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Interview: Mark Arnold

mark-arnold-2014-preferredMark Arnold, Ph.D., is the chair of marketing department and the Clarence and Helen Steber Professor of Marketing. Dr. Arnold has served in a variety of roles at the Cook School including his most recent role as Senior Associate Dean. He has was most recently awarded the 2016 Academy of Marketing Science Faculty Consortium Fellow, the 2015 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award, and the 2014 John Cook School of Business Nokyoon Kwak Research Award.

  

What inspired you to become a professor and pursue your research in marketing? 

It really goes back a long time.  I have always enjoyed interacting with people, and that really made a difference in me wanting to become a professor.  I love teaching and I am very lucky to have found the profession which allows me to do this.  I also love research.  I also have always had an intrinsic curiosity about human behavior — why we do this things we do — and this really is most pronounced in the retail marketplace.  We all are out every day shopping, buying things, and interacting with people in public settings.  This is all very observable and this is what sparked my interest in better understanding people as consumers in today’s marketplace. 

 

What has been the most rewarding part about being a professor at Saint Louis University? 

Being a professor at SLU really is very rewarding and I consider myself to be fortunate to be here.  I greatly enjoy interacting with students, faculty, staff, alums, and other stakeholders of SLU.  It is also about being part of something which is purpose-driven — being part of something bigger — and that really does define who we are and how we can make small contributions each day to this mission.  This is the background to everything I do, and being part of something larger is deeply rewarding.

 

As professor and researcher in marketing and consumer behavior, what are the biggest shifts you see in the industry? And what are some brands/companies you think are achieving marketing success?

Everything in the marketplace is being turned on its head.  Advertising no longer is very effective, companies are more worried about their image, pricing is dynamic for many goods and services, products and materials are sourced from everywhere, there really is no such thing as customer loyalty anymore, and we are swimming in a sea of data about consumers and everything they do.  I tell my retail class that people today can get anything, anywhere, anytime, and consumption is rapidly moving to – and through — the mobile device as people more and more relying on their phones to search for information and make purchases, anytime and anywhere.  Really is amazing…  Brands and companies that are doing well recognize this and shape their strategy to fit this new marketplace reality.  Target, for example, is hugely successful and now makes a public point that mobile is the new “front door” to the store.  Companies which recognize this new dynamic are focused on experiences and engaging the customer, giving the shopper reasons to tell others about their good experiences at a store.

 

Can you share a bit about your new role as the chair of the department of marketing? 

I really enjoy being department chair.  I also enjoyed my previous role as Associate Dean, but the two jobs are very different.  My greatest satisfaction from being department chair is more opportunity to interact with faculty, students, staff, and the many other stakeholders. 

 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I really don’t have much free time anymore, or so it seems, but when I do I enjoy reading, being outdoors, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends. 

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