When the Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) began evaluating candidates for its 2019 Marketer of the Year award, the student organization considered a number of individuals who “demonstrated excellence, innovation and success in creating, communicating and delivering value to consumers.”

One name, however, consistently rose to the top of the list: Russ Klein (BSBA ’79), CEO of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

At its annual Columbus Advertising and Marketing Practicum event, AMP president Jenn McKibben presented Klein with its top award.

“Russ has held executive-level roles at some of the largest food organizations in the U.S.,” McKibben said. “Now as CEO of the AMA, Russ has been able to disseminate that knowledge to build and grow the AMA into the pre-eminent resource for marketing education, best practices and cutting-edge trends. His connection to Fisher as a 1979 alumnus and his passion for helping students also made him a clear choice as the keynote speaker for this event.”

Klein participated in the daylong event, which was dedicated to exploring customer experience design. In addition to moderating a panel discussion about digital user experience, Klein delivered a spirited keynote that provided a deeper dive into how marketers and brand owners successfully incorporate experience design into their brands.

Russ Klein - panel
Russ Klein (left) leads a panel disussion with industry experts on digital user experience.

Klein drew on his decades of experience leading some of the most recognizable brands in the world. Prior to his position at the AMA, Klein was chief marketing officer for the Arby’s Restaurant Group, and 7-Eleven, and he also served as the president of global marketing, strategy and innovation for the Burger King Corporation. His work at Burger King was highlighted by Adweek as “the advertiser of the decade” for the 2000s.

“Russ’ keynote on customer experience design highlighted his perspective on the 4 P’s (product, price, place and promotion) and how instead it should be viewed as solutions, time, omni-channel and participation,” MBA student Andris Koh said. “This was something new to me, and it helped me look at my marketing objectives from a different viewpoint.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed his wide variety of examples supporting his ideas, which to me showed that he has a deep, extended, global knowledge of marketing in business. This can be attributed to his many years of experience and his passion for understanding the consumer and their changing needs.”

Klein, Russ - headshot
Russ Klein (BSBA '79)

Most recently at the AMA, Klein has led the organization’s transformation into the essential community for marketers through its focus on four strategies: commitment to service leadership; providing a proactive, differentiated and modern voice for a single AMA brand; establishing a multi-channel intellectual agenda; and building a personalized and connected marketplace of knowledge.

Klein’s visit to campus was his most recent in a series of engagement with the Fisher community. In 2018, he connected with the college at the AMA’s Marketing and Public Policy Conference in Columbus. He has spoken as an invited guest at a number of college-hosted symposiums, served as Fisher’s 2010 Pre-Commencement speaker and has worked with the college’s Office of Advancement on a number of strategic initiatives. He is a past recipient of Fisher’s Distinguished Leadership Award.

“Russ has a genuine desire to give back. He is more than just a CEO — he is out there in the community striving to influence and make a difference, and it’s great to know these individuals are out there,” McKibben said.

“I am honored to share a mutual Fisher connection with Russ. His devotion and dedication to helping marketers, especially at Fisher, inspires me to want to contribute back to the Columbus community in my own personal way. Russ is an excellent role model!”

Andris KohFull-Time MBA student