Chinese Consumer Psychology: What American Marketers Need to Know

Chicago Booth Alumni Club of Chicago

International Roundtable

April 20, 2017: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

During his 20 years of building brands in China, Tom Doctoroff has seen the astonishing rise of consumerism in China.


Gleacher Center
450 Cityfront Plaza
Chicago, Illinois

Driving Directions:


300 East Illinois Street (AMC Theater-River East Self Park Garage)
$8.00 after 3:00 pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday for a 12-hour period
Garage: Self Park Facility
Payment: Automated; at pay-stations by cash or credit card or upon exit pay by credit card only.
To receive discounted rate: There is a card validator at the first floor security desk of the Gleacher Center. You will only need to insert your parking card in the validator and the new price will be automatically applied. When you leave the lot you will be charged for the lower $8.00 fee.

Detailed Directions:
Garage is located next to PJ Clarks and below the AMC Theater.
a) When traveling east on Illinois cross over Columbus and enter the Garage on the left (north) side of the street
b) If driving west on Grand (north of Theater), you can enter the garage ½ block before Columbus on the left (south) side of the street.

Event Details

During his 20 years of building brands in China, Tom Doctoroff has seen the astonishing rise of consumerism in China. The growing wealth of hundreds of millions of middle class Chinese has given rise to Disneyland Shanghai, Alibaba, and ubiquitous consumer electronic gadgets around the world, such as the iPhone. Why do Chinese consider status an investment? Why is luxury a tool of advancement? What are the three distinct features of China's marketing landscape? What does WeChat reflect about the Chinese mindset? This provocative presentation by one of China's leading experts on the commercial landscape in China is a must attend event.


Early Bird (until April 15th): $15
Week of April 16th: $20
At the door: $25

Students: Free

Light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar will be available


Register Online

Questions/Concerns/Suggestions for Speakers? Contact the Leadership Team
Karl L. Buschmann
847 310 0412

Sophia Kholodenko
773 702 0783

Christopher John Myers

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Need for Co-Chairs
The Leadership Team is expanding. Karl Buschmann, Sophia Kholodenko and Chris Myers welcome inquiries from Booth alumni who would like to get more involved in running the International Roundtable.

Responsibilities include:
--Regular attendance
--Programming: identifying interesting topics and securing speakers
--Administration: writing publicity, publicizing events through the University and roundtable email distribution list channels, and coordinating with the Alumni Office

Deadline: 4/20/2017


6:00 PM-6:30 PM: Registration and Networking

6:30 PM-8:00 PM: Presentation, Discussion/Q&A

Speaker Profiles

Tom Doctoroff (Speaker) '89
Senior Partner, Prophet

Tom Doctoroff is a Senior Partner at Prophet, a global consultancy that fuses insights, strategy, creativity and imagination to help companies find better ways to grow their brands and businesses.

Between 2012 and 2016, Tom was the CEO of J. Walter Thompson Asia Pacific, one of the region's fast growing and most profitable marketing and communications companies. He is also one of Asia's most respected advertising professionals. His unique combination of pan-Asian work, plus almost two decades based in China, has made him an expert in the cross-border management of brand architecture and brand building, as well as a leading expert in Chinese consumer psychology.

He appears regularly on CNBC, NBC's The Today Show, Bloomberg and NPR, and is featured in publications ranging from the Financial Times to the Wall Street Journal. He is a sought after keynote speaker for events such as the International Advertising Association's global symposium, University of Chicago's Global Management Conference and the JPMorgan Asia Pacific Equities conference.

Tom is the Senior Advisor to the President of Asia Society. He is also the recipient of the "Magnolia Government Award," the highest honor given by the Shanghai municipal government to expatriates and was an Official Torchbearer for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He is the author of the best-selling books "Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer" (2006) and "What Chinese Want" (2012). He published his third book, "Twitter Is Not a Strategy: Rediscovering the Art of Brand Marketing," in November 2014. Tom was also a driving force behind Mainland China's first Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Tom started his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago but jumped ship to JWT in 1992. In 1994, he moved to Hong Kong as Regional Business Director for clients such as Pepsi, Kraft and Citibank. In 1998, he landed in China as the Managing Director of JWT Shanghai and in 2002, was appointed Northeast Asia Area Director and Greater China CEO.

In 2012, he was appointed the CEO of Asia Pacific for J. Walter Thompson. Through diversification into digital platform design, digital content production, trade marketing and field marketing, JWT Asia Pacific has emerged as one the most synergistically integrated, creatively dynamic communications networks. During his 22 years based in Asia, Tom has managed the strategy and marketing communications for a uniquely broad base of corporations, both multinational and Asian.


Karl L. Buschmann, '85 
847 310 0412

Other Information


Networking is a key benefit of attending. To that end, a table will be made available for literature and handouts. Bring your business cards, brochures, handbills, literature, resumes, and publicity for placement on the table.

The Illinois International Business Calendar is one of the comprehensive lists of events in the Chicago area. For a free PDF copy, send an inquiry to The calendar can also be viewed at

In transition? Looking for a job? Come to the networking session for information exchange.

Mark your calendar for upcoming International Roundtable sessions on the third Thursday of the month in 2017.