David Bell

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Digital Marketing & E-Commerce Guru; Authority on Retailing and Shopping Behavior; Best-Selling Author, “Location Is (Still) Everything”; Wharton Professor & Online Education Innovator (Coursera.org, EdX.org)

Biography

Digital transformation is moving fast. Businesses must embrace the changes or risk getting left behind. David R. Bell, a pioneering aficionado of the digital economy and a specialist in how to integrate the digital world with the real one, is helping companies win in today’s evolving marketplace.

An award-winning researcher and teacher, Bell holds the Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professorship at the Wharton School, where he created the school’s first MBA and executive education courses on digital marketing and e-commerce. His engaging and provocative style is popular with students and business leaders alike – in both the physical and virtual classrooms. More than 550,000 students worldwide have signed up for his online marketing management course on Coursera.org. Offline he has taught thousands of executives and students not only at Wharton, but also UCLA, MIT, INSEAD and the Indian School of Business.

Bell’s best-selling book, “Location Is (Still) Everything” (New Harvest, 2014), focuses on how we use the internet to shop and search for information. Its key thesis – that real world factors systematically drive virtual world behaviors – is reinforced though rigorous analysis and countless practical examples. Most recently, he co-authored “Pharma 3D: Rewriting the Script for Pharma Marketing in the Digital Age,” an e-book discussing how pharma companies can capitalize on patient engagement through digital marketing.

A sought-after advisor and seed investor, Bell consults with such transformative brands as Bonobos, Harry’s, Jet and Warby Parker, among numerous others. He is also the president of Idea Farm Ventures, a consumer lifestyle incubation fund.

A New Zealand citizen, he received his doctorate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

David Bell is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Media

The Man Who Kick Started the Direct Brand Economy

October 19, 2018

5 Minutes with David Bell

June 1, 2018

Inc

Over 400 Startups Are Trying to Become the Next Warby Parker. Inside the Wild Race to Overthrow Every Consumer Category

April 19, 2018

MIT Sloan Management Review logo

The Store Is Dead — Long Live the Store

March 1, 2018

Why Generational Marketing Could Send Retailers Back to the Drawing Board

February 14, 2018

Will Traditional Retailers Get a Frosty Reception This Holiday Season?

November 24, 2017

Fortune logo

Retailers Should Be Worried About Walmart This Holiday Season

November 6, 2017

A Peek Inside Nordstrom's Merchandise-Free "Local" Shop

November 1, 2017

The Definitive Guide to Generational Marketing

October 20, 2017

Intellects: David Bell

September 2017

Can In-store ‘Experiences’ Save Retail?

July 7, 2017

Minds Worth Meeting podcast logo

Elevating the Consumer Experience & the Future of Retail with David Bell (Audio)

June 27, 2017

Amazon vs. Walmart: Which One Will Prevail?

June 27, 2017

Troubling Times for Retail; Trump and Trade (13:30) (Audio)

April 24, 2017

How Close Community Ties Can Drive Online Sales (Audio)

April 21, 2017

Charting the Changing Customer Journey

October 2016

Why Local, Local, Local Matters For Your Online Business

June 14, 2016

How Can Pharma Firms Market Their Way Back to Growth?

April 27, 2016

Beyond Touchscreens: How the Brands of the Future Blend the Virtual and Physical Worlds

November 23, 2015

Q&A: Lessons on Event Marketing in the Digital Age

June 11, 2015

Where Is Your Membership Showroom?

June 3, 2015

The Economist logo

Pointers to the Future

October 18, 2014

How to Win in an Omnichannel World

September 16, 2014

Washington Post logo

'Location, Location, Location.' How Where You Live Influences How You Shop Online

September 12, 2014

Inc

Why Location Still Matters: 7 Questions to Ask When Picking Your Next Business Address

September 9, 2014

Internet Shopping and Brick-and-Mortar Stores (Audio)

September 3, 2014

Fortune logo

Why E-tailers in Scandanavia Don’t Sell in Schenectady

August 20, 2014

Why Location Is King for E-commerce, Too

July 31, 2014

Inc

Why Location Is (Still) Everything

July 11, 2014

Biography

Digital transformation is moving fast. Businesses must embrace the changes or risk getting left behind. David R. Bell, a pioneering aficionado of the digital economy and a specialist in how to integrate the digital world with the real one, is helping companies win in today’s evolving marketplace.

