Henk Meijer: 'UvA Academy is a present for yourself'



Henk Meijer is a seasoned marketing and sales expert who regularly gains inspiration and the latest scientific knowledge from UvA Academy. He is convinced of the importance of continuing to learn. Meijer also believes that the people in his marketing team should keep their knowledge up to date, for example with UvA Academy.

Henk Meijer (61): 'I really believe in lifelong learning. For example, I recently completed the training course for mediator. I now want to continue with 'prediation': helping start-ups to make sound agreements to prevent conflicts in the longer term. And in the autumn I will be going to the UvA Academy for the third time. That is a gift to yourself every time. Four-hour lectures in which scientists share with you the latest research and developments in marketing and communication.  

Through the Academy, I also ended up at SWOCC, the Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Commerciële Communicatie. This is a foundation affiliated to the UvA's Faculty of Communication Science where, as a professional, you can learn about the latest scientific publications on brands and communication.'

Everyone you lead must - just like you - continue to learn? 

'As Director of City Marketing for the Municipality of Den Helder, I believe that all members of my team should continue to develop. I invest in them with money. They in turn must invest in knowledge. Everyone must have been to the UvA Academy at least once and they have to keep up with what is published on the SWOCC website about marketing and communication. 

Suppose you took a marketing course ten years ago and you haven't learned anything else, you won't be able to set up a good marketing strategy that meets today's requirements. Developments come in such quick succession. Just look at social media. In the early years, everyone jumped on it and started posting and sharing content indiscriminately. Now there is a lot more focus on how you can use social media in a strategic way.'

‘At the Academy, your need for confirmation that what you are doing is right is scientifically underpinned - or not.' 

What do you see as the value of the UvA Academy? 

'All the UvA's scientific research in the field of communication is brought together in the Academy. That's where you learn about the latest developments. In your daily work, you do a lot based on experience and intuition. At the Academy, your need for confirmation that what you are doing is right is scientifically underpinned - or not. "The earliest birds have the thickest worms." You can take advantage of that.  

The business world should therefore be able to find the science much better and faster. It won't be up to programme director and lecturer Jorge Labadie, and professor and business economist Ed Peelen of the UvA Academy!'

Can you give an example of what you have learned at the Academy? 

'My favourite subject is neuromarketing: how can you get people to buy something by appealing to their reptilian brain? Your reptilian brain makes most of the decisions every day, it has little to do with reason. I attended such interesting lectures about this at the Academy! There are all sorts of techniques to entice people into buying something without them even realising it. This raises questions such as: is there such a thing as free will?'


27 May 2021

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