Marcus Collins

The Consumer Connector



Marcus Collins

Shaping Perception

Chief Consumer Connections Officer at Doner
Marketing Lecturer, Ross School of Business at University of Michigan

Marcus Collins is a world renowned marketer and strategist who studies how people think and decide—how consumers shop, medical professionals diagnose, leaders continuously innovate, and forecasters predict. As part of his work, Marcus explores how the world’s largest organizations shape and design today’s reality — and how you can direct, and command, attention.

Marcus Collins is a culturally curious thinker with an academic insight into the cognitive drivers that impact consumer behavior. He serves as the Chief Consumer Connections Officer at Doner Advertising, a full-serve advertising agency, and is a recipient of Advertising Age's 40 Under 40 (2016) and Crain's Business Detroit's 40 Under 40 (2016). Previously, he led the Social Engagement practice across Steve Stoute’s New York advertising agency, Translation. There, Marcus leveraged the psychological motivators that drive what we do, say, and share in an effort to create contagious marketing programs that extend across both the online and offline world of ‘social’. His strategies and creative contributions have led to the success of Budweiser’s “Made In America” music festival, the launch of Bud Light Platinum, the launch of the Brooklyn Nets (Hello Brooklyn!), and State Farm’s “Cliff Paul” campaign – to name a few.

Prior to joining Translation, Marcus led iTunes + Nike sport music initiatives at Apple (iTunes Partner Marketing) and ran digital strategy for Beyoncé.

Marcus is an extremely passionate educator and an AACSB certified clinical instructor. He is a faculty member at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, as a Teaching Excellence Award Winning and Golden Apple Award nominated lecturer of marketing. He teaches around the globe and speaks across stages far and wide, from Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity to C2 Montreal, SXSW, TEDx, and Talks at Google.

Marcus is pursuing his doctorate at Temple University and holds an MBA with an emphasis on Strategic Brand Marketing from the University of Michigan, where he also earned his undergraduate degree in Material Science Engineering. He is a proud Detroit native, a devoted husband, and loving father.


Exploring the Unwritten Rules Which Drive Creativity and Commerce

Since its modern conception, marketing and advertising have relied on creativity as a catalyst for commerce. We use copy and images to evoke desired behaviors from a target populous in hopes that it will impact the brand’s bottom line. While the convergence of the two — creativity and commerce — is considered the hallmark of ‘good marketing communications’ (sought after by ad agencies and ambitious brand managers alike), there is an unspoken factor which frames its relevance and significance. That factor is ‘culture’ and this talk ventures to explore the unwritten rules about culture and why its simultaneous salience and nebulousness should be the backbone of how we approach marketing in today’s hyper-connected world.

Folks Like Us

It’s been said that “Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions real people have.” Demographics fail to accurately describe "real people." Of course, that’s why marketer focuses on psychographics because they paint a more vivid picture of who are. However, the truth is, psychographics are byproducts of our networks. Our networks are not only better representations of us, but they are also strong predictors of what we are likely to do.


  • A new perspective on segmentation that goes beyond demography and speaks to the causality of psychographics

  • An actionable approach that provides more accuracy to marketing executions and better enables the use of social media delivery

  • How social listening can be used to better identify more accurate target segments and map the dynamics of influence among them

The Forgotten Marketer

It’s been said that when people visit a museum, they often pay no mind to the frame of the artwork, though the framing of said work makes all the difference, so is the same when you think about people and their actions. The frame—or the context of the environment we’re in—has a great deal of impact on what we do, what we say, and how we consume. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of the environment will enable marketers to leverage these conditions in such a way that sways human behavior. In this session, we will explore these environmental dynamics, be they physical or digital, in such a way that will enable marketers to create ideas that move people.


  • How to gain a new perspective on influencer marketing

  • How to understand the dynamics of environments that strengthen marketing activations

  • The keys to unlocking new creative opportunities for brand communications and brand kinetics

Numbers Don’t Lie, Right?: Exploring Data and Its Impact on Predicting Human Behaviour

These days, there is no shortage of marketers looking for “data-driven” insights that lead to informed creative ideas. The use of data helps reduce risk in our communication efforts and often times optimizes the effectiveness of the media we allocate to support said efforts. What a great time to be a marketer?! However, despite the fact that marketers have access to more data than ever before, there are very few marketers celebrating “better ideas” or “better performing marketing.” How can that be?! Are the numbers not as accurate as we thought? Or perhaps we’re looking at the wrong data. In this session, we will explore a calibrated look at data and how it might better serve the marketing function by analyzing a case study in motion.


  • Establish a calibrated means by which marketers might consider sourcing and applying data

  • Understand the importance of putting humanity into the numbers

  • Explore the possibilities of leveraging data outside the walls of “marketing” for a brand’s marketing efforts

Creating Cultural Contagion: The convergence of culture and commerce

In today’s hyper-connected world, the allure of “going viral” continues to seduce marketers and idea-generators into investing significant time and resources toward the creation of content – videos, memes, tweets, posts, etc. – that spreads. There is seemingly no shortage of brands, business owners, or storytellers who covet the opportunity to have their ideas trend on Twitter, rake up 1 million+ views on Youtube, or garner thousands of Facebook likes. Metrics of social-chatter are then used as a proxy for success with the inclination that virality leads to reach and reach implies potential action. Though there are benefits to “going viral,” one must wonder if virality is truly what we’re after or if perhaps there is something far greater worth pursuing.


  • Reframe the benefits of “going viral” and provide an alternative aim

  • Explore the impact of culture on consumer behaviour

  • An actionable framework that enables marketers to create ideas/messages/ products/content that not only spread but also take hold in culture

More Than Words: Moving Beyond The Message To Move The Crowd

As marketers, we have invested heavily in the creation and distribution of communications. These messages have taken many forms throughout the decades – TV, radio, print, OOH, digital content, etc. However, thanks to the prevalence of technology, transparency and consumer expectations have necessitated marketers to think in a more contemporary fashion, if they are to establish meaningful connections and ignite credence-based passalong. In this talk, Marcus Collins, SVP of Social Engagement at Doner Advertising will look at what it means for marketers to move beyond brand messaging alone and consider brand behaviour. Here we will adopt a framework that will allow us to actively design messages and product innovations that inspire people to take action.


  • A perspective that moves beyond brand communications to brand behaviour

  • Applicability that links brand strategy tightly to digital and social marketing efforts

  • How brands can transcend from transactional customer relationships to loyalty-based relationships

Contact us to learn how Marcus can craft a topic for your audience.

Brands that lead culture are more successful than those that follow.
— Marcus Collins