Consumer marketing expert Sean McCurley has given a guest lecture to students at Leicester Castle Business School.
Sean McCurley has worked for major high street brands such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Tesco and is now a strategic consultant for Bridgethorne, working with small brands to help them to grow and develop.
He came to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to pass on his knowledge to final year Marketing students and to give an insight into his own hugely successful retail career.
“The lecture was about how you launch a product in the current environment,” he said. “Best practice, things to look out for, what areas of research you should do, a little bit of how you sell it.
“We then had some live examples where students could have their view on products, whether it will be successful, how they’d sell it, what they think the benefits of the product are, how they fit in with modern consumer trends and how they fit within their generation, which is quite important to me.
“It looked at the pitfalls in terms of launching a new product and had a bit at the end about careers in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), what people should look out for and what I think the best routes are.”
After spending a number of years working in the retail industry working on projects such as the Tesco Finest’ initiative, Sean has a wealth of experience and hopes he provided students with the link between the academic theories and real-world realities.
He said: “Primarily it was to get the students thinking and give them experience on brands that have done exceptionally well and brands that have failed miserably, so there’s a few case examples from the last few years of big brands that have died a death.
“I wanted to give the students some thoughts about how it works in the real world, because they’ll have all the academic background behind it. This is really just thinking about how it really operates within the FMCG world, but the practice can be taken to any industry, it’s a very similar process.”
He now hopes that the students will take some key messages from the lecture that will benefit their own business careers.
He explained: “I want the students to understand the difference between their customer, their shopper and their consumer. They can all be the same but they can all be different.
“Also the depths of research, the questions that you need to ask to get the answers you need to ensure you have a successful produce launch.
“Whether they decide to go into business on their own or go and work for somebody, it will give them a good thought process because at some stage they will be asked to support the launch of a new product.”
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Associate Professor David Gordon, who organised the lecture, brings guest speakers to DMU from his own 25 years in industry and believes it is important for students to hear directly from industry professionals.
He said: “It’s great for students to hear from real industry professionals, and learn about the positives and negatives of an industry. We were very lucky to have Sean McCurley bring his many years of retail marketing expertise to final year Marketing undergraduates.”
So what is Sean’s final advice for DMU students who want to pursue a career in FMCG?
“Find the best training, there is no substitute for great training. Find something where the culture fits your values and always find somebody who does the right amount of training because there’s a lot to learn.”
Posted on Tuesday 30th January 2018