​UNSW Business School launched the Marketing Analytics Symposium 2020 at Pier One Sydney Harbour, Walsh Bay, earlier this week. The exclusive two-day event showcased global advances in marketing analytics and attracted more than 150 academics and marketing professionals from Australia, Europe, Asia and North America.

Strategic Hires and Retention Pathways (SHARP) Professor Harald van Heerde from the School of Marketing led the conference alongside co-chairs Professor and Head of School Jack Cadeaux, Associate Professor Mathew Chylinski, and Professor of Practice Nicolas Chu

"The symposium was designed to explore the latest and upcoming advances in marketing analytics that are changing the industry," Professor Van Heerde said. 

"The insights from academia ultimately provide great benefit to professional marketers, enabling them to combine research outcomes with their own experience and intuition to make better decisions."

The day kicked off with a presentation by Professor Michel Wedel from the University of Maryland on video content marketing – specifically the making of a clip for Netflix. Wedel shared an example of 'emotional tracking' study that used pre- or post-survey questions and facial tracking. Michel further shared his insights on how the emotional profile of an individual watching a movie trailer can be obtained by tracking their facial expressions through software.

"What the software does is it fits a virtual mask on top of the face of the respondent. From that mask, it's able to capture movements with the facial muscles. In this case, it will correctly tie to facial expressions as to whether the person is smiling," Wedel said.

The symposium also featured a 'fireside chat' on the future of marketing analytics between Sinorbis CEO Prof. Prac Nicholas Chu and ex-Facebook Australia & New Zealand CEO Steven Scheeler. The discussion delved into the evolutions of marketing models, the impact of AI on marketing analytics, and the power of data when an organisation reaches scale.

Day 2 of the symposium had a more narrowed focus on big data, text and image mining as well as other aspects of marketing analytics. Professor Odet Netzer from the Columbia Business School kickstarted day 2 with a keynote speech on how to leverage unstructured (textual) data.

Other breakout sessions included topics such as AI & Marketing Analytics, Location / Motion Analytics, Customer Loyalty Analytics, Branding and Advertising, Service Failure, Access-Based Consumption, Segmentation and Natural Experiments. Discussions were focused on findings, techniques, challenges and directions for marketing analytics in the near future. The conference concluded with a gala dinner at Dockside on Darling Harbour.

For information on current and upcoming events in business, innovation and more, visit UNSW Events.