Norwegian industry association NMF today confirmed and even strengthened its position as a very professional conference arranger. The Norwegian Market Research Day (Markedsanalysens Dag) which officially ended one and a half hours ago ("only" the party remains) was a demonstration in the art of avoiding pitfalls and giving the audience what it wants. The turnout was slightly lower than last year, 270, which is still an amazing figure for a country with only 4.5 million inhabitants and 20 market research companies and it certainly felt like the big and great day that this is.
We are known for not being afraid of criticizing what is not so good, so let's start with some words about the poor speakers.
It is by far much tougher to discriminate between the very good speakers, i e all of them. In fact, it almost felt strange to visit a conference with no weak points - there always are at least a one or two presentations you could might as well sleep through aren't there?
The secret this year was to pick the best of the best: previous speakers who have done good, an international superstars, presentations from other conferences which have received good grades by those delegates and speakers who have won awards in nearby industries.
The winner of the award best presentation 2007, Fred Selnes, demonstrated after lunch that he won the prize for the contents of his presentation, not for the way he presented. Not that there was anything wrong with his way of presenting, except that he seemed to have prepared a four hour speech for a 35 minute time slot, but because many can present as good as this, but few have this solid knowledge of what is really happening, and have happened, in the field of marketing. I would love to listen fo Fred for four hours or more!
Fred Solnes, professor in marketing at Oslo Business School - worth listening to for a long time.
The only criticized speaker among other delegates, was Truls Erik Johnsen from Telenor. Not that there was anything wrong with his presenatation either, but because he started it by saying "I haven't prepared this presentation very well". Cardinal error: if it is true, the audience will notice without you telling them - in this case, no one would have noticed hadn't you said anything. I missed the start of the presenation because the other parallell pool ran over slightly, but i quite enjoyed the story of the rock concert in Pakistan as well as all the other tales of how different culture is in different parts of the world. The main insight I took with me was to not be fooled by what appears to be a uniform global youth culture: same clothes, same music, same fast food etc. The way people use this attributes, and why they use them, differs a lot, because local culture is always what counts.
The only truly Swedish exhibitor, Tobii, had a busy day.
No one in Norway remembers the skater Rolf Falch Larsen, because he won the world championships in the wrong way, but we will remember Ivar Vereide and his learning about how important it is to understand the cultural context when you design an advertising campaign.
Despite all other great performances, my impression from the morning remains: The debate between Kjetil Rolnes and Ottar Hellevik was the highlight of the day. Key Note speaker Kevin Lane Keller have to excuse us; his presentation was as great as you could expect and his learnings about Brand Resonance and customer loyalty, with examples from companies like BMW, RedBull, Dove, iPod, Singapore Airlines, MTV, Harley-Davidson and Toyota, was important and interesting, but only touched slightly on market research. Kjetil and Ottar went right down to the core of what we are doing for a living by discussing things like if we really can believe the resondents are telling us the truth. These kinds of debates are important and should be brought out in the light, particularly by two so brilliant and experienced researchers as these two. Too bad though that Ottar had gotten the wrong information about in which order they were to speak and thus couldn't match Kjetil. It now seemed like Kjetil came out on top, but I am pretty sure this was primarily because Kjetil is a much better entertainer and not because of differencies in research skills.
The "small" auditorium.
Back to the scene of the crime: Thor-Jostein Egeland, the man that once made Markedsanalysens Dag big, visitied the day as a normal guy and met among others Ole Martin Andersen,
Time to stop talking, Bjørn. "Hei Sveis" means "So long".
What about the party then? Nah, not much happened there...
Doesn't anyone have a smaller ball?
No idea who these guys are, what they are holding in their hands or what very large fieldwork company they are visiting at 3am.