Prof. Carter Mandrik on Marketing and Sustainability

June 09, 2023 Greti Georgieva
Prof. Carter Mandrik on Marketing and Sustainability

Professor Carter Mandrik teaches Marketing, Marketing Communications and Marketing Research at AUBG. Even though he got his Bachelor’s degree in Biology, he found his passion in the Marketing field and earned his Ph.D. in Marketing at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Listen to the interview with Professor Mandrik to hear more about his sustainability projects at AUBG, the role of psychology in marketing and what it is like to work in a top corporation.

“It’s possible to be sustainable and create strong brands and profits at the same time.”

From Biology to Marketing

Prof. Carter Mandrik’s interest in marketing was sparked by the courses he took in Social Psychology, while in university, and strengthened by his engagement in extracurricular and leadership activities.

“I was involved in the fraternity. It’s like a social club. But you live with the guys that become your brothers. You live in the fraternity house instead of a dorm. There were 26 fraternities and sororities, which is the female equivalent. So I did a lot of leadership of the inter-fraternity council.”

His work in the council and the collaborations he had with the Dean of Students and the Assistant to the students’ Office got him a job offer as an assistant of the Dean after he graduated. The proposal also included a full scholarship for his Master’s degree in Business Administration that he earned at the same university.

“It was an offer that was too good to refuse. At the same time, I wasn’t like the kind of guy that wanted to be, you know, in a laboratory, like as a lab assistant. It was kind of a boring life to think like that.”

What is Marketing?

For Prof. Carter Mandrik marketing is crucial for the success of a company. It is, as he says the “primary lifeblood of the company,” because it embraces a little bit of all other Business disciplines and a lot of soft skills. The job of the marketer is also all-embracing, because they communicate with all the departments and the internal and external partners.

“Our distributors, our suppliers, marketing research agencies, advertising agencies, you know, promotion firms. So the marketer is really involved in all these different aspects. That’s what makes it so exciting.”

Marketing is all about creating a brand based on the wants and needs of the consumers and making the products that the company produces as valuable as possible for them. To do that, the marketers should know how to communicate the benefits of the said product in the best way possible. They should also have an intuition, based on their theoretical knowledge, a good dash of creativity and an eye for detail. Marketers also have a role in production and advertising.

“You go and you sit, and you watch the director and the cameraman, and you’re participating in the process, too. You’re not just an observer. You’re there to help make sure that your brand is shown in the right way, that they’re not making any mistakes.”

Marketing meets Sustainability

Prof. Carter Mandrik acknowledges the reasons why marketing is criticized. According to him, it shows an idealized version of what life could be. That way marketers make people want to buy more and more, which creates the problem of overconsumption.

“We [marketers] helped create this monster of people overconsuming.”

According to him, the issue of sustainability is a valid one and should be taken seriously, precisely because of the ripple effect of overconsumption. Marketers strive to make the customers buy their product, so that their company could stay in the business, but the resources of the Earth are finite and should be protected.

“So, this is a really a big tension of potential conflict. How do you make the company grow, but at the same time recognize that you can’t just destroy the environment.”

Prof. Mandrik says that nowadays businesses are trying to be more sustainable. He notes that it is possible that some companies are “greenwashing” their customers, but nonetheless, he stays hopeful.

“I believe most companies do try. If they see they’re being green, I think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove us wrong.”