The path to becoming a senior lecturer is not always through academia. Damien has a background broader than most.
Years of playing bass guitar in bands and looking after equipment prompted him to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering, which he turned to when life on the road didn’t generate enough income to provide for a family.
As an electronic engineer he went from the Post Office to Telecom, where he had his first taste of marketing.
He had developed a reputation for being able to predict what machines in the system would do when customers were using them, and he was invited to see if this ability could translate to predicting how customers might react to new products, services and pricing.
He knew his limitations but jumped at the offer to work as a predictive modeller for a market research company, where he began to learn marketing.
He joined Colmar Brunton as a marketing scientist, analysing market research and modelling consumer behaviour. He also started attending marketing conferences and studying a joint statistics and marketing master’s level paper part-time.
Telecom then headhunted him to work in strategy and marketing groups. He continued to attend conferences and began publishing papers and assisting staff and postgraduate students at Otago with research analysis.
“My journey to Otago has had a most unusual trajectory, but one of the great things about the Department of Marketing is that they value multi-disciplinary industry experience.”
Damien lectured at Otago for several years before spells in business with senior positions in Vodafone New Zealand and leading Australian market research companies. He eventually started his own marketing research consultancy but found he missed the teaching and the student contact.
During that time he completed an Otago PhD and he rejoined the Department of Marketing, where his research and teaching cover a wide range of subjects.
“Business and commercial experience in New Zealand and overseas has helped to develop all kinds of new skills, interests and abilities. I and many of my research colleagues are quite multi-disciplinary in our approach, which is one of the success factors for our collective publication record.”
Recent research includes experimental designs and analysis to help inform governance to turn young smokers off tobacco and improving marketing decision support from supermarket scanner panel data analysis.