Our Interview with Dr. Perry Drake

Dr. Perry DrakeDr. Perry Drake of University of Missouri – St. Louis is our next interviewee for our blog series featuring higher education leaders in the marketing industry.

Dr. Drake is the Assistant Teaching Professor of Digital and Social Media Marketing and the Executive Director of the Marketing and Sales Leadership Instititute. He holds a Master of Science in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Education Technology. Dr. Drake is in charge of all the marketing and social media courses and programs offered at UMSL.

In addition to his role in academia, he is a published author of Optimal Database Marketing by Sage Publications, and also holds a large digital marketing conference where 100% of all proceeds go back to UMSL marketing students in the form of scholarships and stipends for study abroad.

In our interview, Dr. Drake discusses his teaching strategies and offers some important advice for young professionals.

1. How long have you been teaching marketing? What made you want to pursue it?

I have been teaching marketing-related courses and marketing analytics for over twenty years. I developed a passion for teaching when working in industry. Prior to jumping to academia, I was the director of magazine circulation for the world’s largest publication at that time.

2. What is your favorite course to teach and why?

I love teaching social media strategy and getting the students to begin looking at SM as a strategic tool they can use to showcase who they are and what they are capable of doing. Their final exam in this class is to create a digital portfolio in which they showcase all their great work created throughout the semester.

3. Tell me a little bit about yourself (education background, any other relevant work experience). What types of organizations are you involved in?

I have an undergrad degree in economics, a master’s in mathematical statistics and a Ph.D. in education technology. I began my career as a marketing analyst at a major publication and over the course of eleven years worked my way up to the director of magazine circulation. At that time, NYU had started a new, cutting-edge master’s program in integrated marketing. They contacted me to be a part of the program and my life changed at that moment. I was with NYU for fourteen years before leaving and coming back home to St. Louis and help UMSL build out a digital and social marketing program.

4. What do you consider to be the most important and/or interesting aspect about the current state of marketing?

The ever-changing landscape. There is never a dull moment. Ten years ago, marketing was not really thought of as a discipline to go into at college. Given how innovative it now is, that has changed.

5. What types of research do you do as part of your role? How do you incorporate it into your coursework?

Most of my research is in understanding the marketing discipline and what is happening and how technology is changing everything. In my digital strategies class, each student must research a trend and present back to the class what the implications are. My goal is to teach them that staying on top of this industry is a must.

6. Where do you feel the future of marketing, particularly digital, is heading?

That is a tough question to answer. I think I can safely say, wherever you think it is headed, let it be known that 1-2 years later it will change.

7. With digital marketing changing at such a rapid pace, how do you see marketing being taught differently in the future?

You really cannot use text books. I spend hours each week just reading journals and engaging with the industry to help stay on top of things to bring to my students. It is also important to bring in guest speakers in the industry. I can teach the basics and best practices, but an expert must come in to discuss the applications.

8. What advice would you give to young marketing professionals?

Have a good presence on social media and use it strategically. Create a blog and showcase your ability to create great content. Have a digital portfolio. Show your versatility.

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This post was written and edited by employees at Sixth City Marketing, a full-service SEO and digital marketing agency helping clients across industries such as manufacturing, ecommerce, and many others since 2010.

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