In our latest interview, marketing professor Jay Richman of Johns Hopkins University offers some fascinating insights on the industry and his views for the digital future.
Professor Richman specializes in marketing, has extensive experience in telecommunications, and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and two master’s degrees. In addition to being a prestigious professor, Richman has served in several marketing roles at numerous companies.
With professor Richman’s real-world expertise, he brings industry acumen to his course work. As seen in our interview, he provides interesting predictions for the future and helpful advice to young professionals.
1. How long have you been teaching marketing? What made you want to pursue it?
I began teaching at Johns Hopkins University in 1996 in the Voice and Data Technology space. In 1999 I began teaching in the Marketing space at Hopkins. I have taught several different marketing courses since that time and continue to teach marketing today. Last year, I was asked to develop an online Consumer Behavior course, which was very interesting and went very well. I will be teaching that course again in the Fall 2019 semester.
Additionally, I have been teaching two different marketing courses at the University of Maryland University College since 2007. I also continue to teach both courses today. I pursued teaching marketing because I had spent most of my forty-two-year telecommunications career in various marketing assignments, including sales, product management, tactical staff, etc. I found that I very much enjoyed the field, was successful, and felt I could add value to students when I pursued teaching opportunities.
2. What is your favorite course and why?
I very much enjoy all of the marketing courses I have taught. If I have to choose one course, it would be Consumer Behavior. I have taught this course several times over the years, both in class and online. Since we are all consumers, I think this course is very relatable to all of us at different levels.
What we buy, when we buy, why we buy, and how we buy are very interesting subject areas. The whole psychology of the buying process, from normal routine purchases such as soap and toothpaste all the way to complex buying such as computers, cars and houses include many unique approaches. In my experience I have found students quickly grasp these important concepts because most of them have some experience with their own consumer behavior.
3. Tell me a little bit about yourself (education background, any other relevant work experience). What types of organizations are you involved in?
I spent over forty-two years in marketing in the business community. I retired at the end of 2017 and was employed as a Manager Proposal Management for CenturyLink Government Services Division. I had been with this company for over thirteen years.
I was employed by Verizon/Bell Atlantic/C&P Telephone for over twenty-eight years. I held several marketing positions with Verizon/Bell Atlantic, including Sales Manager, Staff Manager, Program Manager, Project Manager, and National Account Executive. I also spent one year with Bell Atlantic International as Marketing Consultant to the Puerto Rico Telephone Company.
I have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins for over twenty-three years. I have taught several graduate marketing courses including Marketing Management, Marketing Strategy, Consumer Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Sales Force and Channels of Distribution, etc. I also taught Voice Telecommunications Architecture in the IT department at JHU, as well as Business Communication. I taught Project Management at George Washington University.
In addition, I have been affiliated with the University of Maryland University College since 2007. Courses taught include Principles of Marketing and Strategic Marketing Management. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland. I also have two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University – an MAS in Applied Behavioral Science Organization Development, and an MS in Management. I also have a Master’s Certificate in Commercial Project Management from George Washington University.
Currently, I am involved with the Technology Club, with a focus on telecommunications, in the community where I live in Delaware. I also participate in marketing faculty meetings at both Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland University College.
4. What do you consider to be the most important and/or interesting aspect about the current state of marketing?
I believe the most important and interesting aspect about the current state of marketing is the change from traditional brick and mortar to online. Today, more consumers are buying online than ever. The ability of marketers to reach their current and potential new customers has changed significantly. This has caused a major shift in how marketers reach out to consumers through apps and online purchases.
It has also changed the way marketers have to approach, attract and retain consumers. Traditional TV, radio, print and other forms of advertising that marketers have used are not as effective due to the mobility of consumers who rely on their smartphones for most of their daily requirements.
Major players like Amazon and Walmart have figured out better approaches to target their customers using a strategic and laser-focused methodology that best suits the consumer of today.
5. What types of research do you do as part of your role? How do you incorporate it into your coursework?
In most cases I use the textbook, if one is assigned, as a baseline for the course content. For case-based courses I use Harvard or Stanford cases for content. In addition, I use the internet to research current and emerging marketing concepts. I also read several business and marketing publications to stay abreast of trends and patterns in the marketing domain.
When teaching in class, I incorporate these inputs into the class material via discussions. Often, I open a class with a recent marketing topic that was in the media that ties to the course material for that class. This leads to very interesting discussions and students become better prepared to stay current with the field of marketing. For the online classes I use the discussion topics to incorporate these new concepts into the course itself.
6. Where do you feel the future of marketing, particularly digital, is heading?
I believe the future of digital marketing will continue to expand. The use of analytics will play a greater role in helping businesses create a data driven marketing strategy. Through the use of digital marketing, marketers will need to better promote their brands, further differentiate themselves from their competition, and provide an environment to attract, retain and grow their customer base, which will increase sales.
As consumer utilization of smartphones increases, consumers’ expectations of marketers to provide products and services quickly and priced competitively will grow as well.
7. With digital marketing changing at such a rapid pace, how do you see marketing being taught differently in the future?
With the advent of MOOCs and online education, the traditional in-class environment is changing rapidly. In addition, the use of textbooks for teaching, due to their cost as well as not being current, is declining as well. Thus, the delivery of content will necessitate the need for real-time content that has to be vetted to ensure that it is complete and accurate is essential.
I believe the use of online material will become the norm. I envision more courses that are focused on digital marketing will be developed, or further developed. Outside of the classroom environment, companies themselves are developing training materials that are focused on search engine optimization, data mining, etc., as a new approach to teach their employees to be more effective.
8. What advice would you give to young marketing professionals?
The advice I would suggest for young marketing professionals is to understand and leverage the use of marketing analytics. The ability to do so will make these marketing professionals attractive to future marketers. The use of data to support their decisions and explain that will differentiate them from them their peers and competitors. Thus, achieving any certifications and other qualifications in data analytics will also differentiate them from others.