Sep 22, 12:00 AM UTC 


Immersion 2016


Immersion introduces MSI member companies’ rising marketing stars to the practical benefits of scholarly research. The conference will be structured around a series of modules that will present the latest research-generated knowledge on an important marketing topic and provide opportunities for discussing productive managerial applications. Participants must be nominated by MSI Trustees, and attendance will be limited.

If you are not a trustee but are interested in attending, please contact for more information.


Sample of Immersion 2015 Attendees


AbbVie, Senior Manager – Business Intelligence Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Shopper Insights
BAV Consulting, Brand Consultant Merck & Company, Inc., Content Strategy Leader
Colgate-Palmolive Company, Head of Insights Mylan, Director – Commercial Analytics & Insights
Comcast Corporation, Executive Director,
Marketing Sciences
Sanofi Oncology, Global Commercial Lead
Eli Lilly and Company, Associate Brand Manager T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Lead Manager – Client and Market Insights
GE Healthcare, Senior Global Marketing Director The Vanguard Group, Marketing Manager
General Motors LLC, Senior Research Analyst Time Warner Cable, Manager of Marketing Analytics
GfK Group, Senior Research Director – Shopper & Retail Strategy Time Warner Cable, Senior Director – Sales Channel Effectiveness
IBM Market Intelligence, Senior Advisor – Market Development United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), Senior Marketing Manager
Kaiser Permanente, Market Research Manager

Agenda Description

View a PDF of the agenda here
6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Registration and Welcome Reception
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:30 – 9:45 Welcome and Overview
Katherine N. Lemon, Boston College and Executive Director, Marketing Science Institute and Earl L. Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Science Institute
9:45 – 10:30 Introductions
10:30 – 12:00 Creating Value with Big Data Analytics
Peter Verhoef, University of Groningen
Marketers know that big data analytics should enable them to make better decisions, but developing the capabilities to do so can seem like a daunting challenge. How can firms benefit from the increasing availability of different types of data? In this session, Peter Verhoef will discuss how firms can indeed create value from the available data. Attendees will learn how to create a big data strategy, how firms can create more impact with their analytics, and how to organize for successful big data analytics. Based on his recent book, Creating Value with Big Data Analytics: Making Smarter Marketing Decisions, Peter will share learnings to help attendees to develop big data capabilities within their firm.
12:00 – 12:15 p.m. MSI Membership Overview and Upcoming Events
Kate Grey, Director of Corporate Engagement, Marketing Science Institute
12:15 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 1:45 MSI Activity
1:45 – 3:15 Designing Effective Brand Co-creation Activities
Amna Kirmani, University of Maryland
Brand co-creation activities are designed to encourage consumers to participate in developing brand meaning. Often housed on marketer-managed brand sites, such campaigns might invite consumers to write their own brand stories, vote on brand ideas, or simply tell stories about themselves. But not all brand co-creation activities are equally effective. How can marketers design activities that lead consumers to engage further with the brand? In this session, Amna Kirmani will focus on how marketers can increase brand advocacy among different market segments (i.e., loyal or less loyal consumers) through effective brand co-creation. The session will include an interactive exercise and discussion of brand co-creation ideas.
3:15 – 3:45 Group Photo & Break
3:45 – 5:15 Leveraging Network Homophily to Drive Sales and Profits
Christophe Van den Bulte, University of Pennsylvania
In this session, Christophe Van den Bulte will make the case that online ties and peer influence are not quite as important for driving sales as marketing professionals are often made to believe. Based on empirical research, he will offer a checklist for when peer influence is (not) likely to matter in driving sales, and he will describe how marketers can leverage a different network phenomenon to boost their marketing ROI: homophily (or “birds of a feather flock together”). He will offer examples of two collaborative projects where companies showed quantified benefits of leveraging homophily in networks. Part of the session will be an interactive exercise.
5:15 – 5:30 Break
Please take this time to visit your rooms and prepare for the evening activity and dinner
5:30 – 6:00 Evening Activity: Beacon Hill Walking Tour
Please meet in the hotel lobby to depart promptly at 6:00 p.m.
7:15 Reception and Dinner at Lala Rokh, Beacon Hill
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 – 9:15 MSI Activity
9:15 – 10:45 Enhancing Customer Experiences Through Rituals
Michael I. Norton, Harvard University
Rituals are ubiquitous in our personal lives and in our interactions with firms as well—from sports fans doing the “wave” to customers being served wine after an elaborate uncorking. In this session, Mike Norton will discuss research in which he and colleagues have demonstrated how such rituals can lead to important positive outcomes: increased immersion in experiences, greater feelings of control, reduced anxiety, and increased liking for teammates. He will discuss findings documenting the benefits—and psychological underpinnings—of rituals in domains from grief recovery to chocolate consumption to team performance to fans singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” He will lead attendees in an exercise to understand and document their existing customer rituals and to design novel rituals to enhance customer experiences.
10:45 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:45 p.m. Humanizing CRM: Unlocking the Mysteries of Your Customer Relationships
Jill Avery, Harvard University
Big data offers marketers the potential to truly understand, personalize, and manage their customer relationships. So why do so many firms fail to do so—despite $11 billion spent annually on CRM software? In this session, Jill Avery will suggest that many companies lack “relational intelligence”—the awareness of the variety of relationships customers can have with firms. She will explore how companies can cultivate this intelligence, humanizing their CRM efforts and delivering on customers’ expectations in ways that significantly affect their profitability. She will take participants through a five-step process to build the relational intelligence needed to profitably negotiate customer relationships. Participants will take away this actionable framework and a new understanding of the variety and potential of consumer-firm relationships.
12:45 – 1:00 Conclusions
Katherine N. Lemon, Boston College, and Executive Director, Marketing Science Institute


View Past Immersion Agendas:

Hotel Accomodations


Please make your hotel reservations by calling the W Hotel at (617) 261-8700 by August 1, 2016. To receive the group rate of $299, please be sure to mention MSI Immersion Conference 2016. Rooms are limited and the group rate is only guaranteed until August 1**. For your reference, below is general contact information for the hotel.

W Hotel
100 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 261-8700

** Please note that additional accommodations have been secured for a limited time to help cover any nights that are unavailable at the W Hotel. Please contact us at to learn more.

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