As you know, I was invited by the AMSRS to give a keynote speech at their annual conference in Melbourne 15th-16th of , as well as run a workshop on 'word of mouth measurement and beyond'.
To say the least the experience was outstanding, all of it, the country, the conference itself and most of all the PEOPLE. Friendly, helpful, curious to learn and interested in others, I really enjoyed my short time in both Melbourne and Sydney and even got the chance to see an AFL match Australian Football match as well as meet and speak with one of the most famous AFL coaches: Kevin Sheddy.
When I came in I really though that Australia was more advanced in terms of rolling new methods and approaches in market research. This impression came from the fact that internet penetration is high in Australia, and the anglo saxon experience and background from the UK and the US. In fact, it seems that from the feedback I got my speech about LISTENING, (From Asking to Listening: Leveraging insights from a connected world) was really appreciated by the audience and inspirational for some. What a great feedback!
So my only advice is indeed Australia can really get involved in the Listening game and has a great chance to play to further influence and join the Asian region opportunities of growth. It seems clearly that the Australian government is going this way, I believe that the country has most to gain out of it and for sure will be not as far away at it seems (it is still 20 hours from Europe, 8 hours from Singapore). My only hope is really to comeback, it seems that opportunities are present after the initial contacts I had after the conference, so who knows may be in 2009 or 2010 even before for projects and consulting hopefully!
By the way, the ARF in the US is running a one day forum on LISTENING in late October (you see you got the message about Listening before America! :), so really, guys you are not really late in the game, the US is really going full speed in this direction, you have everything in place to join the crowd... so jump! Don't you have Kangoros in your country?
So to everyone I met, the AMSRS staff and members: THANK YOU.
and specifically to John (Marinopoulos & Dimopoulos), Andy (conferece chair), Elissa, Peter (president) Leslea, Francesca, Leanne, everyone really (sorry for the ones that I forgot here) you made this trip really special and full of learning, thank you very much! and feel free to ask again, I am actively listening!