Friday, October 23, 2009

Academy Week Update: Whirlpool and Eli Lilly

I'm going to combine a couple of full days into one post here because, while at both companies we covered great insights into consumer marketing, we had to sign confidentiality agreements so I can't talk much about the content (and no pictures).

The focus on the consumer continued at Whirlpool. They are a great corporate partner of IU and their CEO and CFO are both Kelley Alums. We heard from a variety of marketers and they all hammered home a familiar point: marketing insights come from studying consumer behavior. Even for a durables company it is imperative to see how the product fits the consumer's needs.

We split into groups for lunch and networked with a Kelley alum who is in Whirlpool's Leadership Development Program. He gave us great tips on how to be top MBA students and how to take advantage of the best MBA for marketing.

We finished out the day hearing from the head of New Business Development. My lips are sealed on that one, but they have some great products in the pipeline.

On Thursday we had a very early (6:45AM) start to head to Indianapolis to visit with Eli Lilly. At first I wasn't so excited for this visit because I don't have much of an interest in Pharmaceutical Marketing, but it ended up being fantastic.

First off, their headquarters is gorgeous. Very new and with some great artwork and architecture. We were hosted by Michelle DeRidder, a 2008 Kelley alum. I've told you before, but we have alumni all over marketing because we have the best consumer marketing MBA program.

The highlight of the day was a case discussion about the launch of Cialis. If you don't know, it's a drug that treats erectile dysfunction and is now outselling Viagra. The discussion was lead by the Director of Global Marketing who oversaw the launch. Lots of fun and frank talk about the drug and it's benefits. Really a very interesting case on how to market a prescription drug to the end consumer. One of the hurdles they face is that they have to market to the patient, the doctor and the payer (HMO/Medicare).

We finished the day with a panel discussing the similarities and differences between Pharma marketing and CPG marketing. The similarities really are bigger than the differences, especially in the emphasis put on the consumer. The differences come in the regulatory environment and the respect for privacy. Because of this they can't really play in the social media space.

All in all, two great days, and so many takeaways for the best consumer marketing MBA students in the country!

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