Interview with Dr. Melissa Clark

Dr. Melissa Clark

Dr. Melissa Clark is a Professor of Marketing in the Wall College of Business Administration. With a Ph.D. in marketing and an MBA and a BBA in finance, Dr. Clark has years of experience and expertise teaching marketing.

Her teaching and research interests include sustainability, relationship marketing and social media marketing. She has been published in numerous publications and has been involved with the American Marketing Association, Society of Marketing Advances, Georgetown RISE, and Girls on the Run.

In our interview, Dr. Melissa Clark discusses how she decided on a career in the marketing education industry and her teaching strategy in cooperation with her research.

1. How long have you been teaching marketing? What made you want to pursue it?

Fourteen years. I majored in finance as an undergraduate but took some electives in marketing. I enjoyed those classes and decided to pursue it further in graduate school. Marketing is always changing so I thought it would keep my interest for the long term.

2. What is your favorite course to teach and why?

Business Sustainability; I love teaching this course because I want to inspire students to be the change makers that we need in the future. Business has the unique opportunity to create value while also being a force for good in the world.

3. Tell me a little bit about yourself (education background, any other relevant work experience). What types of organizations are you involved in?

My Ph.D. in marketing (2007) is from the University of Mississippi and I also earned an MBA with a marketing concentration (2003) and a BBA in finance (1999) from the University of North Alabama. I taught at the University of North Alabama from 2006 to 2013 before coming to Coastal Carolina University in 2013.

I am involved with Girls on the Run as a site coach and previous board member. I love the mission of this organization to empower girls through physical activity. I am also involved with Georgetown RISE which is a group of community and university leaders working on local sustainability issues as part of the United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development in Georgetown County, South Carolina.

4. What do you consider to be the most important and/or interesting aspect about the current state of marketing?

I think that consumers want to contribute to the greater good by supporting companies that are operating consciously. They want authenticity and see past the traditional marketing tactics that have been the norm in the past. The current state of marketing is moving at a fast pace due to the exponential growth of technology. The most important aspect of marketing, in my opinion, is and always will be delivering value to the customer. Now, how a company defines and delivers value is the interesting part.

5. What types of research do you do as part of your role? How do you incorporate it into your coursework?

I research sustainability related topics such as green energy, ecotourism and sustainable initiatives communicated through social media. I incorporate my research into my coursework by including my findings as a supplement to our class discussions.

6. With digital marketing changing at such a rapid pace, how do you see marketing being taught differently in the future?

Teaching marketing has changed dramatically during my years as a professor. I think that the value of the classroom experience is still important, but am seeing more technology incorporated in that model and expect that trend to continue in the future. Experiential learning also has an important place in how students learn marketing. Hands-on work in the field is very valuable to a marketing student’s education.

7. What advice would you give to young marketing professionals?

Be open-minded and flexible. Remember that customers are human beings and treat them as such. Figure out what your higher purpose is and operate with that in mind. Also, having the mindset of a lifelong learner is the way to be successful in marketing, whether you are a practitioner or an academic.

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