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ISBM Winter Meeting Focuses on Gaining Insights from Big Data

The Penn State Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) in the Smeal College of Business recently held its annual winter meeting in Tampa, Fla., providing networking and professional development opportunities for business-to-business marketing executives.
March 19, 2013

The Penn State Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) in the Smeal College of Business recently held its annual winter meeting in Tampa, Fla., providing networking and professional development opportunities for business-to-business marketing executives.

More than 100 professionals attended the February meeting. Presentations from academics and executives in the field examined real challenges and opportunities in turning data into insights that drive profitable growth in business-to-business markets.

“Our twice-annual meetings are one of the most important benefits of joining the ISBM for our member firms,” said Ralph Oliva, ISBM executive director and professor of marketing at Smeal, who added that themes for each meeting are picked based on the current business-to-business challenges facing member firms.

“We heard that firms were getting more and more data, but they weren’t exactly sure what to do with it,” Oliva said.

Keynote speaker Larry Prusak, founder and executive director of the IBM Institute for Knowledge Management, spoke on, “What is Insight: Getting it, Using it, Profiting from it.” According to Prusak, the depth and robustness of your network—which, he said, should include people with a diversity of mindsets and skillsets—can make the difference in developing important insights.

Networking is an important focus of the biannual ISBM meetings, said Oliva, who emphasizes what he calls the “three friend minimum”: encouraging all attendees to leave the meeting with three new friends to expand their network.

Abbie Griffin, ISBM Fellow from the University of Utah and author of the recent book, Serial Innovators: How Individuals Create and Deliver Breakthrough Innovations in Mature Firms, talked about gathering insight directly from interactions with the customer.

Executives from member firms such as Blue Canyon Partners, Inc., Cisco, DuPont, Optimal Strategix, Saint-Gobain, and Timken also delivered presentations, drilling deep into case studies from their business-to-business marketing experiences.

About the ISBM
The Institute for the Study of Business Markets is a center of excellence in the Penn State Smeal College of Business that networks researchers, educators, and practitioners in business-to-business marketing in companies and universities throughout the world. The ISBM’s mission is to expand research and teaching in business-to-business marketing and sales in academia and to improve industry practice.

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