Faculty Feature: John Osborn - EMBA 723 Applied Strategic Marketing

Mar. 27, 2018

Behind every immediately recognizable and trusted household brand name is a marketing pro who has spent endless hours analyzing consumer behavior data, working with product development and sales teams, guiding creative efforts, producing realistic budgets and meeting insanely tight deadlines – all the while creating the next big-idea to help drive product demand. Just another day at the office for John Osborn who currently serves as the UNLV Lee Business School assistant dean for external relations and EMBA Applied Strategic Marketing instructor.

You’ll know Osborn’s work if you’ve ever purchased a Healthy Choice meal, Ore-Ida potatoes, Ocean Spray drinks or Dial soap. For more than three decades, he was an industry go-to guy for consumer packaged goods marketing and branding, rising through the ranks to hold executive positions with such internationally-prestigious companies as Con Agra Foods, Dial Corporation, Ocean Spray Cranberries, and Ore-Ida Foods.

After relocating multiple times throughout his career, Osborn wanted to come home to Las Vegas. In 1999, he accepted a vice president of marketing position with GES Exposition Services and in 2005 became chief marketing officer with Exhibitor Magazine Group.

Many Las Vegans know Osborn from his nine years as chief marketing officer with the Las Vegas Metro Chamber where he contributed to the organization’s tremendous growth and influence, including a re-branding of the organization, Leadership Las Vegas expansion and the development of numerous new programs. It was during this time that Brent Hathaway, dean of the Lee Business School, asked Osborn to participate on a steering committee charged with developing a strategic plan for the UNLV Lee Business School (LEE).

In 2015, LEE began its search for an assistant dean of external relations and Osborn applied online, along with all other candidates.

“After completing the strategic plan, I wanted the opportunity to actually participate in its execution. Working at LEE is a chance to not only give back to the community, but also to have a positive impact on future generations,” said Osborn. “I love coming to work every day surrounded by exceptional students from diverse backgrounds who are full of hopes and dreams.”

As the business school’s assistant dean for external relations, Osborn is actively establishing new partnerships with the Las Vegas business community while launching initiatives that help heighten the school’s international brand and attract faculty and students.

Osborn is currently teaching EMBA 723 to Cohort 16. His Applied Strategic Marketing course, which requires students to assume the role of brand manager, shows students how businesses can reach consumers on a personal level. Supplementing an outstanding textbook, Osborn combines his own experience, insights from other industry experts and experiential learning. Through case studies and brand audit exercises, the course unpacks the key areas of brand management and examines the strategic process.

“Marketing is a strategic process to understand your customers,” Osborn said. “Fundamentally, it’s applying disciplinary topics from other areas including statistics, psychology, economics, sociology and ethnography. A big part of the class is merging creativity with analytics.”

Guest lecturers lend varying perspectives on the marketing process. Osborn’s EMBA students will experience discussions with Tim Cashman on managing the iconic Harley-Davidson brand, Vegas Golden Knights’ President Kerry Bubolz, and Kristi Overgaard, Switch’s chief awesomeness officer, who drives the company’s smart city initiatives.

“The EMBA program is an essential component of the UNLV Lee Business School brand,” said Osborn. “I’m enjoying teaching in the program and helping grow its national and international reputation.”