Category Archives: Marketing

Interview: Paola Cillo of SDA Bocconi

Paola Cillo

From her vantage point in Milan, Paola Cillo at SDA Bocconi sees marketing as increasingly tied to innovation.

What do you think makes a strong marketing program?

Strong and leading-edge research is a necessary condition to make a program strong. Yet, it is also very relevant to integrate good and rigorous research with strong managerial practice. This is the reason why in our program, we work closely with companies and integrate case studies into our courses. I think the bridge between the scientific approach and more managerial action is critical to have a good MBA program, not just for marketing, but for other fields, as well.

I think in some MBA programs this might be missing, because many people that teach either come from companies or are completely focused on academic research. I think it is very important to have a faculty that is very active in research, but I wouldn’t say that a very strong faculty automatically means that your MBA is strong. They have to be able to share their knowledge with students. We have tried to reach a good balance between these two aspects.

How is marketing changing these days?

Marketing is changing in the sense that the word marketing is more and more associated with the word innovation. What we are trying to do in our courses is to explore how to take an innovative approach to marketing – a new way of communicating with consumers and collaborating with consumers.

And the other side is the technology, which is not just an enabler of this interaction, but also shapes the way that some marketing processes are applied. That means, generally speaking, all of the CRM (customer relations management). This is the way we are trying to grapple with this evolution of marketing. Our electives in marketing are very much focused on innovation, and we have courses focusing on how technologies can enhance marketing performance of companies, and how they – especially the Internet – can shape how companies interact with their customers.

Though, I have to say that the basic approach to marketing – how companies actually consider marketing – hasn’t changed that much. What is changing is actually the opportunities that they have to put this general approach into practice.  What we try to use different cases and examples to show what it means to do marketing in today’s context.

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Interview: Dominique Hanssens of UCLA Anderson

Dominique Hanssens

Location, location, location – it also matters for MBA students looking to focus on marketing. We spoke with Dominique Hanssens, who chairs the marketing faculty at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, about what makes a good program, and why the West Coast might have its finger on the pulse of future trends.

What makes a good marketing program? Not all top-ranked business schools necessarily have strong marketing programs, right?

There’s not a one-to-one overlap, that is true. There are many places that have good marketing teaching, but not that many that have a state-of-the-art research program.  But the following generalization is true: all of the top programs are world-class in their research, but not all of the world-class research programs are among the top programs at the MBA level. The reason is that there is a certain amount of inertia in reputation development.

Let me give you an example: One of the reasons why the Kellogg School at Northwestern does so well is Professor Philip Kotler. He has written some very important marketing books at a critical time in marketing’s history as a discipline, and is widely recognized for that. A lot of the MBA students from 20 or more years ago have read these books, and many of them are now in senior managerial positions. That established a reputation, a long-term effect that Kellogg is able to capitalize on.

There are some other equally strong marketing research faculties – including Columbia, Stanford and UCLA for example – that don’t have such pioneering book authors. As a result, they haven’t communicated their value proposition as effectively with the MBA audience. That’s the fundamental difference, as I see it.

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