Thursday, March 5, 2015

What do Johnnie Walker, Folgers coffee and Dos Equis know about marketing that you don't?

Author: Rob Malcom, Executive in Residence in the Center for Customer Insight and Marketing Solution
Each of these brands have achieved dramatic and  transformational growth within static or declining categories many years apart, by mastering perhaps the most powerful and under appreciated lever in marketing.  No it is not social media, harnessing "big data", nor digital, nor product innovation - although these tactics and tools were part of the programs. 

Each of these brands - Folger's coffee in the 1980's, Johnnie Walker starting in the late 90's and Dos Equis in the 2000's uncovered what I believe is the most powerful secret in unlocking growth for brands - "THE ONE TRANSFORMATIONAL INSIGHT ".  This is the "singular most powerful discovery about their target consumer's motivation that could be leveraged to unlock growth".  

 For Folgers it was identifying the major generic category motivation - why people drink coffee in the first place - "to get their day off to a brighter start" which led them to abandon 20 years  of "better taste" positioning for the most successful, longest running advertising campaign  - " the Best part of wakin' up is Folger's in your cup' - now in its 31st year on air.

 For Johnnie Walker it was the discovery that the target group of 25-30 upwardly mobile men all over the world were motivated by the same core driving force - the desire to make progress in their lives.  This led to the breakthrough global campaign "Keep Walking", and inspired men all over the world beginning in 1999,  It turned years of decline into rapid growth for the next decade and was awarded "global campaign of the decade" in 2010.

Dos Equis cracked the code and separated itself from the tangled mass of imported beer, by uncovering that it's target - guys 23-28 - were maturing and no longer wanted to be seen as "crazy frat boys".  At this point in their life they wanted to be seen as "more interesting or sophisticated."  Enter the " Most Interesting Man in the World" - the most successful idea in beer in the last decade.

What so many marketers seem to forget in today's world of digitally enabled cool tactics, is the root of understanding all consumer behavior lies first in finding and harnessing the singular most powerful motivation that drives their behavior - their choice.  Until this foundation work is complete - the rest really doesn't matter.

Rob Malcom, Executive in Residence in the Center for Customer Insight and Marketing Solution

A graduate of the University of Southern California with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in marketing, Malcolm has spent 24 years at Procter & Gamble before becoming president of marketing, sales and innovation for Diageo, the world’s largest premium alcoholic beverages company. He retired from full-time corporate work in 2008, but continues his influence by serving on the boards of the American Marketing Association, Hershey Foods, and others. He also taught marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business from 2009 to 2013. Rob has been an Executive in Residence at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business Since 2013. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Highlights: McCombs Marketing Conference 2012

By Angela Adams, Marketing Fellows, Class of 2013

A few weeks have passed since the first annual McCombs Marketing Conference, and I still find myself remembering lessons from the event. The speakers and panels were engaging and thought provoking, and following the event on Twitter (#McCombsMktConf) was not only a great way to share thoughts with other atendees, followers from the McCombs community and beyond were able to take part in the conversation. Reflecting on the event has inspired me to write my own “Top Five Conference Highlights” list.

IT’S A VUCA WORLD: Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow from the Institute for the Future, and our keynote presenter introduced the idea of a V.U.C.A, world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous). As marketers, we must accept this new reality and show up prepared to win.

FROM ‘MARKETING’ TO ‘ENGAGING’: During the first panel, The Impact of Innovation on Shopper Marketing, we discussed how marketing is shifting towards people focused engagement. Though all agreed with the thinking, our panelists were asked if they were ready to change their titles from “Marketing Executive” to “Engagement Executive” – not quite there yet!

A FAST DECISION THAT IS WRONG IS BETTER THAN A SLOW DECISION THAT IS RIGHT: Panel two, Leveraging Marketing Analytics for the Future, again brought great discussion and thought provoking questions. Chris Winiewicz, Director for WW Channel Management at AMD, reminded us not only of the power of data in decision making, but of the importance of speed.

NEXT GENERATION ANALYTICS: George Sadler, Marketing Director at Dell, during the second panel, encouraged us to think about the future of analytics, and how we might go about quantifying things we think can’t be quantified. This is particularly true of social media; we must learn to count the digital conversations surrounding our brand. Speaking of social media, we had over 80 tweets about the conference this year!

LOOK FOR HUMAN INSIGHTS TO ACHIEVE PURPOSE DRIVEN MARKETING: Jodi Allen, the Vice President of NA Marketing & Brand Operations at Procter & Gamble kicked off the event Thursday night with a keynote presentation, showing us how P&G is using purpose driven marketing to promote brands at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The sample ads she showed even brought a few tears!

Looking back on the conference, I am truly proud to have been a part of it. The Marketing Fellows and CCIMS did an incredible job bringing together outstanding keynote speakers, panelists, moderators, and attendees. The event provided great opportunities to learn and network, and participating in the social media conversation was a really fun way to not only share insights, but to promote the great things CCIMS and McCombs Marketing Fellows are capable of. And I am definitely looking forward to next year’s event already!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ALL ABOUT MARKETING FELLOWS: The Professors' Perspectives

Professors Kapil Jain and Wayne Hoyer, instructors of the two MBA Marketing Fellows courses, weigh in on their favorite parts of being involved with this unique University of Texas program.

