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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Facebook VP of global marketing visits

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Michelle Morris, vice president of global marketing solutions for Facebook, presented her keynote address “Innovating for Good in Changing Times” Friday  in the Alumni Memorial Union Ballrooms.

Morris’ presentation was hosted by the College of Business Administration, and it was a part of the marketing department’s Kellstadt Lecture series. In her lecture, Morris acknowledged some of the challenges Facebook has faced recently faced such as election integrity and data privacy.

“As a company, Facebook is committed to doing good,” Morris said. “We are trying to impact positive change by helping build communities and create meaningful connections between people. Technology is a powerful tool that can help make people’s lives better, and for us, doing good means a continuous foundational commitment to innovation.”

Craig Andrews, professor in the College of Business Administration, and Charles H. Kellstadt chair in the marketing department, said the lecture series is named after Charles H. Kellstadt, former CEO of Sears Corporation, who gave Marquette an endowment to help the marketing department provide lectures on topics about the study and practice of marketing that are of interest to local and regional business communities, Marquette students, faculty, staff and alumni.

When choosing this year’s speaker, Andrews said he wanted to select a high-level executive in marketing for a company that impacts not only the everyday lives of students, but billions around the world.

In her current position at Facebook, Morris said she works across Facebook’s automotive, financial services, real estate, insurance, restaurant and education fields. She said she leads a national team that strives to improve the way industries connect, communicate and influence business in a technology-driven society.

Morris also has previous experience working with other international companies, such as Google and Chrysler.

“Imagine in 15 years, the world has changed so much,” Morris said, in regards to Facebook’s 15th birthday in February of this year. “People are much more connected across the world. They’re participating in online communities, growing businesses and everybody is sharing their lives online.”

Over this time, Facebook has grown to two billion users, Morris said. 

“We recognize that we’ve made some mistakes, and we’ve had some missteps and some we failed to foresee,” Morris said. “So we want to start by talking about it, and talking about some of the challenges that people, companies and governments are facing as we move forward together in the digital age.”

Since Facebook is in the tech industry, Morris said the company should be scrutinized because it plays a role in many people’s lives. She said the entire (Facebook) business is predicated on trust. 

“If there’s no trust, people won’t spend time on our platforms,” Morris said. “If people won’t spend time on our platforms, we can’t offer valuable business outcomes to to advertisers that fuel our business.”

Challenges such as election integrity, content governance, safety and security, data privacy and digital wellbeing are all  surrounding the future of the internet, Morris said.

“In many of these areas, we think we are building some of the most advanced systems in the world,” Morris said. “We were an altruistic company, as you can imagine. Every time we launched a product, we thought about all of the good that can be done with those products and services, and increasingly, we have to focus on what bad can also be done.”

Morris said the four steps her team is taking to address some of the concerns they see in the world, including trust, include continuing to make progress on social issues, building experiences to improve people’s lives, continuing to build businesses and communicating more transparently. 

“This is the first year Mark (Zuckerberg) has actually set these goals for the company,” Morris said.

She said Facebook will be goal driving itself on and investing its resources into these four goals.

Mara Merritt, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said she thought it was interesting how Mark Zuckerberg created such specific goals and is holding the company to a high standard.

She said she attended the lecture for her business course LEAD 1050, and although she didn’t see any specific parallels from the lecture to her class, she thought it was interesting to learn about marketing in a way different from the classroom.

“I’m really interested in marketing, so a lot of what she said, especially about marketing at the global level, is super interesting,” Merritt said.

Meghann Witthoft, event and communication coordinator for the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management, said Morris’ global perspective is beneficial for members of the Marquette community who don’t necessarily hear other perspectives often.

“Most of the time, you will experience marketing in a theoretical sense from a student perspective, so it’s always really great to give students the opportunity to interact with someone who has real life experience in the role,” Witthoft said. “I would say also from a public perspective, it’s a great way to include the public and engage with Marquette and the College of Business Administration as well.”

Morris also discussed some of the big changes among people, communities and businesses that are occurring as technology continues to connect people in the world.

“From the world’s biggest social movements, to the newest business ideas, we think there’s never been a better time to have a good idea,” Morris said.

She said the average person is exposed to more than 10,000 ad messages per day, but not all of them are carefully noticed.

Morris said innovations are really important for advertisers and how they get the word out and work with the same audiences to promote their product. Morris said Facebook is constantly innovating to make experiences better.

“For us, it’s essential that we help people thrive in this electronic world,” Morris said. “We are building examples with a people-first mindset, which is really part of the core of what we’re working towards.”

Although the marketplace is continuing to evolve, Morris said it is important for businesses to innovate through culture and build communities.

“A connected world is a better world,” Morris said. “It is one world that’s enabled by all this connectivity.”

As Facebook continues to innovate, Morris said she likes to think of one of her favorite posters that says, “This journey is one percent finished.”

“When we think about the global roadmap and the fact that there’s only 2.7 billion people connected in the world, and there’s over 7 billion individuals who deserve to be connected, whose lives would be better when connected, we really think our journey is really just one percent finished,” Morris said.

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