Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Marketing Fellows Visit Red McCombs

By Kavita Rangaswamy, Class of 2017

Last Friday, the Marketing Fellows had the rare opportunity to meet with Mr. Red McCombs at his office in San Antonio, Texas.  

During this session, Mr. McCombs spoke to us about his experience at The University of Texas, as well as in the business world. It was inspiring to hear about a few of his many accomplishments, including funding the creation of the first UT Women’s Softball field, establishing the university’s first Student Recovery Center for those facing addiction, and developing McCombs Partners, the investment management division of McCombs Enterprises. He also spoke to us about his experience in marketing roles, and said that one marketing fundamental hasn’t changed in over 75 years, which is that “repetition sells.”

It was exciting to hear about his triumphs over the years. Despite the many wins, however, McCombs remains humble and says that he considers “success being happy.” His stories were about much more than marketing, and even business. He stressed the importance of giving back to the community and finding opportunities to improve the lives of those around you. He encouraged all of us to find our own passions and closed out the session saying that, “…not many expect to win. If you expect to win, you have a pretty good shot at getting there.”

Marketing Fellows and Dr. Hoyer take a picture with Mr. Red McCombs

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Visit to GSD&M

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

Southwest Airlines, where “Bags Fly Free.”
Walgreens, “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy.”
The PGA Tour declares “These Guys are Good.”

What do these memorable slogans have in common? They’re all award-winning work from GSD&M, an Austin-based advertising agency founded in 1971. The Marketing Fellows had the privilege of touring the downtown Austin office with Executive Vice President and CMO, J.B. Raftus. Displayed in large letters in the entryway is the phrase “Ideas That Make a Difference.” J.B. explained that this statement guides their work with every client. When a client comes calling, GSD&M takes the time to understand the client’s unique purpose for being. Southwest doesn’t just sell airline seats, they want to democratize the skies. Chipotle doesn’t just make burritos, they exist to serve food with integrity.  With these examples, J.B. illustrated how the client’s larger purpose informs the entire creative strategy for communicating value to the consumer.

GSD&M CMO J.B. Raftus shows the Marketing Fellows "The 40 Best Things We Ever Did" Poster Series, a labor of love honoring GSD&M's 40 years in business.
Our reason for visiting GSD&M was two-fold – 1) develop a respectful envy for their talent and 2) receive an assignment! In teams of four, we are developing a complete campaign for a brand new Hilton property, Tru by Hilton. I’m not sure how much I can divulge about this revolutionary development in hotel accommodations, so I’ll let this Forbes article from January 2016 do the talking. In a couple of weeks we are due back at GSD&M’s office to present our fully-developed ideas to the agency and the client. Who knows? We could see some of the Marketing Fellows’ ideas in a social campaign for Tru by Hilton!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Innovative Implementations

By Kavita Rangaswamy, Class of 2017

Recently, the Marketing Fellows worked with Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) in an interactive brainstorming session. DPSG is based in Plano, Texas and is a producer of flavored beverages that are distributed across North America and the Caribbean. DPSG has more than 50 brands under its umbrella, including favorites such as Dr Pepper, 7UP, Mott’s, Snapple, and Canada Dry.

DPSG started off the session by giving the students some background into the company, and more specifically into one of the product lines. The team unveiled a new product that may be released soon, and assigned the Marketing Fellows the task of brainstorming go-to-market activations. We were given background on sales, distribution channels, and competitors. The Marketing Fellows were asked to focus on a particular target market and consumer to anticipate some of the challenges associated with product adoption within that market.

We worked directly with the Chief Commercial Officer at DPSG, Jim Trebilcock. The students were organized into groups of five, each group had to consider the target consumers’ needs, which occasions those needs corresponded with, and how the product’s strengths could dominate the overlapping area(s).  The groups brainstormed a variety of executions, including but not limited to guerrilla marketing tactics, social media campaigns, and paid media implementations. The class ended with a team presentation of the ideas and the impact of those implementations on the brand. The Marketing Fellows now have a better understanding of how to evaluate the consumers’ relevant needs and create an innovative go-to-market strategy that meets one or more of those needs.

A team of five Marketing Fellows presents to visiting DPSG executives.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Experience is Everything

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

On January 26, the Marketing Fellows enjoyed a design thinking workshop hosted by Frog Design benefiting Shelfbucks. Frog Design is a global design and strategy firm headquartered in San Francisco with offices all over the world, including Austin. Frog boasts an impressive and diverse list of clients like Nike, Intel and FEMA. Shelfbucks is an Austin-based startup that has developed technology that allows shoppers to interact with products, displays and store shelves from their smartphones. The in-store personalized promotion platform benefits both the manufacturer and retailer with increased sales and data collection.

