Karen Snepp


B.S. 1979

Former Director of Market Research, Expedia, Inc.

Former Director of Market Research, Expedia, Inc. 

Karen Snepp’s fascination with numbers and how they worked led her to enter Purdue University as a Mathematics/Statistics major. By the end of her freshman year, she decided to figure out what she could do with a Statistics degree that could be fun. A visit to the College of Science career counseling office introduced her to the prospect of a career in Marketing Research. After talking with professors in the Krannert School of Management and taking both marketing and marketing research classes, she liked what she learned, and she set her sights on a career in Marketing Research. Statistics and Mathematics played a fundamental role in establishing a strong foundation in Market Research. Interestingly, after years of talking with people about her career path, she learned that she was one of the few who pursued a marketing research career by design!

Snepp retired this summer after a 30-year career in marketing research, most recently leading consumer research for online travel company Expedia. At Expedia, she brought the voice of the customer to Expedia decision-making through a variety of mechanisms, including customer feedback surveys at key interaction points.

Prior to Expedia, Snepp’s research focus was consumer packaged goods. While leading the Customer & Consumer Insights function at Frito-Lay, Inc., she was instrumental in bringing consumer and shopper understanding to Frito-Lay and to the retail industry. Her work included an extensive study of supermarket shopping traffic patterns and their implications for retailers, presented at the 1998 Food Marketing Institute convention.

In 1987, Snepp joined Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) as it was rolling out its InfoScan service, the first single-source view of supermarket sales and promotions. In her seven years at IRI, she helped some of the largest packaged goods companies in America understand the relationship between promotional activities and sales, and worked with them to improve their promotional effectiveness and efficiency.

Outside of her corporate life, Snepp has been a long-time volunteer with The Compassionate Friends (TCF), a nationwide self-help organization for families following the death of a child. Snepp and her parents turned to TCF following the death of her brother Dave in 1988 and have remained active with the organization as volunteers. Snepp served on TCF’s national board of directors from 1995-99 and was the first sibling to serve as its president. In 2001, she received TCF’s Recognition Award for her long-term contributions on a national level.

Snepp is a long-time member of the American Marketing Association, the Puget Sound Research Forum, and a past member of the AMA Marketing Research Council. An avid golfer, she is currently a board member/communications chair of the Seattle chapter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA).

In 1979 Snepp received a B.S. degree in Statistics from Purdue University. She went on to acquire a MBA in Marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1981 where she also received the distinction of being an Austin Scholar.

Snepp, a proud 3rd generation Boilermaker, was active during her Purdue years as the President of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and enjoyed working part-time as a student assistant in Purdue Sports Information Department. Snepp’s best memories of Purdue are of camaraderie with her Purdue Sports Information co-workers, Alpha Phi Omega brothers, Shreve dorm-mates, and Math Building computer lab co-commiserators! They all involve the strong bonds of coming together to achieve something, whether it was surviving the stat-keeping marathon of the Women’s Big 10 Basketball Tournament, coordinating campus-wide service projects, or, "figuring out the error we made in the COBOL program and fixing it without dropping our box of computer cards all over the floor."

Karen Snepp received the Statistics Outstanding Alumni Award from Purdue University, Department of Statistics in 2010.

To read more Alumni Profiles, please visit our Alumni Profiles archive.

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