On Wednesday, Nov. 13, nine Tippie students were to compete against Iowa State students in the fourth annual PepsiCo Team Sales Challenge. However, the PepsiCo staff who were to be the teams’ advisors and the judges were called to a corporate meeting on short notice. So, the Department of Marketing decided to hold the event ourselves.
Dean Sarah Gardial set out to achieve many goals when she became the first female dean of the Tippie College of Business seven years ago. Two of her most notable achievements include creating a culture of “we” at the college and creating a dynamic, ever-changing environment at Tippie to keep up with business trends. Throughout her time at Tippie, Dean Gardial has been a source of positivity and inspiration for students, faculty, and staff alike. Her legacy at Tippie will live on long after her return to Tennessee in March 2020. We sat down with Dean Gardial in an exclusive Marketing interview to discuss the state of marketing today and her vision for the college after her departure.
Could you tell me how you initially become interested in studying marketing and what drove you to pursue a career in the field?
“Absolutely, what I really wanted to major in was Psychology. I really am fascinated about what goes on inside people’s heads and I think it’s getting even more fascinating now that we’re getting physiological stuff to go along with it. But it just didn’t seem practical in terms of a major and I had no plan at that point to get a PhD. That wasn’t even on my horizons, so I was trying to be, you know, a practical middle class student who needed to have a job the day after graduation.
So, I learned that marketing was a really great intersection between psychology and business and I thought, well there’s the ticket, because then I can study the thing that I love and there will still be a job at the end. As I eventually decided to not stop going to school, the whole way through I was doing a marketing degree but with a minor in psychology, which really kept my foot very much in that camp. To me, a lot of marketing is psychology in the context of commerce, and so it’s just allowed me to study what I loved but in a particular context that has some real relevance to it.”
Based on your experiences, what are some of the skills or temperaments you’ve observed of successful marketers, and how have you seen those change over the years?
“That’s a really great question. I’ve always looked at marketing as an interface role between the organization and their customer base out there. So, you’re a boundary spanner for starters, and that means you’ve gotta understand both sides really well to do your job. You’ve got to understand your organization and potential, what they can deliver on, and maybe change and innovate. As well, what trends are going on that are shaping the influences, the demands, and the marketplace, and then bringing those two together. So, I think there’s problem solving, I think there’s creativity there. I also think there’s always been the need to be diagnostic about what’s going on in both of those worlds and to have a really curious mind about what’s driving change, and then how to bring solutions together around that. I don’t see that ever changing, I think that will fundamentally always be a part of marketing.
However, it would be crazy not to say that in my time what I’ve seen is a shift to where the data that we have available to understand what is going on in both of those worlds is just explosive. I think originally in my early career, it would’ve been people who had really good intuition and instincts and could ‘read the tea leaves’ a little bit and make some brilliant decisions based off of that. Now with transactional data, you really understand people’s buying habits and what’s going to drive them to do the next thing in terms of their purchase. I would say the analytics piece was something that simply wasn’t so much a part of my training. We talked about market research, but it looked at giant blocks of people like 20-year-olds, or women, that said what’s going on with them. But literally having transaction data down to the individual level, I think is the game changer.
I will just say as someone who doesn’t live in that world, I won’t even teach that stuff. That’s a whole different context for how you build a relationship with a customer that was not a part of my training or even experience now. I’m not even on Facebook, I know you think that’s crazy!”
How would you explain your view on the importance of marketing in modern organizations today?
“First of all, almost every market you can name out there is fragmented and competitive. I think the ability to say who you are in the marketplace and own your niche is more important now than ever. The amount of competitors that you have in any marketplace has just exploded and the only way that you’re going to succeed in a marketplace like that is through having real sophistication around who your customers are, who your leads are, and how you’re going to target a particular need in that market.
There’s only so many Amazons in the world that sell all things to all people. That’s a tiny, tiny fraction of the businesses out there and most everyone else is going to come at it from the point of view of owning a much smaller space than that. So how do you define that space, how do you understand that space, how do you get the data, how do you respond to that data? I think the role of marketing is arguably more critical now than it even was before, because of the hyperness of the competition and the choices that people have. You can’t do it on size or luck any more, and it really is about the strategic thinking around marketing that is going to create success in marketplaces. It’s not always the best product that wins.”
What were some of the goals you initially set out to achieve as Dean, and how do you feel you’ve accomplished those goals?
“One of the things that I thought was most important was to build a culture of “we” that brought everyone in the college together. When I came here, I recognized that there were a lot of good things going on in the college, but they were all going on independently, siloed, and there wasn’t a lot of conversation going on across. There were no opportunities for synergy or collaboration, and I really wanted everyone to feel like they were an important part of a bigger whole and that we all were coming together around some goals. Creating a common vision was a part of that. Having meetings where we could share and talk about what was going on and work on problems together – that’s been something that from day one was important to me.
I can’t claim that I’m 100% there, but we just had a review from AACSB and this was one of the things that outside people coming in definitely cited as a best practice for our college. Everyone seemed to be on board with the same vision. It didn’t matter who you talked about, from top to bottom, everyone was on the same page and all moving in the same direction, and that was a really proud moment for me.
The second thing I would say is I came in with a really strong sense that every business school in this country has to change what it’s doing because business is changing too much. We can’t stand still when everything outside of our walls is changing. So I look back now at the decisions that we’ve made to improve existing programs, start new programs that didn’t exist, to close programs that weren’t what the market wanted, and I see an organization that is nimble and is able to change and react to the new realities of what people want from business schools.
I think that’s a really important thing for this college for the future because we’ll never be able to take our foot off that accelerator. We’re always going to be chasing a dynamic marketplace. If you talk to employers, the non-profits and the for-profits that are hiring our students, they will all say we’re changing as fast as we can. Well, it would just be crazy for us to say we’re not. We’ve got to run with them, we’ve got to change with them, we’ve got to understand what their challenges are and send them students and graduates that can meet those challenges. So, the bar for us is changing all the time.”
What have been some of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had as Dean?
“By far, two things. One, any time I get to meet with students. I don’t get to have my own classes anymore because this job keeps me really busy and on the road, so anything that allows me to interact with the students is just gold for me because that really is where my heart is.
The second thing I would say is our alumni. I’ve spent a lot of time on airplanes, in cars, going across the ocean, literally coast to coast in this country, to meet with our alumni and I will tell you that they are the best people in the world. Their love and loyalty to this campus is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and when we ask them for time, talent, treasure, they say yes. I have been so honored to meet alums who have been out 2, 5, 10, 15, 40 years, they are wonderful. They are in some ways the biggest asset that we have as a college because there are now something like 60,000 living alumni out there and they all want to help us. It’s just amazing.”
For the 2017 homecoming, your “Dear World” story reflected on your experiences with sexism growing up and why you now push for women empowerment. As the first female dean of Tippie, how have you observed support for women in business grow and how would you like to see that continue?
“Now you’re hitting my passion here. One of the things that we know because there’s ample research out there, is that although women have continued to enter the workforce for decades at the same rate as men, they are not moving into leadership roles at the same rate. This is as true now as it was when I graduated from my undergraduate institution in 1980. It’s a long time for no change. So you’ve got to stop and think – what’s going on here, why isn’t that changing? If women are entering the workforce in the same way, why aren’t they getting where they need to be? Ultimately, the answer is there’s a lot of things going on there, there isn’t any one thing that makes it simple.
So, what I like to focus on, and what I’ve tried to focus on here, are what are the pieces of that puzzle that women actually control? Not the pieces that we can’t control, like the wage gap or those kinds of things. What are the things that hold women back, ourselves? That’s where I’ve put a lot of emphasis on leadership development programs for women, bringing our successful female alumni back to tell their stories, to be a role model, to be an inspiration to women. Because I know that the challenges in the bigger world out there around women moving into leadership are still very much there and are changing at glacial speed, it’s very incumbent on anyone in a business school, but especially women, to say let’s make sure that the women are getting what they need to help create a nudge for them.”
How would you like to see the progress that’s been made during your time as Dean continue in the coming years?
“That’s a really great question. You know, because when you walk away from something, you really have to let go. Let me say, you don’t have any influence and so you have to in some ways detach and let things flow the way they need to. So when I think about looking back, I don’t see particular programs or types of students. What I hope I see is a college where faculty and students want to come because both of those groups are thriving and being nourished here. A business school that still has very strong partnerships with industries because that’s probably the best barometer of whether we’re doing the right stuff. If we’re not, they’ll walk away.
So if I walk back and see that employers want to come here and hire our students, that students want to come here because they know what a special experience it is, and that faculty want to come here because they know that their careers are going to be supported, that’s really success. Then everything else is going to evolve and change, so I really am talking about a culture of excellence.”
