Someday, when I hang up the marketing cleats, I have always thought that the next step in my career would be to be a University professor. I'd draw on a long career in marketing, telling stories of surviving the battles in the thousands of campaigns I'd have worked on by then, the cases of what worked and what didn't- and then send those kids off into the world with a better perspective on what it meant to be a marketer. Back at Bentley, I received a degree in marketing and I knew it was going to be what I did for my career. All the marketing classes I took on consumer behavior, integrated marketing communications and direct marketing all held true as I went off into the real-world.
Over the years, I've gone back to my alma mater and spent time with the students in various classrooms and talked about different areas of marketing - and, it looks like I will be going back very soon to Bentley and other universities around the country. As I think about what I would say to these kids and as I ponder my own future in teaching marketing, I keep having a recurring thought: Consumer behavior is changing, marketing communication channels are changing faster and how can we prepare these kids appropriately? How can professors and universities keep up with the pace of marketing change if they aren't in the world experiencing what's working and what isn't? At most schools, they require a PhD from an accredited school to be a full-blown professor. I think that should be altered and 20-years experience, being published and a recognized thought-leader in the category should hold sway. And, somehow schools need to keep pace to the change. Even us practitioners in the private sector struggle to keep up with what's changing. It is a full-time job just to stay current. It is analogous to how a pro athlete has to work out between seasons and each game to stay a step ahead of their competition, we have to be well-read, network with other thought-leaders and study other brands. And, that's between our full-time jobs.
Certainly, there are core elements into the strategic planning process, understanding how a brand impacts a buying decision (although that is changing generationally), consumer research (also impacted by the new listening tools) and other areas of marketing that will still act as the foundation that no matter the technology and mediums will help a marketer take the right steps in marketing planning - these should still be taught, of course. But these higher-education institutions can augment their faculty with people that are setting the trends and the pace of change in application to provide their students with a better-rounded perspective on marketing.
If not, then I guess I should start preparing for my PhD. The upside is my wife will have to call me Doctor. Ha.