The annual Professors Institute, sponsored by The Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement at SMU Cox School of Business and Marketing EDGE, took place from January 8 -10 in Dallas.

The conference brought together early-career academics, senior faculty and experienced marketing practitioners in a rich exchange of ideas, insights and cutting-edge practices.

Speakers and attendees focused on some key topics, including: the rise of the experience and platform economy, consumer security and the challenges of developing engaging curricula in the face of a hyper-changing marketing world. Attendees are also afforded the opportunity to receive grants for their research projects.

Academic speakers included: Professor John Deighton (Harvard Business School), Charlotte Mason (University of Georgia), Shelle Santana (Harvard Business School). They spoke on a variety of topics from how to teach analytics and the importance of staying current to a case study on the Chase Sapphire Credit Card.

Attendees visited the brand-new American Airlines headquarters, called Skyview 8, which opened in September last year.

The space is designed to bring employees together, and, notably, you can see the cubicles of executives such as CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom when you enter the building.

Industry speakers from Toyota, TGI Fridays, Synchrony Financial, GameStop, Southwest Airlines, Brierley + Partners, Jester&Genius, and Epsilon Agency + Publicis Hawkeye spoke about:

  • Data-driven marketing
  • Marketing analytics
  • Consumer security
  • The role of marketing with A.I.
  • Belief-driven buying
  • Experience orchestration

What makes a successful marketing graduate

Speakers focused on what it takes to be successful in today’s business world, saying that marketing graduates must understand data. They also said, however, that without the ability to communicate the business value of data, then graduates will struggle to move outside a role in analytics.

In short, corporate speakers stressed that today’s marketeers needs to be nimble and adaptive.