At the end of April we had our biennial A.C. Nielsen Center Summit. This was my first time attending and I am excited to come back for future Summits!
Things kicked off Thursday afternoon with a lunch prior to our spring External Advisory Board meeting. It was great reconnecting with board members, hearing about their current projects, and filling them in on a semester’s worth of coursework. This was only my second board meeting, and it was once again fascinating to listen to industry leaders discuss marketing research so passionately.
In addition to Kristin’s updates on the state of the Center, we heard several student presentations. Joseph Robele gave a presentation that summarized some of the key learnings from the recent trip to Cuba. The second year class gave an update on the projects they had been working on in the new consulting practicum class and the lessons they had learned. The alumni spotlight this year was delivered by Joanne Ketchens, class of 2001, who is currently working at Disney in their insights department. Professor Dee Warmath discussed her recent research on innovation traits and their impact on new product adoption and continued use. We wrapped the evening up with a Cocktail Hour and dinner at the University Club. We were all delighted to see Zihan Miao and Chris Cohen win the coveted Janet Christopher/Bob Drane award for embodying the spirit of the A.C. Nielsen Center.
The Summit started off bright and early on Friday morning with two great keynote speakers. Kathy Sheehan, Executive Vice President of GfK, argued we are in an era of “transience,” in which consumers are more drawn to experiences and sharing rather than full ownership. Mario Simon of the Boston Consulting Group delivered a presentation on the effectiveness of market research as an industry, which served as a call to action to ensure we are full partners in marketing decisions. Mario’s presentation was followed by an interview and Q&A session from board member Jeanine Bassett of General Mills. At the morning breakout sessions, I attended Kyle Nel’s discussion on the impact of neuroscience on innovation at Lowe’s. He also discussed the importance of storytelling and its impact on delivering recommendations. In the afternoon, I went to Prabhath Nanisetty and Kevin Sisco’s session on Infoscout’s tool to quickly gain attitudinal information about products based on scanned receipts and survey questions. The day concluded with a keynote discussion from Paul Markowitz of Bain & Co on the role of big data in marketing research and a panel discussion with Julie Norvaisas, Caryn Atkins, Michael Winnick, and Randall Janisch on the future of marketing research. Overall, the Summit was an incredible learning and networking opportunity, and I’m looking forward to returning as an alum.