June 16, 2003

Smith School Hosts INFORMS 25th Annual Marketing Science Conference

More than 500 marketing experts from around the world attended the INFORMS 25th Annual Marketing Science Conference hosted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business, June 12-15, 2003. With 12 concurrent sessions and more than 400 presentations, the conference was the largest ever held at the school, and the largest Marketing Science Conference ever organized.

"The conference is considered by many to be the premier marketing conference in the world, and many of the world's leading marketing experts give presentations there," said conference co-chair Roland Rust, David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing and director of the Center for e-Service at Smith.

Conference tracks included: advertising, CRM, channels, choice models, competition and game theory, consumer behavior, e-commerce, methodology, new product, practice, pricing and promotions, and strategy.

Brian Ratchford, PepsiCo Chair in Consumer Research and professor of marketing at Smith, was also a co-chair of the conference and was in charge of assembling the conference program. "The overall quality of this year's program was extremely high and reflected all of the most exciting cutting-edge areas of marketing," said Ratchford.

New this year was a practitioner track with 10 sessions and about 35 presentations. The inaugural ISMS (INFORMS Society for Marketing Science) Practice Prize competition was awarded for outstanding implementation of marketing science concepts and methods to Manfred Kraft and Arnd Huchzermeier. The John D.C. Little Award for the best article published in Marketing Science during 2002 went to Professors Elie Ofek (Harvard University) and Seenu Srinivasan (Stanford University). The Frank Bass Award for the best dissertation published in Marketing Science during 2001 and 2002 went to Professor Vincent Nijs (Northwestern University).

A practitioner panel comprising Suresh Divakar (PepsiCo), Geoff Heuchling (Marriott International), and Mike Pusateri (Avendra) discussed key marketing problems facing practitioners and the ways in which marketing science researchers could address these problems. Another notable feature of the conference was a special session on marketing science models to mark the 75th birthday of Professor John D.C. Little (MIT), widely respected as a founder of marketing science modeling and an authority in management science.

Al Carey '74, PepsiCo Sales President, was the plenary session speaker who spoke about the operationalization of marketing science at PepsiCo. He presented examples from a number of projects in which marketing science strongly impacted strategic decision-making at PepsiCo, including the ongoing sales forecasting project with Smith School faculty members Brian Ratchford and Venky Shankar, and several Smith School alumni working at PepsiCo.

"The conference was attended by academics and practitioners from dozens of countries from around the world," said Venkatesh

A kick-off reception was held Thursday evening, along with a reception and dinner on Saturday night at the Greenbelt Marriott. A Friday-night dinner cruise on the scenic Potomac River aboard the Potomac Spirit was a highlight of the conference. "Venky" Shankar, conference co-chair and Ralph J. Tyser Fellow and associate professor of marketing at Smith. "It was the first marketing conference to feature the editors of 12 marketing journals together in a "Meet the Editors" session that was extremely well received," he added.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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