The brilliant folks at Frog kicked off the class with a brief presentation of their philosophy and process. They believe that “experience is everything” and focus their creative design efforts on enhancing the customer experience. In order to think creatively on demand, Frog recommends lateral thinking over traditional linear thinking. Lateral thinking involves thought exercises like: “remove an important attribute from an object and consider a useful arrangement of the remaining components.”

Frog helped us exercise some creative thinking to address a business challenge proposed by Shelfbucks CEO, Erik McMillan: develop impactful store experiences that provide distinct benefits for the shopper and meet relevant needs for the manufacturer and retailer. They designed and facilitated a workshop wherein groups of 5 students considered the lifestyle and needs of a specific persona, uncovered her motivations for a shopping occasion, and explored ways to improve her in-store shopping experience with Shelfbucks technology.  Whether it be a 63-year-old retired man with high blood pressure on a fixed income or a 29-year-old married mother of two with a part-time job and no spare time (actual personas provided by Frog), the Marketing Fellows proposed innovative ways to successfully integrate Shelfbucks into their shopping experience. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Marketing Fellows featured on McCombs Today!

Students Experience the Power of Sports Marketing at COTA Racetrack During Formula One

By Executive-in-Residence Rob Malcolm 
Business students recently got a whiff of fuel and tire rubber as they gained a look into the power of sports marketing.

On the morning of Oct. 23, 16 students in Senior Lecturer Kapil Jain's Marketing Fellows Practicum class at the McCombs School of Business spent two hours at Austin's Circuit of the Americas (COTA) racetrack during practice sessions for the Austin Formula One race.

The class, focused on sports marketing, featured a panel of experts representing race teams, a motor sports marketing agency, and two client case studies who led informative presentations and discussions about using motor sports to accelerate business growth. Red McCombs, an investor in COTA, stopped by the class to share his passion for marketing, which he called "the greatest tool in the world" for driving interest.

Read more the article here...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thoughts on Leadership for Future CMOs

By Michelle Sutton, MBA Class of 2016

Lisa Zoellner, CMO of Golfsmith, came to our Marketing Fellows Session to discuss “Thoughts on Leadership for Future CMOs.” Prior to becoming CMO of Golfsmith International, Lisa was CMO of Gold’s Gym, and prior to that, she worked in a variety of roles at Blockbuster. She provided us with ten lessons that she wished she had known before beginning her marketing career. Several of the lessons centered on collaborating with others: build relationships, learn the art of influence, expect and thrive in chaos, and find strong role models. She emphasized that in marketing, many key cross functional partners have an impact in your daily job. In order to succeed as a leader, you have to influence them. She recommended the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and provided a great African proverb for us: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” As Marketing Fellows, we have already begun to learn this in both our practicum projects and summer internships, but Lisa’s way of explaining how she has learned to collaborate effectively with others left an impression. It’s important for us to value each and every one of our classmates and colleagues because they bring expertise in certain areas, as well as a diverse skill set and experience to the team.

Lisa also mentioned that after we graduate, titles and grades won’t be nearly as meaningful as the results we produce in our job. We need to focus on delivering value and applying everything we learned in school to our new jobs! When she was discussing the jobs she held after graduating from school, another lesson that she gave was that lateral moves can take you forward. A career path is not always straight. In marketing, there are so many different areas that it’s important to learn them all. Taking lateral roles can help you become both more creative and more analytical. She also reminded us to trust our instincts in our careers going forward. This can lead to making sound decisions. Lastly, she told us that she is still learning. We will all be wrong at some point and you just have to take the issue head on and handle it. Finding great role models can help you continuously learn because you will be inspired by those people and they can share their knowledge with you. Overall, it was a very valuable session for us! Lisa gave us a lot of good reminders as we prepare to enter the real world again after graduation.

Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 McCombs MBA Marketing Conference Brings Whole-Brained Insights to Students

By Natalie Quinn, MBA Class of 2016

View the event through the eyes of social media.

On October 29-30, the Texas MBA program hosted its annual marketing conference at the McCombs School of Business. Sponsored by the Center for Customer Insight and Marketing Solutions (CCIMS) in conjunction with the Graduate Marketing Network and the CCIMS Marketing Fellows student organizations, the event focused on uniting quantitative and qualitative skills to engage in “whole-brained marketing.”

Over the conference’s two days, attendees heard from marketing experts in the digital, CPG, financial services, technology, and academic fields. First-year students also had the opportunity to present their work on a case challenge that asked them to develop a plan for engaging millennial Walmart grocery consumers via the Pinterest platform.

