Office Hours: A Q&A with Professor Ian Cross

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We sat down with Professor Ian Cross, senior lecturer of marketing, as he spoke passionately about teaching marketing. As the director of the Center for Marketing Technology at Bentley, Cross teaches about cutting-edge marketing tools, techniques, and intellectual capital. He also enjoys teaching students about branding, social media marketing, and creating business value through consulting.

What do you love most about teaching marketing as a subject?

I love teaching marketing as an applied subject by bringing real-world companies and their marketing challenges into the classroom and asking Bentley students to research the problem, think critically about the market opportunity and provide realistic solutions in the form of marketing campaigns.

Marketing is a wonderful mix of creativity and data analysis and essentially answers the question “How do you create value?” If marketers don’t create perceived value there is no profit and loss for accountants to measure and no people and processes to manage. Marketing is the driver of business!

What’s your favorite thing about teaching Bentley students?

I love teaching marketing with Bentley students because of their eagerness to learn, their fearless search for new concepts, and their confident presentation of their ideas. Bentley students are a perfect fit for the new marketing environment that requires a blend of numeracy, data analytics, creativity and critical thinking.

How does majoring in marketing prepare students for success in their lives and careers?

A key aspect of marketing is understanding how things are perceived and how to change perceptions. Life is a series of acts in a play and we all play different roles for different effect every day. Marketing skills can be used to learn how your actions change the world around you and how you can be changed by others’ perceptions. Marketing develops the confidence to understand and present yourself on this stage as well as understand people and brands around you.

Marketing and sales go hand in hand and few careers develop quickly and effectively without self-promotion of your ideas and work. Marketing develops curiosity about internal and external factors, products and people.

What was your favorite subject or class when you were in college?

My favorite class was English Literature and Drama. World knowledge can be found in books — and literature tells stories of success and failure, love and hate, war and peace, friendship and loneliness, beauty and horror. In these stories we can learn about the human condition throughout history and imagine ourselves in those situations of the past and how we might respond in the future. We learn why things are and why people act and think as they do. We learn how society changes and how individuals are affected.

 What was your very first job?

My first job was in sales working in interior design — I learned how to sell and how to survive on my own in London with no friends and a low paying job of £4500 per year.

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