Yesterday, I got invited to speak and participate at a round table where marketing/communication academics and business professionals were debatting how university researchers could better diffuse "science" in the marketing and communication practice. The initiative was taking place under the umbrella of CRNS (the French National Council for Scientific Research), with specific contributions of different French schools and universities (Université de Nice, HEC Paris, Université de Limoges,Université de Dijon).
The exchange was really intense, both groups were "listening" to each other, although sometimes disconnections were taking place mainly because of lack of "common language". On one hand academics were somewhat "theoritical", on the other hand, business people were more down to earth, with a need for better methods leading to effective results under strong time and economic pressures.
In reality, I think both worlds have much to learn and gain from each other, but ONLY if efforts take place on both sides:
- to speak the same language,
- work towards common and simple goals to start
- and meet regularly to review progress over time.
Being myself very sensitive and open to the academic world (through my Phd eductaion and my regular writing in academic journals for example), it remains true that things are not easy, and take a lot time and patience to create connections. Along these lines, I strongly think that professional associations such as the ones invited yesterday (ESOMAR, IREP, UDA, AACC) are key to make this happen. Why not imagine an "hybrid" model where mutiliple associations involved in marketing/communication could set research priorities and call for contributions in the academic world to drive applied business research, very like the Marketing Science Institute in the US that sets marketing research priorities? I attended twice MSI events in the past, and was impressed with the quality of contributions from both the academic and business worlds. French collegues, the path is set, lets' get together, and work TOGETHER.
In conclusion, yesterday, all professionals encouraged regular meetings and contributions from both worlds more regularly. I also raised the possibility of setting up a blog where all interested parties could comment/discuss and CONVERSE, LISTENING to each other...
I simply hope that a lot of people will join me in setting up such initiative...in French of course, as I am sure some will say that I reported things in English...but as I said in a previous post, I will soon do so in French as.
All comments are welcome, in English or "français".