The Thursday evening sessions of the conference kicked off with three TED-style talks about marketing. Marissa Jarratt, Senior Director of PepsiCo’s Global Marketing Program Office, discussed whole-brained marketing approaches in emerging markets and introduced the “Four As Framework,” which focuses on applicability, availability, affordability, and affinity. She then provided a case study from PepsiCo’s own work in Asia with the Sting energy drink.

Award-winning author and speaker Erik Qualman followed Ms. Jarratt with remarks describing the 5 habits of digital leaders. Summarizing them with the acronym STAMP, Mr. Qualman explained that those who excel in the digital space practice simplicity, share truth, act with agility, follow a map, and care about people. Implementing the STAMP approach to digital allows brands and influencers to leverage word of mouth by putting this method of sharing on the steroids of social platforms.                 
The final TED-style speaker was Todd Darroca, a marketing thought leader from Austin-based IT company Spiceworks. Acknowledging that “content is king,” Mr. Darroca outlined the importance of content development and content mapping in order to connect with the right consumers at the most opportune times. He concluded by emphasizing that conversion-driving content speaks to a company’s business objective while also giving a reader a reason to care.

After the TED talks concluded, Seth Gaffney of Preacher, an Austin ad agency, and Matt Stuart of Main Street Hub, an Austin analytics firm, faced off in a moderated debate pitting creativity against data. After weighing in on questions like “Is big data creating a creative deficit?” and “What’s the role for creativity and data in building a brand?”, Mr. Gaffney and Mr. Stuart ultimately agreed that while human creativity is more closely tied to action, data can validate and inform the creative steps a brand or organization can take.

Following a networking reception and sit-down dinner, conference attendees then had the privilege of hearing from Kip Knight, President of H&R Block’s U.S. Retail Operations. Mr. Knight shared experiences from his varied marketing career, which has included roles managing businesses in the CPG, fast food, e-commerce, and consulting spaces. He also outlined 3 principles for modern marketers and 7 tips for McCombs marketing students. 

Mr. Knight encouraged students to identify their wildly important goals (WIGs), always ask “What if?”, and learn to “zag” when others zig. After discussing his own experiences working with both Crown Maple and H&R Block to tackle specific brand challenges, Mr. Knight closed his remarks with the following 7 recommendations:
• Always be learning
• Develop relationships
• Don’t play not to lose; play to win
• Bring people with you
• See the world through your customers’ eyes
• Be true to yourself
• Enjoy the ride

The next morning, first-year students arrived bright and early to compete in the preliminary rounds of the conference’s marketing case challenge. Not even heavy rain and a subsequent tornado warning could dampen the students’ enthusiasm for sharing with judges their teams’ recommendations on enhancing Walmart's connection with potential millennial consumers via Pinterest activations. As the final round of the case challenge began, other conference attendees participated in two workshops.

Winning Challenge Team
The first workshop, presented by Justin Freels and Frannie Makabenta of Tableau, focused on data visualization. Mr. Freels and Ms. Makabenta discussed the opportunities that visualization tools like Tableau create for putting the power of data comprehension into anyone’s hands. Professor Art Markman of the UT-Austin Psychology Department then discussed how marketing leaders can help people be more creative in the workplace by leveraging group memory in the ideation process.

All conference participants from both the case challenge and workshops then convened for a final keynote lunch featuring Peter Horst, CMO of The Hershey Company. Mr. Horst reminded attendees that whole-brained marketing combines both the “think” and “feel” components of business strategy. After sharing examples from Ameritrade, Capital One, and Hershey’s Kisses and Jolly Rancher brands, Horst concluded his remarks by suggesting that whole-brained marketers always abide by the following principles:
• Lead with hypotheses
• Integrate and iterate
• Be skeptical
• Be bold
• Position powerfully
• Have fun

Peter Horst, CMO of The Hershey Company

Reflecting on their experiences at the conference, students agreed that the speakers’ topics and case challenge allowed them to experience the necessity of a whole-brained approach firsthand. Second-year student Judy Kuo noted that Professor Markman’s creative ideation workshop afforded her a new perspective on problem-solving by demonstrating “that everyone has the potential to generate ideas if allowed to think about and tackle a problem with their own devices.” First-year student Matt Giorgis added this observation about his experience while working on the case: “What resonated most with me was the feedback my team was able to receive from multiple judges coming from a wide range of industries.” This breadth of feedback and knowledge gained combined to facilitate yet another year of challenge and conference success for this annual CCIMS event.

Marketing Conference & Challenge Committee