Dr. Jenny Darroch: Author, Professor of Marketing at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management & Founder of Mollior.com

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Dr. Jenny Darroch is a Professor of Marketing at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management and founder of Mollior.com.  Author of three books including Marketing Through Turbulent Times and Why Marketing to Women Doesn’t Work and over 30 research articles. Dr. Darroch holds graduate degrees in marketing, economics, and international business and a PhD in marketing, knowledge management and innovation. She has spent her career working at the interface of strategy and innovation. Her marketing training ensures she looks at strategic challenges from the customers’ point of view.

In addition to research and teaching, Jenny is actively involved in the Drucker School Executive Education practice. Clients and projects are varied and range from leadership development programs, coaching and mentoring client project teams, and traditional consulting and advisory work. The range of programs includes short 1-2 days seminars through to mini-MBA experiences.

What do you do best?

Evidence based decision-making. Talking.

As an academic, I’m trained to think deeply about issues, to look for connections between apparently disparate points of view, and to draw attention to issues with evidence. I’ve been doing this for a long time so I think I’ve mastered it pretty well.

I also talk for a living – I talk in front of classes filled with MBA and executive audiences, I give keynote addresses, I facilitate discussions and moderate panels, and I speak at conferences around the world. I remember a newsreader that was once asked how she appeared so relaxed in front of a camera. Her reply was that she pretends she’s talking to old friends in her living room at home. I follow this advice when I stand in front of different audiences as it helps me connect with them and keep my audience engaged.

What makes you the best?

Knowing my content. Being well prepared.

People say I make things look easy but what those around me don’t know is that I put a lot in behind the scenes to understand my audience, prepare materials or, in the case of research, read widely. I’ve also got an entrepreneurial spirit and so I see opportunities where others might not – for example, connections between different ideas.

How will you stay the best?

Staying current.

In my field, it is important to keep up with concepts as they evolve in both theory and practice. I have an inquisitive mind and I often ask a lot of questions so that I can fully understand what I see.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: Travel. I moved from New Zealand to the USA in 2004 and so I am a keen observer of cross-cultural differences. I’ve also always traveled a lot. Now that my two sons are more independent, I have a lot more flexibility to travel more.

Business: I enjoy what I do at work and so my goal is to do more of it. For example, I am writing another book (I love writing books), and getting more involved in our executive education practice at the Drucker School, which I enjoy a lot. With these additional activities, I want to be sure to generate enough income to support my urge to travel.

What fascinates you?

People. I am a marketer at heart and I love understanding consumers, what they do, how they think, and what is behind behaviors we observe. I find people simply fascinating.

When I first started as a brand manager in marketing, I used to hang out in supermarket aisles watching people buy the brands I was marketing and, importantly, listen to them as they evaluated my brands. It was one of the most impactful things I did as a junior marketer because it reminded me that we, as marketers, spend too much time thinking about our products. Our reality is that consumers do not care about our products as much as we do and that we largely confuse our customers by offering so many combinations of attributes.

Favorite Motto:

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. As said by Thumper in Bambi. That was my favorite saying when my sons were younger. I try and live by this motto but I am known to have a few slip ups here and there.

Favorite People: 

My favorite people change. But a group I am enjoying a lot at the moment is a group of women who I hang out with once a month to discuss feminist issues. We’ve been watching “Makers: Women Who Make America”, a PBS Documentary. We sit and discuss the episode we have just watched and I learn so much from them because the group represents different ethnicities, sexual orientations and ages.

Favorite Places: 

I would be remiss if I didn’t say I miss New Zealand. I especially miss the beaches, which are more like coves and bays than what we have here in Los Angeles. I keep thinking about owning a bach in Matapouri, just north of Tutukaka. For some reason, I can’t get that image out of my mind.

Favorite Products: 

Wine and coffee are my two vices so I guess they are my favorite products. My new favorite product is a Finis Neptune. It’s a waterproof MP3 player. I used it today for the first time and swam to Tom Wait’s “Heart of Saturday Night”. One of my sons played the second track “San Diego Serenade” for me on his radio show (KSPC.org) just after Mother’s Day this year. So, I was in my happy place today when I swam.

Current Passions:

Sadly, I have to give a work related answer here. I’m starting a new book and when this happens I get excited about the points I want to make and examples I find in the media that I could use in the book. It becomes a bit of a “thing” for me.