Posted By: Ben Hertzman on January 21, 2009
For the past few months, I have been looking forward to attending QMAC (Queen’s Marketing Association Conference), and after having experienced all that it had to offer, it is easy to say that it far exceeded my expectations. Although the time went by quite quickly, I absorbed a great deal from the industry leaders who spoke, in addition to being able to network with both representatives from many different corporations and marketing students from all across Canada.
Throughout the entire conference, we were exposed to speakers from most of the fields within the marketing industry. For example, we heard the President of Virgin Mobile Canada speak about promoting a company in a competitive industry, in addition to the VP of Marketing for Campbell’s Soup speak about his take on promotion through TV commercials (he also happens to be a judge at the CASSIES–the Oscars of commercials). As well, each day we broke into smaller groups and took part in seminars where we could hear from experts in the different fields we were interested in. I heard from two different media and promotion executives who spoke about their perspective on experiential marketing. I found that hearing all of these different perspectives is a great supplement to learning about marketing in class.
One of the best parts about being at a conference is how easy it is to speak with representatives from different organizations. At QMAC, there were reps from Campbells, Kraft, Unilever (the reps insisted we call it Funilever instead), Proctor and Gamble, Bell, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Cara and Molson (just to name a few…). Each event we had was sponsored by a different company, so as the conference went on, we were able to learn about many different employment opportunities (each company gave us a swag-bag as well–which was the inspiration for the title of the article). The reps were very approachable, and took time to get to know us at the cocktail parties, meals and socials.
One of the highlights of the weekend for me was seeing my two friends, Amanda and Chloe, win the QMAC challenge. At some conferences, there is a case competition where all the delegates get a real-life problem and have to come up with a creative solution to it. This year’s competition involved Campbell’s Soup trying to diversify their market into either Chinese-Canadians, Southeast Asians, or Aboriginal Canadians. Amanda and Chloe came up with a winning submission by creating a new slogan “A Family Treasure”, proposing a Chinese New Year promotion and using a new viral marketing campaign that promoted one of Campbell’s brands that is quite mainstream in China. As winners of the case competition, they both won the opportunity to carry out their campaign by working at Campbell’s for the summer. This was the first time that students in second year have won the QMAC challenge, and everyone in my year is very proud of them.
Now, if you’re interested in going to a conference, but are aware that marketing may not be your thing, don’t worry–with 10 student-run conferences and five case competitions, you can definitely find something that will fit your interests. QMAC was the second conference that I attended at Queen’s, and after having two amazing weekends, I know that it definitely will not be my last. Again, if you have any questions about my experience at QMAC, or about conferences in general, please feel free to leave a comment.