Professors Give Advice for a Successful Marketing Career
Professors, contributors, and industry practitioners, Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad and Bill Davis serve the Ashford University student body in the Forbes School of Business & Technology™. Their marketing experiences have taken them various places and earned them numerous distinctions, such as Avisha’s Certified eMarketing Associate (CeMA) and Certified Social Marketing Associate (SCMA) certifications, and Bill‘s recent Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Award. Now, the two professors take time to answer some of our burning questions about what a successful marketing career looks like.
What’s your experience in marketing?
I have over 30 years of experience in the progressive soft drink industry in the Chicago area, a major market for Pepsi. I worked my way up the ladder to executive level positions. In all the levels and positions I’ve held, marketing has been involved in some fashion. I have extensive experience conceptualizing and applying the marketing process within the Joyce Beverages 7UP and PepsiCo systems. In both systems, I gained valuable sales and marketing knowledge on the job, through the job, and off the job. I believe I have strong expertise and knowledge of marketing in applying the process. It’s simply identifying opportunities to fill an unmet need, researching, innovating, targeting, segmenting, and positioning products and services, developing campaigns and plans, executing, and measuring.
Even today, as a Core Faculty and Assistant Professor, I work with marketing directly and indirectly. Whether it’s public relations, social media, LinkedIn, or content marketing, I’m always working to build positive brand and reputation awareness. I believe in Ashford University. I have past experience in distance education, adult learning and development, management, leadership, planning, project management, professional selling, marketing, strategic management, P&L management, and organizational change.
When I was a young MBA student, I started working as a brand manager assistant in an international company in the food industry in Iran. Through all the years that I worked in that position, and later in a Brand Manager position, all of my projects included marketing. I managed the development and implementation of the marketing plan and the integrated communication plan for the company’s different product lines, resulting in an increase in market development and market penetration of the products and consolidated strategic positioning of the products in the market.
I also pioneered the company’s first customer advocacy program, securing customer accounts for the first time in the country. As a Consumer Behavior Consultant, I conducted a consumer decision-making study and used the results of the study to create successful relationships among the company’s distribution channels, the customers ,and the company. After I moved to the US for my doctoral studies and finished my DBA with a concentration in Marketing, I worked as the marketing officer at a startup company, where I developed and implemented the strategic marketing plan with an emphasis on email marketing, video-email marketing, and marketing automation.
In addition to years of real-world experience, I have taught marketing, consumer behavior, and business courses at graduate and undergraduate levels for several years. My doctoral research looked at the role of different cultural orientations in women’s attitudes toward breastfeeding promotional campaigns. My research interests are consumer behavior, social marketing, judgment and decision-making, cause-related marketing, sustainability, and green marketing.
How did you get to where you are today?
There is no doubt that my education has paid tremendous dividends. I have always believed in education and worked to apply those concepts and theories that felt appropriate. As an adult learner, I looked to anchor my learning to the organizations I worked for and apply what I learned to increase positive outcomes and results. I also sought out mentors I trusted and respected. I listened to their advice, and I observed them in action. For me, that worked. I embraced and always work to live my core values such as hard work, integrity, respect for others, fairness, teamwork, effectiveness, quality, and advancing the success of others. I worked to be patient, resilient, to keep my vision out in front of me, and to lead with a positive, transformational servant leadership style. I learned and gained valuable knowledge and experience on the job, through the job, and off the job through formal education. I was proud to complete professional certifications, learning programs, and my BA and MA degrees. Those were wonderful moments in time for me, and my employers supported me through the process.
Following through and working hard to deliver excellence when responsibility and opportunities are given to me, I work to deliver my very best and to deliver high quality, innovation, and caring in all I do, no matter the role. Being effective and successful in all my roles was always the goal. I believe my strength was in my leadership and performance. I have had a solid, progressive career, and serendipitous moments have occurred. Many leaders (those I served) believed in me at different times in my career, and they presented me with opportunities for personal and professional growth.
What I did early in my career in many ways paralleled my higher education career. I consider myself to be highly passionate, and I have loved every role and stage of my career. Each one provided me with knowledge, skills, and valuable experience.
I am highly motivated, very enthusiastic, extremely cooperative, and an assertive self-starter. Being consistent while learning on the job, through the job, and off the job, and serving others have been essential to my success. ’m a pracademic who has successfully transitioned his career into higher education. am a good marketer who understands the marketing process very well and has successfully developed and launched many marketing plans. I work to give back and pay it forward today. I’m always working to provide the best learning experiences for my students and those I mentor and serve. I work to provide them with all they need to be successful.
Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. As a very young girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, I gathered all my dolls and stuffed animals, sat them in a classroom setting and enjoyed teaching them. I always enjoyed explaining what I knew well to anybody who was interested and have been told that I am good at it. I started tutoring when I was in high school and found it very rewarding.
I also loved everything about managing a business. My father was an entrepreneur who successfully established several companies in Iran that are still thriving. Because of that, I was exposed to all the challenges of running a business and just loved it. After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in mathematics, I decided to get my MBA and then DBA so that I could pursue both of my dreams at the same time: to become a teacher in the field of business. And I did it! Then, marketing stole my heart among all other areas of business. So I pursued it deeply and with passion.
To get to where I am today, I had to overcome many difficult obstacles and challenges. I have always tried to be positive, thoughtful, motivated, patient, and hard-working. Being authentic, consistent, and reliable are important values to me.
We are grateful for the marketing minds and thought leadership of Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad and Bill Davis. For more career tips and advice on growing your marketing career, follow along for the next article in this series.
Written by Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad, Bill Davis, and Kelsey Bober