An award-winning researcher and teacher, Bell holds the Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professorship at the Wharton School, where he created the school’s first MBA and executive education courses on digital marketing and e-commerce. His engaging and provocative style is popular with students and business leaders alike – in both the physical and virtual classrooms. More than 550,000 students worldwide have signed up for his online marketing management course on Coursera.org. Offline he has taught thousands of executives and students not only at Wharton, but also UCLA, MIT, INSEAD and the Indian School of Business.

Bell’s best-selling book, “Location Is (Still) Everything” (New Harvest, 2014), focuses on how we use the internet to shop and search for information. Its key thesis – that real world factors systematically drive virtual world behaviors – is reinforced though rigorous analysis and countless practical examples. Most recently, he co-authored “Pharma 3D: Rewriting the Script for Pharma Marketing in the Digital Age,” an e-book discussing how pharma companies can capitalize on patient engagement through digital marketing.

A sought-after advisor and seed investor, Bell consults with such transformative brands as Bonobos, Harry’s, Jet and Warby Parker, among numerous others. He is also the president of Idea Farm Ventures, a consumer lifestyle incubation fund.

A New Zealand citizen, he received his doctorate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

David Bell is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The B.O.S.S. Model: Appealing to Millennials in a Digital World

The Millennial consumer is transforming and upending the economy, and yet the nuances of how these consumers behave, and the outsized influence they wield, are poorly understood. As a result, large incumbent firms are being outperformed by nimble younger companies led by Millennial executives, who naturally have far greater insight into this generation’s spending habits, impulses and values. According to digital marketing expert David Bell, the relationship between the rise of Millennial customers and the disruption of traditional businesses is symbiotic: both drive and inform each other. Based on deep research of successful startup companies, and the subject of his forthcoming book, Bell devised the “B.O.S.S. Model,” a framework to help companies develop ways to understand, relate to and ultimately compete for the business of Millennials. The framework – Bonding, not branding; Orators, not customers; Showrooms, not stores; Science, not service – requires leaders to completely rethink how they approach and sell to this unique generation, and covers the connection, people, physical spaces and data science needed to appeal to Millennials (and the generations they influence). Millennials represent the buying patterns and values of the future, and companies must begin transforming their approach to marketing and sales now. Bell’s grounded and practical B.O.S.S. Model will be the first comprehensive blueprint for thriving during this wave of transformation.

The Future of Retail

Notwithstanding Niels Bohr’s maxim that, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” the next five years of retail will be remembered for a transition from historical to future models. That transition, says David Bell, will be powered by twin revolutions in tactile experience and digital efficiency. Historical retail combines all the elements of the customer journey—product search, customer service, and product fulfillment, in one physical location (like department stores or car dealerships twenty years ago). Future retail is a seamless customer experience that parses this journey into a new, optimal mix of online and offline components (like Bonobos Guide Shop pop-ups and Tesla Showrooms). In particular:

  • The tactile experience when offline becomes more relevant, not less. Digitally-native brands (from Away, Bonobos and Casper to Warby Parker) lead the way with showrooms, pop-ups, and offline innovations that drive deep and lasting brand relationships. Brands born on the Internet, including Amazon, double down on physical spaces.
  • The digital efficiency of search is uncoupled from physical fulfillment. Customers “pre-shop” seamlessly on the path to purchase, BOPS (“Buy Online Pick up in Store”) is ubiquitous in legacy retail, and shoppers customize pricing, delivery, and return options to suit their needs (e.g., Jet.com).

Specialists emerge across all elements of the customer journey for curation, customization, financing, servicing, delivery and returns. In this presentation, Bell shows how the key factor will not be that the components of the retail journey change, but that “who does what” will turn upside down.

Transforming Commerce

Conventional wisdom holds that the internet has made the world flat and erased the impact of the physical world on what we buy and where we buy it (online or offline). Paradoxically, the rise of internet-connected devices and commerce innovation have made it more important to understand physical world geography and relationships, not less. Drawing from his award-winning book, “Location Is (Still) Everything,” David Bell provides a powerful and practical metaphor and framework – GRAVITY – for thinking about how real world-virtual world interaction drives business success. GRAVITY embodies the levers executives must understand (Geography, Resistance, Adjacency, Vicinity, Isolation, Topography and You) in order to navigate the new commerce landscape. In this presentation, Bell shows audiences how to deploy the GRAVITY framework to drive commerce, leverage proven strategies for success from leading digital-first brands, and understand and capitalize on consumers’ behavior – online and off.

