Dr. Ken Wong

Marketing and Strategic Planning

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Ken Wong is an award-winning professor and frequently cited marketing authority. He is a Professor of Business, expert in marketing and business strategy, and co-author of Canada’s largest-selling introductory marketing text, Basic Marketing.

A frequent speaker and facilitator in conferences and executive development programs around the world, Wong has worked with hundreds of organizations, from multinationals like Microsoft and GE to small startups. His message is simple: No matter what the industry, all firms face some common challenges in achieving their goals. His message is both strategic and tactical, factual and motivational, serious and lighthearted.

Beyond teaching at Queen's School of Business and being one of the schools’ principal architects, he has also taught in degree programs at Cornell, Carleton University, Radcliffe College and Harvard’s Continuing Education Program and various executive programs. As a teacher, Ken has received numerous awards for his courses in strategic planning, marketing and business strategy including the coveted "Leaders In Management Education" by the Financial Post. Most recently, he was named a 2006 Inductee into Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends for his career efforts at "providing others with the opportunity, inspiration or ability to pursue excellence in the Canadian Marketing environment."

Ken has a regular column in Marketing Magazine, anchors a regular feature in the National Post and is one of Canada’s most frequently cited authorities in media coverage of marketing issues.

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Speakers Like Dr. Ken Wong

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Speaking Topics

(All programs are customized to include examples specific to each audience)

Description of Down Economy Talk

At a time when price cuts are destroying profitability and it seems everyone is cutting back, Ken shows conclusive evidence that some firms not only succeed in recessionary times but actually thrive. More importantly, he discusses the things they do - and don't do - that generates this performance and, drawing on his experience across a broad cross-section of businesses, Ken customizes those principles into practical examples that will leave you thinking about new directions and new opportunities available for your business.


Marketing for Profit (a.k.a. Survival in a World of Margin Sucking Maggots):

Learn the four major sources of profit drain and how you can address them.


Value-Added Marketing " Making It More Than a Hollow Promise

Learn how to augment your product or service with auxiliary features and services that not only add value for clients but also provide a basis for superior price realization or lower cost of service.


Branding, Positioning and Value Propositions" Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Learn how to present your value proposition (the six alternative basis for presenting ideas) and how to determine whether to brand at the product, category or corporate level. (Note: customized version for High Technology products and services is also available).


Selling Change Inside and Outside the Organization" A Marketing Approach

Learn how to use the tools of new product introduction and apply them to selling change programs within your organization.


The New Marketing " How Traditional Views Hurt Progressive Firms (2-4 hours)

Learn how and why marketing has moved from the so-called 4P’s to a more integrative and interactive discipline.


Relationship Marketing " Avoiding the Hype (4 hours)

Much has been made of the promise and potential of relationship marketing. However, recent evidence suggests that many organizations "talk" a better relationship than they provide, even though they may be spending thousands of dollars on new technology and programs. Why? Because they forget the basics: why we do it, how we do it and how we know whether it’s working. Find out how to avoid the most common problems in pursuit of superior customer relations.


Innovation " More Than New Products (4 hours)

Innovation has come to be equated with new product development. But innovation is much more, encompassing every aspect of business performance. Learn to identify areas ripe for innovation and how to promote a culture of innovation for employees.


Branding a Winner and Winning at Branding (45-60 minutes)

A primer on the basics of branding and a case study (with videos) of the development of the McDonald’s brand and how McDonald’s became "a victim of its own success"


Setting and Merchandising Your Price (team taught 8 hours)

Price is commonly seen as a means to an end: we cut prices to build volume. But for the average North American firm, we need a 4% increase in volume for every 1% reduction in price just to keep profitability at an even keel: a ratio that makes it hard to build profitable market share.


Dealing With Distributors " Making Them True Partners (4-8 hours)

Learn the three key distribution objectives, how to prioritize them to reflect your overall business strategy, how their relative emphasis impacts on other decisions and how deal to channel conflict.


Internal Marketing " Getting Employee to "Buy" Your Vision and Plans

Marketing is most often associated with how we communicate and deliver value to customers. However, most organizations fail to use the same principles and concepts when communicating with their own employees. Learn how to use marketing to insure that "promises made to customers are kept by employees".


Using "Experience" to Make Differentiation Profitable

Differentiation is usually associated with brand images and creative ways of presenting product and service quality in its most appealing and unforgettable form. The reason is simple: differentiated products command premium prices. But as more and more companies pursue this pathway to profitability, the cost of finding new ways to present old messages is rising and the probability of success is falling. Learn the bases of experience-based marketing and the keys to staging experiences that resonate for both your customer and your bottom line.


Competing Against Giants " How Smaller Firms Can Prosper

In an era where industry consolidation and mergers are creating scale-advantaged giants in almost every line of business, some smaller firms have found a way to not only survive but also prosper. Learn how to capitalize on the disadvantages that large size can bring, how to leverage the unique qualities of small scale operations and how to use organizational arrangements to reap many of the benefits of large size without sacrificing the positive aspects of being a smaller enterprise.


Staying At the Top of Your Game (90 minutes)

Based on six years as a judge in the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada contest, Ken looks at the characteristics of those who successfully re-qualified versus those who failed to do so. In the process, he discusses how companies can become "victims of their own success", not only through complacency but because they failed to understand the demands that growth would place upon their people, their systems and their way of doing business


Your next BIG Thing

Ken will do a review of recent trends within your industry and search for other industries that have common characteristics. Ken will then combine that information with state-of-the-art research to present an "outsider’s view" of the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. This program has been done in several different sectors and is especially useful to those who are trying to communicate or get "buy in" for a new strategy or vision.



Strategy is about taking control. However, there are market and competitive forces that shape the nature and extent to which control can be exercised. Some of these forces are unpredictable while others emerge in a more-or-less predictable manner. Learn the predictable changes that occur over the lifetime of any product or market, the forces that make them occur, the actions that can be taken in advance of their arrival and the reactions that can used after their arrival. In addition, learn the pattern of industry financial performance that usually accompanies this evolution and see why business strategies and corporate priorities may not always mesh.


"Ken Wong elevates marketing strategy and execution to an entirely new level." C-COM Satellite Systems