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Mark Penn

Chief Strategy Officer, Microsoft
Former CEO, Burson-Marsteller

A legendary mover and shaker speaks on power, influence, persuasion, and consumers.

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Biography

In his work, Mark Penn combines innovative microtargeting techniques to win major corporate and marketing battles. Mark is Chief Strategy Officer at Microsoft. He was the President of the polling firm Penn, Schoen and Berland, which he co-founded in 1975. He was also the CEO of Burson-Marsteller, the world-class PR firm.

He is the author of the book Microtrends: The Small Forces Changing the World (Kinney Zalesne, contributor).

The keys to understanding business, politics, and society today are not megatrends, but the smaller currents and discreet demographics that are creating social niches and driving social change in a wide variety of patterns.

He served as strategic consultant to Fortune 500 companies and CEOs on a wide range of image, branding and corporate reputation issues.

Mark has spent over thirty years as a polling analyst and advisor to major corporations and heads of state on what people really think and how they really feel.

He won the Pollster of the Year award, the top honor of his profession given every four years, in both 1996 and 2000. He's been called The Master of the Message by TIME magazine and The Guru of Small Things by The New York Times.

Mr. Penn has written for many premier publications including TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and has appeared frequently on CNN, Fox News and other media networks.

Microtrends
Understand the invisible trends that are shaping the (potential) future of your organization.

Microtrends is about the niching of society. People are self-defining in smaller and smaller ways, and neither "gut sense" nor conventional wisdom will likely get you to the truth. Go straight to the numbers, and let’s do some microtrending.

Small groups that no one else has their eye on are making huge changes in our society. Mark Penn is known for his ability to detect these relatively small patterns of behavior that are wielding disproportionally large influence on business, politics, and our personal lives.

In his book Microtrends: The Small Forces Changing the World, in his Wall Street Journal column, and in his presentations, Mark Penn uncovers and analyzes trends that no one else sees. In this evidence-based, data-driven approach to understanding our future, Mr. Penn describes who makes up these micro-communities and explains why they matter and how you can reach them with your message.

Especially in hard times, no one can afford fat in their message — it must be all the more targeted. Thus, audiences consistently find this material, not just personally intriguing but also invaluable to their organization.

Credentials

  • Chief Strategy Officer, Microsoft
  • Author, Microtrends
  • Former CEO, Burson-Marsteller
  • Former President, Penn, Schoen and Berland
  • Pollster of the Year, American Association of Political Consultants
  • NPI Fellow, New Politics Institute
  • Key advisor to President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Key advisor to Bill Gates and Microsoft
  • Key advisor to Michael Bloomberg for his mayoral campaign in New York City

Books

Microtrends

The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

Mark Penn

Winner in the Consumer Insights category of the 2010 Atticus Awards.

Mark Penn, advisor to Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and many others, reveals the microtrends that are shaping the world

In Microtrends: The Small Forces Changing the World, Mark Penn shows that the most important trends in the world today are the smallest ones. Exploring everything from politics to religion, business, food and entertainment, Penn follows the numbers to uncover what's really popular, not what we think is popular. Because while these trends are shaping the world, they're relatively unseen — they're under-the-radar forces that can involve as little as one percent of the population. (Among them are: the growing number of office romances; the triumph of individual sports over team sports; the influence of Protestant Latinos; extreme commuters; Philo-Semites; and older fathers who are spending more and more money on their children.)

People have never been more sophisticated, more individualistic, or more knowledgeable about the choices they make in their daily lives. Yet it takes intensive, scientific study to find the logical patterns that underlie those choices. Mark J. Penn, the man who identified “Soccer Moms” as a crucial constituency in President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, is known for his ability to detect relatively small patterns of behavior in our culture that are wielding large influence on business, politics, and our personal lives.

While helping you to refine your own trend-spotting skills, Penn pierces remarkably stubborn conventional thinking to find the counterintuitive trends that represent a portrait of society in the twenty-first century. A groundbreaking book about the way people think and how they act, Microtrends explores the practical implications of these trends for politics, business and society itself and shows readers how to identify the microtrends that can transform a business enterprise or spark a movement.

Twelve; Reprint edition (June 15, 2009)
Penguin Press (September 5, 2007)

Topics

Mark tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Small Is the New Big

Leaders need macro and micro lenses now.

There is no ‘next big thing’ anymore. Now business leaders keep ahead of customers by understanding the ‘next little things’— the under-the-radar forces that can involve as little as one percent of the population. Yet their impact on society can be huge, either as an important niche market to serve or because these small undercurrents will ultimately become major ones. The days of organizations shaped and led to serve highly visible and slow-moving mass markets are over.

In this presentation, the consummate advisor on deep, emerging consumer patterns and author of Microtrends reveals how to reshape your organization and your leadership to serve the new landscape of multiple small, niche markets (that add up to large markets), trends that move fast and need to be spotted early.

Videos

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Feedback

A major media company:
Funny, good content, took questions about the campaign, it was worth it and I'm glad we hosted him at our event.

Articles

— The Huffington Post