ESOMAR Congress 2008 Montreal

ESOMAR chooses Monopoly’s #1 choice, Montreal

ESOMAR opens its 61st annual congress on September 22nd in Montreal. That was a heading in a message I was most pleased to receive from Amy Gregus of Edelman.

The details certainly sound impressive:

Theme: FRONTIERS Pioneering thinking and ideas

  • Over 1,000 participants from 60 countries and global program with over 100 speakers from 20 countries
  • Largest international industry trade show with more than 100 exhibitors
  • Disclosure of topical research results such as: Wal-Marts regional adaptation in the Qubec market; Climate change and the rise of the green consumer; and How digital media has changed consumer expectations

Prestigious keynote speakers

  • Kate Adie, BBC, UK
  • Hernando de Soto, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Peru
  • Richard Eisermann, Prospect, UK
  • Grant McCracken, Cultural Anthropologist, USA and
  • Alan C. Middleton, Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada

This is the first time that the annual conference will be held outside Europe. It all was a great confirmation of the place of Montreal in the online world. Another significant confirmation this week was that Montreal is the top property in a new Monopoly game.

Montreal has been voted the most expensive property to buy in a new international version of Monopoly, edging out major tourist destinations like London, Paris and New York. The new board game, called “Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition,” is using cities rather than streets. “We are thrilled that the first-ever global game board includes an interesting mix of cities that showcases the dynamic cultures, sights and history of the planet,” Helen Martin, Vice President of Global Marketing for toy and game-maker Hasbro, Inc.

The ESOMAR announcement had particular echoes for me, particularly when I noted that Alan Middleton is an ex-JWTer. Early in my career, I spent some years in market research and was involved with the Market Research Society in the UK, which is almost as old and as illustrious as ESOMAR.

With members in more than 70 countries, MRS, founded in 1953, is the worlds largest association serving all those with professional equity in provision or use of market, social and opinion research, and in business intelligence, market analysis, customer insight and consultancy.

The importance of the market research function can be evidenced by the early MRS Presidents: Sir Arthur Bowley, Lord Piercy, Viscount Chandos, Sir Ronald Edwards, Sir Claus Moser, Dr John Treasure and Sir Harold Wilson. Indeed the associated statistics are an important measurement tool for any branch of government and for the major players in the national economy. My personal association with The J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) is that John Treasure hired me to work on advertising research with Andrew Ehrenberg at the Head Office of JWT in 40 Berkeley Square in the West End of London.

I was struck by the ESOMAR Overview

As the world is transforming, each new day presents uncharted frontiers. With knowledge, creativity and experimentation, the Congress will explore how research explores and advances new business and societal paradigms, sets the trends and responds with new and better solutions. It will challenge the status quo, focusing on everything that is cutting edge, innovative, creative, and business unusual.

The biggest sea change in all of this is the Internet. Before the Internet, one was hard-pressed to get the right data. Only the family dog watching the TV in the Nielsen sample family was the epitome of the difficulty of knowing what was really happening in the population as a whole. The principal problem was how to get good data on what people were doing and thinking.

It might be thought that, with the infinite choices that any individual now has via the Internet, it would be even more difficult to discern mass trends and understand exactly what is going on. That is not the case. Everyone leaves indelible footprints as they move around from web page to web page. With the appropriate coding it is possible to know in minute detail what every individual is doing. The problem is no longer too little, inaccurate data. If there is a problem, it is knowing how to extract the right summary and draw actionable conclusions from the plethora of data. It’s a much more stimulating problem to have.

We hope the ESOMAR visitors to Montreal enjoy their stay and find ways of responding to these new and different challenges.

Related Books:
For information on interesting Montreal places to visit, see
Frommer’s Montreal & Quebec City 2009 Guide (Frommer’s Complete)
Montreal & Quebec City For Dummies (Dummies Travel)