Dutch course, Belgian student

What CUBE is in Belgium, is the Data & Insights Network in the Netherlands, a trade association for market research professionals in the broadest sense of the word. For some time now, the Dutch have been strengthening the ties with CUBE, including opening up their courses specifically to Belgians. What exactly is that about? That is what we asked Anna-Lotte de Haan and Wim van Slooten, respectively Project Manager Digital & Education and Managing Director of Data & Insights Network Netherlands.

Belgians who have never heard of Data & Insights Network are forgiven, as the institute has only just changed its name. The organization used to go by the name MOA (Expertise Center for Marketing Insights, Research and Analytics) and that name probably will ring a bell with many people. “Data & Insights Network has largely the same objectives as CUBE, but the implementation is not quite the same,” says general manager Wim Van Slooten. “We too like to be at the service of our fellow professionals in every possible way and we also share as much knowledge and insights as possible. But we are bigger than CUBE, simply because the Netherlands is a bigger market than Belgium.”


That size difference manifests itself in several areas. Data & Insights Network, for example, organizes its own annual conference attended by some 2,000 people and sends out almost daily thematic newsletters (on healthcare, data analytics, sensory research, …). The Dutch are also very much into everything that has to do with data, data analytics, data quality and AI. “That’s where CUBE still has some way to go,” Van Slooten says.

Another key difference are the courses and trainings that are set up by Data & Insights Network. “Almost every week we start new courses,” says Anna-Lotte de Haan. “And we also want to open these up very specifically to interested Belgians. The course offering is completely grafted onto the different phases of market research.”

“That starts with problem definition,” Wim van Slooten gives as an example. “How exactly do you define that problem? Then you choose which methodology to use, qualitative or quantitative research? What are the pitfalls with these? How are you going to make analyses? How are you going to interpret them? How will you visualize them? We go down the whole list up to the presentation for the boardroom, that last step is very important, because ultimately they make the decisions. If you follow all the courses, you will get a complete training in market research in eight days.”

Diner in Amsterdam

To win over Belgians, Data & Insights Network has a VIP rate for the courses, especially for them. That means they pay 450 euros instead of the regular 650 euros. “We also cover the hotel accommodation,” says Anna-Lotte de Haan. “That way the travel budget remains manageable for most people. A course is usually held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon. That way people can also pop into Amsterdam in the evening and grab a bite to eat.”

It’s still early days, so the number of Belgians who have already taken a course in the Netherlands is still quite limited, Wim van Slooten admits, but that’s not a bad thing. “I think it is especially good that there is attention from CUBE for our initiative and that in this way we can profile ourselves with our neighbors. That is also important, regardless of whether people actually participate in the courses or not. We have noticed that for many Belgians the national border is still a bit of a psychological barrier. Of course, we have to try to eliminate that as much as possible. A big advantage in this is that we speak the same language. It is absolutely no coincidence that we do not do the courses with, say, the German or British trade associations, because the language barrier is probably even greater than the border barrier.”

Hello Tom?

As for the future, it is definitely the intention to further intensify these kinds of cooperation, Wim van Slooten says. “Talks are ongoing about that. Our history together goes back many years, by the way. We also worked quite well together with BaQMar back in the day. Admittedly, that fell by the wayside after the merger with Febelmar, but we would like to revive our collaboration. Tom De Ruyck has my cell phone number and I have his (laughs).”

Would you like more information about the trainings and courses that Data & Insights Network organizes? View our calendar!