The teaching of marketing at a tertiary level could become irrelevant unless Australian universities engage with the sector as it goes through a period of rapid change, Adjunct Professor of Marketing Andrew Baxter says.
Professor Baxter, who headed the communications agencies Ogilvy and Publicis in Australia, made this stark observation upon joining the University of Sydney Business School.
“Marketing has changed enormously over the past 10 years and now more than ever, universities need to understand industry best practice in order to remain relevant,” Professor Baxter said. “Students need to learn the latest techniques from the sector itself.”
Professor Baxter will work to establish a dialogue between the Business School and the multibillion-dollar marketing industry.
“Technology has transformed the industry in recent years with a shift in focus away from traditional media and towards highly targeted digital platforms,” said the head of the Business School’s marketing discipline, Professor Vince Mitchell.
“It is essential that we engage the best talent available if our students are to be job ready when they graduate and join the workforce,” Professor Mitchell said in announcing Professor Baxter’s appointment.
During his career, Professor Baxter has advised some of Australia’s largest companies and worked with brands in the retail, packaged goods, sports and entertainment, automotive, banking and finance, gaming, tourism and travel, fast food, oil and mining, fashion, health, education and government sectors.
He is internationally recognised for his experience in branding, marketing and digital transformation, data, communications and customer experience.
Professor Baxter is a senior adviser to KPMG’s Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory business, a Non-Executive Director of Australian Pork and a regular columnist for The Australian newspaper.
In the not-for-profit sector, he has held significant board and chair roles at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the National Basketball League, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The Song Room, and Deakin Business School.
While engaging industry for the benefit of students, Professor Baxter will also lift the Business School’s profile and encourage the marketing sector to take greater advantage of the school’s research capabilities.
“Industry has been successfully utilising the University’s significant research capabilities in the likes of medicine and science for many years, but the Business School’s research skills haven’t been tapped into at the same level by the marketing industry,” Professor Mitchell said.
“This appointment will help us to future-proof our students by blending the very best of what the industry and academia have to offer,” Professor Mitchell said. “Our aim is to give our students the best possible chance of capitalising on an ever-changing world.”
Alumni Emily Bobis, Stevie-Ann Dovico and Elisa Chan have been acknowledged as female role models in digital and technology by the 2022 Women in Digital Awards.