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Bentley Conference Welcomes Top Marketing Leaders

August 10, 2004

WALTHAM, Mass.- Over 130 of the top academic and professional leaders in the world of marketing gathered in Boston earlier this week to ponder the question, "Does Marketing Need Reform?"

The day-long conference, hosted by Bentley's McCallum Graduate School of Business, in conjunction with the Center for Marketing Technology and Center for Business Ethics, featured four modules and 17 guest speakers.

"I think we're setting some kind of record for one day," said Bentley Professor of Marketing and conference organizer Raj Sisodia of the speakers.

The four modules of the conference were:

  • Does Marketing Have A Problem?
  • The Fundamental Issues
  • New Perspectives
  • Where Do We Go From Here?

Bentley President Joseph G. Morone welcomed the attendees, and stressed the importance of managing relationships.

"In this economy, the center of gravity of innovative competitive process has shifted towards the customer end of the value chain," he said. "What you're engaged in at this conference has become critically important."

Philip Kotler, the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, delivered the keynote address, "Ethical Issues in Marketing: Is Socially Responsible Marketing an Oxymoron?" He noted that marketing is a job creating discipline, while he also stressed ethical perspectives and posed an interesting question to the audience.

"If we thought we were the customer, would we buy from ourselves?" he asked.

Other highlights at the conference included:

  • Consumers want concurrence: "We see a changing attitude amongst consumers in what they want from us and the marketplace." J. Walker Smith, president, Yankelovich Partners.
  • Evidence that American marketing is becoming morally bankrupt: "We have products in this country that we should be embarrassed about." Johny K. Johansson, Georgetown University.
  • "Overexposure and information overload is a major problem in marketing." Raj Sisodia, Bentley.
  • Realizing the environment around us: "We are so focused on what we do that we don't see the environment in front of us. Ninety-nine percent of what we're doing is US-centered." Jerry Wind, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Organization trends are not clear: "Not only is marketing changing, but it's lost its influence." Frederick E. Webster, Jr., Dartmouth College
  • A three stakeholder analysis of why marketing needs reform, which includes policy makers, academics, and practitioners: "We need to make research more newsworthy, and wake ourselves up academically." Jag Sheth, Emory University.
  • Gaining trust in marketing: "The toughest thing to say is 'trust me.' Trust is hard to gain, and easy to lose." Glen Urban, MIT

For more information, you can visit the conference website at:

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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