How to Win in the Digital Economy

The business world is in the throes of the digital age. But just because digital marketing is indispensable doesn’t mean we can ignore the impact of offline presence. More than ever, consumers still need to interact with brands in person. Social interaction, frictionless transacting and mobile-enabled commerce create unparalleled opportunities, and yet also impose discipline and risk on new and established firms alike. David Bell provides research-driven and actionable insights into how firms must navigate this new environment and illuminates several examples from various industries. Bell discusses how to:

  • build a lasting brand narrative;
  • engage, retain and rapidly scale the customer base;
  • execute the three levers of digital brand-building, and
  • apply the LAW of Digital (Leverage, Amplify, Win Local)

Retail Innovation and How to Thrive in an Omni-Channel World

David Bell has been immersed in retail and consumer behavior since his days as a PhD student at Stanford pouring over scanner panel transaction data. He has authored award-winning research on retail pricing strategies (e.g., high-low pricing, EDLP) and in-store consumer behavior. Now, he focuses on retail transformation in logistics and information delivery where his ongoing work with established players as well as young digital-first brands like Bonobos and Warby Parker – both born online and now have thriving retail locations ­– continues to evolve. Bell discusses the future of marketing and e-commerce, and how to build the right omni-channel experiences for the right customers in the right locations. Furthermore, he shows leaders how to execute logistics and information innovations, illuminating why they need to be put in place, as well as how to navigate and thrive in an omni-channel world.

Unlocking Pharma Potential By Engaging Patients Online

Pharma, relative to some other sectors, has been slow to embrace digital transformation. The traditional method of marketing pharmaceuticals to physicians and patients is no longer effective, and doctors have been replaced by Google as the primary source of information for patients.  The digital potential in healthcare is enormous with 1 in 20 Google searches relating to “health.” Drawing on his work in “Pharma 3D: Rewriting the Script for Pharma Marketing in the Digital Age,” David Bell elaborates on the trends and opportunities facing pharma organizations and provides an actionable framework to help them win in the digital health care economy. He helps pharma leaders understand how to deploy care-flows, implement the 3D (Discovery, Design, Deliver) model, and emulate best practices from leading in-care pharma case studies.

Media

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Books & Research

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Recommendations

“David is an engaging, provocative, energetic and clear speaker.  Importantly, his deep reservoir of ‘on the ground experience’ translates to pragmatic approaches to modern age problem-solving.  The three-hour session we had with David flew by, making our group want more and request that we have a return visit.  His knowledge, passion and practical experience make him an impactful speaker and mentor.  Two thumbs up!”

—David Castellani, Senior Vice President and Business Information Officer, New York Life

“I have had the fortune to have David as a speaker at two AOL events… Both events put David front and center amid a room of senior brand marketing and digital advertising executives. David shined, creating a warm and intimate setting through which our attendees listened, laughed and learned. In addition to being an expert in the fields of e-commerce and consumer shopping behavior, David’s ability to weave complex research findings into highly digestible real-life stories and examples made his presentations interesting and engaging. In that, David’s presentations were regarded as the most valuable and memorable by our attendees at both events.”

—Greg Skipper, Vice President, AOL Advertising

“David’s presentation on how location affects a consumer’s shopping behavior was both insightful and fascinating. The research and content resonated with nearly all of the top retailers at the summit and many requested that he return again next year. His presentation style kept people engaged and wanting to learn more. We can’t thank him enough for all of his preparation and hope to work with him again next year.”

—Elizabeth Fabiani, Google

“David is able to deliver his presentations in every location – his interactive, engaging style and genuine enthusiasm for the topic ensured that a very private sector-oriented topic was well received, and that its relevance for our organization was clearly understood. In particular, his research on how location affects consumer behaviour and information dispersion resonated particularly well with our audience as an international organization located in Paris. I very much hope that we get to work David again in the future.”

—Makoto Miyasako, OECD

“David is such a wonderful speaker! His ability to engage with the audience is impressive. He gave a very effective and interesting presentation on the importance of our physical surroundings in how we buy, online or offline, that says a lot about consumer behavior in this era. It’s such a refreshing topic!! His message is important to hear if you own a business, and even if you don’t, it’s important to reflect on what he talks about. David delivered his presentation in an entertaining way while getting his point across to the entire audience. He was truly amazing and we would be very lucky to have him speak at one of our events again!”

—Leonor Silva, ISEM

Social Media

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A-Z Name

Bell, David

Intro Video

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