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Davide Grasso, Nike's vice president of global brand marketing, delivered the Saturday morning keynote address at the 2013 Kellogg Marketing Conference.

Kellogg Marketing Conference

2013 Kellogg Marketing Conference

Kellogg Marketing Conference brings perspective to the increasingly complex marketing landscape

By Daniel P. Smith

1/30/2013 - With rising mounds of data, an interconnected world and mobile consumers, marketers inhabit a world full of multifaceted challenges. Fortunately for current and future marketing professionals, the 2013 Kellogg Marketing Conference stood eager to host the spirited dialogue that spurs innovation and results.

“We wanted the conference to approach all of these complexities as opportunities,” conference chair Allison Wyrwicz ’13 said.

The two-day conference — “The New Golden Age: Informed, Engaged and On-the-Go” — began Friday, Jan. 25 at Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus and featured keynote presentations from IDEO design director Neil Stevenson and Walgreens digital marketing leader Rich Lesperance as well as a panel session discussing marketing lessons from the 2012 Election.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the conference overtook the Donald P. Jacobs Center in Evanston with panels on crisis management, brand ambassadors and small-budget marketing as well as a closing keynote from Unilever Executive Vice President Gina Boswell.

Marketing the Swoosh
Highlighting Nike’s marketing philosophy, Nike Vice President of Global Brand Marketing Davide Grasso opened Saturday’s program with a video-filled keynote discussing the company’s 2012 release of the FuelBand, a device that tracks one’s daily activity.

With the FuelBand, Nike worked to create a movement of movement by embracing the mantra “Life Is a Sport. Make It Count.” Grasso shared the timeline that surrounded the FuelBand’s launch and tied the product’s debut to the critical elements of Nike’s brand and strategy development: relevance, consistency and impact.

In addition to creating a new product category, Grasso said the FuelBand propelled Nike’s brand strength and doubled the size of its digital community.

As marketers design their own plans, Grasso suggested they:
  •  Place brand and product messaging in the context of consumers’ lives 
  • Venture into unexplored areas 
  • Maintain connections with consumers and company teammates 
  • Strike a balance between technology and human behavior

Science and art
Following Grasso’s keynote, analytics captured the attention of two Saturday panels, where practitioners unanimously stressed the growing importance of blending the science of marketing — namely, “big data” — with the field’s creative side.

In a morning panel titled “Big Data vs. Small Data,” McKinsey marketing and sales expert Serge Ozbek said data should be utilized to tell a compelling story that complements the organization’s business strategy.

“People go into data and start mining away without knowing the context,” Ozbek said. “Remember that marketing has a lot of art to it.”

In the “Adventuring Outside the Traditional Customer Experience” panel, Accenture managing director Ken Dickman said today’s marketers must become literate in advanced analytics and, more importantly, understand how to apply those insights.

“To use analytics as a competitive advantage, you must know how to work through internal departments and outside channels,” he said.

Further Reading