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Good Marketing = Cultural Awareness

Kogod School of Business professor of marketing Sarah Mady knows that business is a global endeavor. She uses her appreciation of cross-cultural differences to enlighten Kogod students.


Kogod School of Business professor of marketing Sarah Mady.


Technology advancements have allowed the world to become more interconnected than ever, enabling businesses to expand and communicate globally. However, conducting business internationally is just part of the puzzle—business owners must also understand cultural nuances and how these influence sales and consumers.

Kogod professor of marketing Sarah Mady focuses her research on intercultural factors in domestic and international markets. Professor Mady contributes to a greater cultural understanding in business and life by exploring global responses to advertising techniques.

Mady has been a professor at Kogod since 2011, teaching a myriad of undergraduate and advanced international business and marketing classes. She also heads immersion programs for the online MBA program, accompanying graduate students to South America and soon Asia so that Kogod students can practice and experience global business in the real world.

Having grown up in Egypt and Kuwait, Professor Mady's interest in the impact of culture dates back to her childhood. “I came to appreciate cross-cultural differences and developed an interest in the accommodation efforts that marketers make to meet the varied needs of customers in different places I visited—what’s more fascinating than seeing a McDonald’s menu in another country?” she joked.

“But even beyond product adaptations, I’ve always observed differences in service encounters across cultures, which fascinated me. It still does,” explained Mady.

Now, Mady is focused on how marketing interacts with marginalized groups—a vital topic in domestic and international markets. Her most recently published work highlights women's perceptions of skin-whitening products in Egypt, Ghana, and India.

Mady is also currently researching the impact of consumption adequacy—the sense of access to basic life necessities—on children in poverty.

Inclusive and equitable practices in international marketing are a must for businesses, and how to carefully engage consumers with that in mind is the focus of my current research.”

Sarah Mady

Sarah Mady

Kogod Professor of Marketing

Beyond marketing practices, Professor Mady’s commitment to inclusivity has motivated her to serve on several committees that promote university-wide equity initiatives, such as the Kogod Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the AU Core Committee for Diversity and Equity.

The broader reach of inclusive practices makes a solid intercultural background important even to Kogod students outside the international business sphere. Understanding different backgrounds is critical in working with consumers in the US and global environments.

“Understanding cultural differences leads to awareness, self-knowledge, and improved communication skills,” Mady said.

Whether domestic or international, being cognizant and respectful of cultural subtleties yields crucial skills that today’s business leaders must master to be successful.”

Sarah Mady

Sarah Mady

Kogod Professor of Marketing

Professor Mady points to Kogod’s many international opportunities as a way to understand intercultural topics better. “Studying abroad in any capacity exposes students to intercultural topics in a truly experiential manner,” she said. Whether through semester-long global learning programs, international internships, or shorter immersion programs, Kogod students have ample opportunities to be involved with international business, leaving them especially prepared to work in a multicultural environment.

Preparing for a career in a globalized business world requires hard work and emotional intelligence. “Some people might not realize the difficulty of ‘getting it right’ in international business,” Professor Mady said. “They need to grow a global presence and brand while tailoring to a local consumer with unique cultural attributes.”

By opening up to multicultural experiences throughout their academic journey, Kogod students equip themselves with the tools to contribute to a more inclusive world while learning more about themselves along the way.