Analytics Makes Students Marketable

Poised on the foothills of “Silicon Slopes,” BYU Marriott School marketing professors are determined to make their students more marketable than ever.

This year students had the opportunity to enroll in a new course called Marketing Analytics, introduced by Marc Dotson, assistant professor of marketing. The course will serve as part two for students who have already taken the marketing research core class, which predominantly covers data collection.

In the analytics class, Dotson gives the students data and asks the question, “How do we actually analyze this?” He then teaches the tools they need, such as regression models and clustering techniques, to get the job done.

“We talk about these techniques with context,” he says. “It’s very much learn by doing in these classes.”

Dotson was hired on to replicate the BYU MBA program’s success with marketing analytics, developed by Dotson’s brother, associate professor of marketing Jeff Dotson.

“We were successful in the MBA program teaching students the tools and techniques required to stand out in this area,” Jeff says. “It’s upped the skill set of our students to find better jobs that they find more interesting. We wanted to make this accessible to undergrads as well.”

Jeff says that students’ interest in these courses is prompted by the tech boom in the local community that led to the “Silicon Slopes” moniker for the area. Companies such as Adobe, Domo, and Qualtrics are continuing to grow and hire at a rapid pace.

“There are really great companies that do a lot of data and analytics in the context of marketing that are looking for students to fill those roles,” he says. “It’s not an easy skill set to hire for. There aren’t a lot of people who are able to do this and do it well.”

To help students market themselves for these more elite jobs, the Brand Lab will give students the experiential learning environment the Dotsons and their marketing colleagues want for students. The lab provides a resource for students who want to work with clients under the faculty guidance of Jeff Strong. At the end of their Brand Lab experience, students can put a company name on their résumés and have practical experiences to apply in the classroom.

Jeff said the undergraduate program will likely add more analytics courses and more opportunities for real-world applications. With this background, the marketing professors believe students will be primed for future success.

“Traditionally there has not been a lot of active recruiting for analytics and innovation positions here,” Marc says. “It’s exciting that we are responding to the need in the field, giving students the skills they need to apply to this type of work.”