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!


  1. Class of 2012 planned the first annual McCombs Marketing Conference and the spearheaded the “McCombs Brand Experience” program where MBA from home

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