Kent teaches marketing management to MBA and executive audiences. For executive audiences, he frequently focuses on market segmentation and targeting issues. In 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 he earned the Chairs' Core Teaching Award in marketing at Kellogg. He was a finalist for Kellogg professor of the year in 2010.
Kent researches the role of fabrication and fact in consumption. His research looks at such topics as the benefits and drawbacks of trusting a business partner, how consumers decide whether something is authentic or fake, and what happens when a "true" friend tries to sell you something. In a related research area, Kent studies direct selling, which is sometimes known as "pyramid selling" or "network marketing." He tweets about trust, deception and authenticity @KentGrayson.
In 2007, Kent co-founded (with Al Muniz) the Chicago Consumer Culture Community (C4), which hosts discussions among consumer researchers whose work is influenced by theories from sociology, anthropology, communications studies, and cultural studies. He also organized and led the community (also with Al Muniz) until 2019.
In 2015, Kent was the faculty lead for the design, production, and implementation of Essentials of Marketing, an online version of Kellogg's core marketing class.
In 2016, Kent co-founded of The Trust Project at Northwestern with Jamie Rosman, Devin Rapson and Leah Davis; and served as faculty director until 2019. The Trust Project website features videos that provide different perspectives on the research and management of trust, and highlight the connections between these perspectives.
Kent has worked on marketing issues with several consumer goods and services companies, including British Airways, Diageo, Electronic Arts, Exxon/Mobil, Sigma, Hilton International, Microsoft, Nestle, Nissan, TD Bank, and Sony. He has also worked on business-to-business marketing issues with Rockwell Automation, Herman Miller, and John Deere.
In the 1980s, Kent spent four years working in advertising (including two years at a division of Saatchi & Saatchi), during which time he focused on financial services, recruitment advertising, and high-tech accounts.
Kent joined Kellogg in September, 2002. For eight years before that, he was on the marketing faculty at London Business School.