Meet Marketing Professor Ray Lavoie
Incoming Assistant Professor of Marketing Ray Lavoie – a Starbuck, Manitoba, Canada native – has a wide-range of experience. He runs his own skate-sharpening business, worked in marketing for an aerospace company, and served as a Market Research Analyst for a creative arts and entertainment company. He teaches fundamentals of marketing and managing innovation at the University of Manitoba, where he received a Bachelor of Commerce in marketing in 2011 and expects to receive a Ph.D. in marketing this spring.
You’ve had several jobs – which was your favorite?
I worked as a Market Research Analyst for ZenFri, Inc., a creative arts and entertainment company in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I helped them obtain funding for augmented and virtual reality technologies. It was amazing to work with cutting-edge technologies and explore the future of marketing. It was fun brainstorming and developing uses of these technologies for marketing purposes to create unique consumption experiences. I believe that virtual reality is the next big step that marketing will take and the experiences you can provide consumers are truly novel. Marketers have total control over augmented reality experiences, and they are highly conducive to experiencing flow.
Can you put flow in everyday terms?
Flow is the experience of getting lost in a great song or the state of being ‘‘in the zone’’ in sports. It is an enjoyable state of being totally absorbed in something. Everyone has their own flow experiences – it could be anything from cleaning the dishes to climbing a mountain. There are several ways to get into flow, but the critical factor is that you experience a high level of fluency in an experience, which is what allows you to continue paying attention and subsequently get absorbed into an experience.
What does creativity mean for undergraduate students?
The most important lesson that I have for undergraduate students with regards to creativity is to not be afraid of any ideas or suggestions. Typically undergraduates are scared that their ideas are not worthwhile or will be judged if they are too different from the norm. We need to shatter this perspective to reach truly creative outcomes. I foster this environment in my classroom with an open and supporting culture that I instill from Class One.
My class encourages a lot of participation, but the nature of the participation is such that the students will build from each other’s ideas in a safe manner. It follows the principles of improvisational comedy to have participants build from whatever other people say to reach a creative outcome together by combining different ideas in unique ways. Building from someone else forces you to think a bit differently and together will create something special.
When you’re not teaching, doing research, or writing, what will you be doing?
I lived for hockey growing up. It’s about all we have to do in Manitoba. I am a huge Montreal Canadiens fan, so I am looking forward to the games with the Bruins at TD. I am very excited about the hockey program at Merrimack and I plan to be at the majority of the home games.
I play and coach lots of hockey, baseball and golf. I used to be an assistant golf professional when I was going through undergrad, so I hope to play as much golf as I can. I hope to join hockey and baseball leagues as well. I can’t wait to check out games at Fenway, especially when the Jays are in town.
What attracted you to Merrimack College?
The first thing that attracted to me to Merrimack when applying was the flavor of the course offerings. Innovation and sports appear to be important areas of study in the business school, both of which are interesting areas to me. The business school values both teaching and research. I am passionate about both, so I am happy that I will be supported in both areas at Merrimack. I also like the potential to develop my own course in flow down the road. The fact that the school has a Division I hockey program is another added bonus.