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Topics & Guidelines for 2017-18 NextGen Competition

08/24/17 - 03/30/18

NextGen Competition 2017-18: Topics & Guidelines

GfK has announced topics for its 2017-18 Next Generation (“NextGen”) Competition, which gives undergraduate student researchers from North American universities a chance to test their marketing and research knowledge. Click here to learn more about the competition.

After reading the below, you can access the NextGen Express Proposal form [link] to enter Round 1 quickly and easily. Initial submissions are due December 1, 2017. Write to nextgencompetition@gfk.com if you have any questions.

Students choose one of the general topics to study from the perspective of one or more industries.



•         Understanding the Now Generation
Uncover what brands in a specific category (of your choice) need to know to connect with today’s 15- to 25-year-old consumers

•         Mapping the digital purchase journey

Explore new ways to trace the complete shopper journey – especially mobile researching and purchasing – and glean actionable insights

•         “Future-proofing” new products

Help companies in a specific category (of your choice) anticipate tomorrow’s marketplace – by closely studying relevant macro and micro trends – to develop innovations that will meet future consumer needs

•         Bringing tech and other industries together

Reveal how tech devices and platforms can enhance brand relationships and promote purchase – from financial services to health to consumer products

•         Open topic

Pick a research subject of your choice related to consumer marketing and insights



        Data integration

Combine data from different sources to yield valuable insight, taking into consideration the quality and compatibility of the data sets

•         Mobile research

Leverage consumers’ unique, 24/7 attachment to their phones to gather rich information – not just survey answers, but also photos and videos, audio recordings, and more  

•         User experience (UR) research

Get the user’s perspective – from firsthand observation and other sources – on whether a product experience is enjoyable and successful


The competition is open to full- and part-time undergraduate students currently matriculating at accredited North American (US or Canadian) colleges or universities. Students may submit entries independently or with a team (up to 4 students per team). One faculty advisor is allowed per team. GfK employees, including interns, are not eligible.


Phase 1: Proposals

Before conducting any primary research, student teams submit a brief description (no more than 1,000 words) of their project, outlining

  •        Marketplace need for the research
  •         Overview of existing insights
  •         Types of research to be conducted (be as specific as possible – planned sample sizes, devices to be used, etc.)
  • Please note that
  •          There is no need to conduct any new 1st-party research at the Proposal phase
  •          If you are chosen as a finalist, you will need to rely on your own resources in conducting your research; GfK does not provide funding


Phase 2: Final projects

GfK and our client Mentors will choose several of the strongest proposals as finalists; these teams will carry out the research outlined in their proposals and then write finished reports (PowerPoint or Word are acceptable). Final papers can be anywhere from 10 to 25 pages and should include 

  •          Marketplace need for the research (deeper dive)
  •          Overview of existing insights (deeper dive)
  •          Description of research conducted – methodologies, successes and disappointments
  •         Findings & implications
  •          Decision making – how marketers can use what you learned

Final projects will be judged on understanding of the marketing issues, quality of research, clarity of insight, actionability of final outcomes, and presentation and neatness.


Please note:

•      GfK takes plagiarism seriously. Contestants must be diligent about acknowledging all sources.

•      Faculty advisors can provide general feedback and guidance during the process, but should not edit student reports or otherwise take on work that might be assumed to be the students’.   

•      GfK does not provide funds for student research projects; any expenses must be covered by the contestants.

•      Only two student members of the winning team (plus one faculty advisor) will be sponsored by GfK for a trip to NYC. Others can attend but will not be sponsored.  


Key dates: NextGen Competition 2017-18

Topics announced: September 5, 2017

Proposal Phase entry forms due: December 1, 2017

Finalists notified: December 15, 2017

Final projects due: March 30, 2018

Winning team notified: April 20, 2018

Enter Round 1 (Proposal Phase) of the NextGen Competition by completing this form: