening Reception on Wednesday evening—mingle with our sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees with complimentary drinks and snacks before heading out for your Dine-Around.
- Our legendary Thursday Night Event—a casual night of good food, great people, and lively entertainment. We suggest you warm up your vocals for a little birthday singing!
Bringing a partner or friend? Guest tickets are available for a fee for the Wednesday Opening Reception, the Thursday Night Event, and the Cultural Experience Event. Please select the guest ticket(s) on your registration form.
- Wednesday Opening Reception Guest Ticket: $50/ticket
- Thursday Night Event Guest Ticket: $100/ticket
Conference registration rates include: three full days of workshops, breakfast, lunch and break refreshments each afternoon, Wednesday Welcome Reception, Thursday Night Event, and access to the Marketplace.
Earlybird (until January 15)
- QRCA Individual Member: $1,045.00
- QRCA NewQ Member: $545.00
- QRCA Emeritus Member: $545.00
- Non-QRCA Member: $1,495.00
- New to Qualitative Profession: $645.00
- Student/Seeking Employment: $195.00
Regular (January 16 or after)
- QRCA Individual Member: $1,195.00
- QRCA NewQ Member: $645.00
- QRCA Emeritus Member: $645.00
- Non-QRCA Member: $1,645.00
- New to Qualitative Profession: $745.00
- Student/Seeking Employment: $195.00
For more information regarding our cancellation and COVID-19 policies, please visit the Conference Central webpage.
This year’s Qually Award project is a collaboration with the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte! Our live-client project competition was available for submissions this fall, and the winner will present a short case study and will be honored during the Conference Awards Ceremony. From their humble beginning in 1948, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (CTC) has grown to become one of the most respected arts and education organizations in the country. This year, the CTC is celebrating 75 Years of Wonder. They are one of the nation’s top theatres for families, serving nearly 300,000 people each year with imaginative productions and wide-ranging education offerings for all ages. They create exceptional theatre experiences, inspiring generations to explore the wonder of their world.
For more about this year’s Qually Award and the project, please visit: www.qrca.org/page/qually_award
555 South McDowell Street Tower
Charlotte, NC 28204
Charlotte, North Carolina, is the second-largest city in the South and the third-fastest growing city in the entire United States. Staying for the weekend? Our hotel is in Uptown (their downtown), so be sure to check out various museums and shopping offered—like The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Optimist Hall, the North Carolina Music Factory, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and more!
Single & Double Occupancy
Room Rate: $169+ per night plus tax
Hotel cut-off date: February 26, 2023
Hotel Registration Website: www.qrca.org/page/2023-annual-conference-hotel-travel
Cultural Experience Event: $65/ticket
Let’s race to the finish line! Actually, let’s first meet in the hotel lobby and ride to the track together. Sound good?
Tuesday, March 21, QRCA offers attendees a unique networking and cultural experience designed to immerse ourselves in our host city. The Carolinas are often referred to as the “Home of NASCAR” and, as such, the need for speed runs rampant in the Queen City. In fact, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is located just a 10-minute walk from our hotel!
To gain a better education and appreciation for what makes autosports so special to the people of Charlotte, QRCA’s Chris Hauck has organized an excursion that includes a trip out to Charlotte Motor Speedway complete with a ride around the track! (A slow ride… but a ride’s a ride, right?) Our private bus will take us to the NASCAR Cup Series garage area, where we can take a spin through two infield tracks and feel the full-tilt force of the 24-degree banking. Then we’ll make our way down Pit Road and stop in the Winner’s Circle for a photo opp. Talk about star treatment!
Please Note: This event is NOT included in your conference registration rate and can be purchased during check out. Space is limited.