By Dorian Martin, Texas A&M University Mays Business School
Fifty years into his career of studying marketing, Leonard Berry continues to garner accolades. The Mays Business School leader is only the second person in history to receive the “Big 4” national marketing awards – a grand slam of sorts.
Berry is a University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Regents Professor, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence, and holder of the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership at Mays Business School,
He will receive the fourth prestigious award, The Sheth Foundation Medal for Exceptional Contribution to Marketing and Practice, during the American Marketing Association (AMA) Summer Academic Conference on Aug. 10.
The four awards primarily honor Berry’s research. The Sheth Foundation Medal recognizes enduring and transformational contributions to marketing scholarship and practice. Earlier this year, Berry was honored with the AMA William L. Wilkie “Marketing for a Better World” Award. This award honors marketing thinkers who made a significant contribution to the understanding and appreciation for marketing’s potential to improve the world.
Berry received the other two prestigious awards a decade ago. He was a 2008 recipient of the AMA Paul D. Converse Award, which honors outstanding contributions to marketing scholarship. A year earlier, he was recognized with the AMA/McGraw-Hill/Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator Award, which recognizes career contributions to the marketing discipline.
These prestigious honors celebrate the depth and breadth of Berry’s influence throughout his career. “Dr. Berry is one of the preeminent marketing scholars. His work has influenced major international companies and helped define marketing’s role in service industries,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “His current focus on health care – and more recently, cancer care – is making a real difference for patients, the professional care team, and family caregivers.”
Making a difference inside the classroom and beyond the university
Berry has been at Texas A&M University since 1982. He founded Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies, is a guest lecturer internationally, and has written 10 books, including Discovering the Soul of Service; On Great Service; Marketing Services: Competing Through Quality; and Delivering Quality Service. He has received numerous university awards, including Distinguished Achievement Awards in both teaching and research and the Lifetime Achievement Award at Mays.
Berry is regarded as one of the pioneers in services marketing. “I regard him as an outstanding leader in the field of services marketing,” said Philip Kotler, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who also has received the “Big 4” Marketing Awards. “As a very deep scholar, he believes in identifying the best service marketers and not just writing about them, but getting to know them. In his books, you’ll see his deep experience with those companies that he sees as the most outstanding marketers in the service area.”
Focusing on health care
Berry’s recent research has focused on health care. He conducted in-depth research on health service as a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic in 2001-2002. That study served as the basis for his book, Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic (2008), which has been published in 10 languages. He also has conducted field research at three high-performance health systems in Wisconsin, Gundersen Health, ThedaCare, and Bellin Health. In 2014, he was selected to be a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in Boston, where he commenced his ongoing study of service improvement in cancer care for patients and their families.
Berry has focused much of his recent work on cancer care. In 2016, he co-authored a seminal paper, “Managing the Clues in Cancer Care,” in the Journal of Oncology Practice. This paper offers a framework to help cancer centers improve their services. Berry and his co-authors expanded the focus to include family caregivers in the paper, “Supporting the Supporters: What Family Caregivers Need to Care for a Loved One With Cancer,” which was published in the Journal of Oncology Practice in 2017. Berry has studied at the Patient’s Cancer Hospital in Denmark, resulting in the co-authored article, “Lessons in Integrating Shared Decision-Making into Cancer Care” published in the Journal of Oncology Practice in 2018.
Improving people’s lives
Berry strives to keep his work grounded in the pressing issues facing society and organizational practice. “I believe that the mission of marketing is to improve the quality of people’s lives,” Berry said. “Throughout my career I have wanted to do research that contributed to this mission, that truly made a difference.”
Despite achieving what many would see as the pinnacle of a long career, Berry shows no signs of slowing down. “His passion and curiosity for knowledge has grown over time. He is one of the most energetic scholars I’ve seen in the discipline,” said David Griffith, Mays Department of Marketing Department Head and Hallie Vanderhider Chair in Business. “He’s really driven to help people through his research, but he’s also one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. He’s a truly inspirational leader in terms of what it really means to be a scholar.”