Amway goes to Harvard

The Marketing and Consumer Packaged Goods Club at Harvard Business School had a powerhouse of speakers come to its recent Marketing Innovation Conference, including General Mills CMO Mark Addicks and ESPN CEO John Skipper.

Amway was honored to have our very own Mike Edwards invited to participate in a panel discussion about social media and ROI.

Edwards, Amway’s director of digital and experiential marketing, served on the panel with Jan Rezab of Socialbakers, Ken Mah of Danaher and Seth Diamond of Catapult RPM. The panel spoke in front of a crowd of about 50 Harvard Business School students.

Rather than identifying the shortest line between “likes” and profit, the discussion focused more on strategy and purpose. Edwards said social media at Amway is key for crowdsourcing innovation.

“It’s tremendous, and it’s proprietary for us,” he said.

That is one of the things that drives strategy, he said. He also commented on what doesn’t drive strategy.

“Getting fans and likes is not a strategy,” he said. “And planning your strategy based on content going viral is like planning your retirement based on winning the lotto.”

Panel members agreed that the definition of ROI in social media needs to be broadened.

“Social is about driving aspiration,” Diamond said.

The participants did not limit their topic to social media. After the official panel was over, they shared lunch with the business students where discussions turned to lofty matters of the Chinese economy, Indian infrastructure and issues in Pakistan. 

Combine that with their tour of campus and you could say the Amway team got a pretty nice Harvard education. Check out a photo album from the trip at our Amway Facebook page.

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