Marketing summit demonstrates interconnected physical and virtual worlds

For the first time, the Jerome D. Williams 2022 Marketing Summit was a hybrid event with two in-person locations and online presenters and participants. Seventy-five people registered to attend the Rutgers Business School building on the Livingston Campus of Rutgers University–New Brunswick, fifty registered for RBS Newark, and 125 online.

The event was renamed the Jerome D. Williams Marketing Summit last year as a tribute to Williams, a distinguished professor of marketing who passed away suddenly in 2021. This year, the focus was on The Metaverse, Web3, and Next-Gen Marketing. Keynote speakers and panelists grappled with the accelerating challenges and opportunities in the industry.

In an interview leading up to the summit, Francisco Quevedo, a professor of professional practice in marketing, offered a perspective: "Next-Gen Marketing will incorporate AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), Blockchain and other technologies that represent a quantum leap for marketers.”

During his remarks at the beginning of the summit, Professor S. Chan Choi, interim chair of the Marketing Department & director of the Center for Marketing Research, shared a similar perspective calling the current state and future possibilities of technology the “rise of a new marketing paradigm.”

David Wang, a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in business administration, came to the summit for an overview of Web 3 and the metaverse. “I had a four-month data engineer internship at Meta in Menlo Park, CA, this past summer,” Wang said. “I am interested in how the metaverse may change marketing and how different uses may change the metaverse as it develops.”

Christina “CK” Kerley, instructor of Future Web Technologies, Rutgers Business School Executive Education, gave the opening keynote – "The Next EVERYTHING: New Tech, New Web, New Worlds."

Marketers have always asked themselves, ‘What’s the next big thing?’ And now the next big thing is . . . EVERYTHING," she said. “We are living through nothing less than a digital renaissance with new technologies, a new Web – and new 3D metaverse worlds.

“We’ve seen the internet develop from an ‘information web 1’ in which users read what publishers created. Then came the ‘social web 2’ where we could read and write via major tech platforms," Kerley said. "But the big change is the ‘decentralized web 3’ where, finally, people can own their data, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs. In other words, we’ve now evolved into a “read-write-own” Web. More people will own a more democratic and diverse Web 3.

“Web 3 represents the next iteration of the World Wide Web," she said. "It is built upon blockchains and cryptocurrencies, characterized by decentralizing that data, not centralizing it within only corporate repositories and only behind major platforms. It enables much more transparency and user-controlled shared ownership.”

Marketing major Angela Koh said, “I came to hear about AI, Web 3, and blockchain. I also learned about other relevant topics.”

Brianna Lischy, majoring in Business Analytics & Information Technology (BAIT), Rutgers Business School’s quantitative and computing major, is interested in the technology that made Web 3 possible. “Technology changes so fast,” she said. “While not specifically addressing that, the speakers showed that advances progress from current knowledge; they don’t suddenly appear from nowhere.”

Their friend, Claudia Santacruz, who is studying cognitive science in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, came along because the summit sounded interesting. “The sessions were very informative, and I appreciated that these experts were open to questions,” she said.

Closing Keynote speaker Angelia McFarland, director, Product Marketing, Programs and Operations at Dell Technologies, said marketers need to be forward-thinking. “We cannot look back and point to a recent success and say, ‘let’s do that again,’ she said. We must look ahead in this overlapping physical and virtual landscape to develop new ways to reach people.

“Get comfortable with risk; the metaverse is waiting for us to create it.”

Playlist: The Metaverse, Web3, and Next Gen Marketing

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