Where Creativity Meets Research

PROVO, Utah – Mar 14, 2019 – Who wouldn’t enjoy a new cereal made from their favorite donut brand? That’s just one of the questions BYU Marriott’s Marketing Lab has explored recently. Innovative ideas require research, data, and analysis, and at a fraction of the cost of competitors, the lab offers just that.

With cutting-edge technology paired with talented BYU Marriott students and faculty, the lab is making exciting advances in market research. The Marketing Lab uses tools such as market forecasting, and pricing models to provide clients with the best research for their needs. Every semester, BYU Marriott students can apply to be part of the team working in the lab. The fall 2018 team worked with General Mills, Owlet, Adobe, and others to maximize each company’s potential and help them grow in the right directions.

Jeff Dotson, a marketing professor and the faculty mentor for the lab, says the type of research used in the lab is certainly not standard within the industry. “Some is tried and true and tested research, while some is more cutting edge. But we tailor our research design to fit the problem the company is facing,” he says. Students in the Marketing Lab often have the opportunity to work on interesting projects for well-known companies due to BYU Marriott’s extensive faculty and alumni networking. However, the lab is open to any business that needs help with marketing, including startups.

Current Marketing Lab president and second-year MBA student Rachel Lewis says sometimes the lab’s job is to identify problems that haven’t even arisen yet. “We had an executive at a company come to us and say, ‘We have been growing rapidly, and we will continue to grow rapidly. We just want to know how we should grow.’ Our project is to first analyze the landscape to see what the competition is, then identify who the consumer is and how to market to them,” Lewis says.

Though most of the work in the lab is done by MBA candidates and undergraduate students, a faculty mentor assists with many of the projects to ensure the work is valuable. “We pride ourselves on producing high-quality work.” Lewis says.

Learning how to help companies identify and solve their problems is an exceptional opportunity for undergrad and MBA students. Lewis says the Marketing Lab aims to help students develop a variety of skills. “We ask them what they want, and we find the right responsibility for them so they can get the best experience,” she says. Regardless of which position a student is in, Lewis says the lab teaches workers “how to manage people, how to manage a project, and how to manage a client.”

According to Lewis, students don’t have to wait until they graduate to apply the skills they learn in the lab; they often use them during their internships. “Working in the Marketing Lab provides students valuable experience and talking points to use during interviews, helping both undergraduate and MBA students prepare for and find their internships.” Lewis says working in the lab prepared her for her internship with General Mills, where she plans to continue working after graduation.

Because this hands-on experience looks impressive on a résumé, many students find prestigious internships after working in the lab. Previous lab presidents have gone on to work at Amazon, P&G, and Dell. Preparing students for successful futures is part of the purpose of the Marketing Lab. Dotson says the experience is consistent with BYU President Kevin J Worthen’s inspiring learning initiative. “The Marketing Lab focuses on providing students with practical experiences that internalize what they learn in the classroom. The program develops them into better more knowledgeable managers.”

Members of the BYU Marriott Marketing Lab work together to brainstorm ideas for a client.
Members of the BYU Marriott Marketing Lab work together to brainstorm ideas for a client.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Katie Harris