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Marketing Communication Welcomes New Chair

Brent Smith

This fall, Dr. Brent Smith will take the helm as chair of Emerson’s Department of Marketing Communication. Smith is an award-winning business professor whose expertise spans multiple areas of marketing, such as strategy, analytics, international, ethics, and consumer experience.

He relates that expertise to what excites him about Emerson, stating, “I truly see a good fit between myself and what Emerson aims to achieve per its strategic commitments to academic excellence, civic engagement, internationalization and global engagement, and innovation.” One can see the alignment based on Smith’s experiences designing a graduate degree program in customer analytics and insights, mentoring international students, community service, leading executive MBA study tours in Asia and South America, engaging with political leaders in Europe and Africa, and conducting professional development seminars for young Hispanic professionals.

Smith hopes to leverage his broad expertise in advancing the department’s ability to prepare Emerson students for the situations and circumstances they will face as professionals.

“Marketing continues to evolve and mature as a discipline. As we create and satisfy customers, we must also enhance customers relationships and experiences with the organization. We must deploy the market offering and communicate its benefits farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before,” said Smith.

Noting current issues of our time, Smith added, “We need to help students appreciate the importance of contributing to the organization’s situational awareness and impact regarding its markets, competitors, messaging, social responsibility, and so forth. And as future leaders, they should be good corporate citizens whose business acumen is accompanied by things like cultural competence and unambiguous respect for people and planet.”

Mirroring the marketing industry’s shift towards using data to drive strategy, Smith will integrate his analytics expertise into Emerson classrooms beyond just the Department’s new Digital Marketing and Data Analytics program.

“Across marketing-related fields, we are seeing a lot more interest in quantitative analytics and data visualization. For a long time, people seemed to believe that marketers don’t do numbers. Yet, it’s been my experience that is certainly not the case,” he said.

Despite budget constraints and relentless competition, marketing professionals are being looked upon to present their arguments with thoughtful data analysis and effective data visualization, he explained.

“It’s not enough to ask the bosses for more money for advertising,” Smith said. “As marketing activities impact top-line and bottom-line performance, our students will have to convey their value of their skill set in varied situations. They could be tasked with developing promotional strategies for omnichannel consumers, reducing customer churn, mapping key touch points of the customer journey, regaining customer trust, or articulating the net present value of forecasted revenues for a marketing project,” said Smith.

Quick Facts About Brent Smith:

  • Became the first African-American faculty member to achieve promotion to the rank of full professor at the Erivan K. Haub School of Business and Saint Joseph’s University
  • Featured commentator in 2019 documentary film, “Once in a Hundred Years: The Life and Legacy of Marian Anderson” (Going the Distance Films)
  • Served as reviewer for National Science Foundation
  • Created the Five Creatures Lesson a novel paradigm on strategy and competition
  • Earned degrees from Drexel University (PhD: Marketing), Tulane University (MBA: Marketing and Entrepreneurship), and Xavier University of Louisiana (BS: Economics; BA: German)
  • Developed more than 20 courses in marketing, global business, ethics, analytics, and research methods

On what the future may hold for Emerson and himself, Smith said, “I really appreciate that Emerson has a good sense of identity as it relates to the liberal arts in relation to communication and the arts. I think these are two areas that have been very important to the country, very important to the greater Boston area in particular, and they’ve been important to the industries that hire our students out of Emerson,” Smith said. “So, we want to, one, keep a good thing going, and two, add value to that good thing.”

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