Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Linda Tuncay Zayer, Loyola University

Linda Tuncay Zayer
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Loyola University Chicago

Which of my lessons resonates with you the most and why?

[You] put forth the lesson of “Test everything.” I will rephrase and steal a line from [your] MediaPost column, which is “Don’t Take Anything for Granted.” This is the real lesson here.

This is the cornerstone of my own work in qualitative consumer research. It is sometimes our assumptions about how we think consumers feel or why they do the things that they do that end up being the pitfalls to uncovering the realities of the situation.

Years ago, as a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois, I was fortunate to get rigorous training in qualitative research. Rule # 1 is a good researcher never brings his or her own assumptions to the table. The consumer is the expert and he or she tells you what is important and why. Don’t take anything for granted, let consumers tell you the story as they have lived and experienced it.

What skills and attributes are the most critical for someone to succeed in marketing?

The key to success in marketing is no different than success in the business world — or even life in general. It is persistence and a desire to be a lifelong learner.

What do you think is the biggest disconnect between academia and the corporate world as it relates to marketing?

Academics have a wealth of knowledge that is often not shared effectively with the corporate world. This is due to a number of factors, including different “languages,” the outlets of academic research, and the length of the peer review process. Select a top academic journal and you will find that the manner in which it is written most often (but not always) is for other academics and may not even necessarily offer managerial implications. This sometimes creates an obstacle for others in the broader community because the research is hard to read and even more difficult to garner the key applied lessons. Thus, the cutting edge research is never translated to folks in industry.

In addition, from the time a study is initiated, the data is collected, analyzed, written up, and gone through a rigorous peer review process, it can be years before the findings see the light of day.

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