Final question courtesy of Marketing DEO, Dhananjay Nayakankuppam: In your opinion, why and when did rock and roll die?
“You know, I would say probably some of the culprits, disco for sure. Alright, disco was just the death of really good rock and roll and it just became kind of poppy and kitchy and you know strings and violins. And when was that, late 70’s, early 80’s? Disco did not help at all. And then I would say rap is kind of when it went in the coffin. We don’t have a lot of music per say, the emphasis is more on the lyric then on the melody. A lot of what I loved about the early rock and roll is the melody and we’ve lost some of that as well. But you know, classic rock and roll is alive and well in my house and on the radio stations out there. And by the way, those artists are still out touring, so tell DJ (Dhananjay Nayakankuppam) maybe it’s not dead yet!”
After 14 years as an Associate Professor with Tippie, Alice Wang was recognized this semester with a promotion to Professor of Marketing. Most recently, Alice made headlines when KCRG reported on her research regarding the impact of loneliness on purchase habits. We sat down with Alice to discuss her research and recent recognition.
Alice Wang was originally drawn to the Tippie College of Business for its research environment and has since made quite the name for herself with her consumer research. Between teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Wang has also been a Henry B. Tippie Research Fellow for the last 6 years.
Her interest in marketing research stems from the advice of an instructor during grad school who recommended studying marketing. Since then Alice has taken a psychology-based approach to studying how consumers make decisions. Her research on how loneliness affects consumption patterns recently made headlines in this KCRG article. Most recently her research focuses on time perception, specifically regarding service wait times. Through her research, she discovered ways in which to switch peoples’ mindsets about the length of wait time they observe.
In the future, Alice plans to further research the concept of loneliness, the persuasiveness of narratives in marketing, and areas related to disposition – such as how people get rid of their stuff and their attachments to belongings.
In her 15 years with the college, Alice has most enjoyed the research environment and interacting with students. She loves how the research community is full of active thinkers to discuss ideas with and how the Marketing Department is always supportive of faculty research. Additionally, the college provides amazing resources to do her research. With teaching, she appreciates students’ eagerness to learn and enjoy every moment at the college. She also enjoys getting to work with PhD students on their interests.
As a recently recognized professor, Alice reflected that it felt good to be recognized for her hard work over the years. She stated, “It’s one thing to work on your interests, but another to have people understand the importance of your research.” Alice has also taken on the role of Director of Graduate Studies, working with PhD students, developing policies, and overseeing the marketing curriculum.
Alice is extremely dedicated to her work and when asked how she enjoys spending time outside of school, her response was, “I’m here all the time, even on weekends!” When she manages to spend time outside of Tippie Alice can be found supporting her 12-year-old daughter, who she commented also keeps her very busy.
Her favorite thing about Iowa City has been the lively, broad perspectives from people all over the world. She enjoys exchanging ideas in a very intellectual town of both professionals and academia.
We congratulate Alice Wang on her recent achievements and are proud to have her on the Marketing team!
First-year PhD Marketing student, Sarah Francisco has big goals to succeed in the amazing research program here at Tippie.
Background: Born in Southern Brazil, Sarah moved to the Quad Cities when she was just four years old. She discovered her passion for understanding the psychology of marketing during her undergrad at Tippie. Sarah recently graduated from Tippie in May 2019 with her undergraduate degree in Marketing. She returned this fall to pursue her research interests as a Marketing PhD Candidate.
Research Interests: Sarah’s research is primarily interested in consumer behavior, with a special interest in morality and self. Her current research takes a look at how moral behaviors can affect consumption. She is also interested in social comparison and how it affects people’s judgements and decisions.
Previous Research Projects: Sarah worked with former Tippie faculty member, Bill Hedgecock, as part of a study on judgement and decision-making. They performed a coin toss study to examine how people gambled and analyzed physiological changes such as heart rate and pulse. For her honors thesis, Sarah researched the ease of haptic imagery with Andrea Luangrath. Their research focused on virtual reality and haptics, focusing on sense of touch. Running studies gave Sarah an exposure to practical implications of research and how to overcome research problems.
PhD Goals: Sarah’s primary goal of her PhD program is to further her understanding of consumer behavior. In general, she’d like to learn more about academia, such as how to conduct research that’s meaningful to the field of marketing. Sarah would like to translate her interests into research that makes contributions to marketers.
