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Dr. Michael Solomon  

Marketing Researcher & Consumer Behavior Specialist

Michael Solomon “wrote the book” on understanding consumers. Literally. Hundreds of thousands of business students have learned about marketing from his books, including "Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being" -- the most widely used book on the subject in the world.

Solomon often is asked to provide briefings to global executive teams who want significant increases in their bottom line and who understand that’s accomplished by a deeper connection with their customers.

Solomon's mantra is: We don’t buy products because of what they do. We buy them because of what they mean. He advises global clients in leading industries to make them more consumer-centric. He is frequently quoted in major media outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, Adweek and Time, and he is a regular contributor at Forbes.com where he writes about current trends in consumer behavior.

As a Professor of Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and an industry consultant, Solomon combines cutting-edge academic theory with actionable real-world strategies. He helps managers get inside the heads of their customers so they can anticipate and satisfy their deepest and most pressing needs. An executive at Subaru said it best: “The man is a scholar who is current and street-wise.”

Speech Topics

The Many Faces of Artificial Intelligence Persuasive Salesbots and Tomorrow’s Customer Experience The Face of AI THEN, The Face of AI NOW

Everyone is buzzing about Artificial Intelligence these days, as well as they should. Machines that “think” for us already are transforming how we work, play – and shop. McKinsey tells us that some 29 million U.S. homes used some form of smart technology last year, and that number grows by over 30 percent a year.

Many organizations now deploy robots, avatars and chatbots to perform tasks we used to ask flesh-and-blood people to do. This suddenly makes the age-old question of what makes us human much less theoretical.

Self-driving cars threaten to replace truck drivers. IBM’s Watson beats chess masters and veteran Jeopardy game show contestants. Movies and TV shows like Blade Runner, Westworld, and Humans that focus on the civil rights of synths, replicants and androids are center stage in popular culture. Alexa and Siri are our new guardian angels. Where does the person stop and the machine start?

Marketers need to grapple with this question, and soon. As customers increasingly interact with machines instead of people, there are huge ramifications for the way we think about sales interactions, communications strategies, product design and marketing channels.

Will consumers more readily accept a product recommendation from an AI agent if an attractive avatar delivers the message? Will customers become loyal to an intelligent agent, much as some do with their favorite salespeople now? Will shoppers prefer to see computer-generated models in advertising rather than real people?

Very soon, the rise of the machines will become the race of the machines. Don’t be left at the starting line. In this thought-provoking presentation we will ask:

How does the physical appearance of a robot or avatar sales advisor affect the likelihood that customers will trust and follow its’ recommendations about what to buy?

How will chatbots and affective computing (where software detects a consumer’s emotional state) impact sales interactions? As advertisers use machine learning to generate artificial images for their messages, how will AI influence ideals of beauty and the fashion industry?

What will be the impact of dating apps, sexbots and other smart devices on interpersonal relationships?

How will facial recognition and wearable computer technologies meld with AI to create “markets of one?”

Profit from Disruption Tear Down Marketing’s Old Walls to See the Future of Your Business

Fundamental categories that form the bedrock of marketing strategy and customer insights simply no longer exist. You need to understand the new landscape of consumer behavior so you don’t get left in the dust. In this program you will learn:

How you can reach today’s consumers, who plug into a “hive mind” that tells them what to buy.

Why the debate about “offline versus online” marketing strategies is useless

How to market with rather than market to your customers.

Why your customers rely upon your brands to tell them who they are.

How to develop new killer products and services by demolishing your industry’s walls.

Consumer Behavior in The New Normal Step on the G.A.S. (Gratification, Agency & Stability)

The Pandemic will change our world for years after the virus disappears. We’ll have to rethink and modify our purchase decisions, large and small. Some disruptions in consumer/marketer relationships that already were looming will come faster and more decisively. How do we define brand value? How should companies talk to customers? How do people function in an emerging gig economy where every encounter might be fatal? How do we redefine what it means to go to work or to socialize?

This means that the firm categories we love to use to understand our world – and our customers – are no longer valid. In particular, the traditional labels we use to segment consumers have stopped working. Today’s consumers are like chameleons, who change color constantly. They no longer sit passively in the tidy cages we put them in. The convenient dichotomies we rely upon, such as Male vs. Female, Young vs. Old, I vs. We, Consumer vs. Producer, Offline vs. Online, and many others, no longer mean very much.

In the New Normal, we’ll see these cages open even faster as people are exposed both to new possibilities and to new constraints on their daily lives. Many of us for example will rediscover the value of community, and others will rethink the value of commuting to work everyday. In this presentation, we’ll explore some of these comfortable cages, and show why marketers need to ignore them in order to prosper.

You’ll learn why you need to step on the GAS to modify your offerings in light of the new drivers of consumer behavior.

The virus poked the bear, and now marketers need to respond to life in The New Normal.

The changes that started well before the Pandemic reflect the transition in our society from a modernist to a postmodern culture. Postmodern consumers don’t always follow the rules that marketers decree. That’s because we don’t buy products because of what they do… we buy them because of what they mean. Today’s consumers define themselves by the brands they choose. Their idiosyncratic choices create a pastiche of meaning that gets updated 24/7. Marketers no longer drive the train, even though they can still ride it.

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