The annual Marketing Innovation Conference @ Scheller at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business returned to campus this March, bringing together students, alumni, faculty and members of the Atlanta business community. Attendees had the opportunity to hear first-hand how some of the nation’s top organizations are re-imagining marketing. Presenters this year included marketing leaders from Inspire Brands, The Home Depot, and the Atlanta Braves.
Each year, the conference looks to showcase prevailing marketing trends, new innovations, and methods to leverage technology to improve marketing performance. It also offers an invaluable networking experience for marketing students and career professionals in Atlanta. This year’s event was jointly hosted by the MBA Marketing Club and sponsorship partners, including the Business Analytics Center, the MBA Program Office, and the Evening MBA Marketing Club.
Professor Tim Halloran, Scheller marketing professor, faculty representative for the MBA Marketing Club, and conference host said, “Probably more than any other discipline, marketing is evolving with technology. Our devices, our social media, and the way we engage with brands is dramatically different than it was just a few years ago. We have the ability to learn more about our customer base than ever before and can use those insights to develop better products and services, get them into our customers’ hands faster, and optimize the price we charge for them. Marketing is undergoing a radical realignment and our conference is designed to celebrate those innovations.”
“The other purpose of the Marketing Innovation Conference is to bring together the current students and alumni of all of our graduate programs to discover the latest and greatest innovations in the marketing space. At Scheller, we are blessed to have so many global corporations and strong brands in our backyard, and we take advantage of their proximity by bringing them here to share the great things they are doing.”
This year’s conference was kicked off by Inspire Brands, with Travis Freeman, SVP of demand generation, and Bryan Jackson, managing director of media agency Zenith, discussing inspiring meaningful experiences and supercharging growth. The two reflected on the creative solutions and technology innovations they have leveraged to drive growth across Inspire’s nationally renowned brands, including Arby's, Baskin Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin', Jimmy John's, and Sonic.
Their presentation was followed by one given by Dayton Demmery and Erin Thorne, both directors in The Home Depot marketing team. They discussed how they have helped to establish The Home Depot as the number one home improvement retailer through audience driven marketing. Demmery and Thorn provided some fascinating insights into how the company hasbeen able to greatly improve the personalization of their marketing by better leveraging data.
To close out the speaker portion of the conference, Greg Mize, senior director of marketing and innovation for the Atlanta Braves, delivered a presentation focused on how the World Series champions are entering the metaverse. Mize outlined the trends that have inspired the Braves to offer this new, unique experience for Braves fans, where they can spend time at a fully virtual Truist Park.
Reflecting on this year’s conference, Halloran said, “We were pleased to have a great turnout for the 5th annual Marketing Innovation Conference – the first in person external event held at Scheller since the pandemic began.”
"Our speakers were specifically chosen because of the ways they are connecting with their customer base. Insight brands through social media, Home Depot through data to predict customer behavior, and the Braves through integrating the world of online gaming with that of Major League Baseball.”
Planning for next year’s conference and speakers begins soon. Those with an interest in sharing some of the innovative marketing activities that they are doing are encouraged to contact Professor Tim Halloran.