Favorite thing about Tippie? “How supportive faculty are in answering questions, helping with ideas, and giving it to you straight. With the culture of the Marketing Department, you get the best of the program”
This month’s Student Highlight is Ashlyn Shumaker. Ashlyn first discovered her passion for sustainability in an Environmental Science class at Valley High School in West Des Moines. She recalls “geeking out” over renewable energy and sustainability throughout high school, even considering pursuing a career as a chemical engineer for awhile.
While at the University of Iowa, she became especially interested in corporate social responsibility and sustainability in business, changing her major to Marketing and Environmental Science. After hearing about the Sustainability certificate in her Contemporary Environmental Issues course, she decided to change her path for the final time.
Ashlyn is now pursuing her Marketing degree on the analytics track, a Sustainability certificate, and an Entrepreneurial Management certificate. She commented that she loved that students, “could apply the sustainability certificate to any major.” Ashlyn’s combined interests have allowed her to bring in a different perspective when it comes to internships, group projects, and student organizations. The Sustainability certificate has enabled her to express considerations that are sometimes overlooked when it comes to formulating ways to solve problems and working on projects.
To no surprise, Ashlyn’s favorite course has been Marketing and Sustainability, taught by Sara Maples. This course enabled Ashlyn to take her knowledge of marketing and sustainability, and apply it. The experiential learning course brings in companies for student groups to consult for, teaching students how projects can be adjusted to promote sustainability in business. The class allowed her to learn more about the ways in which sustainability can impact marketing.
As a voice for sustainability, Ashlyn had the opportunity to apply her knowledge in an internship with Leepfrog Technologies, located in Coralville, this last summer. She was able to work on a project developing CSR policy for higher education due to her knowledge of sustainability in business. Ashlyn’s hopes that every company integrates a sustainability perspective into the back of their mind. With a growing desire for natural and eco-friendly products, Ashlyn pointed out that companies need to keep up with trends in social change to appeal to their customers. She went on to say, “New generations need to know that companies align with their beliefs. They won’t just take your word, they want proof that the company is dedicated to their mission.”
In the future, Ashlyn hopes to find a job in which she can utilize her knowledge of marketing and sustainability to be a voice for sustainability for a company whose mission is similarly aligned. After gaining experience in the corporate world, she plans to attend grad school for Corporate Social Responsibility and eventually become a consultant.
Ashlyn views sustainability as necessary in business now, saying, “It should be part of everyone’s thoughts. Exposing people to it earlier can get people motivated sooner.” Ashlyn recommends getting involved with one of the various sustainability student organizations on campus or work on sustainability projects within current organizations. Her final advice? “Get passionate about something and run with it, talk and build relationships.”
Andrea Luangrath was first drawn to the Tippie College of Business in January of 2017 for its renowned research reputation. When asked about her decision to start her career at Tippie, Andrea expressed gratitude for the opportunities it has provided her to teach and research her interests in consumer behavior. With a background in marketing research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Andrea knew that she wanted to be a part of the amazing research culture within the marketing department here.
As a Research Assistant in her undergrad, Andrea was first exposed to the research process while doing consumer research with faculty on the topic of sensory marketing. She stumbled upon the opportunity to do research in this area, but the exposure developed a curiosity and desire to learn more about consumer behavior that is evident in her research and teaching today.
In 2017, Andrea was awarded the C.W. Park Young Contributor Award from the Society of Consumer Psychology for her paper, “Textual Paralanguage and its Implications for Marketing Communications”. In a field where recognition is uncommon, Andrea was honored that others found the implications of her research useful, which she stressed should always be the goal in marketing research.
Andrea continues to research different facets of consumer behavior with special interests in sensory marketing, consumer linguistics, and psychological ownership. Currently, she is working to develop an algorithm to automatically detect textual paralanguage, or expressions of nonverbal cues, in social media data, such as Twitter and YouTube. Other areas of her research include; how feelings of ownership affect stewardship behaviors towards public resources, applications of virtual reality to engage with brands, and the power of the haptic imagery process in influencing a consumer’s evaluation of products. In the future, Andrea hopes to further examine the growing area of virtual reality and how interfaces influence consumers in a retail setting.
For Andrea, the purpose of research is to share ideas with the world and influence young people’s lives through the advancement of knowledge. If you’ve taken Consumer Behavior with Andrea, you’ve probably witnessed the regular incorporation of her research into the classroom. By infusing every lecture with consumer research and current happenings in the field, Andrea aims to bring consumer psychology to life and spark curiosity in her students.
