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ND marketing prof honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

by Carol Elliott

June 4, 2009

Business Chart

Prof. William Wilkie, Department of Marketing

William L. Wilkie, the Aloysius and Eleanor Nathe Professor of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame, recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Marketing and Society Special Interest Group of the American Marketing Association. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of marketing and society, public policy and marketing ethics. 

Wilkie will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in August during the 2009 AMA Summer Educator's Conference in Chicago.

This is just the second time the award has been given by the marketing group, which is the leading professional association for marketing scholars and practitioners in North America. The Marketing and Society Special Interest Group represents marketing scholars interested in the impact of marketing on society, and supports a number of initiatives to further scholarly research and teaching in this area.

Wilkie, a faculty member at the Mendoza College of Business, has an academic career that spans nearly 40 years. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Notre Dame. After spending one year as a Sloan Ph.D. Fellow in the Stanford-Sloan Executive Program, Wilkie earned his MBA and doctorate from Stanford University.

He joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1987, after serving as a faculty member at Purdue, Florida, and Harvard universities and as a research professor at the Marketing Science Institute, Cambridge. He is among the most cited authors in the field of marketing and has been named as one of 28 "thought-leaders" in marketing – authors whose work has shifted thinking in the field. One of his articles has achieved the status of "Social Science Citation Classic" by the Institute for Scientific Information. Wilkie’s widely used textbook, Consumer Behavior, is considered a classic marketing text.

“From my earliest days as a student at Notre Dame, I’ve seen marketing as a wonderfully complex and important field,” said Wilkie. “There hasn’t been a time for me when it wasn’t presenting interesting challenges and paradoxes.”

In 1972, Wilkie was the first marketing professor to be named as in-house consultant to the Federal Trade Commission in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, where he instituted a revolving consultant position in which 30 professors later joined in bringing their research to bear on consumer issues.  He is recognized as one of the most influential marketing academics in the public policy domain, authoring numerous articles on FTC policy, corrective advertising, bait-and-switch tactics and direct-to-consumer advertising. In 2001, Wilkie received the prestigious McGraw Hill/Irwin Distinguished Educator Award from the American Marketing Association, the highest honor a marketing educator can receive. He twice won the Kinnear Outstanding Article Award for best article in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, where he has served as guest editor. Wilkie has also served as president of the Association for Consumer Research, an international professional group with more than 1,600 members in 30 nations.

“Bill has a rare ability to conceptualize a complex set of issues and build integrative frameworks for analysis,” said Marketing Professor Elizabeth Moore, a former student of Wilkie who now is a colleague at Notre Dame. “As has been true across his career, Bill is charting new ways of thinking and helping to set future direction for the field.”

In 2007, as members of an American Marketing Association (AMA) task force, Wilkie and Moore successfully argued that the current AMA definition of “marketing” too narrowly focused on marketing as an activity conducted by a single firm. As a result of their efforts, the AMA revised its definition, which in part redefined marketing as an activity that can be conducted by organizations or individuals, and that has impacts on society as well as on firms.

Wilkie and Notre Dame marketing professor Patrick Murphy led the organization of the Marketing & Public Policy Conference, first held in 1989 and continuing to today. The conference later included the Doctoral Consortium on Marketing and Society, a pre-conference workshop aimed at assisting doctoral candidates interested in marketing and society.  This year, the 20th Anniversary Conference and Consortium are being held in Washington, D.C., and co-chaired by professors Moore and Wilkie.  

“Bill is one of the rare academics who have managed to produce a steady stream of first-class research, while maintaining a genuine interest in teaching and student welfare,” said Paul W. Farris, the Landmark Professor of Business Administration at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, and a former student of Wilkie’s at Harvard. “Although Bill is most well-known for his contribution to marketing and society and public policy, it is difficult to think of a role that Bill has not played in our field. He has published in almost every major journal on topics that range from comparison advertising to slotting allowances.”