‘My interest in marketing emerged during my psychology studies (University of Groningen), where I took the consumer behaviour course. I was – and am still - fascinated by how people influence each other. That’s an important subject in psychology and marketing. After my MSc in Social and Organisational Psychology, I did my PhD in Marketing. Which all brings me to the person I am today: professor of Marketing.’
Sustainability and marketing
‘In my research I focus on various themes within marketing. In recent years, I have focused my research more on sustainability and marketing. My interest in this subject started scientifically. In a paper published in Nature Communication, I read the text ‘affluence needs to be addressed by reducing consumption, not just greening it’. That quote touches the core of my field and I decided to investigate the subject in more depth. It just got me thinking. What are the current societal problems and what is the role of marketing? What can you do as a marketeer to help solving these issues? Who has the responsibility when we talk about sustainability? We still have a lot of questions and research is needed. This subject is slowly taking off in my own field.’
Lots of questions
‘We recently started several PhD projects to answer the questions we have about this subject. Also, we are launching a centre for responsible consumption. Its purpose is to facilitate discussion between academics, companies, consumers and other stakeholders on the need to change consumption behaviour to be(come) responsible. Hopefully this will result in joint research and teaching projects.’
There’s a lot of criticism when we talk about marketing, but I believe that it could also be a source of a solution.
Talk about marketing
‘I’m also invited to talk about this subject regularly on the radio programmes produced by BNR and NPO, or in podcasts. I notice that there are still many questions. It’s an area that affects many, both consumers and businesses. There’s a lot of criticism when we talk about marketing, but I believe that it could also be a source of a solution. Techniques may remain the same, but the variables can change. That’s why I foresee potential for marketing as part of the search for solutions for societal problems.
‘In addition to research, I teach a few courses such as Ethics and the Future of Business, which is part of the master Business Administration. I love to teach. What students can expect from me as a lecturer? A passionate professor that tries to involve everyone in the class. Students get lots of practical examples and inspirational guest lecturers. I like to discuss the impact of marketing on society with my students. I regularly invite guest speakers of companies, including start-ups, and other stakeholders to my classes to discuss their challenges. Amsterdam is in that sense a great place to work and study: it hosts many (sustainability) initiatives and start-ups.’
Advice for new students
‘My advice for new students is to look around, reflect on what you observe, and be critical. Marketing is everywhere and as a student, you are a consumer and citizen as well. Stay aware of the marketing world, read the existing research, form an opinion, be open and decide consciously how you want to relate to it. You’ll see that it makes the theoretical knowledge you gain much more viable.’