Queen’s Marketing Association Conference

About QMAC

In its 33rd year, the Queen’s Marketing Association Conference, commonly known as QMAC, is arguably the largest and most prestigious undergraduate marketing conference in Canada. This three-day conference, hosted by the Queen’s Marketing Association, is held in Toronto connecting 150 delegates from 20 universities with some of the industry’s top corporate leaders and partners. Delegates participate in workshops, case competitions, speakers sessions, socials, and networking events, to interact with corporate representatives.


This year, delegates heard from the President of Adidas Canada, the Senior VP of Marketing at McDonald’s Canada, the President of Mirum, the VP Marketing of FGL Sports at Canadian Tire, and many more distinguished marketing professionals. This conference also provided a unique opportunity to propose marketing plans to real-life situations that industry leaders were facing. Delegates were able to present two solutions to cases from Smuckers, General Mills, P&G, and Pepsico.


The Role of Data in Marketing

One of the most engaging speeches came from the Environics team who specialize in data collection. They shared with us their approach to data collection and how said data can fuel marketing and business decisions. They showed us how they were able to compile a map of ‘ketchup consumption’ in Canada by approximating data based on postal code. They further showed us their tool which has categorized members of each postal code for demographic and psychographic characteristics and utilized this tool to categorize the consumers living within one block from the building that we were located in. You can imagine that this sort of data is immensely useful for businesses when planning new locations or creating geo-targeted marketing campaigns. A more simple version of this tool is an app that Environics created called PRIZM5, which anyone can download (for FREE) that categorizes neighborhoods by postal codes into one of 68 consumer segments. Interested in the behaviours and demographics of your neighborhood our of general curiosity or for business purposes? Download it and try it out at http://environicsanalytics.ca/prizm5.


The biggest insight arising from this speech is that in marketing, data is key. Understanding your consumers behaviours and mindset allows marketers to properly target consumers. Environics shared with us a few case studies of how data actually fuels marketing decisions is practice, however, one that stood out to us was for a local community center struggling to attract children program enrollments. After compiling data, Environics discovered that parents in the area of that community center were focused on academics and science in particular, instead of sports. This analysis caused the community center to create a ‘Robotics’ course and enrollment for this course was extremely high.


Insights Fuel Creative

We also heard from marketing professionals focused on advertising campaigns and our biggest takeaway from them was that insights always fuel creative. For example, an insight may be that consumers desire faster-acting pain medication. Once this insight is discovered, it is up to marketers to work with product development to create a faster-acting pill or solely to promote this benefit of their existing product. This is where understanding the consumer and what they need connects to how to communicate the solution to their problems. Now whenever a commercial comes on, or an advertisement is shown on social media, you can wonder- what insight inspired this creative?


Your Culture is Your Compass

Authenticity is key when promoting a brand, specifically in the era where marketing is not just marketers communicating to consumers, but communicating with consumers. One of the QMAC speakers referenced Simon Sinek who said, “People don’t buy what you do they buy how you do it”. Relying on your culture to guide your campaigns is a beneficial strategy as it results in holistic messaging creating clear brand messaging in consumers minds.

There is more to a successful business than just the brand and the use of data; employees are a key component to growing the organization. The Senior VP of Marketing at McDonald’s Canada, Antoinette Benoit, gave her advice as to what makes a great employee.

  1. Know Your DNA
  • Look at who you are and what strengths you bring to the organization as well as weaknesses you could improve on.
  1. Be a Student of the Business
  • Continuously strive to learn more each day about the organization you work for or the industry you are in. You should always be open-minded and ready to learn similar to the mentality of a student.
  1. Break Your Own Rules
  • Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and question why it is that you do what you do. Moving away from what is comfortable is one of the best ways to grow as an individual and grow within the company.
  1. Let Your Beliefs and Heart Speak
  • Be willing to express how you feel about different scenarios without reservation. It gives an opportunity for others gain insight and for you to feel confident expressing your ideas.
  1. Move Together as One
  • You bring a certain skill set to the organization and so does everyone else. It is important that you use each and every member’s strengths in order to work as a team and grow the business as a unit.


Professional Marketer? You Can Now Be One!

            The VP of the Canadian Marketing Association, Tim Bishop, announced that those interested in marketing as a career can now obtain a professional designation similar to those in accounting and finance. The Chartered Marketer (CM) designation is a standardized and nationally recognized, distinguishing top marketing talent. This new designation speaks to the unique skill set required to understand different aspects of the marketing industry. Similar to other professional designations, required courses and fees can be subsidized or paid for by employers which can help reduce costs.


Interested in Attending?

Interested in attending the next QMAC to meet your future employer or to learn more about the marketing industry? It is highly recommended that you apply! QMAC wants to ensure that their corporate sponsors meet the nation’s best talent pool. This year, the Asper School of Business, made its presence known, by having six delegates accepted to attend the conference; the most from our school in its history. Each delegate went open-minded and ready to face new challenges. So, what did we learn at QMAC this year? We learned there are many components in designing and implementing a marketing plan, though some do fail, many are successful through the use of information being collected, branding, and the strength of a team behind it all.


If you have any questions about QMAC, feel free to contact us, Indigo Adam-Grant, Top 20 Competitor for the Canadian Tire Challenge, or Josue Dubon, Gold Status Brand Ambassador. We will be happy to answer any of your questions and help you make the most out of your experience at the Queen’s Marketing Association Conference.


Indigo Adam-Grant


Josue Dubon