From your perspective, what is the greatest benefit that students gain from being a part of Marketing Fellows?

Professor Jain: The opportunity to (i) understand the various dimensions of 'leadership' in marketing directly from today's marketing leaders and to (ii) develop their own capabilities via projects and leadership roles within Marketing Fellows.

Professor Hoyer: CCIMS and the Marketing Department are creating experiences and opportunities to benefit our and richen the learning experience for our top students.  Also, being a Fellow is a special mark of distinction that is of value to potential employers.

What is the most common feedback you hear from executives who speak to the Marketing Fellows class and from companies sponsoring the Fellows practicum projects?

Professor Jain: Executives who interact with the Fellows class come away impressed and eager to bring such talent on board their own companies.

Professor Hoyer:  They are very impressed with the quality of the comments, ideas, and questions that come from the Fellows in the CS class.  They really enjoy the interaction during class.

Where do you see the Marketing Fellows program in 5-10 years from now?

Professor Jain: I see the MBA Marketing Fellows program growing only moderately in size but significantly in terms of the breadth of specialized learning opportunities such as focal tracks in alternative industry sectors and key hands-on initiatives in the branding and digital marketing arenas.  Most importantly, I see the Marketing Fellows program as a reputable branded experience within McCombs that is a magnet for the best marketing students.

Professor Hoyer: Leading the way in defining new directions for MBA education.  Being at the forefront of top Marketing MBA programs in the world.

What is your favorite part of teaching Marketing Fellows each year?

Professor Jain: I enjoy the sense of fraternity that exists among the Fellows and the take-charge attitude they bring to the practicums.

Professor Hoyer: I learn a lot from the students and speakers as well.  This is due to the fact that we deal with cutting edge topics.  I also really enjoy interacting with the Fellows.

What advice would you give to a first year MBA student who is trying to decide whether to go into marketing as a career path?

Professor Jain: Marketing is about navigating the business by understanding the dynamic waters of the marketplace.  Success requires creative skills coupled with financial acumen and analytical rigor.  It also requires the ability to zoom into a problem context and zoom out to recognize deep and subtle trends.   Most importantly, it requires the ability to empathize with customers.  Nothing less will do.  In return, it promises a varied, always exciting, and sufficiently rewarding ride.

Professor Hoyer: Learn as much about the marketing career path as they can before deciding.  There are a lot of misconceptions about the marketing career path, but learning more helps students to realize all the great opportunities marketing has to offer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Second Annual Fellows Brand Camp!

On Friday, September 2, the Marketing Fellows put on their second annual Marketing Camp for first-year McCombs MBAs, this year represented by CCIMS companies AT&T, Deloitte, and Frito Lay.

Over 50 first-year MBA students got the opportunity to learn about marketing careers through a morning career panel with representatives from each sponsor company and networking lunch.

During the afternoon, the students worked in teams to create a nationwide marketing strategy for (the now (in)famous) Calbee’s Shrimp Flavored Chips, a historically niche product with appeal on the west coast. The team consisting of Allison Steinberg, Alejandra Carlos-Padilla, Colleen Butts and Tiarna Harman (pictured below) won based on their comprehensive short term and long term strategy and ability to present a complex marketing plan in a clear and concise manner.

The camp was beneficial to both students and sponsors alike, and we look forward to working with them this year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Preview Weekend at McCombs

As our class winds down its first year at McCombs, we were happy to have the opportunity last week to welcome the Class of 2013 at Preview Weekend. Monica Grisales, Associate Brand Manager at Dr Pepper Snapple Group and former Fellow, welcomed marketing students with a presentation on Launching Your Marketing Career. Sharing advice, expectations for a brand manager and alternative career paths in marketing, she offered prospective students a fantastic glimpse into life post-graduation.

We were also able to meet prospective students at Friday’s organization fair and it was great to see all the interest in marketing and Marketing Fellows at McCombs. If you didn’t get a chance to find us, you can still get on the priority email list by emailing me at

In the meantime, keep your calendars clear for summer coffee chats, which will be hosted around the country, and fall Brand Camp on September 2, 2011.

Looking forward to meeting more of the class of 2013 soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marketing Fellows Present at Dean's Advisory Council

On March 11th, 2011 Marketing Fellows were honored to speak at Dean Gilligan’s Advisory Council Meeting. The presentation, led by Lamar Johnson, Meagan Pishnick and Sean Saul, was a prime opportunity to highlight the commitment CCIMS has to experiential learning at McCombs. The students gave an overview of the course, recruiting process, and emphasized the importance of hands-on learning opportunities that supplement the case work and class discussions in traditional classes.

Sean Saul introduced the organization’s goal to Own a Brand as part of our short term strategic plan that will provide a unique opportunity to further the organizations mission to develop and cultivate future marketing leaders. Work is underway to make that plan a reality.