Jim Mourey, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing
By Amanda Blumeyer
Professor James Mourey has been with DePaul since 2013, specializing in Consumer Behavior and Luxury Marketing. Check out his thoughts on how DePaul students can leverage data analytics and digital marketing to better serve consumers in years to come.
How long have you been with DePaul and what courses do you teach?
I have been with DePaul since fall of 2013. I teach Consumer Behavior, primarily, to both undergraduate and graduate students. I also teach a study abroad class concerning Luxury Marketing that culminates in a trip to Paris. I also teach a course on improvisational comedy to incoming freshman for the university’s Discover Chicago program.
What's a lesson you learned early in your career that you hope all students know?
Hard work always gets rewarded. This was sort of a mantra I lived by as a student, as well, but the same lesson applies as an employee: if you work hard, people will notice. You may not get that pat on the back every single time you do something amazing, but if you stick to your work and do it as well as possible it definitely pays off in the long run.
What's changed the most in the field of marketing during your time at DePaul?
I would say the shift to digital has been the biggest transition we have seen in marketing, but that had already started before I began at DePaul. I think what has made it particularly different now is that we aren’t just talking about the internet but, instead, are including artificial intelligence and the way that smart devices, delivery systems, and other technology are changing our service experiences, our product engagement, and even our operations and logistics in the marketing world.
Based on developing trends, how do you see marketing evolving over the next 5 years?
Well, per the previous question, I see a lot more of marketing focusing on the technological advances touching just about every part of a consumer’s day-to-day experience. I also see the value of marketing increasing, as we are one of the business fields that is rather difficult to replace with AI, particularly with respect to service, customer experience, and creativity. As someone who grew up with a creative past, I am excited to see what is in store for the more creative elements of marketing like customer experiences, service, and new product innovation.
What are the most critical tools/capabilities MBA/MS students need to learn in marketing?
Today’s marketing students need to become comfortable understanding numbers and statistics but not just for the sake of understanding numbers. Because so much of what we do now is quantified, these students need to learn these valuable skills in order to inform their creative decisions with data, to see the stories and narratives the data tell us and to make smart decisions based on that empirical evidence. Not all data will translate to a meaningful creative execution, but it’s foolish not to incorporate useful information when it is more readily available than it has ever been at any other point in time. Complementing this skill, however, are social and communication skills. Humans have the edge when it comes to personal engagement and creativity, so we should be making sure our students are strong communicators, sociable, and super creative – this is where improv training comes in very handy.
What recommendations do you have for students who are entering the workforce or planning for the next step in their career after earning their graduate degree?
Be a leader. Do what is expected of you in your new role and get very good at doing that, but don’t just stop there. Even if your role doesn’t require you to do X, ask your manager if you can do X for growth purposes. Rarely will a decent manager tell an employee not to strive for more.
If you can pitch your desire to try something new as a way to learn a new skill or to develop more as an employee of your company (or even just to show your loyalty/commitment to your company, i.e., you aren’t seeking that opportunity elsewhere), then most managers will support this sort of professional challenge.
And, quite importantly, use this extra responsibility as a launching point to where you want to go next. For example, if your goal is to transition to a more digital marketing role, then find a project or an opportunity to shadow someone in your company doing that and get your boss on board for it. Or, if you are the boss, try to create a new project that will challenge you to stretch your abilities in this domain.
What you’ll find is that the experience of doing this – of stretching yourself in the direction you want – will get you one step closer to where you ultimately want to be. It’s also consistent with goal researchers’ findings (like Carol Dweck) suggesting we set active learning goals for ourselves instead of performance- or outcome-based goals only. If more companies did this (or permitted their employees to do this), we’d probably all be better off.
What is one marketing class you don't teach that you'd recommend a student take?
Good question! My colleagues are all super smart people who excel at what they teach, so I could easily say “all of them.” However, when it comes to essential skills, our students must be taking courses in Marketing Research and Digital Marketing. It’s where the magic is happening in 2019, so the stronger your skills are in research, data analytics, and statistics, the better your job opportunities are upon graduation, even if you don’t plan to work in those specific areas (e.g., you want to be a brand manager – you’ll still need to know these skills to converse intelligently with the people inside your firm responsible for these activities).