On November 7, 2014, the 11th Annual Wharton Marketing Conference took place at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. The Conference centered around how social media, smart phones and tablets, customer analytics, technological innovation, ecommerce and a changing retail landscape have changed the ways that marketers speak to customers, as well as how customers communicate with each other. This year’s conference featured keynotes, coffee chats, a hands-on workshop, and panel discussions.
The first keynote of the day, Jennifer Roberts, President, Affluent/High Net Worth Business at Chase Card Services, spoke about how the changing landscape in mobile and online has influenced the way Chase markets their cards toward customers. Jennifer explained that Chase has been focusing particularly on loyalty programs, “as consumers become more responsible with their cards, they’re more responsible with rewards.” She noted that “rates and annual fees used to be the top reasons for customers switching” to different cards, but rewards have now come up to the top of the list. She also spoke about how technology such as Apply Pay influences the way Chase strategizes around how consumers will use their card. Overall, “customers want transparency, simplicity, access anywhere, and a personalized experience.”
The second keynote featured John Whoriskey, President of US Sales & Marketing at Keurig Green Mountain. He spoke about how Keurig entered the marketplace, how they continue to evolve their business, and how they analyze partnerships with coffee brands. When asked about why Keurig succeeded when others in the space failed, John responded that “we weren’t stuck in an old paradigm and we offered choice.”
Embracing new paradigms and methods was also a key theme in one of the panels, Innovative Marketing Campaigns.Discussions centered around utilizing new technologies to reach consumers in new and interesting ways, including usage of digital video, partnering with bloggers, and leveraging mobile. Panelists stressed seeking ways to connect with consumers in an authentic manner. Gabrielle Arnay, Senior Communications Channel Manager, Unilever US Hair suggested that companies focus “not on product, but on topics that consumers care about” when thinking about how to connect in the digital age, citing a Clorox campaign that involved the TV show “The Bachelor” as an example.
Retail trends and how marketers are adapting to them was a key theme in another panel, Adapting to a Changing Retail Landscape. The discussion focused on how companies use data to understand the customer and the challenges with seamlessly integrating online and in store experience. Angela Li, Marketing Director of Healthy Essentials, Johnson & Johnson talked about how the company needs to provide a message at point of consideration and understand various engagement points to allocate marketing dollars appropriately.
Overall, the Wharton Marketing Conference provided engaging keynotes, panels, and workshops that focused on how marketers speak to the customer and how customers speak to each other.