Helping Others Make Better Decisions
PROVO, Utah – Dec 17, 2020 – Marc Dotson, a BYU Marriott School of Business assistant professor of marketing, ventured through various fields of study, including journalism, political science, and international political economy, before discovering how marketing could be used to fulfill his aspiration of helping people make better decisions.
Dotson started his academic journey studying journalism and political science at Southern Utah University, where he came to appreciate the role of data in informing decision-making. “I learned that to really help people understand more complicated topics, you typically need to analyze and explain data,” he says. With growing interest in data analysis, he pursued graduate studies in international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
After finishing his master’s degree, Dotson landed a job at a marketing research firm and recognized how his passion for data and informing decision-making aligned with the principles of marketing. “I finally discovered that marketing was really about understanding and meeting consumer demand,” he says. “I decided to make the shift to marketing because I could continue to develop the skills and study the topics I was interested in except with better data and a business instead of public policy application.” Dotson would also eventually go on to complete his PhD in marketing at The Ohio State University.
Even before Dotson decided to pursue marketing, he recognized his aptitude for teaching and wanted to become a professor one day to be of service and influence others for good. Dotson joined BYU Marriott as an assistant marketing professor in 2016. Utilizing tools from his diverse education, Dotson teaches students about the role of data in informing decision-making in his marketing analytics class and quantitative marketing pre-PhD seminar.
“My goal for students in my classes is to help them develop the skill to analyze and understand data so they can inform business decisions,” Dotson says. “The interesting and difficult thing about marketing is we analyze the behavior of individual consumers. While we have lots of theories on how people make decisions, it’s still an open question. Being a good marketing analyst requires an appreciation for the underlying science.”
For Dotson, one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a professor is advising students as they participate in research and case competitions. In 2018, Dotson oversaw a group of BYU Marriott students that won second place at the Sawtooth Software Case Competition. The next year, the same group of students competed at the competition again and won first place. “I mentored the team of students for two consecutive years, and they did a lot of great work in their case competitions. I advised them and watched them consistently succeed at a high level, which was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done at BYU.”
While guiding students as they apply their skills in classes, research, and case competitions, Dotson ultimately wants to help his students to lead meaningful lives. “My absolute favorite thing that I do as a professor is interact with students,” he says. “On a personal level, I get to help students figure out what kind of careers they have and what kind of lives they lead, and that’s an incredibly rewarding process to be a part of.”
Media Contact: Chad Little: (801) 422-1512
Writer: Emily Atwood