Andrea has enjoyed the many opportunities to collaborate with the amazing marketing students and faculty here at Tippie. She encourages students who are interested in marketing research to look into faculty interests and reach out at any point to get involved. Students involved in marketing research are often led down a path of exploration, and quickly learn the entire research process to develop a better understanding of why research matters.
When not in the Behavioral Research Lab or classroom at Tippie, Andrea loves her role as mom to her 3-year old son, travelling with her family, and enjoying the Iowa City Farmers Market.
Background: Chelsea joins the Tippie team from southern Ontario, Canada. She studied marketing and marketing research as an undergrad at the University of Guelph in Ontario and received her P.h.D. from Northwestern University in Illinois. Chelsea is also teaching a section of the Consumer Behavior course this semester.
Research Interests: Chelsea’s research focuses on the study of emotions, looking at how environmental factors influence consumer’s emotions and how they affect our consumption decisions. Chelsea’s current research is focused on how reminders of illness affects how we feel and buy, as well as affect our creativity. She has also been involved in research surrounding the topics of social comparison influencing creativity and authenticity, and how Artificial Intelligence methods influence they products that consumers purchase.
Research Outcomes: From her research, Chelsea hopes to be able to design environments that allow customer creativity. She believes that consumer creativity is an important skill in society, so her research tries to understand how reminders of our environments can affect creativity to improve the environments in the workplace.
Why Tippie? “All of the faculty.” She described the faculty members here as nice, humble, and extremely intelligent, and loves getting to meet people across all disciplines. She also enjoys teaching and looks forward to building her skills and getting to know the students.
Favorite Thing About Iowa City: Chelsea has loved getting familiar with the “beautiful town” that is Iowa City. Her favorite things so far have been the downtown Farmer’s Market and the people, both at Tippie and in the community.
Background: Bowen grew up in Shanghai, China and completed his undergraduate studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. Bowen received his M.B.A. in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to the Tippie College of Business.
Research Interests: Bowen’s research focuses on judgement and decision-making, with a special interest in the theory of gamification. His current research focuses on peoples’ perceptions of fairness in different situations, as well as looking at peoples’ judgement and decision-making process of engaging in actions that contradict their best interest.
Research Outcomes: He hopes that the findings from his research can help people to wake up happier and enjoy life more. Through his research in perceptions of fairness and decision-making, he wants to influence people to engage in more beneficial behaviors for others, the world, and the environment. His research on gamification focuses on how to turn activities, such as exercising or studying, into a game to make them feel more enjoyable.
Why Tippie? “The people. The faculty here really cares and wants you to succeed.”
Favorite Place in Iowa City: “Bao Chow. It’s authentic Chinese food. I could eat it all day!”
What started out as the brainchild of Tippie faculty members – Cathy Cole, Gary Russell, and Dave Collins – was brought to life by Rob Rouwenhorst back in 2009. In its 10 years, the Marketing Institute has gained significant traction working with small start-ups to multi-billion dollar companies under the direction of Peggy Stover. Peggy brings 20 years of corporate experience to Tippie, with the aim of helping students prepare for and succeed in their marketing careers after graduation. Students enrolled in the Marketing Institute have the opportunity to work with clients and provide innovative marketing solutions to their existing marketing issues. Marketing Institute students gain a variety of hands-on work experience developing products, creating marketing plans, and conducting market research for their clients.
Marketing Institute Scholar, Kaitlyn Reth, first heard about the opportunity in Mark Winkler’s Professional Preparation in Marketing course from current scholars in the Institute. She decided to join after hearing students rave about the hands-on experience and real-life applications they gained from the Marketing Institute. Heading into her final year at Tippie, Kaitlyn has been a part of several projects including a consulting project for Travel Dubuque to help raise awareness of the attractions available to locals and visitors. Since joining, Kaitlyn describes her best experiences as working with real clients, building lasting connections with mentors, and gaining more confidence in her marketing abilities as she prepares for a career in consulting.
Her advice to anyone thinking about joining the Marketing Institute: Apply! Take advantage of the opportunity to go above and beyond with professors like Peggy, who want to help you grow, not just turning in assignments. The Marketing Institute prepares you for dealing with clients, managing your time, and gives you the confidence to succeed in a professional environment.