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SNAC and Kellogg School of Management Host Successful First Virtual Program: “Elevating Marketing Excellence in Changing Times”, July 29-31 2020

As part of SNAC International’s ongoing commitment to underwrite professional development opportunities for members, SNAC partnered with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to offer a fully immersive virtual program showcasing the next generation of marketing knowledge, skills and capabilities. 45 SNAC members gathered virtually last week for three full mornings to discuss topics like mastering omni channel marketing, leading in volatile environments and managing brands in the digital age. Each morning, attendees broke out into small group “coffee chat” Zoom rooms to get to know each other in an intimate environment. The program provided an important opportunity to bring members together to take advantage of SNAC’s education and networking pillars. Member feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. SNAC looks forward to partnering with Kellogg on future educational programming. 

Uncovering Marketing Excellence

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Bernard Banks
Associate Dean for Leadership Development and Inclusion;
Clinical Professor of Management

Leading in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) Environments 

Today’s business operating environment was becoming increasing complex before the pandemic. Now, that level of complexity has sky-rocketed. Bernard Banks discussed attributes that leaders must develop to contend with this complexity. This session examined several frameworks created by the US military and other researchers to enhance ability to successfully navigate volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments.

Don’t think about strategies you want to enact, think about culture that will enable you to enact those strategies. What is going to propel us, and what elements of our culture will hold us back?

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Paul Earle, Jr.

Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Disruption and Innovation in Categories, Channels and Brands 

The session focused on contemporary innovation and disruption broadly, including an actionable “playbook” that participants can use to create future marketing disruption/innovation. Earle reviewed powerful trends and innovation that span a range of touch points from consumer behavior, to new product and brand development, sales and distribution, the media environment and beyond. He also shared thoughts on what innovation might look like in the “new world” with the specter of Coronavirus.

As marketers, we must ’embrace the weird,’ and fight the ‘de-weirdification’ police!


Kevin McTigue

Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing 

Optimizing Connections in Omnichannel Marketing  

Professor McTigue covered the basics of omnichannel marketing and the role of new technologies, tools and new media that impact a marketer’s decisions. How should marketers optimize the potential to connect with customers? Participants split into breakout groups to draft an omnichannel marketing plan and discussed the metrics and tools that brands and organizations are using to best understand what tactics are working. 

Don’t chase the latest fads in digital. If you’re chasing anything, chase your customer and your goals.

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Matt Ranen

Scenario Planning & Strategy Consultant

Developing a Future Oriented Strategy 

In a world filled with constant change and uncertainty, business models can quickly become uncompetitive–or worse, fully disrupted. As such, leaders must be even more vigilant towards new strategic risks and emerging innovation and growth opportunities. In this interactive session, attendees applied methods from scenario planning to ‘future-proof’ their business. Attendees gained an overview of practical frameworks and tools to better understand the potential for change as well as a new mindset for thinking about strategy as a dynamic process. 

Rather than thinking your strategy is linear, go into it thinking it is fluid. Strategy is almost like managing a portfolio of products.


Gregory Carpenter
James Farley/Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy, Director of the Center for Market Leadership

Digital Age Marketing: Creating Competitive Advantage 

A traditional foundation of marketing is the belief that customers know what they want and choose rationally to obtain it. Mounting evidence suggests that customers are much less sophisticated and, at the same time, much more complex. Professor Carpenter presented an emerging view of customers in the digital age, how it may challenge fundamental aspects of traditional marketing and how it can help organizations transform their marketing approach. Carpenter discussed how difficult it is to be different but emphasized how essential it is in order to win. 

Opportunity lies in the unarticulated and emotional desires of the customer. Not the rational and articulated.

What Attendees Are Saying

I’m grateful for the learning opportunity and to get to know so many great peers throughout the industry.
-Julie Reinhart, The Mennel Milling Company

I really enjoyed the breakout sessions and meeting/discussing with great people in the industry. Thanks to the super engaging speakers and Kellogg for the most organized Zoom program I have ever participated in.
-Stephanie Aanenson, Old Dutch Foods

Thanks for making this happen. Great three mornings. I left inspired and met some great folks along the way!
-Rick Oleshak, AB Mauri

Thank you to SNAC and Kellogg for an information packed program! It was great to meet everyone virtually.
-Jennifer Evancio, Avena Foods

Thank you Matt, Kellogg Team, SNAC team, and all attendees. Great session.
-Prashant Joshi, LAKOS Filtration

Thank you to SNAC, Kellogg and all involved for making this happen!
-Eric Dietz, Eagle Foods

It was great to see everyone and meet virtually! Thank you all!
-Megan Reamer, Jackson’s Honest

On the final day, attendees were asked: “Reflecting on the past 2 days, what “aha” idea or opportunity for change had the biggest impact for you/for your organization?” Each attendee inputted a word or idea, which populated the above WordCloud, and the more popular an answer was, the bigger it appeared in the cloud.