“Insights and Actions for Tomorrow’s Marketing Challenges.”
Typically, I don’t pay too much attention to conference themes. I generally go to conferences, listen to the speakers, network, get my takeaways, and go about my life a little more informed than I was before the conference. However, the theme from the first annual CCIMS & Marketing Fellows Conference still has me thinking. How can I be a better marketer? Will the term “marketer” even exist in ten years? Do I have customers, or do I have people in which I must successfully engage or else I will fail?
Jodi Allen of P&G presents on Thursday night.
The conference started Thursday night with a networking reception, dinner, and keynote presentation by Jodi Allen, the Vice President of North America Marketing & Brand Operations at Proctor & Gamble. Jodi spoke of P&G’s forward-thinking mindset, using brands like Secret, Old Spice, and Pampers to demonstrate how people (both on the marketing side and on the customer side) are so vital to company’s success. Her presentation included behind-the-scenes conversations and problems these brands faced, and then showed how they persevered and are all the better for it. Even at one of the biggest Consumer Packaged Goods companies in the world, people are the core focus of marketing. It was an enlightening conversation, complete with some tears after previews of P&G’s Olympics commercials.
Bob Johansen giving the keynote address Friday morning.
The next day started with the Keynote Presentation from Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow from the Institute for the Future. I will admit, I was a bit skeptical of a presentation. But Bob proved me wrong within a minute of speaking. This man was not only a fabulous presenter, but he came equipped with thought provoking insights and challenges. His predictions for the future of marketing – as seen in my previous questions – left the room full of questions and ideas and excitement.
Next up was a panel on “The Impact of Shopper Marketing.” Having been interested specifically in shopper marketing for a few years now, I was very excited about this panel. We heard from Art Ash (Deloitte), Brian Graham (Sam’s Club), Marissa Solis (Frito-Lay), Michael Treichler (Dr. Pepper Snapple Group), and moderator John Ellett (nFusion Group). These folks are experts in shopper marketing and it was certainly interesting to hear their perspectives and predictions. Some of my takeaways included: the highest form of equity is earning a consumer’s recommendation; the “shopper” is the common language of retailer and manufacturer and allows both to level the playing field; the goals of shopper marketing include justifying ROI, maximizing the brands, and growing the categories.
Meagan Pishnick and Ashley Weber, 2012 and 2013 Marketing Fellows Presidents.
After lunch we attended the final panel titled “Leveraging Marketing Analytics for the Future.” My former professor Ty Henderson moderated a group including Joseph Kelly (Infochimps), George Sadler (Dell), Jef Urbanek (AT&T), and Chris Winiewicz (AMD). This panel covered topics such as turning data into a means to expand a porfolio of connections with customers; what next generation analytics will look like; what are key challenges when faced with the enormity of available data; and ultimately, “what does the data even mean.” While I knew from Ty’s class how important analytics are to marketing, this panel certainly drove that message home. Companies who will be most successful will figure out how to best use that data for strategic growth.
For a first year conference, this one was one of the most enlightening conferences I have ever attended. I was proud to be a McCombs Marketing Fellow and grateful for the opportunity to sit next to such accomplished marketing professionals and exchange ideas. I’m very glad to see McCombs putting this effort into demonstrating our marketing capabilities at McCombs. Looking forward to next year already!
If you want to follow our thoughts from the conference, look for #McCombsMktConf on Twitter.
Photos taken by Praveen Katta.